How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Thomas Edison QuoteLowering your utility bill with the use of solar energy has been out of reach for a lot of homeowners in the past. However, with the increased competition, tax credits and incentives from local governments, solar panels are becoming more affordable for homeowners. The price of solar panels have dropped a lot over the years and are about half of what they were back in 2009.

Going off the grid

With the ever-increasing energy costs more and more people are looking into going off the grid and using renewable energy to save money on their energy bills. The up-front investment in a solar system for your home is very high, so there are many things to take into consideration. The solar system you’d want to install all depends on the size of your home, geographic location and of course how much electricity you need in your household.

A family with a heated pool, big-screen TVs in every room and Griswald-style Christmas lights in November and December will no doubt need a larger solar panel system than other people. Families save an average $1,000 a year on utilities after installing a solar power system and even more in sunnier climates where the panels really can soak up the sun.

Long-term investment

Converting your entire energy source to solar can cost thousands of dollars, so it is not something you’d want to add to a house you only plan to stay in for a year or two. The photovoltaic solar panels themselves are the most expensive part of the system, but there are other things that are needed as well such as a tie-grid converter, battery storage and a battery charger. The size and cost of each of these things depends on the individual family’s need and something that a professional installer can recommend.

DIY Solar Panels

Most homeowners have professional installers give them an estimate. This is really the best way to start, so you can get an idea of what you need. There are also a growing number of people that are very handy and prefer to build and install their solar panels themselves. There is a lot of money to be saved for those that have the time and skill to build homemade solar panels, but if you don’t feel like doing it yourself there are professional installers that can help you.

Profitable solar system

Some home owners have gone all out and have installed huge solar systems that actually make them money because they are turning the meter backwards. This means that the utility companies are paying them for the electricity they produce with their solar system. The thought of receiving a check from the electric company instead of a bill sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Hedging against increase in energy prices

Solar Electricity Handbook 2014

Want to learn more? The 2014 Solar Electricity Handbook is a great resource. Click image to order from Amazon.


Once installed photovoltaic solar panels are pretty much free to run and are not harmful to the environment. Like with any other type of equipment, maintenance is necessary, but for the most part it is just a matter of checking that the panels are secured properly on your roof and that the system is running smoothly.

Installing solar panels can be a great way to protect yourself against the increase in energy prices. Government rebates on solar energy makes this investment a lot more doable than it has ever been before. While it can seem like a lot of money to install solar panels, they will pay for themselves because of the money saved on utilities and the added value of the home.

>>Click here have a closer look at solar panels on Amazon.com<<

 

 

Go Solar With The ZeroLemon Solar Charger

Solar charger for phone

Charge your electronic device on the go with a solar charger.

The ZeroLemon Solar Juice Mobile Charger is a portable sun-powered charger that lets you charge any USB-powered device when you are on the go.

Have ever been in the situation where you are expecting an important phone call and the charge on your cell phone is low? Not fun, especially if you are far away from your home and most importantly a charger. It is always when you need it the most that your battery is flat.

Charge your phone with solar energy

With the Solar juice mobile charger you can easily get your phone charged on the go and not worry about a deal cell phone ever again. A single charge gives you hours of conversation on your smartphone. The sleek design fits is small enough to fit in a pocket or in a bag, so you can bring it with you wherever you go.

Some of the devices that you can charge with The ZeroLemon Charger:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Samsung

Features:

Shock proofBuilt-in LED light – perfect for camping
Rain resistant
Micro USB cord included
Allows you to charge two devices at once

Perfect for travelling

When I am travelling, I always end up draining the battery on my camera very fast because I am looking through the photos I have taken every chance I get. With the solar charger in my travel bag I don’t have to be concerned about a camera that isn’t charged just as I am about to take the most amazing vacation photo.

Compact design

The charger fits in the palm of your hand, so you can easily bring it with you wherever you go.  The device runs on a powerful 20000mAh lithium Polymer battery that you can charge from the hybrid solar panel, your computer or wall outlet. There is an indicator on the back of the device, so you can easily see how much battery charge you have left.

Great gadget

The ZeroLemon Solar Charger is a cool little gadget that is great for charging your electronic devices no matter if you are on a hike, picnic, road trip, hanging out at the pool or on the beach. Go solar with a sun-powered charger and never end up with a flat battery again. Just harness the power of the sun and you are set! Not only will it save you a lot of hassle, but you will also be charging your devices in an environmentally friendly way.

>>Click here to have a closer look at the ZeroLemon Solar Charger on Amazon.com<<

 

 

Kindle E-Reader Reviews

Kindle ereaders

Click image to have a closer look at the e-readers available on Amazon.

It is no wonder the Kindle E-readers are so popular these days.  These new devices allows you to store up to 1,000 e-books and have have unlimited cloud storage of Amazon content. This means that a lot less trees need to be cut down and better air for all of us, which is why I love the e-readers.

My husband gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas several years ago and I use it just about every day. Other than books on gardening and cooking I buy all my books as ebooks. It’s a lots less waste and you have instant access to an electronic book when you purchase it.

It takes less than 60 seconds to download an ebook onto a Kindle device. That’s faster than you can make a cup of tea and get cuddle up under a blanket on the couch! The Kindles are very light, so you can easily hold them in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. They all have touch screen control, so it is easy to flip a page.

One of my favourite features is that you can choose from eight text sizes to prevent tired eyes and keep you reading longer.

The Kindle e-readers have a much longer battery life than your regular laptop. Depending on the light setting that you have chosen and how much Wi-Fi you use, you will in most cases get weeks’ use out of your Kindle before you need to charge it.

Come across an unfamiliar word in your ebook? Not to worry. Smart Lookup integrates entries from The New Oxford American Dictionary with information from X-Ray and Wikipedia, so you can access definitions, characters, settings, and more without losing your place.

Now, which Kindle should you pick? There are a few options, so I have put together a table to compare them and a description below to help you decide.

 KindleKindle PaperwhiteKindle VoyageKindle Oasis
ColorsBlack, WhiteBlack, WhiteBlackBlack
Dimensions6.3" x 4.5" x 0.36" (160 x 115 x 9.1 mm))6.7" x 4.6" x 0.36" (169 x 117 x 9.1 mm)6.4" x 4.5" x 0.30" (162 x 115 x 7.6 mm)5.6" x 4.8" x 0.13-0.33" (143 x 122 x 3.4-8.5 mm)
Weight5.7 oz (161 g)Wi-Fi: 7.2 oz (205 g) Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity: 7.6 oz (217 g)Wi-Fi: 6.3 oz (180 g) Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity: 6.6 oz (188 g)Without cover Wi-Fi: 4.6 oz (131 g) Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity: 4.7 oz (133 g)
Built-In LightNoYes - 4 LEDsYes - 6 LEDs + adaptive light sensorYes - 10 LEDs for enhanced page consistency
Resolution167 ppi 300 ppi 300 ppi 300 ppi
ConnectivityWi-Fi Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free Cellular ConnectivityWi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free Cellular ConnectivityWi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Free Cellular Connectivity

Zero Distractions

Something that a lot of users love about the Kindle is that there are zero distractions such as email alerts when you are reading. With an ereader, you can focus about one thing, and one thing only, and that is to enjoy a great read.

If you decide to buy a case for your Kindle, I would highly recommend that the case you buy have the magnetic AutoWake function. It is a lot easier to turn the device on and off without having to search for the small power switch.

Below are the different Kindles that are currently available and my recommendations for who should buy which type.

Who should buy the basic Kindle?

Basic KindleThe basic Kindle is the most inexpensive e-reader. It is perfect if you plan to use it a lot out of the house and especially if you are traveling a lot. You would not be devastated if you lost your Kindle on a beach, cruise ship, airport or plane, as they do not cost that much to replace.

The e-reader weighs less than six ounces and the thickness of a pencil, so it is easy to bring with you anywhere you go. In fact, with its light weight it is lighter than most paperbacks. You can store up to 1,000 books in the Kindle, so there is plenty of reading material for a vacation.

If you enjoy reading outside then the e-ink device is great for you. It has a matte screen, so there is no glare in direct sunlight. This makes it very easy on the eyes to read for long periods at a time. You can download a book in less than 60 seconds with the built-in Wi-Fi, which is very convenient for people on the go.

The font and text size can be customized by you, so you can read your book in any style you want. The battery life is great on the Kindle and you can easily use it a month without having to charge it. The only issue with the Kindle is that you do need light to be able to read the text. This is not always convenient in a bedroom or on an airplane, but can easily be fixed with a Kindle case with built-in light.

This is a great entry level e-ink Kindle that is perfect for the traveler or if you just want to find out if e-readers are for you without spending a lot of money.

Basic Kindle

Who should buy the Kindle Paperwhite?

Kindle PaperwhiteThe Kindle Paperwhite is by far the most popular Kindle out there. It has all the features of the basic Kindle, and then some! This Kindle has built-in light, so you can read it in a room without any lamps on (perfect if you want to read without annoying your significant other that is sleeping next to you. It has crisp easy-to-read text with a well-lit screen, so you don’t need any other light in the room to read.

The basic Kindle has more of a grey (matte) screen whereas the Paperwhite, as the the name implies, has a white screen. Think of it as reading text in a newspaper versus on a sheet of paper. If you get the Kindle Paperwhite case, the device will go to sleep the moment you close the cover and this way allow the charge to last longer.

The Kindle Paperwhite is the best device for people that enjoy reading half an hour before bed. The backlight is extremely popular with all users. The Paperwhite has the anti-glare feature as well, so you can read your novels indoor as well as outdoor without eyestrain.

Kindle Paperwhite

Who should buy the Kindle Paperwhite Voyage?

The Kindle Voyage has a super thin design. This brings the weight down considerably. At just 7.6mm thin, you can comfortably hold it in one hand for long reading sessions. This makes it perfect for the avid reader that travels a lot.

The Kindle Voyage has a built-in light sensor that controls an adaptive front light. It senses the light in your environment and changes the setting to the ideal brightness. Perfect reading conditions no matter if you are on the beach or in a dark bedroom.

The Kindle Voyage has the feature ‘page press’. With the hand you use to hold the Kindle you simple apply a bit more pressure and with that you flip to the next page. On other kindles a finger on the screen is required to flip pages. This is a lot more handy.

Kindle Voyage

Who should buy the Kindle Oasis?

Kindle Oasis

The Kindle Oasis has a 7″ 300 ppi display, which is the largest, highest resolution display available. This is great for seniors that have a hard time reading small font.

It has Audible built in that can be paired with Bluetooth, so you can listen to audiobooks as well as using the device as an an e-reader.

It is the only waterproof ereader from Kindle. So if you are into sailing or plan to travel in very humid parts of the world, this is the perfect Kindle for you.

The Kindle Oasis is available in 8 GB or 32 GB, so you have the option of storing lots of ebooks and audiobooks.

Kindle Oasis

 

Top 10 LED-LCD TVs – More Energy Efficient Than Ever


We recently bought ourselves a new TV to replace the old box that seemed to take up a big part of the living room.   We wanted a flat screen TV that could be hung up on the wall above the fireplace and that way free up a lot of space in our living room. The big piece of furniture the old TV was in was moved to the basement and now our living room feels twice the size.

We did a lot of research on which TV we wanted to get and finally decided on a LG 47-Inch LG LED-LCD HDTV. We watch a lot of movies and my husband plays a ton of video games on it and the colours and clarity are superb. Being power smart, the first thing we did was to adjust the brightness and contrast from the factory setting. With our watt meter we have calculated that these small adjustments our new TV will use 25% less power. So make sure to adjust your new TV as well to save on your energy bill!

Here are the other top LED-LCD on the market right now:

1.

LG Electronics 60LA8600 60-Inch Cinema Screen 3D 1080p 240Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV, Built-In Camera and Four Pairs of 3D Glasses

2.


Samsung UN55F6300 55-Inch 1080p 120Hz Slim Smart LED HDTV

3.


Samsung UN55F7100 55-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV

4.


Panasonic VIERA TC-L47E50 47-Inch 1080p 120Hz Full HD IPS LED-LCD TV

5.


Samsung UN32EH4003 32-inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)

6.

Samsung UN32EH5300 32-Inch 1080p 60 Hz Smart LED HDTV (Black)

7.


Samsung UN46F6300 46-Inch 1080p 120Hz Slim Smart LED HDTV

8.


LG Electronics LN5300 39LN5300 39-Inch LED-lit 1080p 60Hz TV

9.


VIZIO E601i-A3 60-inch 1080p 120Hz Razor LED Smart HDTV

10.


VIZIO E241-A1 24-inch 1080p 60Hz Razor LED HDTV

The Perfect Turkey For Thanksgiving And Christmas

Electrolux Wall Oven

Electrolux wall oven makes the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

OK, now I know that some will laugh at this, but bear with me. We just enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner here at our home. As always there is one thing and one thing only that we eat each Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it is turkey. No substitutions. In the last 10 years I’ve made four or five of the meals, thankfully having a mother-inlaw close by who has taken up the task for us more often than not. When family comes over, nothing but PERFECT TURKEY is acceptable. The pressure is on, and normally it is a stressful day for me the hostess and chef. That was until my husband pushed me to try something new this year.

Keep your kids entertained with one of these movies:

Going for a hike on Thanksgiving

We had friends visiting, and I knew that I didn’t want to spend 4 hours 48 minutes monitoring, basting, and babying that big 14 pound bird we bought. In fact we had wonderful weather, and I insisted that we should spend the day outdoors in nature. However, my hubby is a crafty fellow, and was none to impressed with my plans to ditch turkey on Thanksgiving. He insisted we try using the “Perfect Turkey” button on our Electrolux Wall Oven. He said it would cut our cooking time down to only 2 hours and 40 minutes, and that I would not have to foil, monitor or baste at all.

Trying something new

I’ll be honest, I thought he was nuts! However, being a bit of a cocky guy, he upped the ante and said that if the bird was ruined he would take everyone out for dinner, his treat. All the risk was on him (Did I mention he really wanted his Thanksgiving turkey dinner on time?). With nothing to lose, I forgot everything I learned about cooking turkey and decided to try something new. Would it be “Perfect Turkey” or a perfect disaster and dinner out?

I found a video on YouTube, so you can see how it works:

Prepping the turkey

I set about prepping the bird as I always do. Clean the bird, pat it dry inside and out, slide herbed butter under the skin, season with salt, pepper and sage. The stuffing I kept really simply primarily because I didn’t trust that cooking a bird uncovered was going to be anything but bone dry. To ease my fears I halved and stuffed some mandarin oranges still in their peel, as well as a few small white onions. I then rest the bird on top of a rack inside a roasting pan (Amazon.com link) with the lid off, the birds legs twined, and set it on the lower middle rack of our Electrolux oven. Finally I inserted the oven’s included meat probe into the thickest part of the thigh and plugged the other end of the probe into the oven.

325F. Really?

This is a great book to get ideas for turkey leftover meals. Click image to order.

What was really weird? I didn’t even pre-heat the oven (Good thing my mother in law wasn’t there to witness this part). All I did was touch “Perfect Turkey” on the oven’s touch screen, and start. My husband glanced at the clock and said confidently, “we’ll be seated and eating in under three hours!” I only shook my head in disbelief, hoping that we weren’t going to be throwing away a lovely 14 pound bird. I noticed that the oven’s temperature was only 325F, well below the temperature I normally cook a turkey at.  I was sure we would be going to eat turkey at midnight or give up and go out for dinner.

Electrolux cuts the cooking time

Low and behold, the “Perfect Turkey” feature of the Electrolux really worked exactly as advertised. The best part was never having to open the door, baste the bird, and lose all that heat. We cooked a Perfect Turkey in only 2:40 (we allowed 20 minutes to rest after cooking before carving). Considering that in the past I would have had the oven on for over five hours to pre-heat and cook the old-school way, there was in fact a very big energy savings to be had cooking a whole turkey this way. Not only that, but this was in fact the least stressful holiday meal I’ve ever prepared and it tasted fantastic! No dry meat, nothing under cooked, nothing burned. Electolux really helped me make the “Perfect Turkey”, 14 pounds, on the table in just over three hours.

Save money with Energy Star rated appliances

While nobody would expect anyone to replace an perfectly good appliance for just one neat feature; when you are eventually in the market for a new oven, be sure to find one that is energy star and has this “Perfect Turkey” feature. Click here to learn more about the Electrolux Wall Oven.

ViewSonic VA1912A-LED 19 Inch LED Back-lit Monitor

LED technology is popping up everywhere and now also in the home office in the form of a LED back-lit monitor.

 

A lot of people are making the change from the traditional CCFL monitors and opting for a much more environmentally friendly ViewSonic LED Back-lit Monitor.

ViewSonicLEDMonitor

The 19″ wide screen ENERGY STAR 5.0 certified LED back-lit monitor from ViewSonic is built with a mercury-free backlight and offers the user very low energy consumption. It has a feature that allows you to select the “Optimize” or “Conserve” option and with that little switch save up to 50% energy compared to your regular old CCFL monitor.

 

 

The flat screen monitor hardly takes up any space on your desk, but if you would like the desk area free you can opt for a ViewSonic VA1912A-LED 19-Inch LED-Lit Monitor and install the monitor on the wall.

Key Features of the ViewSonic VA1912A-LED 19 Inch LED Back-Lit Monitor:

  • 19″ wide screen LED back lit monitor; which is perfect for a home office
  • Up to 40-50% power savings compared to a regular CCFL 19″ monitor
  • 1366×768 resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio, which gives you a very clear image
  • 100mm x 100mm VESA so it can be mounted on a wall with a VESA bracket or on a monitor stand
  • Highest grade panel with the best pixel performance policy in the industry

In a LED back-lit monitor, white LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are used as the light source. These environmentally friendly LED backlit monitors have the following benefits:

  • Up to 40-50% less power usage compared to a regular CCFL monitor
  • Dynamic contrast ratios. Provides deeper blacks and much richer colors.
  • Environmentally-friendly mercury-free backlight
  • Low EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference)
  • Slimmer design
  • Weight reduction

One of the main advantages of the ViewSonic VA1912A-LED 19-Inch LED-Lit Monitor is its many options for connectivity, making it flexible to be hooked up to a PC or a Mac computer. You can pair any Viewsonic PC as well as a MacBook or a Mac Mini to the VA1912a-LED and enjoy a 19″ wide screen monitor with LED backlight.

10,000,000:1 MEGA Dynamic Contrast Ratio

Another key feature of the VA1912a-LED is how it allows you to dim the backlight completely for darkness in dark scenes in videos. This is a really neat feature for those of you that enjoy watching videos online. The contrast ratio refers to the ratio of the brightest to the darkest color grade. With the old CCFL backlit monitors, contrast ratios are limited to the fluorescent lamp’s ability to dim in order to reproduce darkness. With the LED backlight, each LED can completely shut off, which gives a near complete ratio of black to white contrast. This gives you true black colors on the monitor resulting in greater overall image quality when you watch videos.