The Last Minute Holiday Green Gift Guide

By Liz Mead

December 19, 2014

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photo credit: w4nd3rl0st (InspiredinDesMoines) via photopin cc

Waited until the last minute to do your holiday shopping this year?  No worries – we’ve got environmentally friendly gift ideas for every type, so this year you can make the people you love (and the planet) happy. 

For the crafter: Encourage the quilting, decoupaging, scrapbooking friend in your life to expand their horizons with this Eco-Chic Soap Making Kit, which uses 100% organic vegetable oils. 

For the chef: A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription ensures the foodie in your family is stocked with a weekly bounty of local, organic produce for their culinary adventures. Search online to find the best options near you, and if you’re in the Bay Area, we recommend Terra Firma Farm.

For the fashionista: A slew of Etsy shops feature upcycled jewelry made from old computer parts.  Our favorite vendor is Circuit Breaker Labs, who sells this circuit board bracelet and more.

For the little ones: This colorful geometric peg board is made from sustainably harvested, preservative-free rubberwood, and promotes natural learning for children age two and above.

For the gardener: Cubit’s Heirloom Seed of the Month Club delivers a packet of organic, seasonably appropriate seeds to your door on the first of every month for a year.

For the pooch: Texas-based company Olive provides some of the safest, most environmentally friendly pet products around – like this sturdy rubber stick chew toy

For the bartender: Dad always inventing, ahem, interesting cocktails at family gatherings? Help him up his game with this Organic Beer Brewing Kit

For the techie: Now you can double rainbow all the way in the comfort of your living room, with this solar-powered rainbow maker from Kikkerland.

For the sportsman: Theft-proof and beautifully designed, the Rydon Pixio Solar-Powered Bike Light charges while you commute to work, and can store up to 60 hours of operating time.

Joining the Solar Movement

By Jon Carson, Senior Director of Solar Ambassadors

December 17, 2014

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It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of global challenges like water pollution and climate change. But we are not powerless. 

When individuals work together as part of a movement, their collective impact can be dramatic. This is what’s happening at SolarCity: one family, one school, one business and one neighborhood at a time, all going solar together. Collectively helping to solve a problem through individual action. Today I’m excited to say I’ve joined the SolarCity movement, and have the great honor to lead the company’s Solar Ambassador program.

Founded with a mission to accelerate the mass adoption of clean power, SolarCity started in a spare bedroom of co-founder Pete Rive’s apartment. Eight years later, we’re providing more than one in every three new residential solar systems in America, from Newark, New Jersey to Hilo, Hawaii.

We’ve done that by making clean electricity more affordable than utility power. The results: our customers have offset 1,313,769 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to offsetting 3,109,849,271 miles driven in a car, and conserving 745,830,021 gallons of water that would have been used to generate electricity from fossil-fuel sources.

The solar movement is also an increasingly undeniable job creator. SolarCity is currently hiring more than 350 people a month, adding to a national solar workforce of more than 142,000. Our company recently broke ground on a solar panel gigafactory, a manufacturing facility in New York that is expected to be the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. We expect this project to create thousands of additional jobs and add to SolarCity’s 8,500-strong workforce.

What does this look like from the ground? It looks like a school district in an impoverished California community reinstating music instruction with the savings it reaped from solar. It looks like thousands of solar-powered homes for our soldiers and their families in every branch of the U.S. military. It looks like businesses, from big-box giants to mom-and-pop storefronts, joining churches, universities, and low-income housing communities in stepping up to use renewable energy. It looks like thousands of families not only going solar but powering their electric cars with the clean energy they generate right at home, driving with zero pollution and bypassing the gas station while they’re at it. 

When you put all that together, you realize that the future we’ve been waiting for is here now. We are changing the way we power our country from our own backyards, transforming America’s energy infrastructure by moving away from the old, polluting sources to the new clean energy future we want for ourselves and our children—and lowering our individual utility bills all the while.

The best part? You don’t even have to own a home or live in one of the 15 states we service to get involved. Our Solar Ambassador program gives anyone in the U.S. the resources to spread the word about the power of solar. About 200 new Ambassadors have signed up each business day since the program began, and we now have more than 30,000 in all. I’ll be leading the charge on this program, building an infrastructure that will place Ambassadors at the forefront of efforts to bring solar to their communities. What excites me most about this program is that the public can get involved, and I know how powerful those kinds of movements can be. 

Join the movement, won’t you? Contact us here.

Stay Current: Our Top Solar Links

By SolarCity

December 12, 2014

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We’re all about saving you energy, so we’ve rounded up the latest in solar so you don’t have to.

 

More than one-third of new U.S. electricity came from solar this year, Gigaom reports.

Over at Bloomberg, they are reporting on why Elon Musk’s batteries scare the hell out of the electric company.

Proving that there’s nothing new under the sun, Clean Technica has a fascinating article on the oldest solar device in the world from the author of ‘Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy.’

And we knew solar was a great look, but now Tommy Hilfiger has designed a solar jacket that will charge your phone, CNNMoney says.

In Canada, clean energy is now employing more people than oilsands. CBC News found that in the last five years alone, employment in the clean energy sector is up 37 percent.

And as Los Angeles gets earthquake ready, find out how solar-powered wi-fi could keep the city online after a quake. Discovery News has the details.

The Moloka‘i Hoe: the World’s Greatest Outrigger Canoe Race

By Zan Dubin Scott

December 11, 2014

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SolarCity’s team took 11th place in Hawaii’s Moloka‘i Hoe outrigger canoe race this year. Eleventh place. Not impressed? How difficult can anything be upon the sea in paradise, right?

Well, plenty difficult. For starters, Tahitians have long dominated the race, winning again this year, and it's a big deal for an amateur team to finish in the top 20.  

But beyond that, Moloka’i Hoe, the world’s most prestigious race of its kind, pitted 102 teams and 1,000 paddlers from around the world. It’s an arduous 40-mile trek from the island of Moloka’i across the treacherous Ka’iwi Channel to Waikiki Beach. It “tests the limits of physical and mental strength and endurance, courage, determination and teamwork, and paddlers must also battle nature’s most extreme elements,” as Hawai’i Magazine describes it.

Amen to that, says Tony Laglia, who raced in one of the five crews that SolarCity sponsored last month for his Kailua Canoe Club. Tony, our regional director for Hawai‘i, was one of SolarCity's first installers, and helped launch local operations in 2010. “It takes a tremendous amount of dedication,” he says. “We practice six days a week and if you miss one you’re off the team. We trained really hard this year and we were really excited with the results.”

Hoe, pronounced “ho-eh,” is Hawaiian for "paddle" or "the act of paddling." Tony and his cohorts competed in the 62nd annual Moloka‘i Hoe in a single-hulled, six-man canoe similar to those that were an integral part of early Hawaiian life. The race, always viewed by throngs at the finish line, is one of Hawai‘i’s most treasured cultural traditions. The Kailua Canoe Club is one of the biggest in Hawai‘i, with 500 members of all ages. Tony competed in the open men’s division, which comprises the most experienced competitors under age 40.

Many of Tony’s rigorous practices forged the unpredictable Ka’iwi Channel. In preparation, his team entered other contests, such as the Queen Lili’uokalani Race over Labor Day and Pailolo Challenge, also in September.

Grueling, yes, but worth it in so many ways, Tony says. “The first Hawaiians arrived on the islands by voyaging canoe, so canoe racing is a way to recognize and pay respect to the traditional Hawaiian way of life.”

It is also a way to celebrate nature. Early Hawaiians, who lived off the land, knew they had to preserve and protect it. Today, as the most fossil-fuel dependent state in the nation, Hawai‘i has made a commitment to derive 40 percent of its energy from locally generated renewable sources and improve its energy scenario another 30 percent by boosting efficiency.

Racing has also brought Tony and his wife, Cheryl, a tremendous sense of community, or “‘ohana.”

“All our friends are in the paddle club,” he says. “It’s our family in Hawai‘i.”

We here at SolarCity are proud of all the hard work—and the victories—that Tony and his colleagues achieve for us, on the job and after hours. We’re proud to say that they are part of our family.

Introducing MySolarCity

By Peter Rive, SolarCity Co-Founder and CTO

December 04, 2014

Today we launched MySolarCity, an app that allows you, as a SolarCity customer, to track solar system production and home consumption, interact directly with the SolarCity community and get a smarter, more connected home.

MySolarCity's features are also available using a demo account if you are a registered Solar Ambassador. As a Solar Ambassador, the new app gives you everything you need to educate your community on how solar works.

 

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Know our exact time of arrival at your home.

MySystem is a real-time feature that makes it easy for you to schedule appointments online, and allows you to track the SolarCity crew as we make our way to your home, then follow our installation progress. 

 

 

 

  

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Real-time insights for real-time savings.

With the new app, you can now take an in-depth look at how your home consumes energy as it happens. Walk around your home, turn on your appliances and see how much each one is costing you. The more you know, the more you save. In fact, you could save 10 percent* just by using PowerGuide.

 

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Discover where your energy is going. 

When we survey your home for installation, we also do an energy usage analysis. The results are fed into EnergyExplorer, which performs millions of calculations to forecast your home's energy consumption. For example, you could discover you’re spending more than 20 percent of your energy bill cooling your home.

The results of this analysis are free, and give you far greater insight into how you're using energy.

 

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Welcome to the movement.

You've taken an amazing step by going solar. Now see how many others are making the world a cleaner place. NearMe is an interactive map that gives a bird’s eye view of SolarCity projects in your area. Try it wherever you find yourself.

   

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Ambassador allows anyone in the U.S. to spread the word about the power of solar and earn rewards by referring new customers. There are educational resources as well as a leader board to see how you’re doing compared to others. More than 30,000 Solar Ambassadors have signed up since the program was launched in May. 

  

Connect, share and be social.mysc-ampit-share

AmpIt! is a private photo-sharing app that gives solar users and our Solar Ambassadors a forum to share their stories.

 

 

 

 

Check it out now. MySolarCity is available online for all SolarCity customers and Solar Ambassadors at www.mysolarcity.com, and can be downloaded directly to your mobile device from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

* The average home taking advantage of real-time energy information can save up to 10% according to an ACEEE study conducted in 2010.

About This Blog

SolarCity's mission is to accelerate the mass adoption of clean energy. Follow solar’s progress here.

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