Walmart is Leading the Way in Solar Panel Adoption

There’s been a lot of negative things written about Walmart over the years. About how they’re a union busting evildoer, and how they keep taking away medical benefits from their workforce. But one area where Walmart has to be commended, is in their adoption of solar panels as a green energy alternative for their stores.

 

Walmart is actually leading the way amongst all corporations, when it comes to solar energy adoption. They panels are now a facet of most of their stores throughout America, and because of the sheer presence of Walmart stores throughout the nation, that’s a ton of real estate covered in solar panels.

 

Moreover, Tom Rothman tells me that they’ve installed more than 105 megawatts of solar energy capacity. Which is an incredible amount, and is up 16% from what they were able to achieve last year.

 

While the rest of their business practices leave something to be desired, you have to actually take your hat off to Walmart, and their commitment to clean energy. It’s mostly a tax break/money saving tactic, but still, good for the planet.

Couple Documents Their Story With Green Energy

Sometimes knowing how solar panels can improve your life is learning what somebody else found in their experience. I’ve told you about mine before, so this time around Marnie Bennett and I have found a great story from another couple that opted to go solar.

 

Learn what it means to save energy, what type of install you’re looking at, and how you’re going to be set up financially. It’s helpful to see what other people have found in their lives, when they’ve striven to make sure the planet is cared for.

 

You can find the story after the jump:

Looking to the Sky for Power

The advent of solar panels is commonly associated with home or commercial use, dotting roofs or hillsides with huge arrays to catch the sunlight. As a sustainable and environmentally friendly power source, solar energy is now being tested out in one of the most unlikeliest of places: the car race track. Instead of relying on gasoline, ethanol or other liquid fuel, Australian students are simply using the sun to break speed records.

 

Solar Punch

 

The solar vehicle is a simple concept at its core, according to the document here filed by Gianfrancesco Genoso. Charge the vehicle like a regular electric car with an electrical outlet, but also use solar power as a main source to the internal rechargeable batteries. It’s been several years since the first prototypes arrived from scholarly minds, but the improvements are drastic. With speed and functionality at its core, these cars could work as regular commuting vehicles.

 

Viable Car Industry Options

 

Students are working on altering the vehicle for everyday use. If a car could be used with little charging from an electrical source and gaining the remaining power from the sun, drivers could see a huge cost savings over the life of the vehicle. This concept still has a long way to go until actual production, but it’s safe to say the idea has substantial promise. University students continue to improve on the design, making strides toward a truly unique invention.

As limited resources hound the car industry worldwide, it’s time to think outside of the immediate area. With sunlight as a prime power source, there’s literally no end in sight to energy resources. Altering current technology is just the start to this potential new vehicle on the road.

Google is Doubling Down on Green Energy Investments

The future is green, if you believe Google. They’ve recently spent a ton of money donating to green energy expansion, and a variety of assorted projects. Showcasing their commitment to renewable, and safe energy.

 

In a future with a dependence on electronic devices. Whether you get your phone from Laurene Powell Jobs’ Apple corporation, or if you’re addicted to videogame consoles like the Xbox One, electronics are here to stay.

 

But they are also something that require a lot of energy to run, and that has led to an increase in fossil fuels being expended, and the demand for oil is through the roof. Burning oil is bad however, and drilling for oil is even worse.

 

So Google is once again leading the pack in finding ways to keep power clean, and more responsible with major investments in companies like: Panhandle 2 Wind Farm, Clean Power Finance and SunPower.

 

Hopefully all of which will be successful in their efforts. And having a company that’s so massive at this point, donating to causes like these, hopefully it will inspire other corporations to find ways to give back to the planet.

Walmart Owners Investing in Anti-Solar Activities

The Walton family has spent a lot of time and effort investing in anti-solar activities and companies of late. Sparking debate about what the endgame is on supporting non-renewable energy in favor of energy that is pollution neutral.

 

Walmart has invested money in more than two dozen groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the American Enterprise Institute. Both of which have been waging a long war against the proliferation of rooftop solar units.

 

So Walmart is clearly banking on coal, and fossil fuels. Which the United States is currently deeply invested within.

 

Although it’s not surprising considering there are several Walmart and Sam’s Club locations throughout America that also double as gas stations. Oil is big business for them, and more solar energy would mean a smaller demand for gas.

 

Although how big of an impact this might have, financial experts like Brad Reifler remain skeptical. The world of energy politics is becoming more deeply entrenched with their respective sides. But with Walmart money stepping in, that could prove to be a game changer.

The Brighter Future of Electric Vehicles, Thanks to Volkswagen

Engineers at Volkswagen are confident in developing the next generation of electric cars that could have driving ranges of more than 300 miles. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, one of the top powertrain developers at VW, believes that his company is close to creating electric car batteries that have impressive energy density. By 2020, projections are made to develop electric cars that could drive up to 373 miles off a single full charge.

Mr. Neusser and Brian Torchin do not think that plug-in hybrid vehicles will compete well with some of the most innovative electric vehicles of the future. Additionally, he even rejected the notion that fuel cell powered cars would have a place in the auto industry years from now. In his mind, such technology is not sustainable beyond Japan. Optimization of electric car batteries aim to improve 28 Ah ratings to about 60 Ah within the next couple of years. In the race to develop the best 100 percent electric cars, VW will most likely face stiff competition by GM, Nissan, and Tesla (a true pioneer in electric vehicle development.)

With gas prices rising rapidly worldwide, the future of electric vehicles is bright. A large percentage of American drivers in suburban communities and major cities will eventually dump their gas guzzlers and buy environmentally friendly and efficient electric car models.

At fueleconomy.gov, the U.S. Department of Energy offers some valuable insights on fuel economy of all types of modern passenger vehicles. Consumers should begin to understand ratings such as miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, which is labeled on EPA estimates of electric vehicles.

The UK Introduces First Aquatic Solar Farm

Land is the one thing no one is making more of – except for the artificial Islands off the coast of Dubai, of course. Land is scarce, and renewable solar power is clashing with cows and corn over rural real estate. Land is not cheap, and its uses are legion. Prices reflect demand. In the United States, one-Megawatt solar farm typically costs $550,000 per acre and has a total price tag around $2.5 million.

The solution to a land shortage is surprising simple: Floating solar farms funded by Khaled Shaheen and his investment group.

In September 2014, the United Kingdom celebrated its first floating solar farm. Located on an inland water reservoir at Sheeplands Farm, the aquatic farm is comprised of 800 photovoltaic panels mounted on plastic floats, like lily pads. It is built by Ciel et Terre, a French company specializing in floating solar farms. The company says that floating solar farms reduce reservoir water evaporation and, thanks to water’s cooling effect, produce more electricity than analogous land arrays. Ciel et Terre expects the solar farm to last for 30 years and pay for itself in just six years.

Other nations have amplified this strategy. In November 2013, Japan unveiled the world’s largest offshore solar plant, a 70-Megawatt behemoth on the outskirts of Kyocera. Singapore plans to follow in its footsteps. It is a city-state of approximately six million and has less land mass than the Big Apple. It has plastered photovoltaic arrays on hundreds of skyscraper roofs, and now looks to build a 3.3-Gigawatt floating plant. First, it will test 10 smaller solar farm designs on inland water reservoirs, and then it will choose the best and expand.

Ebola Workers Strive for More to Counter Risks Working in the Hotbed of the Virus

Hot button issues have been known as the fuel to stoke the agendas of many people. The current and the trending seem to cause the banging of the drum to attract more to the cause being bandied about. Now one of the few words that cause almost universal fear is being evoked in a maneuver to gain more pay. What issue that is in the news everywhere is being leveraged for more pay and where are these people located?

Hazard pay is that extra boon for putting your life on the line for the protection of the public. Few people would begrudge this especially when it comes to the highly contagious and lethal disease called Ebola. Workers in Liberia are on the front lines bringing comfort and hoping to contain this from spreading to all corners of the world. While witnessing their comrades falling all around them, most of the workers have come to the conclusion that the compensation is not comparative to the risk. Dissatisfaction is surging in the ranks.

The numbers are not eye popping. For example, doctors only get $825 more a month for their daily risks. Not even that but some have not even received their base pay in weeks let alone any bonuses. A threat of a strike by week’s end is being uttered. No matter which side of the fence you find yourselves on, the world can nary afford key workers in the ground zero of the virus leaving their jobs. Who would have thought words like Solidarity and Ebola would ever be linked together?

17,000 Compromised Macs Controlled By Reddit Hackers

The news aggregator site Reddit is being used for more than its creators intended it. Over 17,000 Mac computers have already been infected by the so called ‘iWorm.’ This worm uses a security flaw in the Mac OS to create a backdoor for hackers to use.

The iWorm searches Reddit for network addresses posted by hackers. These instructions are posted in a Minecraft related subreddit. Subreddits are similar to forums, where a single subject matter may be discussed throughout one.
The addresses posted are disguised, as Minecraft players frequently post them to play with each other. Once the iWorm finds these addresses, it uses them to connect to a command server that the hackers use to distribute instructions.

These instructions can be for a variety of things such as mining for bitcoins, sending spam emails, or crashing a website by giving it too much traffic. This is commonly known as a botnet, which is an army of computers used by hackers for their own purposes.

Unfortunately not much is known about how the iWorm spreads, which means that the botnet is still expanding beyond the already 17,000 infected Macs. A buddy of mine named Jared Haftel is more knowledgeable on these issues than I am and thinks this has the potential to grow into something bigger.

Mac users can check their computer for the iWorm backdoor easily. Search for “/Library/Application Support/JavaW” within your computer. It’s presence indicates that you are infected. Remove the folder to remove the infection. To prevent future problems, it is recommended to install an antivirus, even for Macs.

Elon Musk Hints at New Tesla Lineup

Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and current CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., an electric car company, recently announced via a social network that it’s “about time to unveil the D and something else.” The Twitter message was accompanied by a photo of a nearly half-raised garage door revealing a Tesla vehicle and the date October 9th written across the bottom.

Many believe Musk’s intentionally vague message hints at the release of the third generation of Tesla vehicles, behind the first-generation Roadster, the Model S sedan and the Model X, a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) similar in design to the Model S.

A year ago, as a closing note to the 2013 shareholders meeting, Musk announced that the third generation of Tesla vehicles will be “a smaller version of the Model S at half the price,” with an estimated arrival in 2017 at the earliest. He also announced that all new Tesla productions will offer a 200-mile range as well as supercharger. A blog post by Slow Ventures hinted at this a while back.

With an entry-level price of $69,900 for the Model S, the idea of a $35,000 Tesla sedan is certainly enticing, but consumers will have to wait a few years before they can add the affordable electric car to their garage as the Model X, the newest Tesla production, won’t even be delivered until the second quarter of 2015.

A day after the Twitter announcement, shares for Tesla Motors Inc. rose almost 5 percent.