Solar Blog

Find out about all the latest in solar news and technology

Solar device used to produce drinking water

In California, water is a big deal. Our memories do not have to stretch far to recall the drier days of the drought and the complication it posed. Solar is also a big deal for us here in the Golden State. Just last month, for instance, the state generated more than half of its energy through solar – and it’s not stopping there.

The importance of water and solar is unmistakable. These precious resources allow us to power our homes and businesses, grow our foods and provide other basic needs – and even recreation at parks like Folsom Lake. And not to mention, solar allows us to save money.

Now, scientists have combined these two resources to create something incredibly powerful: drinking water out of thin air.

According to the smarts folks at MIT and Berkeley, a new solar-powered device will not only produce water, but water suitable for drinking.

The device, for which its technology already existed, is specifically designed for drier, desert-like climates. The box-like machine contains layered metal-organic material, which acts like a sponge to capture as much water as possible when it’s open from air and rain. Once inside, the box is closed and exposed to the sun, which converts it into a liquid phase with a condenser. This process makes the water suitable for drinking.

The system is in the “proof of concept” phase and will eventually be scaled up from its current prototype version, which is about the size of a tissue box. The goal is to create devices large enough to provide for a family of four.

We are proud that solar energy can do so much good. We certainly see it every day. When many people think about solar, they usually associate it with power, clean energy, electricity and lower utility bills. Those are all tremendous attributes. Then you read about technology and the good solar can do in providing one of the most basic needs, and you’re left in awe.

Aztec Solar has been working with clients across Northern California for more than 35 years. Our customers know that it’s not just about saving money. It is clear that they are a part of a special clean energy movement that’s so vital to our future. A movement that provides hope, energy dependence and precious resources like electricity for our homes and business, and clean water.

Solar energy use sets record in California

Aztec Solar knows firsthand the joys our customers express when they begin utilizing clean, solar energy to power their homes and businesses. It’s a wonderful feeling on multiple levels. No. 1, they are saving a whole lot of money on their monthly bills and secondly, they feel accomplished for their contribution to a cleaner and brighter future.

Imagine that joy multiplied by 38.8 million, the approximate population of California. How would we feel as residents if everyone could enjoy the benefits of clean energy? It would be an amazing day for obvious reasons.

While California isn’t quite near 100 percent dependent on clean energies, it did mark a milestone last month: It produced half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources for three hours, according to government figures. That renewable energy was solar power, by the way.

It only lasted three hours, but the milestone reminded us that we have come a long way, but we also know we have a long way to go to reach our potential. In a sense, the achievement came about 13 years earlier than expected. The state hopes to get half of all its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. So, in many ways, those three hours on March 11 represented the future of energy consumption across the Golden State, and perhaps, one day, the United States and the world.

Here’s a graph showing the installed capacity of self-generation energy across California, beginning in 2006. What’s striking is that of the almost 5,100 megawatts of solar, almost half of it was installed in 2014 and 2015 alone, according to the California Energy Commission.

So, where does that leave you? Are you ready to contribute by joining the other countless homes and businesses producing power from rooftops? Working together, we can help California inch closer and closer to its highest energy goals.

Being in business for more than 35 years, Aztec Solar considers itself a solar pioneer across Northern California for all the installs and services it has provided. From solar electricity to solar pool heating, there’s likely a program suitable for you and your family. Maybe you’re not quite ready for total solar, so you may decide on investing in a pool heating system. Or perhaps you want to go all in with a solar electricity. Whatever you decide, know that you are on a very exciting path that includes clean energy and new technology

SEIA launches new tools to protect solar customers

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) will launch a consumer education program designed to inform and protect people like you who’ve made the life-changing decision to use solar energy to power their homes, pools and businesses.

Over the last two years, the association has beefed up its consumer protection efforts and recently released a suite of new tools that cover the ins and outs of residential solar transactions. These resources guide consumers to ask the right questions when they decide to invest in solar energy. If you are wondering about price comparison, materials and expectations, for example, these tools clarify the process for this very important investment.

The association’s goal is simple. It wants to simplify the solar-buying process in such a way that also protects the consumer. It hopes to distribute the tools across the United States by making them accessible through several solar websites.

“Solar is still a new power choice for millions of Americans,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper on solarindustrymag.com. “By doing their homework and making use of these tools, consumers and stakeholders alike will feel confident and comfortable in the decision to go solar.”

The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) is headed by Aztec Solar’s very own CEO, Ed Murray.

Aztec solar also offers resources directly to our friends across the Sacramento region. From our Solar Calculator, our 28-minute solar consultation and our Free Solar Buyer’s Guide, we believe in informing customers from the start. If they are educated, they can make the best decision for themselves, save money, and positively contribute to the future of our planet. We offer these resources because we believe in putting our customers first. Our excellent customer service, our thorough understanding of the solar industry and our promise to provide the best products and services at the best possible price, aligns with our philosophy of putting the consumer first.

These resources, including SEIA’s new standardized disclosure forms that help you better understand offers you may see from different companies, are needed as more and more households turn to solar for their energy needs. More than 1.4 million homes are currently powered by solar and that number is expected to reach 3 million within just a few years.

So, if you’re ready for the solar switch, there’s no better place to turn to than Aztec Solar. We have more than 35 years of experience in the Sacramento region. We’ve served the community with integrity, award-winning customer service and the upmost dedication to you and our future.

5 ways to get back yard ready for summer!

Now that the weather is finally settling down and those late March showers are a thing of the past, it’s time to embrace the warmer weather.

Don’t wait until the Sacramento region endures its typical sweltering heat before getting your back yard summer-ready.

Here are five ways to welcome back summer now to make the most of the season:

  1. Solar pool heating. Start by equipping your swimming pool with Aztec Solar’s pool heating system. Our special setup will add months of swim time to your season. If you act soon enough, you can even double the time you spend inside the pool because the water will be as comfortable in October as it was in June. If you don’t think your pool needs any extra help heating up, you should take the toe-dipping test. If the water still feels too cold, despite the rising temperatures, it may be time to give Aztec Solar a call. With our system, we can use your existing pump. The water will go through all the normal filtration functions before entering our Heliocol solar panel, where it is substantially heated and recycled back into your pool for your enjoyment. If you are ready to enter a warm water paradise even before summer starts, give us a call.
  2. Shed makeover. After a long rainy season, it may be time to dust off and clean out your shed and organize it for summer. Now is the time to place all your summer gear within reach. From your electric lawnmower, sprinkler and gardening tools, it’s time to tidy up around this small area. When the sun is out, you’ll want to be ready for whatever comes your way. All the summer essentials should be within reach so you can handle your summer chores with a little less stress.
  3. It’s time to fire up the grill. Disassemble the barbecue from the tray (refer to your manufacturer instructions on that one), and clean with soapy water. A wire hand brush will also help you do the job. Then, take a look at the grill and scrub that down, too. A barbecue cleaner could remove all the grease build up from last season’s steak and burgers. Once everything is dried and free of any chemicals you may have used, let the grill burn on high for about 15 minutes, then let it cool down. Once that happens, wipe the grates with a layer of cooking oil. These tips will have your barbecue grill looking fresh, next to your heated pool, of course. More importantly, a clean grill makes for a tastier burger!
  4. This may not be the most pleasant task, but now is the time to clean your gutters. They will likely need it after a torturous rain season. Remove dry leaves, pine needles and other gunk left behind this winter. If you wait too long, you may forget and be caught off guard down the road. Now that the weather is warmer, pull out that ladder (from your freshly organized shed) and begin to clean out those gutters and pipes.
  5. Say goodbye to those unwanted weeds. All that rain likely fed everything in your lawn, including the unsightly weeds. Now is the time to clean around your bushes, flower beds and other planted areas before weeds take over. This is very important especially during the spring and early summer as your assortment of greenery and flowers begin to bloom. After all that hard work of weeding, add fresh mulch to protect your plants and freshen your landscaping and areas around your heated pool. While you’re out there, the time right before summer is the perfect period to reseed and fill bald patches in your lawn.

For more than 35 years, Aztec Solar has provided the services, products and expertise to power homes and businesses using green energy technology, including pool heating. Contact us today to get started!

Amazon goes solar in a big way!

Amazon announces a new initiative to generate clean energy using solar panels.

Amazon announces a new initiative to generate clean energy using solar panels

Amazon, the electronic commerce giant, is turning to solar. Earlier this month, Amazon announced a new initiative to generate clean energy by installing solar panels on its rooftops. The panels are planned for the company’s fulfillment centers around the globe, including 15 fulfillment and sortation centers in the U.S. The company says it will complete the installation by the end of the year. Then, in 2020, it’ll continue to install them at 50 centers across the globe.

When the projects are complete, they will generate 41 megawatts of power at Amazon sites in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware.

The rooftop solar panels planned for Patterson, California, will cover 1.1 million square feet. They will be able to soak up plenty of the California sunshine with that large footprint. The energy this center produces will power hundreds of Amazon Robotics that many of the workers use at the ground-level.

This news is just another example of the growing popularity of solar power. Aztec Solar knows the many innovated uses for solar energy and we certainly applaud Amazon’s vision for renewable energy, which will fulfill 80 percent of the center’s annual energy needs. At its core, Amazon is guided by passion for invention, operational excellence and long-term thinking. We think this solar-power initiative aligns with each of those principals.

Aztec Solar also is committed to these principles and has been providing an array of solar energy products and services in the Sacramento region to meet the energy needs in an ever-changing world.

With nearly 35 years of providing solar energy installations and services, we know a thing or two about blazing new trails. Our products and services are ahead of the curve because we know the importance of affordable and reliable clean-energy options. Take our pool heating services as an example. We do not want the cold days of winter and fall to deprive you of pool time. Aztec Solar pool heating services deliver on the promise of expanding the usage of your pool year-round by pumping water through your existing pump and through a Heliocol solar panel where it is heated and returned to your pool.

Residents and businesses across the region have entrusted us to provide the best products and customer-centered services for decades, which are backed by our experienced staff. We truly see every opportunity as part of the solution for a brighter future and stronger planet – and that starts with you.