Archives from Category Responsibility

Expert Opinions: A Q&A with California Smart Grid Center’s Dr. Macari

Guests are invited to visit SMA America’s headquarters and testing facilities on a regular basis, but rarely do we have the opportunity to speak with someone with the credentials and understanding of energy issues like Emir Macari, Ph.D.

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The Five Hottest Solar Gadgets

It’s amazing what solar energy can move, illuminate and operate. It lengthens the day after the sun goes down, provides energy where is no utility grid and – just as important – froths milk. Here is a random selection of five solar-powered devices we came across while surfing the Internet.

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Video Update: Dream of First Solar-Powered High School in Africa becomes a Reality

In a previous blog post, we introduced Sioma High School, located in Western Zambia, Africa. The school, which houses more than 600 students each semester, was powered by three dirty, noisy and inefficient diesel generators that cost about $26,000 in fuel per year. However, that all changed when the non-profit organization Empowered by Light created a healthier learning environment for the students by outfitting the school with a 24-kilowatt solar microgrid and battery storage system.

See how this incredible project became a reality and how Sioma High School students are benefiting from consistent electricity in the video above.

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Zambia Students Shine, Thanks to First Solar-Powered High School in Africa

Sioma High School
Mark Ruffalo, actor and activist joined officials to celebrate at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Mark Ruffalo, actor and activist, celebrated with key officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony and commissioning.

Sioma High School serves a large area of Western Zambia, Africa. Its more than 600 students walk, sometimes for several days, to get to the campus, where they will live for the entire semester. Sioma High School’s four dormitories, kitchen and dining halls, and seven classrooms, were powered by three dirty and inefficient diesel generators that ran throughout the day, creating an unhealthy learning environment filled with noise and air pollution. It was susceptible to the fluctuating price and unpredictable delivery of diesel, which costs the school approximately $26,000 each year. That is, until Empowered by Light stepped in.

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NOLA Lower 9th Ward Village “Greenest Skate Park” in the World

NOLA Ninth Ward Community Center

Lil Wayne skates and celebrates the opening of a skate park in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. (AP)

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, flooding the city and destroying everything in its path. Seven years later a community is still moving forward and trying to rebuild. Thanks to Grammy award-winning rapper Lil Wayne, Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation and a sponsorship from Mountain Dew, the community now sees a brighter future. 

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Going Green Hollywood Style

Hollywood Sign located in Los Angeles, California

Most of us are used to seeing daily headlines revealing the latest triumphs and trials of Hollywood’s A-listers. While much of what we see may focus on fashion and heartbreak, some celebs are putting their high-profile publicity to good use by promoting their own efforts to live sustainably.

A bit of research shows that dozens of actors, actresses and musicians are doing their part to keep the planet clean in a variety of ways, from using solar power to composting to wearing recycled clothing.

The late Larry Hagman, the former TV star of “Dallas”, was a well known solar advocate.

Here are a few of our favorite go-green celebrity efforts:

Solar Support: Larry Hagman

We would be remiss not to mention the late Larry Hagman, one of the industry’s earliest and most visible advocates. He lived on a ranch powered by solar and was involved in various philanthropic solar projects worldwide. Hagman reportedly paid just $13 in energy costs per year once he installed solar on his California ranch.

Jack Johnson is a singer-songwriter, surfer and renewable energy advocate.


Charitable Sustainability: Jack Johnson

Not only does Jack Johnson own a Los Angeles recording studio that runs entirely on solar, but he established the Kokua Hawaii Foundation in his native state to educate children about renewable energy and sustainable living. Passing knowledge to a new generation is a great way to increase the use of solar in the future.

Julia Roberts, a famous American actress, has taken advantage of the sunny California climate by adding solar to her Malibu home.

Bringing Solar Home: Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts’ efforts to go green reportedly date back to the 1970s when she first learned about solar energy. Today Roberts lives in a Malibu mansion with $20 million in eco-friendly upgrades including a solar system, energy efficient appliances and recycled tile. Her goal is to pave the way for increased solar use through example.

An American actor and self-proclaimed “green living expert”, Woody Harrelson lives in a completely sustainable community.

Controversially Committed: Woody Harrelson

We hear that Woody Harrelson lives completely off-grid in Hawaii in a home that is part of a community powered 100% by solar energy. Interestingly he also eats a raw vegan diet and is known as an avid and “colorful” environmental advocate within the Hollywood circle. Though sometimes controversial, Harrelson is deeply committed to living a green lifestyle.


Other solar advocates among the Hollywood elite include Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, to name a few. While many of us may not have Hollywood fame and fortune, we can certainly applaud some of those who do and are putting it to good use.  Who is your favorite green celebrity?

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SMA is Here to Help with Hurricane Sandy Recovery

Photo Credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Since Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast a few weeks ago, SMA’s thoughts have been with the victims in the northeastern U.S. While the storm may have passed, the devastation that Sandy left behind will continue to distress victims for several weeks and even months.

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Earthbook – The Earth Goes Online

How can the controversial issues of global warming, environmental and wildlife conservation and renewable energy come together in a balanced and meaningful fashion?  The answer is in the video “Earthbook” produced for Science Year 2012, “Project EARTH: Our Future.”

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Why So Little Solar at the White House?

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

ABC news posted a story this past week that highlighted the use of solar at the White House, or rather lack thereof. Check out the full feature here

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Can We Still Afford Not to Use Photovoltaics?

Can We Still Afford Not to Use Photovoltaics?

What does the safe and clean energy supply of the future look like? How are we going to consume energy and how much is it going to cost? One thing is certain: Photovoltaics is set to be an elementary building block for the future of energy supply.

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SMA Helps Brings Light to Haiti

SMA in Haiti

This past June, Bates Marshall, director of strategy and business development for SMA America, led a group of SMA employees on a charity mission to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. SMA took the trip alongside representatives from NRG Energy, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Solar Electric Light Foundation (SELF).

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