Posts for category "Outlier"

10 energy numbers to remember from 2014

  • By Barry Fischer, Aaron Tinjum, and Casey Davis-Van Atta
  • December 13, 2014

10 energy numbers banner

Sometimes energy makes headlines, sometimes it doesn’t. But it almost always has important implications for the global economy, the environment, and our day-to-day lives.

Here are 10 energy statistics from 2014 that capture some of the most noteworthy trends of the year, and that will shape the energy world in the years to come.

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9% of solar homes are doing something utilities love. Will others follow?

  • By Barry Fischer and Ben Harack
  • December 1, 2014

The sun is shining on more solar panels than ever before. In the US, a new solar project is installed every 3.2 minutes and the number of cumulative installations stands at more than 500,000.

Pull out your compass, and you’ll observe that most of these solar installations point southward. There’s a good reason why: south-facing panels capture the most sunlight and produce the most energy over the course of a year.

But as of late, many energy thinkers are pivoting toward the western sky. They’ve pointed out that west-facing solar panels are better at generating power in the late afternoon – when the grid can benefit the most from the extra juice. A field study last year of 50 solar homes in Texas verified this west-facing advantage, and some sunny states are already betting on it. In September, the California Energy Commission lit the way when it announced a $500 incentive for the installation of west-facing panels on new homes.

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So, how many rooftop solar systems currently point west? How many don’t? What’s at stake for utilities and consumers? And what are the implications for designing the power grid of tomorrow?

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How much does it cost to charge an iPhone 6? A remarkably slender $0.47 per year

  • By Barry Fischer
  • September 25, 2014

Many aspects of Apple’s newly released iPhone 6 line are indeed, as the company has stated, “bigger than bigger.” From screen size to sales numbers, the new devices pack a hefty punch.

But at least one thing about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is spectacularly small: their energy consumption.

Following up on our iPhone 5 analysis a couple years ago, we returned to the Opower lab to measure how much electricity it takes to charge the latest Apple devices from 0% to 100% full. Then we modeled those results across a year (see Methodology) to determine their annual energy impact and cost.

Charging the iPhone 6 costs $0.47 per year

We found that, like their predecessor, the iPhone 6 as well as the iPhone 6 Plus require a trivial amount of electricity:

Charging Costs

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About Outlier

Outlier explores trends in how people are using energy in the US and around the world. Pulling from an unprecedented (and still growing) amount of energy data—currently drawn from 50 million homes—Opower crunches energy-use information from more than 90 utility partners every day, and cross-references that with weather, household, and demographic information to produce compelling analyses in the Outlier series.