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22 04, 2019

Happy Earth Day

By |2019-04-22T19:46:26+00:00April 22nd, 2019|

Seriously. It really is kind of our favorite holiday.

From all of us at Stone Creek Solar, we hope that you have a lovely (and sunny) Earth Day.

21 04, 2019

Happy Easter

By |2019-02-22T21:53:27+00:00April 21st, 2019|

On behalf of all of us at Stone Creek, we hope that you have a very happy and blessed Easter.

18 04, 2019

Sierra Club Requesting Utility Analysis

By |2019-04-17T15:22:17+00:00April 18th, 2019|

In the words of Bob Dylan, “The times they are a changin’.”

Almost since the advent of public utility companies, coal has been the main driver. Environmentalists would talk about investing in renewables, but at the end of the day, for rate payers, coal was the way to go. As nice as wind and solar were, they just couldn’t compete with the economic efficiency of fossil fuels.

The tides, however, are turning.

The cost of extracting coal has risen dramatically as our reserves have become depleted, and more and more rock has to be blasted away to reach what deposits remain. The power plants that convert this coal into usable electricity are also showing their age; their equipment deteriorating, and their facilities no longer meeting modern standards.

Meanwhile, the cost of renewables has dropped precipitously.

Wind turbines and solar cells are becoming more efficient by the day, and the cost of production is going down. As such, what was once such a no-brainer for the power companies is starting to shift.

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Recently, Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) announced that rates for its Arkansas and Louisiana customers would be increasing by 24%, citing rising costs of operation.

In response, The Sierra Club is now asking that the Arkansas Public Service Commission perform an analysis. They argue that outdated operational decisions are driving this rate increase, and that a greater use of renewable energy could mean big savings for rate payers.

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/apr/17/club-wants-analysis-on-utility-plant-20/

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As a bit of a traditionalist, I empathize with the utility companies.

This office is filled with dreamers and innovators, but I’m not one of them: I grew up surrounded by the ranks of middle management. Making bold decisions is risky–those are the moves that get you fired. On the other hand, staying the course and doing what’s always been done tends to be a safe move. It may not be the best approach for the company’s long term projections, but in the short term, it won’t ruffle any feathers–the potential downsides won’t come to light until long after you’ve retired or moved on.

That said, as painful as change can be, the time has come.

Upgrading our coal plants has become more and more like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and renewables are truly becoming a viable alternative.

At this point, the utility companies really do owe it to themselves and to their rate payers to go ahead and make the scary choice: Yes, recommending a switch to solar or wind is going to make for some tense meetings, but if they want to ensure that their companies are still around for the next generation, this is what needs to be done.

15 04, 2019

An Office Tour of Stone Creek Solar

By |2019-03-29T17:35:52+00:00April 15th, 2019|

On this blog, we’ve devoted plenty of time to discussing tax incentives, and green technology, and solar news. We’ve covered lawsuits, and environmental concerns, and miscellaneous facts about solar.

One thing we have not done, however, is show off the place where we come to work every day.

And so, we realized that it’s high time that we show off the office that Stone Creek Solar calls home.

Welcome to Stone Creek. We’re sunny right down to our golden yellow doors!



We hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into our office.

8 04, 2019

Stone Creek Solar Fact of the Day

By |2019-02-26T17:10:04+00:00April 8th, 2019|

For today’s Stone Creek Solar Fact of the Day, we’re looking at what it would take to run the entire planet on solar.

Based on the current efficiency of a typical solar panel, we would need to cover roughly 191,000 square miles with solar panels in order to meet the entire world’s electrical needs.

This sounds like a lot, but the earth has over 57 million square miles, so this would be surprisingly doable.

More importantly, the efficiency of solar is constantly increasing. So, five years from now, that number will likely be a fraction of what it is today.

1 04, 2019

Our Heads Are In The Clouds

By |2019-04-01T14:44:28+00:00April 1st, 2019|

Recently, part of our Stone Creek Solar team took the skies, out to check on a project over in Tennessee.

The field trip itself was, of course, a very worthwhile endeavor.

However, for most of you reading this, the technical aspects are of secondary concern. The part that makes for cool pictures was the journey getting there.

We’re all thankful for the safe and productive trip, as well as for the opportunity to enjoy another side of nature’s beauty.

25 03, 2019

Greener Farming Through AI

By |2019-02-22T22:00:09+00:00March 25th, 2019|

One of my favorite things about this blog is that we don’t just talk about solar.

Instead, we enjoy looking out onto the horizon, and thinking about all of the pieces that go into the ultimate puzzle of making this a healthy, sustainable planet for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

A critical piece of that equation that we spend surprisingly little time thinking about in this office is agriculture…an ironic oversight if ever there was one.

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We think about the energy consumption of farms. We think about farmers. But, most of us have given little thought to the future of farming, and ways that yields can be increased while decreasing our toll on the planet.

Fortunately, other people have been thinking about those things!

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/does-ai-hold-key-to-new-green-revolution-in-agriculture/

Right now, scientists are figuring out how to put AI to use on the farm.

Through better data and analytics, it’s hoped, we’ll be able to cut our use of pesticides and herbicides, reduce our water consumption, and make more efficient use of land. All of these things our going to be vital as we continue into the 21st century, and work to meet the needs of an increasing population.

15 03, 2019

Stone Creek Goes Green

By |2019-03-15T19:58:13+00:00March 15th, 2019|

In honor of the last work day before St. Patrick’s Day (and our favorite color), Stone Creek decided to pull out all of the festive stops!

15 03, 2019

The Safety of America’s Grid

By |2019-03-12T21:53:23+00:00March 15th, 2019|

As has been mentioned before, America’s power grid is aging. (https://stonecreeksolar.com/?p=2459). Many of our key structures have gone decades without an update, leading in to increases in the cost of maintenance, and lost efficiency.

However, beyond the financial toll, the recent bankruptcy of California’s PG&E brings to light another concern associated with aging infrastructure: Safety.

As those of you following the news likely already know, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, one of the largest utility companies in America, filed for bankruptcy protection in January of this year.

At the root of the bankruptcy is November’s Camp Fire.

The Paradise, California wildfires claimed 86 lives, and destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars in property. Right now, estimates suggest that PG&E could be on the hook for up to $30 billion in damages associated with the fire, which was caused in large part by uninsulated power lines.

Solar, of course, doesn’t solve these problems.

We will always have to have a municipal power grid, and right now, most solar systems simply feed into the existing grid. Thus, solar does little to directly prevent tragedies like November’s wildfires.

However, events like this do highlight the importance of looking critically at our infrastructure.

As we discuss solar, we have a responsibility to look at our overall grid, and to be mindful of the future. Moving further into the 21st century, it’s high time that we start looking into what we can do to power our cities in the future, and seeing what steps we can take to prevent future loss of life.