As many of us resolve to reduce clutter in the new year, paper accumulation is one of the biggest problems.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), well over 4 million tons of “junk mail” are produced each year. These unsolicited and often unwanted catalogs, restaurant menus, advertisements, promotional flyers and the like in your mailbox today often wind up in a landfill tomorrow, the effects far-reaching, seriously contributing to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Fortunately, stopping junk mail delivery has become easier. Opt out of credit card and insurance solicitations HERE, direct mail ads HERE, or catalogs HERE. And choose email, online or other paperless billing or communications whenever available. READ MORE
Can Santa land on solar panels?
The short answer, YES! Solar panels can handle it.
The long answer, YES! According to Long Island’s solar experts Built Well Solar, solar panels have been engineered to easily withstand the weight of Santa and his sleigh and his reindeer… even if the jolly ol’ guy eats a ton of cookies this year!
“Santa has landed on the rooftops of our thousands of solar customers with no problem for the past 20 years, we’re happy to report,” said Built Well Solar founder Dan Sabia.
Another question that comes up — do reindeer hoofs scratch solar panels? No they do not. Some say they’ve spied the reindeer wearing special padded booties. Others say it’s just plain magic.
And, remember, Santa — like most everyone who lives at the North Pole — is a huge environmentalist, since slowing climate change will keep the icecaps at the North Pole from further melting, so he’s known to be pro-solar.
Celebrating 20+ years as Long Island’s solar pioneer, Built Well Solar has been capturing the power of the sun since 2001.The company has designed and installed more solar energy systems on Long Island than most other companies combined and is known for top-quality installations and personalized customer service.
“The U.S. solar industry is slowly starting to see supply chain relief,” said Michelle Davis, head of global solar at Wood Mackenzie and lead author of the the most recent US Solar Market Insight Report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.
At the same time, the U.S. solar industry installed 6.1 GW of solar capacity and had its best first quarter in history, according to the report. The record quarter was driven in large part by the stability of the Inflation Reduction Act’s ten-year 30% federal tax credit as well as the moving forward of delayed solar projects that were held up due to global supply chain roadblocks.
The residential segment installed 1.6 GW of solar capacity in Q1 2023, a 30% increase from Q1 last year and is on track to add 36 GW of solar over the next five years, growing at an average annual rate of 6%.
The commercial market also had a record first quarter, with 391 MW installed, putting the segment on track for 12% growth in 2023.
Overall, solar accounted for 54% of all new electricity-generating capacity added to the grid in Q1.
The report also projects the U.S. solar market to triple in size over the next five years, bringing total installed solar capacity to an unprecedented 378 GW by 2028. READ MORE
Did you know that the solar-powered International Space Station (ISS) is visible from Earth? It’s easy to spot if you know where and when to look. The third brightest object in the sky, it looks like a fast-moving plane only much higher and traveling much faster.
Zipping along at an average speed of 17,500 mph and completing 16 orbits per day, the ISS is only visible because it reflects sunlight. The best time to view the ISS is either at dawn or dusk. It can be seen passing overhead from several thousand worldwide locations. Go to SPOT THE STATION to find out when it will be in your neighborhood, and to sign up for text or email alerts for the next time it’s visible in your area.
Solar powered. The ISS is indeed powered by solar, using large solar arrays to collect the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity used for “everything from life support and temperature controls to communications with Earth and propulsion systems to allow the station to dodge debris.”
Solar upgrade. When installed in 2009, there were four solar arrays containing 262,400 solar cells. With large numbers of increasingly complex science experiments being performed on the station, the power requirements are going up. A solar energy upgrade required astronauts during three spacewalks to install six new arrays sitting in front of the older arrays which are still operational, allowing power to be drawn from both. Four of the new arrays were installed in 2022; the other two are scheduled for this year.
ISS to retire in 2031. NASA recently announced that it will keep the International Space Station running through the end of this decade, before decommissioning it in 2031 by intentionally crashing the orbiting outpost into the southern Pacific Ocean.
Originally set to be retired in 2024, the White House extended its operation through 2030. During its remaining years, NASA said it “plans to continue conducting research aboard the ISS while also using the lab to support deep-space exploration. In its report, the agency said it will bolster commercial ventures to develop new destinations in low-Earth orbit”.
Watery grave. NASA plans to aim for a region known as Point Nemo, an open and uninhabited stretch of water east of New Zealand. This remote area is nicknamed “spacecraft cemetery” because space agencies and aerospace firms often intentionally land defunct spacecraft there. READ MORE