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Sitting in the office of a solar company, I hear words such as volts, watts, kilowatts and kilowatt-hours tossed about with abandon. With my non-technical background it sounds like what I imagine a European must hear when Americans discuss a baseball game – it’s certainly a little confusing. To combat this confusion I compiled some questions I have such as, where does our energy come from, and where does it go? As well as, how is it measured? With these questions in mind I did some research so that you readers wouldn’t have to. My plan is to spend the next couple of posts addressing these issues.
This first post is going to cover some pretty big picture stuff.
According to the US Energy Information Administration electricity in the United States is generated by the following sources:
21% Natural Gas
The energy in the United States doesn’t go solely to powering our homes. In fact, it’s a pretty inefficient system. (source, The Idiot’s Guide to Solar Power for Your Home):
25% goes for transportation
20% is used by industry
12% is for homes and businesses
AND 40% of energy in the US goes to making electricity
According to the Department of Energy, in the average home which spends about $1200 a year on their utilities, energy use can be broken down in the following way:
43% goes to heating and cooling
29% goes to lighting, cooking and appliances
12% goes to water heating
8% goes to refrigeration
These are just some interesting facts to mull over. Keep your eyes open from some more in the next few days.