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DTE Energy Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

When it comes time to look for a new career, there are seemingly endless industries and occupations from which to choose, with some holding more promise than others. One such an industry is that of energy, which is growing at a fast rate, keeping pace as the population of the world increases and the demands for energy naturally rise. Roles in energy companies, such as DTE Energy jobs, can prove highly lucrative and beneficial for the worker. In this article, we’ll explore DTE Energy jobs, in addition to tips for getting hired, and illustrating the potential in energy jobs of which you can take advantage.

What Is DTE Energy?

DTE Energy jobs are sourced through DTE Energy, a diversified energy company based out of Detroit, Michigan. The organization is involved in the management and development of energy-related businesses and services across the country. The operating units of the organization include an electric utility that serves 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, as well as a natural gas utility that serves an additional 1.3 million Michigan consumers. The portfolio of DTE Energy includes natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, energy marketing and trading, as well as non-utility energy businesses focused upon these areas.

DTE Energy employs more than 10,000 individuals within their utility and non-utility subsidies and is involved in a broad range of businesses in the energy field. Leveraging these businesses, DTE Energy jobs are increasingly being created within the non-utility businesses of DTE Energy.

DTE Energy Jobs Available & Salaries

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As noted above, there are currently over 10,000 employees filling DTE Energy jobs, and as the organization grows and expands into new arenas, the volume of DTE Energy jobs on the market will increase. Following is a consideration of a variety of DTE Energy jobs and their salaries to provide us a window into the many potential occupations currently available through the organization. We’ll explore DTE Energy jobs through Glassdoor, which compiles available jobs, and also collects information from present and past employees to establish average salaries for the employees. We’ll consider the key requirements, key duties, and salary of each position.

Strategic Buyer II

The Strategic Buyer II is a full-time purchasing position that is responsible for daily purchasing activities including the creation of purchase orders from shopping carts. Further, this role entails the retention of material movement transactions, handling exceptions as identified by accounts payable, and also making changes to purchase orders. The Strategic Buyer II must also be able to create various contracts in SAP. To work in this role, the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in accounting, finance, or a closely related field of study, and five years of experience in purchasing, accounting, or another relevant area.

The Strategic Buyer II of DTE Energy jobs is moderately high paying at $56k to $73k, with the k meaning a thousand. This level of earnings provides a lower-middle-class lifestyle and is well-compensated for the role. The experience gained is also useful as it may be applicable to positions in a great many companies from a variety of industries.

Planning & Strategy Analyst

The Planning and Strategy Analyst taking a position from DTE Energy jobs to perform this task is responsible for supporting the development of strategy, analysis, and planning for the business unit to which they are assigned. The role includes participating in strategic projects while working with cross-functional groups across the company. This includes the preparation and occasional delivery of key presentations to the leadership teams of the company. A bachelor’s degree in business, economics, finance, engineering, or public administration is required, in addition to three or more years of professional experience.

This particular position pays between $77k and $105k, based upon Glassdoor estimates put together through the reported earnings of past and current employees. This amount is relatively strong given the role and the demands placed upon the individual fulfilling it.

Ops Leadership Rotational Associate

This position is tasked with applying experience and expertise to solve problems, influence those tasked with bringing about their solutions, and executing on the priorities of business units in the various operations areas of DTE Energy, including gas distribution, as well as fossil fuel generation. Requirements for this job include a bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline such as physical sciences or engineering. Experience supervising a represented workgroup is preferred, in addition to experience working within the utility industry.

This offering among DTE Energy jobs pays $52k to $78k.

Manager—Engineering

The Manager of Engineering is responsible for engineering work in the fossil fuel generated power plants, or electrical transmission, construction, and/or other maintenance environments. The Engineering Manager plans, designs, and estimates both time and cost in terms of projects, and oversees the construction, maintenance, and/or operations of systems, facilities, and structures concerning power generation and distribution systems and components. The Engineering Manager must have a bachelor’s degree in a business-unit-relevant engineering discipline, and ten or more years of experience in the field in related positions.

This position of DTE Energy jobs pays between $106k and $140k.

Lead Field Service Power Generation Technician

This role is responsible for the safe and efficient operation, maintenance, and also troubleshooting of assets that are owned and operated by DTE Energy. This includes but is not limited to work on the switchgear, controls, generation equipment, and other ancillary equipment used by DTE Energy. A high-school diploma or GED is essential, in addition to advanced knowledge and experience with switchgear, electrical systems, and generation equipment. One to five years of relevant experience is required.

The Lead Field Service Power Generation Technician earns between $27 and $43 per hour of work performed.

Tips to Get Hired

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Getting hired at a company, whatever the industry, can be a daunting task. By adhering to the following suggestions for getting hired, you will be able to differentiate yourself from the competition, and ideally land a position that could vastly improve upon your standard of living and align that with superior enjoyment. Given the many positions available from which to choose, the following three tips will help in your quest to get hired into a position that fits with your skills and experience and will lead not only to sufficient compensation and benefits but job satisfaction.

Be Consistent

Being consistent is not referencing your personal habits or behaviors, but your consistency with the available position. Are your skills, experience, and abilities consistent with the job that has currently come available? To optimize your chances of getting hired, apply for positions that are relevant to your education and experience, your overall qualifications, and for which the demand is aligned with what you have. Seeking out a role as an engineer if you are a businessperson will not likely lead to a job. Apply for those positions that are consistent with your skills and goals.

Be Persistent

Even with the perfect fit for a given organization, you may simply be one of many hundreds of applicants, all of whom may prove difficult for the organization to keep track of fully. Once you’ve put in your application, follow-up. Contact the human resources manager and inform them that you’ve applied and inquire if there is anything more you can do to support the process. In some instances, such as when you are applying for a specialized position, it can help to contact the manager under whom you would work. By meeting those you would work with, they can make a case for you if they believe you’d be a good fit for employment with their organization.

Be Broad

When finding a job is essential, it can help to broaden your horizons a bit by applying for jobs for which you meet the qualifications but may not be what you are used to performing. Stepping outside our comfort zones can be difficult, but doing so can reveal new areas in which we can excel, thereby expanding upon our opportunities and the potential thereof. When looking for an occupation, there are many, many options from which to choose, and your skills and experience might go further than you’d think so applying broad and wide helps increase the odds of finding employment faster.

Conclusion

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DTE Energy jobs are on the rise as the company rapidly expands in the Detroit region to serve more gas utility customers while also expanding operations into additionally related facets of the industry. When seeking a job at DTE Energy or elsewhere, it is important to be consistent, be persistent, and be broad. There are a great many DTE Energy jobs currently open, and to find yours it is a matter of identifying those that fit, applying, and following up and networking to make sure that DTE Energy knows that you are one of the best fits for one of the available DTE Energy jobs.

For more information about jobs in the energy field, particularly in relation to renewable energy, check back regularly to the Energy Job Blog for ongoing updates and articles on the energy field and the jobs available within it.

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Duke Energy Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

So the job hunt has begun, and you are on the search for a position in the bustling and growing energy industry. Wherever you might be in the United States, there are likely jobs in energy, whether Duke Energy jobs or those available through your regional power supplier and producer. In this article, we'll explore Duke Energy jobs. Duke Energy provides electricity to some 7.6 million retail customers in 6 states and also distributes natural gas and related services to over 1.6 million customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. As we'll see, the company is growing, and jobs are available. 

What Are Duke Energy Jobs?

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Duke Energy invites prospective applicants to "be part of something powerful" in working with Duke Energy to deliver electricity and natural gas to nearly 10 million customers. Piedmont Natural gas is the name of their natural gas operations, although under the umbrella of Duke Energy jobs. Duke Energy is looking to fill Duke Energy jobs with the best and brightest workers in the industry. Duke Energy notes that it is through their people that the company has become great, and so they are always on the lookout for more great employees to fill the growing number of available roles.

There is great variety among Duke Energy jobs, with the character of the role being determined by the sector of the industry in which the employee is operating. Customer service representatives fill Duke Energy jobs to support happier customers and greater brand satisfaction for Duke Energy. The company relies upon engineers and visionaries to contribute to the infrastructure of energy production and its designs. Construction workers and supervisors are essential to creating the plants. Service technicians are needed to maintain the line and ensure that in-home services are functioning smoothly.

Duke Energy jobs are staffed with strategy, with the company inviting prospective employees to assist the organization in making a positive difference in the lives of millions of people each day. The company claims to present employees with a positive and friendly work environment. Employees are also provided opportunities for advancement through growth and development potential. Employee recognition for their work is incorporated into the competitive pay and benefits package offered by the company. Following are a number of available Duke Energy jobs to illustrate such opportunities.

Available Duke Energy Jobs

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There are many Duke Energy jobs available on the market. The following list, while not in any way exhaustive, provides a general idea of the different types of Duke Energy jobs you might apply to. Each job is explored in relation to the key responsibilities and the essential qualifications needed to fill the position.

Business And Technical Consultant

The business and technical consultant serves as a business expert for business-specific systems, data, and processes, in order to plan and manage improvement initiatives. This role participates in projects and initiatives that cross function, in addition to many processes. This role provides support for a family of business critical systems or applications and also coordinates the resolution of problems, in addition to running prioritization across jurisdictional areas. This consultant leads efforts to design, revise, and implement solutions to meet the needs of the business and customers alike.

A 2-year degree in a technical or a business-related field is required, in concert with 2-4 years of relevant experience. While a degree is not required, if the applicant does not have one, they must instead have 4-9 years of relevant experience.

Customer Communications Manager

This role is within the context of the Customer Communications team, which implements and tracks integrated and effective communication plans that are targeted to enhance customer satisfaction by providing the consumer with the information they want through their preferred channels of communication. The customer communications manager is responsible for the development of the customer communications strategy, plans, and tactics, that will be employed to reach small to medium business clients. This role works in tandem with the team, in addition to marketing managers, regional communicators, and others.

A bachelor's degree in an area of business, marketing, or management is required. Further, 3-5 years of prior work experience in marketing, corporate communications, business administration, or project management is essential. 7-10 years of prior experience can replace the education requirement.

Engineer III

The engineer III is the advanced level within the engineering classification hierarchy. The employee in this position solves complex problems in engineering areas of specialization with a limited amount of supervision. The engineer III must develop advanced skills and the capacity to work with higher levels of independence. They must effectively apply fundamental concepts to complex and varied work environments and tasks. A bachelor's of science in engineering from an ABET-accredited program or a master's in engineering is required, in addition to 4 years of engineering experience.

Lead Business Technical Consultant

The lead business technical consultant is essential at Duke Energy as this position plans, budgets, and tracks information technology delivery funded by Technology Performance Direct O&M and Capital budgets. This role assists customer delivery plan technology and is meant to drive more predictable budgeting across the field. The lead business technical consultant plans, leads, and manages projects delivered through this innovative technology and methodology. Customer and business needs are met with solutions that are custom designed, revised, and implemented.

To qualify for this position, 15+ years of experience are necessary, or 9+ years of experience and a 4-year bachelor's degree in a technical or business-related field.

Lead IT Business Analyst

The lead IT business analyst works on Digital Transformation organization and is tasked with developing web applications and services to enhance the experience of Duke Energy's customers. A bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related discipline, in addition to 8+ years of experience is required, or 12+ years of experience if the applicant is lacking in a degree.

Project Controls Specialist I

The role uses the Facility and Customer Support team's Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) in order to ensure the contractual and environmental requirements are being performed. Through close coordination with key partners and vendors, Predict and Reliability Centered maintenance practices will be employed to reduce the risk of equipment failure and O&M expenses as possible. The role also periodically generates project controls reports. Project controls benchmarking is essential, alongside self-assessment initiatives.

College-level reasoning is essential to this position, learned either through a formal education or work experience. The selected applicant will have an understanding of and know how to apply basic project controls principles and the associated project controls software tools. The applicant must be a team player as the position functions in direct cooperation with the Proactive Asset Management and Customer Engagement process in the context of the Facility and Customer Support team.

Research Specialist I

The research specialist is responsible for using their working knowledge of real state law and engineering to support company acquisition projects. The role researches public records, engineering drawings, and internal records to determine the company's rights concerning associated properties. The role requires that the research specialist I perform verification work on DOT and municipally related projects for reimbursement. They must be able to use internal/external GIS systems in order to map easements.

A 4-year degree in business, real-estate, survey, law, paralegal, or another related field is essential, alongside 2 years of direct experience in acquisition and/or research pertaining to real estate rights. Knowledge of surveying and engineering drawings, real estate law, and other related disciplines are essential for the prospective employee to fill this role. 

Salaries

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In this section, we'll present a variety of salaries that one might earn through accepting one of the many Duke Energy jobs. The salary numbers are taken from Glassdoor, which is an online website that allows current and former employees to report on their experiences with a company. The salary numbers are averaged based upon the amounts reported by respondents, creating a viable and relatively accurate estimate of how much the position pays. It is nevertheless important to remember that the range of salaries depends upon the unique experience, education, and personality of the individual employee.

  • Business And Technical Consultant - $84k - $138k
  • Customer Communications Manager - $63k - $116k
  • Engineer III - $71k - $100k
  • Lead Business Technical Consultant - $109k - $168k
  • Lead IT Business Analyst - $83k - $121k
  • Project Controls Specialist I - $58k - $91k
  • Research Specialist I - $45k - $65k

Conclusion

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Duke Energy jobs are plentiful and on the rise. The organization serves nearly 10 million customers and is only expanding, meaning there will be ongoing increases in the number of customer service personnel and personnel to support the power infrastructure, ranging from engineers and fleet mechanics to in-home service technicians. No matter what aspect of the energy field you would prefer to work in, there is a role among the Duke Energy jobs for you. Whether specialized or non-specialized, physical or verbal, there are positions open to better support Duke Energy customers with your skills and commitment.

For more information on jobs in the energy industry, particularly in relation to sustainable energy, check the Energy Job Blog for ongoing updates and articles.

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Wondering How to Become an Electrician? The Answers May Shock You

Thinking of pursuing a new career? Maybe you're just starting out at a new job—or maybe the spark is gone from an old job and you're looking for something more rewarding and challenging. Have you ever considered becoming an electrician?

Careers in the field of installing and maintaining electrical equipment can be surprisingly lucrative. The requirements vary from state to state, but the path from complete novice to journeyman electrician is pretty straightforward. Plug in and find out!

Charging Up

Each state has different requirements in education, certification, and licensing when it comes to how to become an electrician.

​To jumpstart the process, the first step you'll want to take before choosing and enrolling in a school is to determine and verify what your state requirements are, then start examining different schools and programs based on that information. Knowledge is power (get it?).

You'll definitely want to be sure that the program you choose covers every aspect of what you need in how to become an electrician.

There's nothing worse than completing a full course load of study to find out that (oops!) your school or program didn't quite cover everything, and the first thing you have to do is pursue more education (with an additional cost of time and money) to get closer to that electrician's license, which should be your main goal.

Most programs in any given state will cover all the bases, but it's something you will want to make sure of before enrolling.

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And bear in mind that you'll need anywhere from 140 hours to 250 hours of training, followed by up to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training after completing your studies, to qualify for a license in most states.

The Duties You're Charged With

Working as an electrician brings with it a lot of responsibility. You'll need to assess the safety of electrical issues in both residential and commercial buildings, and will be responsible for their repair and maintenance. Everything has to be up to code, and that's on you, too.

While many electricians work in new home construction (which can be more straightforward), others work with existing wiring in older buildings, where the task of fixing electrical problems may require a lot of troubleshooting and trial-and-error to figure out.

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​This is where your communication skills come into play—you'll need to be able to explain to a home or business owner what issues they're facing and what could be involved in their repair, especially when making recommendations and determining what costs they're likely to be run into.

Once you've completed your schooling and have the correct training and knowledge necessary, there's a huge range of different career roles available for a qualified electrician. You'll have plenty of choice in the kind of work you decide to take on, so the power is truly in your hands.

Before you get there, though, you do have to get that education, so let's focus on that for a bit.

Speaking of Charges …

Something many people don't think about right up front is the cost your education is likely to entail. Most trade schools that offer electrician programs charge tuition that ranges from around $9,000 on the low end to as much as $20,000 on the upper end.

Your average cost would be right around $15,000, but that represents a significant investment in your future, and is well worth it.

That said, be sure to pick your school or program carefully, and examine all your options when it comes to paying for your schooling. There may be more ways to get your hands on that money than you realize.

Military Programs Could Light the Way


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If you serve now or are a veteran of the armed forces, many of the schools you'll be considering will accept the tuition assistance you earned while in the military. A lot of the time, this will cover all of your tuition expenses.

Spouses of those in the military can use the My Career Advancement Account (or MyCAA) Scholarship Program, which is a workforce development program provided by the military to those married to active duty or military veterans.

The program provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance toward tuition, and many trade or vocational schools will accept these credits as well.

Lastly, check to see if the school or program you're considering is part of the Military Yellow Ribbon Program, which can also help pay for your tuition as you set out on the path of how to become an electrician.

Ask Your Friends and Family


This one is often overlooked, because it is a little awkward to ask friends and family for monetary loans. The benefits here are that repayment of the loan is just about a sure thing—electricians make good money—and you won't be charged interest rates, which can save you a lot in the long term.

Traditional or Title IV Loans


You can also seek a traditional personal loan from a lending institution. While not all banks will approve such loans, if you go in prepared with the facts and figures—including how much tuition is and how much you're likely to make as an electrician over the life of the loan—you're much more likely to be approved.

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We'll go into how much electricians make a little later on to give you some bargaining power when talking with a loan officer.

There are also Title IV loans. Title IV refers to an education act passed in 1965 that authorizes the US Department of Education to make loans, grants, and even work-study programs available to post-secondary students.

The trade or vocational school you choose should be able to help you more with this information.

Some Schools Offer Financing


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Lastly, be aware that some schools will offer 0% financing for the cost of their tuition, with various payback programs that start after you graduate.

And most trade or vocational schools will have a financial advisor who can discuss this with you further and help you pick the kind of financing that's best for your needs.

How Hard Is It to Become an Electrician?

Different people will find it takes different levels of effort to successfully complete electrician training. Here are some basic steps you'll need to accomplish in order to make sure you've got enough power to finish the process.

  • GED or High School Diploma​

This is an essential step. In most states, you won't be able to enter trade or vocational school without at least a GED or other type of equivalency certification.

It's a basic educational requirement that you'll have to show to you've been able to meet before you can even think about how to become an electrician.

If you're an adult who never finished high school, many states now allow you to complete the GED process online, which is a great way to accomplish this initial step.

  • Still in School? Consider These Classes

If you're still in school, choose courses that will help your electrician career. Classes like algebra and trigonometry would be the most helpful, as electricians use this kind of math in determining circuit angles, measuring wire lengths, and calculating the force of an electrical current.

Any kind of shop and drafting or mechanical drawing classes may also help, as might a physics class, as electricians do need to know how to deal with scientific concepts and read technical documents.

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​If you're still a student wondering how to become an electrician, these are some great classes to start with.

  • Pre-Apprenticeships

A pre-apprentice position is a type of training that occurs at the vocational or trade school level, before you graduate and begin an actual apprenticeship. It's becoming more and more important as the field of electrical work becomes more competitive.

Having a pre-apprenticeship doesn't just mean you learn the fundamentals of electrical work before seeking an actual apprentice position, but it makes you stand out among the competition when looking for apprentice work after graduation.

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And it has the added bonus of making learning the basics that much easier, when you don't have work deadlines or a boss breathing down your neck.

Some of those basics include learning about electrical theory, workplace safety, the National Electrical Code, and other things that will give you a head-start.

  • ​Apprenticeships

Once you graduate from trade school, you're ready for the "real thing." You can find an apprentice position by applying to apprentice jobs the way you would any other job.

It pays to do your research and to indicate your enthusiasm and desire to learn—you'll want to be able to put together a good resume, as it could give you a competitive edge, so be sure to study up on that while you're in school.

Apprenticeship positions can be found in the following places:


  • ​The United States Department of Labor frequently has job postings that could point you in the right direction.
  • ​The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
  • ​The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • ​Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
  • ​Newspaper classified sections
  • ​Online job boards

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What to Expect after Schooling

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  • ​Basic Skills Test and Interview Process

To become an apprentice, you'll need to pass a basic aptitude exam, which will test your mathematical abilities and your reading comprehension.

And just like any other job, you'll have to pass a face-to-face interview, so try to pick up some interviewing tips either in school or as an extracurricular activity.

Depending on the kind of position and the state you intend to work in, you may need to pass specific physical requirements (like being able to lift 50 pounds or stand for long periods of time), pass a drug test, and demonstrate a certain level of mechanical aptitude.

Don't be put off by the test requirements—it's all part of how to become an electrician.

  • ​In Some States, You Must Register as an Apprentice or Trainee

California, Texas, and some other states require electrical apprentices to register before being allowed to work as apprentices.

This generally only involves filling out some paperwork and paying a small fee. Every state has its own requirements, and you can find out more at your trade or vocational school or through your state's Department of Labor or similar agency.

  • ​Successfully Complete Your apprenticeship

This is the first big goal after graduation. Your apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with online or classroom instruction where you'll be supervised and mentored by a master or journeyman electrician.

The whole process takes four to five years, but you will be compensated for your time, usually with an hourly wage—but in some rare cases with a salaried position.

What You Will Learn during Your Apprenticeship

  • ​How to read construction blueprints and technical electrical plan diagrams
  • ​How to test and inspect electrical systems and components
  • ​How to install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring, circuit breakers and boxes, and other various other electrical control systems
  • ​How to make sure that all work complies with the National Electric code as well as state and local codes

Image via Oregon Department of Transportation, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

​As your apprenticeship starts, you can expect to be called upon to carry out only the most basic tasks, but those tasks will gradually increase in complexity as your skills increase and you gain greater understanding of the underlying concepts. It's all part of how to become an electrician, so don't be put off by it.

By the time your apprenticeship ends, you'll be able to perform on the journeyman level, and will be capable of a full range of construction and maintenance electrical work.

  • ​Getting Your Local License and Certification

All states, and some local jurisdictions, set their own requirements on how to become an electrician who is fully licensed and ready to work.

In most states, you will need a state-wide license to be qualified to perform electrician work.

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​Some other states, like Illinois and Pennsylvania, perform electrician licensing and certification on the local level, with no state-wide certification.

In most cases, you will need to be licensed and/or certified to perform any electrical work. In many states, you'll also need a license to perform work as a contractor working for a larger business.

Some locations don't require licensing unless you intend to open your own business—your employer is responsible for making sure you meet all the required regulations, which frees you up from the licensing procedure.

When going after your electrician's license, you'll have to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of electrical concepts, best safety practices, local laws, building codes, and the National Electric Code.

You may also have to prove that you've completed a certain number of hours of classroom instruction and apprenticeship work under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master electrician.

Warning: High Voltage Career

Being an electrician can be a very dangerous job. The dangers vary with the kind of work you're performing and under what conditions.

Most people don't realize this, but electrician work ranks right up there with firefighter, logger, and commercial fisherman as one of the most dangerous jobs you can have.

It's good to be aware of these things—if you're thinking about how to become an electrician, you might find these are some important factors to consider.

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  • ​Danger of lethal electrical shock
  • ​Exposure to lead, solvents, and other toxic chemicals
  • ​Risk of fire and explosions
  • ​Welding risks, including exposure to UV radiation
  • ​Working in extreme temperatures – both hot and cold.
  • ​Cuts and abrasions from working with knives and sharp-edged equipment
  • ​Exposure to asbestos, mold, and other disease-carrying microbes in older buildings
  • ​Danger of disease from exposure to bird or rat droppings
  • ​Danger of eye damage from flying particles
  • ​Increased risk of slips, trips, and falls in some work environments
  • ​Risks associated with working alone

Being exposed to electrical shock is one of the most serious dangers of being an electrician. Being shocked brings with it the risks of:

  • Severe burns
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle pain and contractions
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

This is why, as you're learning how to become an electrician, you'd be smart to pay the utmost attention to safety training and regulations. While all the safety training you'll receive can be highly technical and far too involved for us to go into here, it is there to protect and save your life.

As you continue on the path of how to become an electrician, you'll learn many safety regulations and practices that you'd be wise to stick with at all times. It's life and death stuff, so take it seriously.

Positive Charge

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It's not all work and danger—there's also a payday involved, and electricians make pretty decent money. The median wage for someone working as an electrician is right around $55,000 a year, with some making as much as $92,000.

While it varies from job to job and state to state, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has put together some information on median annual wage for electricians in the top industries which employed them. Check it out:

  • ​Electricians working for the government were, on average, paid $60,570 per year.
  • Electricians in manufacturing jobs made $58, 470
  • Those who were electrical contractors or involved in other wiring installations, such as the kind of work you'd see in new home construction, made $52,190
  • Lastly, electricians who found work through employment services were paid an average of $47,520

Wired for Profit

There are ways to make even more money as an electrician, as with any profession. Whether you work for a company or decide to go into business for yourself, staying profitably employed is obviously your main goal.

You need to make sure that you continue to make an effort to do quality work every time, and provide excellent customer service — even if you're in a situation where your boss is your "customer." Here are some tips to follow to make sure you stay on the positive side of the job.

Tip #1 Be Customer Friendly


Working as an electrician generally means that part of your job will be customer service. You'll be dealing with folks every day—whether they're your own customers, the customers of the company you work for, or—as we mentioned above—you come to think of your boss or supervisor as your customer, which is a strategy that pays off over time.

When speaking to these people, either in person, over the phone, or on work radios, maintain a friendly and cheerful demeanor.

​You might be having a bad day or the customer (or your boss) may be difficult, but treating them with respect and consideration means you or the company you work for will receive compliments for your attitude and workmanship.

Even if you're dealing with bosses and supervisors, when review time comes around, those workers who are always cheerful and responsive tend to get more, and better, raises.

And if you're self-employed, those good feelings you leave customers with could translate into better word-of-mouth recommendations and excellent reviews online—all of which means more money in your pocket in the long run.

Tip #2 Be Conscientious and Responsible


You must be responsible when it comes to the quality of your work, but it pays to be responsible and conscientious in how you present yourself or your company as well.

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​Do your absolute best to arrive at appointments on time—tradespeople do sometimes have a reputation for being late—and be sure to do everything in your power to do the job correctly the first time.

By doing this, you gain a good reputation which helps build a client base for yourself or your employer—and that will get noticed.

Tip #3 Keep Training


Continue your electrical training if you want to have the most success in your career and enjoy the best career advancement.

Electrical courses help you keep up with the latest technology, learn new and additional skills that can help you on the path from journeyman to master electrician, and even help you become a supervisor or own your own electrical business.

student studying on a desk

Image via Pixabay

There are plenty of courses online or at your local college, and taking these courses can potentially lead to higher wages, more business, and the ability to tackle jobs that other electricians may not be able to handle. All of this translates into more profit and opportunity for advancement.

Tip #4 Only Work with Reputable Companies


When you're looking for jobs as you first start out, only consider working for companies with an outstanding reputation. Who you work for says a lot about you, and you want to build a resume that will impress those who know a lot about your field.

By working with companies who are well thought of, you can build your own solid reputation as an electrician. You can generally find good companies to work for by checking out reviews online and asking friends or family—or your former instructors or mentors—who to look for and who to avoid.

Tip #5 Dedication


When you start your career as an electrician, you need to be completely dedicated to the job. Always arrive to work on time—or a few minutes early, as that always makes a good impression.

Never miss appointments, do your best to work hard and give every situation your full attention, every day.

​By being dedicated to your profession, your customers or your employer will notice your due diligence and will see that you really care about your job.

This will build your personal reputation, increase the number and quality of customers you might be able to work for, and guarantee job security.

Plugged In to an Electrifying Environment: What to Expect from the Job

Once you've done all the hard work, finished your apprenticeship, and become a full-fledged electrician in your own right, what can you expect from your day-to-day routine?

A journeyman or master job can take on many forms. Electricians work both inside or outside, in all kinds of weather, to ensure lights, wiring and cabling, industrial equipment, electrical supply equipment, and appliances can function safely and reliably.

There are many different special types of electricians, including residential electricians, who install wiring and solve electrical problems in homes, and inside electricians, who maintain and repair control systems, motors, and electrical equipment in businesses and factories.

The specific responsibilities associated with being an electrician will vary depending on your area of specialization, but they might include such things as:

electrician working on power lines

Image via Pixabay

​Planning electrical systems for buildings under construction, including optimal placement for electrical outlets, light fixtures, heating or other high-power capacity outlets, and HVAC or ventilation systems

Reading, understanding, and interpreting architectural blueprints, circuit diagrams, and various other technical documents

Installing wiring, circuit breakers and boxes, lighting, and electrical control systems in new and existing buildings, and making sure all the work is up to code

Connecting electrical wires to components and fixtures to form complete electrical circuits, and testing completed circuits to be sure there are no problems and sufficient power

Installing wiring harnesses, hangers, and brackets to support electrical wiring and other accessories

Electrician working on home wiring

Image via Pixabay

Performing routine scheduled maintenance to keep all that wiring, lighting, and those control systems in good working order

Inspecting circuit breakers and boxes, transformers, and other higher-end electrical components for damage, wear and tear, or other faults

Using devices to test, analyze, and discover why electrical systems are malfunctioning

Replacing, repairing, and upgrading outdated or failing electrical equipment, fixtures, and wiring, including isolating shorts or other faults for safe removal and replacement

And in time, the apprentice becomes the master: you'll eventually be training apprentice electricians and delegating specific tasks to them to complete

electrician in front of power distribution boxes

Image via Pixabay

As you work as a fully qualified journeyman or above electrician, you may find yourself working inside new buildings under construction, existing buildings undergoing renovation, or even outdoors on electric power or telecommunications systems.

Electricians may work in large spaces like factory floors or unfinished buildings, or in cramped conditions like crawlspaces or in utility corridors inside buildings.

All of these different working environments may involve live electrical wires, so they can be very dangerous—if the proper safety precautions aren't in place.

Electricians often work independently on projects, which is one of the reasons we're stressing safety so much—if you find yourself working alone around live wires, help may arrive too late, so be sure to follow all of your training to the letter.

Be prepared to move around a bit, too. Unlike most people who have a regular job site, many electricians will work on remote sites for weeks to months at a time before moving on to the next job.

These job sites might be far from home—it's not at all uncommon for electricians to travel up to a hundred miles—or more—from their home to a job site.

Positives and Negatives

Electricians, unlike some other skilled tradespeople, generally work year-round. Their hours may vary depending on the kind of jobs they're working.

Electricians who work in building maintenance usually have regular, 40-hour work weeks. Most of them work a typical Monday through Friday schedule and may not work much overtime.

Other electricians work on-call and may have to work late hours, overnights, and even on weekends and holidays to fix urgent or time-sensitive problems—though those who find themselves in these roles can expect to be compensated for it.

If flexibility is important to you, you may want to consider working as an independent electrical contractor or a junior electrician working for a contractor. These positions don't have such regular hours—they may be quite busy one week with few hours the next, or it may vary from season to season.

Completing the Circuit on How to Become an Electrician: Final Thoughts

Becoming an electrician takes a lot of hard work and dedication, as the apprenticeship period itself is as long as most college careers, but it pays off almost immediately.

After trade or vocational school, you'll start to earn on-the-job money, even as an apprentice—which is an advantage over regular college courses.

Circuit Diagram

United States. Dept. of the Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It can be a dangerous job—always follow your safety training—but it's very rewarding and with the right kind of career moves you can go into business for yourself, which offers a lot of perks and flexibility, as well as the opportunity to have employees, who multiply your ability to earn.

It's a great career option for those who have decided that college isn't quite for them, or who want to start making money soon after graduating from high school. It's also a great career to switch into if you find yourself dissatisfied with what you're currently doing.

The power is yours!


Featured Image: CC0 via Pixabay

Xcel Energy manhole

Xcel Energy Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

Looking for an exciting career that you can be proud of? Want plenty of room for advancement and good compensation? A job at Xcel Energy may be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

As the energy industry grows and changes, opportunities to innovate and create with expanding energy companies are arising quickly. Xcel Energy jobs are numerous and varied. Positions range from entry-level jobs to corporate leadership careers and are available in 8 different states.  The company is seeking applicants with a huge range of skills and experience levels: from high school graduates on up to seasoned managers and directors.  

What Is Xcel Energy?

Xcel Energy is a customer-focused producer of clean, reliable energy that proudly powers homes and businesses across the West and Midwest. This Minneapolis-based company’s mission is to “provide our customers the safe, clean, reliable energy services they want and value at a competitive price.”  

Xcel Energy is the product of a merging between three predecessor companies, Northern States Power and Southwestern Public Service Company, which were established in the 1890s, and Public Service Company of Colorado, which opened its doors in the 1920s. Clearly, Xcel Energy has a legacy of experience in the area to lean on.    

Since its establishment in 2000, Xcel Energy has become an industry leader in renewable energy sources and reducing carbon emissions with one of the most ambitious green energy plans in the industry. By the year 2027, the company plans to retire 40% of its coal units and replace them with wind and solar energy.  By 2022, the company is projected to be 61% carbon free by using a combination of renewable energy sources including wind, solar, and nuclear energy.  Just since 2005, Xcel Energy has reduced its total water consumption by 40% and its total carbon emissions by 35%.  

With its focus on community, Xcel Energy is a rewarding place to work. The company finds balance and success by promoting environmental stewardship, customer satisfaction, and a respectful and motivating environment for its employees.  Xcel Energy facilitates safety campaigns which have lowered the rate of accidental dig-ins to underground wires and pipes by 33% and the number of workplace injuries by 58% since 2009.  They are also one of the most reliable power suppliers in the country with customers having power continuously for 99.9% of 2017.  Further, Xcel was recognized for two consecutive years by the Human Rights Campaign as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.

Available Company Positions

man installing solar panel

There is a variety of Xcel Energy jobs available in the following states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.  For the majority of the jobs listed below, more than one vacancy exists.  

Xcel Energy appreciates the service of our country’s veterans, and value the unique experience and skills veterans offer the company.  Ten percent of the company’s new hires are veterans!  On the website, there is an option for veterans to apply to a pool position, which connects applicants to Xcel Energy’s Veteran Recruiter.  Veterans must have served in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and have at least a high school diploma.

Internships at Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy offers internships to college students.  Students currently enrolled in classes are invited to apply to an enriching opportunity to test and hone their skills in a project-based atmosphere.


  • Nuclear Engineering Intern
  • Engineering Intern
  • Electrical Engineering Intern
  • Business Intern
  • Internal Auditor Intern
  • EMS Coordinator Intern
  • Regulatory Administrative Business Intern
  • Business Systems Intern
  • Engineering Intern within Transmission Project Management Department
  • Distribution Design & Operations Intern
  • GIS Intern
  • Entry-level Xcel Energy Jobs

  • Customer Service Specialist
  • Customer Care Clerk
  • Product Developer
  • Corporate Xcel Energy Jobs

  • Senior Budget Analyst
  • Communications Assistant 
  • RSA Archer Support Analyst
  • Solution Architect (including Senior positions)
  • Sr. Accounting/Financial Analyst
  • Systems Administrators and Analyst (including Senior positions)
  • Compliance Consultant 
  • Senior Internal Auditor
  • Network Operations Director 
  • Senior Principal Risk Management Analyst 
  • Social Media Manager
  • Social Media Communication Consultant 
  • Network Engineer
  • Load Management Analyst 
  • Regulatory Administrator 
  • Security and Compliance Consultant 
  • Channel Development Manager
  • Product Developer
  • Call Center Associate
  • Regulatory Accounting Manager 
  • Endpoint Security Systems Administrator
  • CIP Functional Consultant 
  • Accounting/Financial Consultant
  • Field and Skilled Labor Xcel Energy Jobs


  • Instructor Operations (including Senior and Principal positions)
  • Operations Manager
  • Plant Electrician Specialist
  • Medical Technician
  • Workforce Relations Specialist
  • Leadership Excellence Manager
  • Category Manager
  • Contract Management Consultant
  • Senior Energy Supply Asset Analyst 
  • Planner Buyer
  • Operations Supervisor
  • Designer/Associate Designer
  • Functional Consultant
  • Network Operations Director
  • Resource Planning Analyst
  • Control Room Supervisor-in-Training
  • Senior Engineer
  • Originator/Senior Originator 
  • Sr. Energy Trader
  • Fleet Project Scheduler
  • Program Manager 
  • Maintenance Supervisor
  • Construction Lead
  • Apprentice Plant Attendant 
  • Electrical Substation Construction Operations Supervisor
  • Senior Safety & Training Consultant 
  • Operations Procedure Writer
  • Associate Supply Chain Analyst 
  • Sales Accountant Specialist 
  • Outdoor Lighting Designer
  • Electrical Equipment Tester
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Specialized Trade Xcel Energy Jobs

  • Distribution Lineman Apprentice
  • Sourcing Project Specialist (including Associate positions)
  • Substation Foreman 
  • Transmission Control Principal Engineer
  • Electrician Apprentice
  • Systems Analyst
  • Technician Specialist
  • Senior Mechanical Engineer
  • Substation Helper
  • IAM Specialist/Engineer (including Senior positions)
  • IVVO Engineer
  • Project Controls Specialist, Nuclear
  • Energy Efficiency Engineer
  • Leadership Xcel Energy Jobs

  • Payroll Manager
  • Functional Analyst
  • Cyber Intelligence Analyst
  • AMI Meter Analyst
  • Material Handlers
  • Product Portfolio Manager (including Senior positions)
  • Training Supervisor Operations
  • Material Operations Supervisor
  • Cost - Analysis Estimator
  • Senior IT Service Delivery Manager 
  • IT Project Manager
  • Technical Business Analyst
  • Design & Construction Director
  • Senior Rate Analyst
  • Average Salaries Per Position

    man doing a routine inspection

    Below, known salaries for positions within Xcel Energy are listed alphabetically by position title. This information was obtained through payscale.com. Compensation is competitive within the industry and demonstrates a company-wide respect for employees at all level.  

    Accounting Analyst:

    $38,614 - $72,710
    Administrative Assistant: $27,285 - $58,733
    Assistant General Counsel: $118,147 - $234,396
    Associate Product Manager: $57,251 - $112,459
    Category Manager:

    $64,581 - $115,548
    Civil Engineer:

    $47,888 - $81,492
    Compensation Analyst: $50,291 - $79,860
    Compliance Officer:

    $60,031 - $130,524
    Construction Superintendent:

     $74,988 - $164,188
    Customer Service Specialist: $23,804 - $60,209
    Data Analyst:

    $37,733 - $97544
    Director of Operations: $121,942 - $254,780
    Electrical Designer:

    $37,599 - $87,587
    Electrical Engineer:

     $40,268 - $115,222
    Employee Communications Consultant:

    $60,804 - $119, 362
    Energy Engineer:

    $49,252 - $78,511
    Energy Power Distribution: $67,220 - $93,543
    Environmental Analyst: $40,905 - $89,780
    Executive Assistant:

    $48,505 - $79,461
    Field Operations Manager: $73,086 - $147,422
    Financial Analyst:

    $43,831 - $85,513
    Gas Fitter:

    $45,268 - $111,142
    Geographic Information Systems Analyst:

    $32,654 - $56,363
    Health Physicist:

    $70,264 - $135,327
    Instrumentation & Controls Technician:

    $41,690 - $96,177
    Journeyman Lineman: $52,370 - $143,663
    Legal Analyst:

    $49,256 - $92,126
    Legal Secretary:

    $38,378 - $69,833
    Lineman:

    $36,659 - $87,066
    Maintenance & Engineering Manager:

    $76,909 - $150,983

    Maintenance Mechanic: $43,775 - $106,093
    Maintenance Supervisor/Superintendent: $53,791 - $151,344
    Marketing Assistant:

    $23,399 - $54,078
    Mechanical Engineering: $51,660 - $106,507
    Meteorologist:

    $62,401 - $126,140
    Meter Reader:

    $36,444 - $89,080
    Nuclear Engineer:

    $63,079 - $125,858
    Operations Manager:

    $61,794 - $168,664
    Operations Superintendent: $43,524 - $111,445
    Plant Supervisor:

    $47,332 - 100,718
    Power Plant Operator: $41,310 - $91,789
    Power System Operator: $58,033 - $103,654
    Project Coordinator, general: $35,417 - $73-232
    Project Coordinator, IT: $45,875 - $85,067
    Project Manager, general: $48,553 - $124,381
    Project Manager, engineering:

    $69,013 - $168,826
    Project Manager, IT:

    $60,903 -$120,606
    Regulatory Administrator: $40,596 - $79,200
    Safety Consultant:

    $47,080 - $124,283
    Senior Accountant:

    $63,037 - $101,359
    Senior Budget Analyst: $57,389 - $116,945
    Senior Business Analyst: $70,567 - $163,341
    Senior Electrical Engineer: $78,121 - $144,722
    Senior Financial Analyst: $65,190 - $102,669
    Senior Human resources Generalist:

    $54,174 - $100,143
    Senior Systems Analyst: $63,410 - $136,591
    Senior Administrative Assistant:

    $36,598 - $73,806
    Staff Engineer:

    $52,289 - $101,900
    Systems Analyst:

    $52,952 - $111,504
    Transmission-Line Engineer: $66,964 - $100,686

    Conclusion

    group of men working on a line post

    Countless people across America are searching for the career that they love. Most people are looking for a career and a workplace that they can be proud of.  Xcel Energy goes to great lengths to be that kind of workplace — a company that values the environment, that seeks to build community through safety initiatives and employee diversity, and that provides a reliable, affordable product to its customers.  

    Whether you are a new graduate seeking to stake your place in the world, or a long-time veteran of the industry, an Xcel Energy job could be exactly what you’ve been hoping for. Xcel Energy is a well-established company in the West and Midwest United States with strong values that make their business successful. Even if you are not quite ready to apply, the company offers an online talent community that provides interested prospective applicants updates on opportunities that match their skills and invitations to company events.  Job listings can be searched by title, skill level, or location.  

    A solid mission, competitive compensation, and plenty of room for upward mobility make this company worth considering.    

    Find more information and apply for Xcel Energy jobs on the company’s website, xcelenergy.com.  

    black car

    Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars

    Gas prices may fluctuate from day to day and week to week, but they always seem to increase year after year. That makes fuel economy a very important factor when considering buying a new car. Many consumers are realizing the usefulness of considering the most fuel efficient cars available now in their car search. Before you invest your hard earned cash on a car, consider these 10 fuel-saving options.

    Most Fuel Efficient Cars FAQ

    1. What is a Fuel Efficient Car?

    2. How Do Hybrid and Electric Cars Work?

    3. Where Can You Buy Cars?

    How We Reviewed

    The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. We went to many sources to gather and compare this information.

    The lowest base price of the lowest end model that we reviewed was $16,975, which was the Chevy Cruze. The highest base price was for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid at $42,800. It is like comparing apples to oranges here because the Chevy Cruze is a compact sedan with minimal standard features and the Toyota Avalon is a large sedan with many standard features.

    Overall Price Range of These Cars

    What We Reviewed

    • Toyota Prius 3
    • Hyundai Ioniq Blue
    • Toyota Prius Prime
    • Honda Accord Hybrid
    • Toyota Camry Hybrid LE
    • Honda Clarity PHEV
    • Kia Niro FE
    • Toyota Avalon Hybrid
    • Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
    • Chevy Cruze

    comparison table

    Name

    IMage

    MSRP

    Where to Buy?

    TOYOTA PRIUS 3

    TOYOTA PRIUS 3

    $23,475-$30,565

    Hyundai Ioniq Blue

    Hyundai Ioniq Blue

    $22,200-$27,550

    Toyota Prius Prime

    Toyota Prius Prime

    27,100-$33,100

    Honda Accord Hybrid

    HONDA ACCORD HYBRID

    $23,570-$35,800

    Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

    Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

    23,495-$34,950

    Honda Clarity PHEV

    Honda Clarity PHEV

    $33,400-36,600

    Kia Niro FE

    Kia Niro FE

    $23,340-$32,000

    Toyota Avalon Hybrid

    Toyota Avalon Hybrid

    $35,500-$42,800

    Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

    Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

    $21,680-$31,020

    Chevy Cruze

    Chevy Cruze

    $16,975-$25,920

    Toyota Prius 3

    TOYOTA PRIUS 3

    Image Via Toyota.com

    Features

    Every Prius model is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense™, an advanced suite of safety technologies to help you drive with confidence. It has a comfortable modern seat design and a nice multimedia display. The suspension, body rigidity, and aerodynamics of Prius provide a smooth ride.

    The Toyota Prius has been one of the most fuel efficient cars available for quite some time. It was an early entry into the market, with limited sales in the year 2000. The latest generation Prius has been improved greatly since the last generation. The Prius has always been shown to be efficient and has low operating costs. There are many different models of the Prius, including a version that offers a plug-in combination (the Toyota Prius Prime, discussed below). This particular review is of the Toyota Prius 3.

    Pros

    • Comfortable handling
    • Comfortable ride
    • Straightforward touch-screen infotainment system
    • Colorful digital gauge with lots of fuel-economy information
    • Standard forward-collision warning and automatic braking
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • Seats have mediocre support
    • Low stance can make it a challenge to get in and out of the vehicle
    • Noticeable tire noise

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,475-$30,565.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

    Interior

    The Prius has a standard 4.2-inch color dual Multi-Information Display with customizable screens. The Prius has a comfortable, smart seat design with front bucket seats. The driver’s seat has many adjustment settings with power lumbar support. You can control the audio, display, and hands-free calling from the steering wheel. 60/40 split fold-down rear seats maximize cargo space.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Prius has an aerodynamic exterior which allows it to smooth airflow, thus maximizing fuel efficiency. This also provides a smooth ride because of smart design, advanced materials, and construction techniques. The Prius 3 boasts an overall MPG of 52, a city MPG of 43, and a Highway MPG of 59.

    Reliability

    The Prius received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    The standard forward-collision warning and automatic braking system are great safety features. The integrated backup camera appears when you are in reverse, to help when you are parking in a tight spot or backing up. Also available is the Blind Spot Monitor system. It helps you determine when it is safe to change lanes. Additionally, there is an available Rear Cross-Traffic Alert designed to provide an audible indication to help warn you of approaching vehicles. Rain-sensing windshield wipers are also very important for safety.

    Warranty

    The basic warranty for the Prius 3 is 36 months/36,000 miles. It also has a 60 months/60,000 miles warranty for the Powertrain, Corrosion Perforation, and Restraint Systems. There is a 96 months/100,000 miles warranty for the Hybrid System.

    Hyundai Ioniq Blue

    Hyundai Ioniq Blue

    Image Via hyundaiusa.com

    Features

    The Hyundai Ioniq has a clean, aerodynamic shape and modern styling. Additionally, it has solid engineering and advanced technology. There are a number of advanced safety features that are available. But its 52 overall MPG makes it one of the most fuel efficient cars available now.

    There are three highly efficient powertrains available (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric). This review focuses on the hybrid (Blue) version.

    Pros

    • Combined 139 horsepower engine
    • Available automatic braking and blind-spot warning are available
    • Standard Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatibility
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • Its transmission isn’t the smoothest
    • There is some delay accelerating from a standstill
    • Has unusually long stopping distances for the class of car
    • Limited back-seat space

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $22,200-$27,550.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at hyundaiusa.com

    Interior

    A power driver seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, and leather seating surfaces are available. Additionally, there is an available 8-inch color audio touchscreen navigation is available. The car has 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks to give you flexibility.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Ioniq has an aerodynamic exterior which allows it to smooth airflow, thus maximizing fuel efficiency. This also provides a smooth ride because of smart design, advanced materials, and construction techniques. The Ioniq hybrid boasts an overall MPG of 52, a city MPG of 43, and a Highway MPG of 59.

    Reliability

    The Ioniq received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    There is an automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection feature available, an available blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert system, and an available Lane Keep Assist, that alerts you when you are veering into another lane of traffic.

    Warranty

    The basic warranty is for 5 year/60,000 miles. There is a 10 year/100,000 miles Powertrain warranty, a 7 year/unlimited Rust through warranty, and a 5 year/unlimited Roadside aid warranty. Every detail has been optimized to make it advanced and efficient.

    Toyota Prius Prime

    Toyota Prius Prime

    Image Via ​toyota.com

    Features

    The Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in Prius version. It is by far one of the most fuel efficient cars with an EPA equivalent MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent - a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed) of 133. You are able to choose drive modes to help you select the perfect drive. Prime also has an available intelligent drive coach feature to help elevate your efficiency even further.

    The Prime can usually drive about 23 miles on electricity only, but the gas engine starts up in cold weather and under full acceleration. It takes 2 hours to charge the Prime through a 240-volt connector and 5 hours on a regular 120-volt. When not running in EV mode, the Prime alternates between electric and gas power, returning 50 mpg overall.

    Pros

    • Compliant ride
    • Responsive handling
    • Standard auto emergency braking
    • Standard lane-keep assist
    • Excellent fuel efficiency
    • Smooth transition between gas and electric power
    • Many standard safety and technology features

    Cons

    • Holds four passengers instead of five
    • Does not have a rear wiper
    • Slow acceleration
    • Difficult available infotainment system

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $27,100-$33,100.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

    Interior

    There is a nice 11.6 inch HD multimedia display that is available. The customizable 4.2-in color dual Multi-Information Display screen provides lots of information and is steering wheel controlled. The Prime has comfortable supportive seats. The front seats feature deep bolsters for body hugging comfort. 60/40 split fold-down rear seats maximize cargo space. Heated front seats are standard in the Prime.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    Similar to the regular hybrid Prius, the Prius Prime has a compliant ride and responsive handling. It has many aerodynamic features and efficient design components, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars available now. It has an MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent - a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed) of 133. When using the gas engine only, it has an overall MPG of 50, 38 City MPG, and 62 Highway MPG.

    Reliability

    The Prime received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    Toyota Safety Sense™ makes the Prime designed for safety. It includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. This system may apply additional force using Brake Assist. Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses vehicle distance control which adjusts your speed. The prime has lane departure alert with steering assist (the system may make small corrective steering inputs to keep your vehicle in its lane). Additionally, the Prime has Automatic High Beans to help you see more clearly at night, available Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitor, backup camera (standard),  and other features.

    Warranty

    The Prime comes with a basic 3 year/36,000 miles warranty, a 5 year/60,000 miles Powertrain warranty, a 5 year/unlimited Rust through warranty, and a 2 year/unlimited Roadside aid warranty.

    Honda Accord Hybrid

    Features

    The Honda Accord Hybrid looks sporty with a lower stance and coupe-like silhouette. It is one of the most fuel efficient cars available, with 47 mpg overall without sacrificing acceleration. It has a new 192-hp engine that delivers adequate power. It also has a new and improved infotainment system which includes knobs or tuning and volume adjustment. Standard safety assistance includes Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. It has a roomy interior with dual-zone climate control, 10-way power driver’s seat, and heated mirrors.

    Pros

    • Sporty look
    • Good acceleration
    • Good standard safety features
    • Has a nice 10-speed automatic transmission
    • Responsive handling and a comfortable ride
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • Unintuitive push-button gear selector
    • Available dual-screen system can be frustrating
    • Under hard acceleration, the engine gets noisy

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,570-$35,800.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at automobiles.honda.com

    Interior

    The Accord has nice leather trimmed seating and roomy interior and includes a 10-way power driver’s seat and dual-zone climate control, as well as heated mirrors. The full-color 7-inch driver interface offers a customizable in-dash display. Its cabin includes Active Noise Cancellation™ which contributes to a quiet interior.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    There is an uplevel turbo-charged 2.0-liter engine available that brings 252 hp and a slick 10-speed automatic transmission with a push-button gear selector. The Honda Accord hybrid has an overall MPG of 47, a city MPG of 40, and a Highway MPG of 52.

    Reliability

    The Accord received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    In addition to Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking, the Accord is equipped with the Honda Sensing® suite of safety and drive-assistive technologies. Features include a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation system, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane keeping assist system, and traffic sign recognition.

    Warranty

    The Honda Accord Hybrid comes with a 3 year/36,000 limited warranty, a five year/60,000 mile Powertrain warranty, and either an 8 year/100,000 or 10 year/150,000 mile warranty for Hybrid components (depending on state regulations where you purchase and register the vehicle).

    Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

    Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

    Image Via ​toyota.com

    Features

    The recently redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid LE is one of the most fuel efficient cars available. It is a sporty looking car. Camry has a Dynamic Force Engine, which provides remarkable efficiency with a powerful and nice drive. The Camry Hybrid has a new standard feature—Apple CarPlay, which allows you to pair your compatible iPhone to provide excellent functionality. The Camry offers the impressive Toyota Safety Sense™ P safety package. This is a mid-size car, making it roomier than other choices.

    Pros

    • Comfortable ride
    • Quiet ride
    • Standard Forward Collision Warning
    • Standard Automatic Emergency Braking
    • Larger trunk than many hybrids
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • The lower stance makes it difficult to get into and out of
    • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) is sluggish
    • Blind-spot warning is optional

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,495-$34,950.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

    Interior

    The Camry has 8-way power-adjustable driver’s and front passenger seats that are nicely shaped, with available leather trim. Heated front seats are available. The rear seats are also supportive and have optional rear-seat vents. The Camry has an available Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan to help you see all around you. Wi-Fi connect by Verizon turns the Camry into a hotspot almost anywhere you go.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Camry hybrid has an overall MPG of 47, a city MPG of 39, and a Highway MPG of 53, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars available. What makes it even nicer is the fact that it is a nimble and nice-looking mid-size car, roomier than many of the other models reviewed.

    Reliability

    The Camry Hybrid received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    In addition to the excellent Toyota Safety Sense™ P safety package, the car has an Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross-Traffic Braking available that warns you of nearby obstacles and may reduce engine power and apply the brakes under certain conditions. Also available is a Blind Spot Monitor. There are ten airbags standard on the Camry. Lastly, it includes six advanced safety features standard.

    Warranty

    The Camry Warranty includes a basic warranty of 3 year/36,000 miles, Powertrain warranty of 5 year/60,000 miles, Rust through warranty of 5 year/unlimited, and Roadside aid of 2 year/unlimited.

    Honda Clarity PHEV

    Features

    The Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid model is new for 2018. It is a mid-size car that offers a quality cabin with comfortable seating, excellent fuel economy, and a good electric range (compared to other plug-in hybrids). Additionally, it offers a comfortable ride.

    Pros

    • Comfortable ride
    • Quick charging time
    • Comfortable seating
    • Good electric range
    • Upscale for the money
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • Competitors are more agile
    • Sluggish highway passing power
    • Audio controls lack knobs and buttons

    Price

    The 2018 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $33,400-36,600.

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at automobiles.honda.com

    Interior

    There is roomy seating for five. The Clarity offers a very quiet interior. There are heated front seats with power adjustments. Additionally, there is a dual-zone automatic climate control in the front. There is an 8-inch display audio touch-screen with an 8-speaker system. The car offers Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ integration, and the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Clarity body shape provides streamlined airflow, making it very efficient and quiet. It is very aerodynamic. When using gas, the Clarity gets 44 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway.

    Reliability

    Since this plug-in hybrid is new for 2018, we don’t have sufficient reliability data at this time.

    Safety

    The Clarity Electric comes with Honda Sensing®, which is a suite of safety features. The key safety features include Lane Keeping Assist System, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.

    Warranty

    The basic warranty for the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is 36 months/36,000 miles. There is a 60 months/unlimited distance Corrosion perforation warranty, a 96 months/100,000 miles Hybrid electrical components warranty, a 60 months/60,000 miles Powertrain warranty, and a 36 months/36,000 miles Roadside assistance coverage.

    Kia Niro FE

    Kia Niro FE

    Image Via ​kia.com

    Features

    The Kia Niro is a five-passenger car which is one of the most fuel efficient cars available. It is considered a subcompact SUV. It is quite powerful, at 139 hp. It offers an upscale, comfortable cabin and has lots of cargo space.

    Pros

    • Very comfortable seats
    • Spacious interior
    • Good cargo capacity
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • High base price
    • Not very agile handling
    • Choppy ride

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $23,340-$32,000.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at kia.com

    Interior

    The Niro has an optional power drive seat provides nice support. The interior is stylish. The Niro offers a nice 7-inch color touch-screen display with Apple CarPly™ and Android Auto™. A premium sound system is available and you can charge your compatible smart phone on the available center-console pad.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Niro has an overall MPG of 43, a city MPG of 33, and a Highway MPG of 52, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars in its subcompact SUV class. The 139 hp at 5,700 rpm provides plenty of power. It has an aerodynamic design.

    Reliability

    The Niro received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    In addition to the airbags, the Niro has an Anti-lock Braking System, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control and other features standard. A suite of advanced safety features is available as well which includes Automatic Emergency Braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning.

    Warranty

    The Niro basic warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 10 year/100,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 5 year/100,000 miles, and Roadside aid is 5 year/60,000 miles.

    Toyota Avalon Hybrid

    Toyota Avalon Hybrid

    Image Via ​toyota.com

    Features

    The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is a large sedan. It was completely redesigned for 2019. It is very roomy and has an extremely comfortable ride. It has a 3.5-liter V6 engine providing plenty of power and the engine is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is very plush and has a 9 inch easy to use touch screen.

    Pros

    • Plush interior
    • Very smooth ride
    • Fancy, upscale cabin
    • Spacious seats
    • Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • High base price
    • Low stance makes it difficult to get into and out of

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $35,500-$42,800.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at toyota.com

    Interior

    The Avalon Hybrid has a large 9-inch multimedia touch-screen display that comes with pinch-and-zoom navigation controls that are very easy to use. It offers Apple CarPlay™ standard, and a premium sound system is available. Toyota Remote Connect allows you to control some Avalon functions from remote devices. Additionally, the Avalon has real wood and aluminum trim, and has beautiful leather heated and ventilated front seats available,

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Avalon Hybrid has an overall MPG of 42, a city MPG of 32, and a highway MPG of 52, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars in its large sedan class. It has a sleek design.

    Reliability

    The Avalon received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    The Avalon has the excellent Toyota Safety Sense™ P standard. This includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams. Other available safety features include adaptive cornering lights and Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan among others.

    Warranty

    The Avalon Hybrid basic warranty is 3 year/36,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 5 year/unlimited, and Roadside aid is 2 year/unlimited.

    Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

    Features

    The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is a very stylish mid-size vehicle. It has a very comfortable ride, is very quiet, and has easy-to-use controls. This hybrid uses some of the Chevrolet Volt’s technology.

    Pros

    • Stylish design
    • Quiet cabin
    • Very comfortable ride
    • Intuitive controls
    • Excellent fuel efficiency

    Cons

    • Compromised outward visibility compared to competitors
    • Getting in and out of this vehicle can be difficult
    • Base cloth seats are not very supportive

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $21,680-$31,020.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at chevrolet.com

    Interior

    The Malibu Hybrid’s interior is spacious, comfortable, and quiet. There is a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat offering flexibility. There is an 8-way power driver seat and 8-inch diagonal color touch-screen display standard.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Malibu Hybrid has an overall MPG of 41, a city MPG of 33, and a Highway MPG of 49, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars in its mid-size class. It handles very nicely.

    Reliability

    The Malibu received solid, above average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    There are 10 airbags in the Malibu, a rear vision camera, StabiliTrak, electronic stability control system with traction control and tire pressure monitoring system.

    Warranty

    The Malibu Hybrid basic warranty is 3 year/36,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 6 year/100,000, and Roadside aid is 5 year/60,000.

    Features

    The Chevrolet Cruze is a fuel efficient diesel vehicle that has many nice features available in larger vehicles, such as a very comfortable ride and a quiet interior. While it is a compact vehicle, it has many nice “bigger car” features. There is a start/stop feature that reduces fuel use during idling. The Cruze is available in a 4-Door Hatchback or a Sedan body style.

    Pros

    • Comfortable ride
    • Quiet, spacious interior
    • Available built-in 4GLTE WiFi hotspot capability
    • Includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility
    • Lower base price than competitors
    • Rear sets are roomy for its class

    Cons

    • Front seats are short on lower-back support
    • Acceleration is lackluster

    Price

    The 2019 Base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $16,975-$25,920.
     

    Where to Buy

    Find information about where to buy this vehicle at chevrolet.com

    Interior

    The Cruze has front bucket seats, a Rear Vision Camera, a standard 6-way manual driver seat and a 2-way manual front passenger seat. There is a 4-speaker audio system, Bluetooth® standard, and a Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

    Performance & Fuel Efficiency

    The Cruze LT Diesel has an overall MPG of 41, a city MPG of 27, and a Highway MPG of 60, making it one of the most fuel efficient cars that is not a hybrid. The Cruze can definitely compete with other compact sedans.

    Reliability

    The Cruze received above-average predicted reliability scores.

    Safety

    Standard safety features include a rearview camera, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and others. There are a number of optional safety features including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking (city), lane departure warning and prevention, blind spot detection, and rear cross traffic detection.

    Warranty

    The Cruze basic warranty is 3 year/36,000 miles, its Powertrain warranty is 5 year/60,000 miles, its Rust through warranty is 5 year/100,000 miles, and Roadside aid is 5 year/60,000 miles.

    The Verdict

    All of the cars we reviewed are among the most efficient cars available today, so you can't go wrong there. If cost is your only consideration, then the Chevy Cruze is probably for you. It gets good gas mileage, especially for the money and the relative stability of diesel prices.

    But if you prefer a more environment-friendly car or one that is large and luxurious with lots of bells and whistles, then consider the Toyota Avalon Hybrid. It is truly a beautiful vehicle. The Hyundai Ioniq, is reasonably priced and offers Apple Play™ and Android Auto™ compatibility. So if those particular features are important to you, be sure to investigate that car.

    You may notice that of the 10 vehicles that we reviewed, four were made by Toyota. The Toyota Prius was first sold in the year 2000 and has had four major re-designs. Toyota was at the forefront of fuel efficiency, and they continue to improve. For an excellent vehicle for your money, the Prius will not disappoint.
     

    plant

    Environmental Degradation: What We Are Doing To The Environment

    The "environment" refers to the surroundings or conditions in which an organism resides. This includes the climate, the land, natural resources, flora and fauna. Over the past few decades, we have heard the term environmental degradation used over and over again: something that was not really talked about in the last century.

    The current era--also known as Anthropocene--is a geological period in the history of the earth when mankind has had the most significant impact on the environment. Scientists believe that in the last 50 years alone, the stress on the environment has doubled, while the amount of resources required for human survival have declined by more than 30%.

    The environment that we live in has a natural uninterrupted climate and resource cycle that has been operating for millenniums without halting. Recently though, man-kind has interrupted and disrupted this natural cycle in a big way. Research shows that many hydrologic, geologic, atmospheric, and biospheric systems of the earth have been altered by humans. The collapse of the natural balance of the environment due to man-made activities is what we know today as environmental degradation.

    What Is Environmental Degradation

    Disintegration of Natural Assets

    The earth is a vast store of natural resources like land, water, air, fossil fuels, and plants that serve many purposes. These resources have been around for years and regenerate themselves from time to time. Every natural resource has its own place, temperature, area and path of movement, be it rain water, polar ice, desert sand, minerals, or animal species.

    Extensive interference by man in the natural cycle of these resources has put a spoke in the wheel of the planet’s recurring systems, leading to climate changes and problems like soil erosion, a rise in sea levels, pollution, and the extinction of various plant and animal species.

    Environmental degradation does not occur in an isolated system but across all spheres on the earth. Water bodies are dirty and marine life is affected due to garbage dumping, fishing trawlers, oil spills, and soil erosion. This in turn renders all water reserves unhealthy and reduces the volume of potable water. The various modes of transport on land, sea and air pollute every layer of the atmosphere. Excessive agricultural practices spoil the land, resulting in poisonous crops. Environmental degradation ultimately causes more and more health problems for people everywhere.

    A Serious Threat

    The environment is a complex cluster of different ecosystems that are inter-dependent. When one ecosystem fails, there is a ripple effect all across the systems, resulting in the breakdown of other ecosystems as well. Environmental degradation is considered one of the gravest issues for the world today. Every country is trying its best to control the harm being caused to the environment and reverse some of the negative effects of it.

    Scientists believe that human overpopulation and overconsumption has led to the extinction of numerous animal species, a phenomenon they are calling ‘the 6th extinction’ and which may very well result in a worldwide biological annihilation.

    Is There a Need To Understand Environmental Degradation?

    trash around empty trash bin

    Deteriorating Living Conditions

    The habitat in which we live is no longer healthy. The air, water, and soil are polluted due to industrial effluents and inadequate sewage treatment. To produce crops in large quantities, pesticides and artificial fertilizers are used, which decreases the volume of arable land over time and also renders food unhealthy. These fertilizers and pesticides get into the water system of a region and pollute it. This in turn contaminates the drinking water. Large-scale deforestation and land clearing has led to silting of rivers and extinction of many animal species that were an indispensable part of the food chain.

    In order to reverse the pernicious effects on climate, it is necessary to understand what environmental degradation is and what causes it. Only when there is large-scale awareness of the causes and consequences of climate deterioration to mankind, will different agencies be able to find solutions to combat it.

    Small Actions Have a Large Impact

    Another reason why it is extremely important to understand environmental degradation and its causes is to so we can reduce acts of pollution that go unnoticed but have a great impact on the climate. There are numerous daily activities we believe don’t make a big difference. But when one family adds to pollution with this belief in mind, we cannot forget that there will be millions of families who feel the same way and go about destroying the environment one day at a time.

    If everyone is aware of the waste they leave on the planet and the resources they expend, it will be easier to reduce the same and build a better habitat. Large scale afforestation, promoting the use of solar energy, recycling, the segregation of garbage, and a ban on plastic uses are some global measures climate agencies are harping on to slow down environmental degradation. But all of these measures must be put into place at the local household level in order to bring about results on a massive scale.

    Information On Environmental Degradation

    water pollution

    Population Control

    The planet we live on provides us with resources that help sustain human and animal life on earth. It has taken many years for these resources to form in quantities enough for a particular size of population. Unless population explosion is brought under control, the resources that have already taken years to get replenished will deplete at an alarming rate and no conservation measures will suffice.

    International Organizations for Climate Conservation

    Various groups at governmental and non-governmental level are working to find sustainable solutions to climate change, scarcity of resources, and deterioration of living conditions across cities. The United Nations Environment Program addresses serious climate issues of different countries through its key bodies like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

    Environmental organizations like Greenpeace, Worldwide Fund for Nature, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency also actively take part in conservation and awareness programs to counter environmental degradation.

    Economic Effects

    air pollution

    Environmental degradation is largely caused by economic development. The mechanization of work, industrialization across sectors, new modes of transport and sprawling urbanization is causing more stress on the environment in the form of increased pollution, felling of tress, or exploitation of ground water. Courses of rivers are erratic and soil erosion is increasing, causing roadblocks in irrigation projects. Oil spills are extremely tough to clean and cause a lot of damage to marine life.

    At the same time, more economic resources are required to deal with the consequences of climate change. Natural calamities induced by man-made activities, like floods and fires, are increasing in number. In such emergencies, large amounts of capital are needed for rescue and relief efforts, rehabilitation of affected people, and rebuilding of infrastructure. Hence, a progressive economy is causing environmental degradation as well as bearing the brunt of it.

    Social Impact

    crops

    Environmental degradation greatly affects the lives of people. Many places face untimely rains, cyclones, or drought conditions and ruined crops or harvest which in turn affects the income of the people. Rising pollution and smog levels cause grave health conditions and respiratory illnesses, especially in children and senior citizens. Increased smog levels are often a major cause for accidents.

    Conservation Efforts

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a global convention with the aim of limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The Paris Agreement (one of the most significant agreements in recent times) under the UNFCCC was adopted in December 2015 and is to date ratified by 181 parties out of the 197 parties to the convention. The main aim of this agreement is for all countries to ensure that the increase in global temperature is restricted to below 2 degrees in the current century. This should be accompanied by conservation and enhancement of GHG (greenhouse gas) sinks and reservoirs everywhere.

    Conclusion

    people protesting

    Many agencies have taken up the task of searching for earthly resources on other planets or sustainable options on earth. This is an expensive endeavor in itself. But even if alternatives are found, no environment can stand up to the excessive exploitation of natural assets. Human activities have ruffled natural climate systems so much that we now need artificially created cycles like cloud seeding to bring rainfall.

    Unsustainable practices and abuse of renewable resources costs a lot. The global economy, health, as well as community living is under threat and can come to an end if viable ecological solutions are not put into place. And because climate change has been set in motion a while back, it will take some time before it comes to a halt or even reduces considerably.

    Even if all unwanted emissions stop completely today, the effects of the same will continue for centuries due to the cumulative impact of all the emissions that are already present in the atmosphere for so many years. It is late, but slowing down the environmental degradation that is affecting every organism across the various ecosystems is crucial for a healthy, sustainable habitat for the coming generations.

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    Environmental Engineering Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

    Environmental engineering jobs are part of the first line of defense against environmental issues such as pollution, climate change, drinking water safety, and environmental sustainability. Environmental engineers serve an important role as protectors of the environment, providers of solutions to environmental problems, and advisors to those in business and government. Let’s learn more about the role they play in the environmental issues affecting our communities.

    What Is an Environmental Engineer?

    environmental engineer

    Environmental engineers use their knowledge about soil science, biology, chemistry, and engineering to solve environmental issues. An environmental engineer works to prohibit, regulate, or reverse environmental damage. They can address issues such as soil, water, and air pollution. They also can solve public health and waste disposal concerns. Finally, they can improve recycling programs. Being an advocate for the environment is only part of the job. An environmental engineer must also know government regulations and how to meet them, all while keeping within a budget and the time constraints of a particular project. An important aspect of the job is analyzing samples and designing treatment for soil, water, and air. A company may hire an environmental engineer as a consultant to help ensure that their project is meeting all required environmental regulations.

    What Types of Skills Are Required for Environmental Engineering Jobs?

    man  writing on the screen

    Environmental engineering jobs require a practical knowledge of regulations. Environmental engineers must be able to be creative in order to problem solve issues with air, soil, and water. They must be able to manage waste and control pollution. Environmental engineering jobs require the use of technology to monitor environmental concerns. Environmental engineers must also know how to apply for permits and maintain plans for projects.

    Where Does an Environmental Engineer Work?

    man and woman in the river taking some water sample

    If an environmental engineer is working on planning and permitting, such as when they do urban and regional planning work, they may be in an office environment. When they work with business, industry, or lawyers, they may be at seminars or meetings presenting their findings. They may also need to be on site to evaluate environmental concerns, which requires being outdoors. Travel may be required for environmental engineering jobs as part of meeting with governmental leaders, business developers, scientists, and lawyers. Sometimes, they must travel to work sites to oversee the cleanup of contamination.

    Who Employs Environmental Engineers?

    man and women talking reading in the sheet

    According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the largest providers of environmental engineering jobs.

    • Engineering Services: 25%
    • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: 20%
    • State government (excludes education and hospitals): 15%
    • Local government (excludes education and hospitals): 9%
    • Federal government (excludes postal service): 6% (1)

    Typical Tasks Required in Environmental Engineering Jobs

    tasks

    Below are some duties of an environmental engineer.

    • Design environmental protection plans
    • Obtain permits
    • Prepare reports
    • Develop and maintain plans and procedures
    • Give subject-matter expert support for environmental remediation projects and legal actions
    • Review scientific data
    • Make quality control checks
    • Inspect facilities to ensure compliance with regulations
    • Assist private and governmental representatives in environmental cleanup projects
    • Evaluate environmental programs
    • Prepare studies

    Environmental engineers may prepare studies on the effects of hazardous materials in the environment. They may be asked to provide solutions for treating, containing, or removing these hazards. Part of their job may be designing a wastewater treatment facility. Others may evaluate the impact of construction projects on the environment.

    What Kind of Schedule Do Environmental Engineers Work?  

    schedule

    Most people in this field work full time. About 20% of environmental engineers say they worked more than 40 hours a week in 2016. Working in this field requires management of projects and deadlines. It can also require troubleshooting issues that arise, requiring more than the standard 40-hour schedule.

    How to Become an Environmental Engineer

    owl in a branch

    A bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering is a standard career path to environmental engineering jobs. Degrees in mechanical, civil, chemical, or general engineering can also be desirable in this career. Many employers prefer practical experience for their prospects. If you can participate in a cooperative engineering program, which provides college credit for work in the field, you should take that opportunity.

    Some educational institutions offer joint bachelor’s and master’s degrees with completion in five years. Some colleges and universities allow those with a graduate degree to instruct or do research at their institutions. Some employers prefer a master’s to a bachelor’s degree, depending upon the position. If you are interested in becoming a consultant, a master’s degree is usually recommended.

    Licenses

    Licenses

    Many employers prefer that environmental engineer candidates graduate from a program that is accredited by an organization called ABET. ABET stands for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. A degree from an ABET program is generally required to become a licensed and professional engineer. However, most entry-level positions do not require immediate licensure.

    An environmental engineer can obtain a Professional Engineering (PE) license. This lets the engineer take on greater responsibilities such as managing and reviewing the work of other engineers, approving projects, and working directly with the public. Most states require the following milestones to be met for a PE license.

    • A degree from an ABET-accredited program
    • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test
    • Pertinent work experience (usually at least four years)
    • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) test

    After a bachelor’s degree is earned, you can choose to take the FE test. If you pass, you are designated as an engineer in training (EIT) or engineer intern (EI). After the work experience requirement is met, EITs and EIs can take the PE test. Each state has its own requirements for licensing. Some states recognize requirements from other states. Many states require continuing education as a requirement for maintaining a license.

    Certifications

    Certifications

    After you obtain your license, environmental engineers can acquire a board certification. This certification is issued by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. It designates the recipient as an expert in one or more specialty areas of study.

    What Classes Should I Take in High School?

    What Classes Should I Take in High School?

    If you are interested in pursuing environmental engineering jobs, you should focus on math and science. Specifically, focus on science classes such as biology, chemistry, and physics. In mathematics, concentrate on algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. High school students can also enroll in engineering summer camps to help them identify important classes and skills needed for this area of study.

    What Are Some Important Characteristics of Environmental Engineers?

    characteristics

    Here are some traits that are important to those entering the environmental engineering field:

    Ability to Find Solutions

    Ability to Find Solutions

    Environmental engineers face issues where they need to multi-task and problem solve. For example, they need to consider the safety of workers on the job site, along with the protection of the surrounding environment. The must forsee issues ahead of time when planning facilities. They must also propose and execute solutions to problems to be successful.

    Creativity

    Creativity

    Environmental engineers must see how systems they design are part of a bigger picture. They must visualize how planned designs will work as part of a larger system which may include people, equipment, and the environment itself.

    People Skills

    People Skills

    Those in environmental engineering jobs must work in a team toward a shared objective. They may work with a diverse group including technicians, scientists, lawyers, business people, and government representatives.

    Reading and Comprehension

    Reading and Comprehension

    In working with business people, lawyers, and others, those in environmental engineering jobs may be asked to review documents outside their breadth of study.

    Writing

    Writing

    Environmental engineers are expected to be competent writers of reports, plans, proposals, and specifications. Because they do work with many people who are not themselves engineers, they must write clearly and concisely so that those outside their field may understand.

    Availability, Salary, and Future Environmental Engineering Jobs Outlook

    map

    According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in May 2017 for environmental engineer jobs is $86,800. The number of jobs in 2016 was 53,800, with a ten-year job outlook of 8%. This is considered an average growth rate with about 4,400 new jobs created.

    Job Satisfaction

    cartoon representation a man sitting with books at his side

    Part of choosing a career for many is doing something that makes you happy. According to U.S. News, here is how those with environmental engineering jobs rate their job satisfaction.

    • Upward Mobility: above average
    • Stress level: average
    • Flexibility: average

    In addition, CNN Money listed B ratings in the categories of “personal satisfaction” and “benefit to society” for environmental engineers.

    Career Outlook

    Career Outlook

    The concern about water usage and safety is a driving factor in the growth of the environmental engineering career outlook. Many government agencies, including those at the state and local levels, require environmental engineers for wastewater treatment and tasks to deal with water efficiency. In regions of the United States where drilling for shale gas is occurring, the treatment and disposal of wastewater produced as a result of drilling is of special concern.

    In addition, environmental engineers can work with local utility companies, advising them how to comply with regulations. An example of this situation would be an environmental engineer giving guidance to a coal-burning power plant regarding emissions.

    Conclusion

    Conclusion

    Environmental engineering jobs are essential for the environment and its future. Although some people think of them as environmentalists, environmental engineers are multi-faceted. An environmental engineer can protect the environment through planning a complex system, through remediating a hazardous spill, or by advising others on how to meet the regulations set forth by the government.

    glass ball

    Environmental Science Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

    In today's world with its growing concerns about climate change and sustainable development, environmental scientists are in great demand. Environmental scientists can have many roles in both public and private sector companies, so there are many types of environmental science jobs available. Environmental science jobs are available in a range of geographical locations and can include fieldwork, office work, or a combination of both.

    As awareness and concern about environmental issues increases, the number of environmental science jobs available will continue to grow, making environmental science a rewarding field with considerable growth potential.

    What Is an Environmental Scientist?

    Laboratory staff

    Environmental scientists apply their skills and knowledge to allow for a better understanding of the environment, to identify current and future environmental issues, and to address those environmental issues.  While the specific education and training of environmental scientists vary, environmental scientists share a number of characteristics in addition to their love of the environment. Some of these characteristics are curiosity, the ability to analyze and interpret data, and excellent written and verbal communication skills. There is a broad range of environmental science jobs. Some environmental scientists are employed under that title while others work in more specialized jobs within the environmental science jobs umbrella. Examples of these specialized jobs include those of environmental engineers, environmental biologists, and environmental geologists. There are also other professions that can be combined with environmental science as with positions in the field of environmental law. 

    Environmental scientists work in a variety of settings and with people in many different professions. Environmental science jobs can be office-based, field-based, or some combination of the two. Because of the importance of environmental health, environmental scientists may work with professionals of many kinds. It is not uncommon for environmental scientists to work with corporations in a wide variety of industries, with government officials or programs, or with nonprofit agencies.

    Education & Certification Needed for Environmental Science Jobs

    Because there is no one job description for an environmental scientist, there is no single education and certification path. For most entry-level environmental science jobs, a bachelor's degree in environmental science or a closely related field is required. Computer skills relating to geography such as digital mapping, remote sensing, and geographic information systems are in high demand. Additionally, computer skills like data manipulation and computer modeling are quite valuable for an environmental scientist. 

    checking the microscope

    Some environmental sciences jobs require more comprehensive or more specific education and certification. Because of the vast scope of the potential jobs available to environmental scientists, getting a double major, with the second major in an area of study that closely relates to the kind of work you'd like to do as an environmental scientist, can greatly increase your chances of getting the environmental science job you're most interested in. Though some positions do require a master's degree, doctoral degrees in environmental science are generally only required for teaching positions or for select research positions.

    In areas where environmental science and another field overlap, training in both fields could be necessary. Environmental law jobs may require that, in addition to completing an environmental studies degree, a potential candidate also be able to practice law. For many environmental scientists who work primarily within corporate environments, additional degrees or certification in finance or business management may prove invaluable.

    Environmental Science Job Availability, Salary, and More

    There are many different types of environmental science jobs available. Though all of these jobs do share some qualities, there will be variance between different environmental science jobs when it comes to the specific focus, job duties, educational requirements, and salary

    ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST

    checking the microscope

    Environmental Scientist Job Description

    Environmental scientists could be responsible for many different job duties. One environmental scientist might conduct experiments in waterways to better understand the potential impact of a toxic spill. Another environmental scientist might gather data and create maps to illustrate how different environmental factors, like air pollution or water quality, change over time. A third environmental scientist might study the interaction of people with certain aspects of their environment, like wildlife. These are only a handful of many options.

    Environmental Scientist Education

    Environmental scientists typically have a bachelor's degree in environmental science or environmental studies.  

    Environmental Scientist Salary and Job Outlook

    As of 2015, the median wage for environmental scientists was roughly $67,000 annually. The job market for environmental scientists has been projected to increase by about eleven percent between 2014 and 2024.

    ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER

    filling a container

    Environmental Engineer Job Description

    Environmental engineers use their knowledge and skills to address environmental issues and concerns. Environmental engineering has many potential applications. Environmental engineers could be involved in the creation and updating of reports, project development, and implementation, the analysis, and interpretation of data, or consulting work.

    The job duties of an environmental engineer vary based both on the local environmental concerns and the skills of the environmental engineer. Some possible jobs for environmental engineers include finding innovative ways to reduce waste, assisting in the planning and permitting process for a construction project, or consulting in regard to how air pollution impacts human health and safety. Some environmental engineers work primarily in an office setting while others spend much of their time in the field.

    Environmental Engineer Education

    Environmental engineers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering, or in another related engineering field like civil engineering. This field highly values hands-on experience, so internships and cooperative programs that allow work for college credit will help you to be more competitive when applying for environmental science jobs of this nature.

    Environmental Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

    As of 2012, the median wage for environmental engineers was roughly $81,000 annually. Those with federal government environmental engineering jobs earned roughly $98,000 annually during the same time period. The job market for environmental engineers has been projected to increase by about fifteen percent between 2011 and 2022.

    ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGIST

    plant tissue culture in a glass container

    Environmental Biologist Job Description

    Environmental biologists work with such aspects of environmental science as ecological conservation, land and water specialization, and landscape analysis and management. This kind of environmental science focuses heavily on associated disciplines of biology and zoology.

    Environmental Biologist Education

    Environmental scientists might get degrees relating to environmental design, ecology, and conservation. Landscape architects, for example, pursue degrees in environmental design and architecture.

    Environmental Biologist Salary and Job Outlook

    Environmental biologists can make varying salaries depending on their career path. The median salary for a landscape architect was roughly $63,000 in 2015. In 2012, the median salary for a conservation scientist was roughly $59,000 annually. Demand for environmental biologists is expected to continue to increase.

    ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGIST

    at the table checking rock sample

    Environmental Geologist Job Description

    Environmental geologists focus on soil and water. In this category of environmental science jobs, the scope of work could include monitoring soil and water quality, as well as developing, implementing, or evaluating plans for the protection or remediation of soil and water resources.

    Environmental Geologist Education

    In addition to their environmental knowledge, environmental geologists need a strong foundation in earth sciences. A degree that includes such disciplines as geology or hydrology would be ideal for this field.

    Environmental Geologist Salary and Job Outlook

    The median salary for hydrologists in 2012 was roughly $57,000 annually. The median salary for geoscientists in the same period was roughly $90,000 annually. As with other areas of environmental science jobs, the demand for environmental geologists is predicted to increase.

    Conclusion

    In a world struggling to understand and address the effect of environmental issues, environmental scientists are and will continue to be in demand. Because of the broad range of focus, there are many potential environmental science jobs available. With opportunities to work in the field, in a lab, or in an office, there are environmental science jobs available for people desiring many types of work environments.

    checking lava samples

    Environmental scientists are needed to gather and analyze data so that our current environmental condition is better known so that we can see how the environmental condition has changed over time, and so that we might predict how the environment will change in the future. Environmental scientists are also needed to develop, implement, and analyze programs for environmental conservation and remediation. In addition, environmental scientists serve as valuable consultants regarding both government policy and human health and safety.

    When preparing for a career in the environmental sciences, consider a specialized degree, like environmental engineering, or a dual major, for example, a dual major in environmental studies and biology. You can also choose to get a degree in environmental studies while also earning degrees or certifications in another discipline, for example, both earning an environmental science degree and becoming a lawyer.  

    Whatever your choice as far as an educational path, take advantage of any opportunities you have to learn additional skills and get hands-on experience. Consider taking courses to increase your computer skills, your technical writing skills, or your communication skills. If you are able to take advantage of internships or programs that allow you to gain college credit for hours worked that experience will give you a valuable edge in the application process.

    solar panel

    Should I Consider Using Flexible Solar Panels?

    Solar panels can be used for renewable energy since they harness the sun's energy to generate power that can run industries or a home's equipment and lighting. The use of solar panels supplements energy needs, and thus provides an opportunity for homeowners to save on energy costs. The technology is advancing rapidly each year and new developments, such as flexible solar panels, are constantly being released and improved upon.

    Whether it is powering the Tesla Gigafactory or providing a reading light in your own living room, solar energy saves money for energy consumers. New flexible solar panels represent a great advancement in renewable energy. But, what are flexible solar panels? This article will walk you through the basics and benefits of flexible solar panels.

    What Are Flexible Solar Panels?

    silicon wafers

    Standard polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels are typically made of silicon wafers. They are about 200 micrometers thick, which is slightly thicker than a human hair.

    To make a “flexible” solar panel, engineers would have to slice the silicon wafers to just a few micrometers. This then would enable the wafers to be ultra-thin, giving solar panels the uniquely convenient property of being flexible.

    Flexible solar panels have been around for a while, but they were limited in their flexibility because of the brittleness of conventional electrodes used within the panels. Recently, MIT researchers developed a new method for making the solar panels, and it represented a giant leap in the technology.

    Instead of trying to slice down traditional silicon for their solar panel electrodes, MIT researchers found a way they could instead use organic solar cells for graphene electrodes. Graphene is transparent and flexible, meaning it can be used to develop thinner, more stable and flexible solar panels than the ones we used previously.


    Thin Film Solar Panels

    Current flexible solar panels that most homeowners can get their hands on fall under the category of “thin film panels.”

    A thin film solar panel consists of layers over 300 times smaller than standard silicon solar panels. This makes them thinner and can even make the panels somewhat flexible. They are also lightweight and durable, making them an intriguing option for supplying energy for different needs.

    THIN FILM SOLAR PANELS

    Although more flexible and suitable for certain projects, the flexible solar panels have a lower efficiency in converting solar energy into useable power than rigid silicon-based panels. This, perhaps, is the most common obstacle faced by the product when it is compared to classic solar panels.

    The efficiency rating for the average polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panel is about 14-17%. For thin solar panels, the efficiency is reduced slightly to between 11% and 13%.

    The lower efficiency of the flexible panels implies you will need more of them to produce the same amount of energy as traditional solar panels. This can be a barrier to some solar projects, particularly those with limited roof space for installation. Another downside is that they are not a good fit for many home rooftop solar projects, because there may not be enough roof space to produce the desired amount of energy.

    If you have ample space or are just looking for a supplemental energy production boost, then we feel the just slightly lower efficiency can be overlooked — especially when you consider how many benefits these flexible panels yield.


    Uses

    Flexible solar panels can be used in virtually all applications that one could use conventional panels. You can use them for:

    • Low-cost, off-grid PV systems for cabins and homes
    • Their portability makes them useful on-the-go for boats, RVs, autos, etc.
    • Can be used to charge solar batteries
    • Technology can be incorporated into new solar energy consumer products

    Benefits of Flexible Solar Panels

    satellite

    The main benefit of a flexible solar panel is its versatility and ability to fit many types of solar projects. For instance, if your home's roof cannot bear the heavy load of traditional solar panels because of structural concerns, then lightweight flexible panels are your solution. Flexible solar panels will not compromise the structural integrity of your home as they can be shaped to fit the surface. They can even be installed easily on unconventional structures, such as carports.

    From a financial standpoint, flexible solar panels require less labor to install, so your cost of installation is likely to be less than it would be if you had used the typically heavy and bulky classic panels that require heavy-duty roof mounting systems.

    The lightweight and versatile nature of these panels make them portable, which is beneficial during transportation. The flexible panels can also be folded and rolled, something that is impossible for conventional, rigid solar panels.

    Typically, solar panels are manufactured using printing machines that capitalize on the roll-to-roll method. This enables rapid, mass production. Manufacturing flexible panels is affordable compared to conventional solar panels. Besides, the material consumption is low and is recyclable after the life cycle ends. The market for organic solar panels is developing. It is expected that the operational life cycle of solar panels in a few years will support many applications.

    Due to their portability and durability, the flexible solar panels are best for smaller solar projects where they may experience wear and tear that would otherwise not occur on stationary roofs. Their durability and reduced weight make them a perfect fit for smaller, mobile solar projects that do not need large amounts of energy, such as on boats or RVs.

    Why Should I Consider Using Flexible Solar Panels?

    solar panel and mobile phone

    Amazon.com sells many types of flexible solar panels at different prices. Ask yourself if you could benefit from a flexible solar panel based on your energy needs.

    When shopping for a flexible solar panel that will best serve your purposes, look for value for your money. The performance of the solar panel varies according to the quality of the solar cells used, the material used in laminating them and the rigor of the assembly process.

    The following are four things you must consider before purchasing a flexible solar panel:

    • Shorter lifespans
    • Quality and efficiency
    • Product knowledge
    • Durability


    Shorter Lifespans

    Flexible panels have a shorter lifespan than traditional panels. If you need a solar panel that will last a very long time, then the flexible panel may not be your best option. In fact, many of the low-quality flexible solar panels currently on the market will only 1-3 years. Aside from that, the retailer may offer no warranty.

    One decisive factor in determining the lifespan of a flexible solar panel is to check its coating material, which is mostly the preferred ETFE (fluorine-based polymer) or less-preferred PET (polyester-based plastic.) PET-laminated panels are expected to last for 5 years, while ETFE can last up to a decade.


    Quality and Efficiency

    Sunpower’s Maxeon multi-layered cell technology is the best quality solar cell available in the market. It has an efficiency of up to 24.3%, which means the product can provide 35% more power than conventional cells.

    Conventional cells have exposed metal components that can be vulnerable to corrosion. This might be an issue to consider, especially if your home is near salt water. If you are close to a marine environment, then it is best to consider alternative energy sources. If you want energy efficiency, then flexible solar panels are not the best option.


    Product Knowledge

    If you are looking for a flexible solar panel that is an inexpensive method for charging your tablet or phone, go for the PET-laminated panels. While the efficiency is 24%, remember you will get less value for more energy-efficient cells.

    If you are looking for a flexible solar panel for camping, your RV, your boat, your refrigerator, battery, engine starter or the like, then choose ETSE-laminated panels. They are waterproof, fire-resistant, reliable and durable.


    Durability

    To ensure that your flexible solar panel has a long lifespan, you need to purchase quality panels from the start. You need to know the materials used in producing the panel. Do a little research first.

    Do not buy a solar panel that has any physical damage, such as cracks or scratches, as these will reduce the lifespan and durability of the panel.

    Additionally, you'll get more use and life out of your solar panel if you regularly clean it for optimal performance. Do not let dust or dirt accumulate, because these components can cause damage to your panel.

    And, if you are traveling and do not need to use your flexible solar panel, then it is best to use a protective cover to extend its lifespan.

    Conclusion

    solar panels

    Solar panels are made of silicon wafers sliced down to just a few micrometers wide. This makes them ultra-thin and flexible. Flexible solar panels are being improved in drastically in the near future by MIT researchers, who have discovered the applications of organic solar cells for graphene electrodes. These organic solar cell electrodes will lead to panels that are even thinner, more stable and flexible than ever before.

    Current flexible solar panels fall under the category of “thin-film panels,” and are 300 times smaller than standard silicon solar panels, making them more flexible, lightweight and durable. Flexible solar panels fit many types of solar projects, such as supplying power to RVs or boats, or even charging batteries or your phone.

    A flexible solar panel, which is less costly to install than traditional panels, will not compromise the structural integrity of your home. They are lightweight and versatile, making them highly portable and useful during trips. Manufacturing flexible panels is affordable compared to conventional solar panels, and the material used is recyclable after the lifespan of the panel is complete.

    Before buying a solar panel, you need to consider the durability, cells used, quality and efficiency, lamination used and how to improve durability.

    installing solar panel

    The Future of Solar Energy: How Far Can It Take Us?

    With the rises in population, urbanization, and commercialization that are occurring, the need for viable renewable energy resources is also rising. Depletion of natural resources is quite a considerable threat to the sustenance of life as we know it.  Solar energy is a landmark in the advancement of the technology that lets us harness the energy from the sun, which we receive in the form of radiation and harness to produce useful energy resources such as electricity.

    The future of solar energy is becoming increasingly bright, as it is like a whole treasure of renewable energy resources just waiting to be harnessed.

    Studies show that the amount of solar radiation that the earth receives in merely an hour from the sun is more than enough to fuel our global energy needs for almost a year. The future is unpredictable but, given the current trends of solar energy usage and many scientific research studies that have been conducted, solar energy seems like the best answer to our energy resource woes. Let us take a look into the future of solar energy.


    What Is the Future of Solar Energy?

    light bulb

    Solar energy is the energy received from the sun’s radiation, which is then harnessed to make it usable. It is expected to play a vital role in the future energy landscape. This is made possible by photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are commonly used in solar panels, calculators, spacecraft, and other energy-consuming items. These PV cells are made of a type of semi-conductor material, which displays the ‘photovoltaic’ effect. When sunlight hits these PV cells, the photons in sunlight activate the electrons in PV cells and knock them out of their atoms, thus causing them to flow freely through the cell and generate electricity.

    In addition, there are large-scale solar-thermal power plants that use technology to concentrate the solar energy to form a strong heat source. This heat is used to boil water, which then drives a steam turbine to generate electricity. This method can be used to provide electricity to thousands of people. In addition, generating electricity by harnessing solar energy emits no carbon dioxide (CO2), which further makes it a sustainable and extremely environmentally friendly choice.

    Here we have just scraped the surface, but the possibilities for harnessing solar energy to fulfill our regular electricity needs are immense. The future of solar energy looks bright... literally!


    What Are Some Benefits of Solar Power?

    Electric Posts

    Currently, the actual usage of solar electricity is a nominal 2 percent of the total electricity generation in the United States, even though the potential has been available to reach a minimum of 40%. The future of solar energy and how we harness it depends on several factors which can boost the efficiency of solar panels. Solar energy should become one of the mainstream choices for global electricity needs.


    Advanced Technology & Changing Materials

    Generous government subsidies for solar energy will fuel the global expansion of solar panel production and use. These subsidies can help in funding for research and development. This can also help experts work further toward the improvement of stability and efficiency of solar panels while reducing their cost of production.


    Perovskite

    There is a possibility that perovskite (a mineral discovered in the 19th century) will replace crystalline silicon in solar cells. Perovskite not only enhances the efficiency of solar cells but also eases the manufacturing process. The only drawback is its durability, which is yet to match the durability of the historically used crystalline silicon, but the future possibilities are very exciting.


    Recycle & Recover

    The materials that go into making solar panels are the same set of rare-earth elements that are used by manufacturers of laptops, cell phones, electric vehicles, etc. With the global reserves of such materials constantly shrinking, the future of solar energy is also highly dependent on how these tech giants react to the age-long attempts of solar panel manufacturers to use substitutes like iron pyrite or zinc for production of such high-end devices and gadgets. 

    One key consideration: Unless these companies focus on improving their processes for recycling metals and recovery systems, powerful and efficient solar panel recycling infrastructure will remain nothing but a distant dream.


    Growth in Usage

    Solar energy accounts for just one percent of global electricity production, but facts and research states that this number will see an exponential rise to 16% by 2050. Use of rooftop solar panels will increase remarkably with time, but analysts’ state that the game-changing expansion will happen in the utility scale.


    Cost-Efficiency

    Changing economies, more availability, and reduced costs for the materials used will likely bring down the price of solar panels largely in the near future. Analysts have tentatively forecast a price drop of about 17% is expected between 2018 and 2022. 

    Some places in the USA and a few other nations around the world have already been able to achieve grid parity. This means that the cost of harnessing solar energy for electricity is now equal to or lower than purchasing energy from the grid. Even though improvements in solar manufacturing are highly responsible for the price drop across the industry, the steadily increasing number of solar panel installations and financial initiatives to make ends meet are also equally involved in bringing down the cost.


    What Are Some Benefits of Solar Power?

    Here are some of the most important reasons to keep developing solar power:

    • Solar energy comes from a natural source and is both sustainable and renewable, which means we will never run out of it
    • Solar panels require minimal maintenance once you have installed the panels and the panels are working at maximum efficiency
    • Only nominal maintenance work is required each year, which means lower costs overall
    • Zero emissions add to the benefits of solar power generation and makes it a sustainable and environment-friendly option
    • While PV cells convert sunlight to usable energy, there is absolutely no noise from the PV panel
    • Constant advancements in solar energy harnessing technology are gradually reducing the cost of production
    • The efficiency of solar panels is steadily improving, making the future of solar energy even more cost-effective


    Future Solar Products and Uses

    solar panel

     

    Revamped Solar Panels

    Solar panels as we know and commonly see them now might not be quite the same a few years down the line. Researchers and scientists are coming up with new alterations and up gradations all the time aimed to enhance and improve their efficiency. Michigan State University-based researchers have developed a prototype for transparent (or clear) solar panels that can be used in various places like buildings, commercial spaces, vehicles, and even cell phones.

    The scope of application might be immense for clear solar panels. But since this technology is still in its infancy, the efficiency is a mere 5% compared to the 15% efficiency of traditional solar panels we have today. It might take a few more years to increase the efficiency of these panels, and then they may really become the game-changer in taking solar energy into the mainstream.


    Solar Shingles

    Solar shingles are a recently developed type of black- and blue-colored panels that might take the industry by storm. These look like the usual roof shingles we often see, but they are equipped with solar cells. When connected in a series, these cells generate a similar amount of electricity to a same-sized, conventional solar panel. Many companies and technology giants are penetrating the solar shingle market with an expectation of taking this technology to people sceptical about installing huge, clunky solar panels on their roofs.

    Transparent solar panels and solar shingles are advancements in this field that could change the landscape of the solar panel market globally and make it mainstream.


    Microgrids

    Microgrids (another name for "decentralized electricity production setup") are also a part of the future of solar energy. These are effective in powering up a limited area like a village or a neighborhood. This makes microgrids an ideal medium to bring expansion on a global scale and ensure the power and utility of solar energy spreads to developing countries where harnessing energy to produce electricity is of the utmost importance. Such places, which were otherwise off the grid due to the expenses, can readily be a part of this expansion. That is the most exciting thing microgrids have to offer.


    Conclusion

    house

    The use of solar panels and PV cells is steadily increasing in both urban and rural regions globally. We have just scratched the surface of the benefits and necessity of harnessing solar energy, and it is only a matter of time before solar energy can be used to power up the world.

    With the raging battle against worsening climate change, the need for a renewable source of energy is huge and pressing. Solar energy can be a saving grace and play a major role in the mitigation of climate change all around the world. It is clean, environment friendly, efficient, highly sustainable, and renewable. With more advancements in research to come in this industry, a solar-powered world might be right around the corner.