The fuel is made from recycled cooking oils.
The company struck a deal with Phillips 66 Limited, which will produce thousands of tons of sustainable jet fuel that the airline will begin to use for commercial flights in early 2022.
“This agreement marks another important step on our journey to net zero carbon emissions and forms part of our commitment, as part of International Airlines Group, to power 10% of flights with SAF by 2030,” British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive Sean Doyle said in the announcement.
British Airways will become the first airline in the world to use sustainable aviation fuel produced in the UK after signing a multi-year agreement with @Phillips66Cohttps://mediacentre.britishairways.com/news/03122021/british-airways-and-phillips-66-agree-first-ever-uk-produced-sustainable-aviation-fuel-supply\u00a0\u2026— British Airways (@British Airways) 1638523189
Sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, is a type of fuel made from vegetable oil, fats and greases, The Hill explained. It is growing in popularity among major airlines as they attempt to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, global aviation is responsible for 3.5 percent of human-caused climate change. However, more and more airlines are experimenting with alternatives to fossil fuels.
Southwest Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding with Phillips 66 in April to work towards the commercialization of SAF, according to The Hill, and United flew the first passenger flight using 100 percent SAF on Wednesday, as Yahoo News reported.
British Airways has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and its new deal with Phillips 66 will help it towards this goal, the airline said. SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 80 percent compared with traditional jet fuel, and British Airways will purchase enough to reduce its emissions by nearly 100,000 tons or to power 700 net zero flights between London and New York on a Boeing 787.
Phillips 66 will be the first company to produce SAF at a commercial scale in the UK at its Humber Refinery near Immingham in North Lincolnshire.
“The Humber Refinery was the first in the UK to co-process waste oils to produce renewable fuels and now we will be the first to produce SAF at scale, and we are delighted British Airways is our first UK customer,” Humber Refinery General Manager Darren Cunningham, who is also the lead executive for Phillips 66 in the UK, said in the press announcement. “We’re currently refining almost half a million litres of sustainable waste feedstocks a day, and this is just a start. Markets for lower-carbon products are growing, and this agreement demonstrates our ability to supply them.”
Airlines are hoping to use SAF to reduce their emissions as they ultimately transition to electric flights, according to Yahoo News. Currently, the major barrier to adopting the more climate-friendly fuel is cost and supply. SAF is generally three to four times more expensive than kerosene and therefore not much is currently being produced, Bloomberg Green pointed out. If Delta wanted to power all its flights with SAF for one day, it would use up the entire annual U.S. supply.
Further, biofuels do still release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Their advantage is that they don’t require digging up long-buried fossil fuels but instead use carbon that is already in the system. However, one study found that using SAF made from municipal waste that contains plastic, for example, could actually produce up to twice the emissions of traditional jet fuel.
Because of this, Wizz Air Holdings CEO Jozsef Varadi told Bloomberg Green that it made more sense to invest in zero-emission technologies like electric propulsion or hydrogen.
“I’m not saying that we are anti-SAF or anything like that,” Varadi said. “But I think if you are looking for a long-term solution, you have to decarbonize the engine technology.”
- 7 Travel Tips for an Environmentally-Conscious Vacation - EcoWatch ›
- Old Planes to Be Transformed Into 100-Passenger Electric Planes ... ›
With higher antibiotic resistance, bacteria can make it harder for human immune systems to fight off infections.
Scientists at Rice University's George R. Brown School of Engineering found that microplastics offer a habitat for bacteria, chemical contaminants and genetic materials that give bacteria higher antibiotic resistance. As the plastic particles age, they release chemicals that can make vectors more receptive to horizontal gene transfer. This is how the antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) can then spread.
"We were surprised to discover that microplastic aging enhances horizontal ARG," said Pedro Alvarez, lead author of the study and professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Enhanced dissemination of antibiotic resistance is an overlooked potential impact of microplastics pollution."
The study, published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, found that microplastics ranging in size from 100 nanometers to five micrometers in diameter offer an ideal amount of surface area for trapping microbes, which are then open to horizontal gene transfer as the plastics break down and release depolymerization chemicals. These chemicals weaken bacteria membranes to allow the ARGs to enter and make the microbes more resistant to antibiotics.
The concern is that these microplastics make it possible for bacteria to become more and more antibiotic-resistant, even without the presence of antibiotics.
According to the CDC, more than 2.8 million people in the U.S. alone become infected from antibiotic-resistant germs each year. As bacteria become less likely to die from existing antibiotics, it is harder for scientists and doctors to treat infections and protect public health.
Increasing antibiotic resistance has often been attributed to overusing or misusing antibiotics as directed by health officials. The new study shows that resistance can also flourish without antibiotics present; instead, bacteria can grow stronger against antibiotics and deadlier through pollution.
It’s not the first study to notice a link between antibiotic-resistance and microplastics. Recent research published in June 2021 noted, “Microplastics could be a carrier of ARGs between the environment and animals. Accumulation of pollutants and dense bacterial communities on microplastics provide favorable conditions for higher transfer rate and evolution of ARGs.”
Both the June 2021 study and the study from Rice University warn the horizontal gene transfer of AGTs via microplastics requires further investigation and analysis, especially as humans face increasing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, considered to be one of the most challenging public health threats.
- 10 Simple Ways to Avoid Microplastics in Your Everyday Life ... ›
- Microplastics and Algae Tangle in the Great Lakes - EcoWatch ›
- Babies Are Already Pooping Plastic, Study Finds - EcoWatch ›
From lighting up the night when you return home to boosting security, installing solar flood lights is a great way to invest in your home’s functionality and safety. Solar flood lights harness their energy from the sun and don’t require wiring or electrical work, making installation a breeze even for renters. And thanks to waterproof designs and efficient LEDs, they offer a fix-it-and-forget solution to myriad lighting predicaments.
In this article, we’ll recommend four of the best LED solar flood lights and motion-detector lights on the market today.
Best Solar Flood Lights: Our Recommendations
- Best Overall: AmeriTop Motion-Sensor Lights
- Best Light Bar: TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights
- Best Compact Lights: Kolpop Solar Security Lights
- Best Street-Style Light: RuoKid Solar Street Lights
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks
Best Overall: AmeriTop Motion-Sensor Lights
This high-quality motion-sensing solar flood light from AmeriTop boasts super-bright LEDs for top-notch security. Highly efficient solar panels and LEDs mean lighting whenever and wherever it’s needed, and a 26-foot motion-sensing radius ensures nothing can get close to your house without getting some serious time in the limelight.
- 800-lumen output
- 20% efficient poly solar panels
- 26-foot radius motion sensor
- Wide 270° lighting area
- Automatic on and off
- Adjustable light head and sensor
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panels
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 18,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: "It was exactly what I was looking for. They are easy to install, just the right size and project a lot of light. Love that it is solar.” — Joshua via Amazon
Why Buy: The AmeriTop triple-head outdoor flood light is a robust solution for exterior lighting needs, featuring high-intensity LED bulbs, a quick charge time, a wide flood angle and motion-sensing areas, and IP65 waterproofing. Short of the sun itself, there’s no better solar security floodlight for your home.
Best Light Bar: TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights
The TBI Pro ultra-bright solar motion sensor flood light can illuminate up to 1,600 square feet, making it perfect for walls, posts, paths and gardens. Each light fixture casts a searing 2,500-lumen ocean of light, adding security and comfort to any exterior. This model has three lighting modes, so if you don’t need to burn a hole in the dark, you can select a different mode to set a lighter ambiance. From outdoor security to entertaining, these are a great choice.
- 2,500-lumen output
- 1,600-square-foot lighting area
- Super-wide 280° lighting angle
- Motion-detection up to 40 feet
- 12-hour runtime with 4,400 mAh battery
- Three lighting modes
- Automatic on and off
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panels
- Two units per purchase
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,300 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “Wow! These things are really bright! Much brighter than we had anticipated. The motion sensor device is neither too sensitive or not sensitive enough — it's just right.” — Light-Zone via Amazon
Why Buy: These high-power solar flood lights prove great things can come in small, affordable packages. You get two super-bright 2,500-lumen bar lights with three brightness settings, a wide lighting angle and superior motion sensitivity reach. And at under $65, they’re perhaps the best value you can buy.
Best Compact Lights: Kolpop Solar Security Lights
Small but tremendous, Kolpop’s Solar Security Lights package offers six 800-lumen solar-powered security lights, each capable of illuminating over 320 square feet. Three brightness settings give you the power to adjust lighting to fit the occasion, from a chill get-together to all-night security.
- 600-lumen output
- 120° motion detection area with 16-foot range
- 8- to 10-hour runtime
- 8- to 10-hour charge time in full sunlight
- 1,800 mAh battery
- Three lighting modes
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panel
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 4,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love these lights and have bought two packages for our country home … I installed these four months ago and am totally satisfied so far. They don't last as long on overcast days, but that's to be expected.” — Donald via Amazon
Why Buy: Six feature-packed solar security flood lights at an amazing price. These suffer a bit on charge time, output and motion/lighting angles, but their affordability and modularity mean you can install them anywhere you so desire. They’re a great buy for folks who want compact solar security wall lights.
Best Street-Style Light: RuoKid Solar Street Lights
There are several reasons to abandon the traditional flood light style, and RuoKid’s street-style solar flood lights encompass them all. Exceptional brightness, a cool urban design, and an adjustable solar panel and light head make these perfect for brightening dark driveways, patios, front door entryways and more.
- 1,500-lumen output
- Illuminates 970 square feet
- Aluminum alloy housing and mounting hardware
- 4 to 6 hours in full sunlight for full charge
- 8-hour runtime
- 5-year warranty
- IP67 waterproof rating
- Remote controlled
- Adjustable solar panel
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,100 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “This light stays on from dusk until dawn with full sun the day before. I installed it as a security light. I live in a rural area with no street lights, and it works perfectly compared to other lights I have purchased..” — Yardman11236 via Amazon
Why Buy: RuoKid designs its products for use on the street, so they’re made to withstand years of heavy-duty service. This awesome 1,500-lumen street-style solar flood light combines power, capacity, durability and function into an attractive, modern design.
How to Choose the Best Solar-Powered Flood Lights
A single doorway doesn’t need 2,500 lumens, nor is a single solar-powered flood light sufficient for lighting up a driveway. Before choosing the best solar-powered flood light, consider the following factors:
- Brightness: In general, brighter is better, but if you only need to light a small area, you might not have to fork over the extra cash for a higher-output unit. If you want to cover a large area with a single bright light, go for at least 1,600 lumens. Or, install multiple lights with a smaller output.
- Features: Today’s solar-powered flood lights are ripe with features. Most have multiple brightness settings and weatherproofing as standard features, but consider other important elements such as remote controls, adjustable/modular solar panels, tilt and pan adjustments for lights and sensors, and metal constructions. As always, the more features, the higher the price, but the investment will be worth it.
- Durability: All of our picks are waterproof, but you may want a light that’s truly built to last. The RuoKid Solar Street Light has an all-metal design and is made to take a beating. Look for weatherproof lights that will hold up through multiple seasons.
- Ease of installation: Compared to their wired counterparts, solar-powered flood lights are a breeze to install. Some require more assembly and mounting than others, so if you’re not on friendly terms with your toolbox, pick a solar flood light that requires little more than a screw to install.
Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Flood Lights
Do solar flood lights really work?
As long as they have consistent daylight for at least a few hours, solar flood lights work exceptionally well. They utilize the same sensor technology as their wired counterparts but require no wiring and have an overall simpler installation thanks to their built-in solar panels.
What is the brightest solar LED flood light?
TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights have an impressive 2,500-lumen output. These are some of the best solar flood lights if brightness is your top priority.
How long do solar-powered flood lights last?
As far as runtime, most solar flood lights provide uninterrupted lighting for 8 to 12 hours. Assuming a solar light has no defects and is installed and used as intended, a solar flood light battery will last 3 to 4 years before needing replacement. Other components of a solar flood light can last up to a decade or more.
What is the most powerful solar security light?
TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights are the most powerful solar LED security lights on our list.
Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.
In a huge win for the species and conservationists, ten baby Komodo dragons were born in captivity at the San Antonio Zoo this October.
Komodo dragons are on the brink of extinction. The largest lizards species in the world, they can grow to be 10 feet long and weigh over 300 pounds, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Last year, their IUCN Red List status changed from vulnerable to endangered, raising concern around the world about the iconic species' survival. Rising seas and loss of habitat due to climate change are to blame.
“Those involved in the conservation of Komodo dragons have been alarmed for some time concerning their overall wild numbers due to habitat loss, potential trafficking, etc. but the recent down-listing from vulnerable to endangered has raised the level of concern a few notches,” Craig Pelke told EcoWatch. It was a lifelong dream of the herpetologist to work with Komodos, and he does so now as the director of ectotherms for the zoo.
Currently, less than 1,400 mature adults of the apex lizard are estimated to remain, a San Antonio Zoo press release noted. These live on a few Indonesian Islands — their only natural habitat — and in zoos. Because they are endemic to those islands, which include the World Heritage-listed Komodo National Park, the reptiles have nowhere to retreat to as those islands become fragmented or submerged by rising seas, The Guardian reported.
Pelke explained, “[The dragons have] a strong preference for lower elevation areas… and this habitat will be the first to disappear as the oceans rise and begin to cover the land.”
That dire reality makes this most recent zoo breeding success monumental for the species' future.
The parents of this batch of baby dragons were Kristika, a resident female dragon at the San Antonio Zoo, and Boga, a male from the Houston Zoo, the zoo press release noted. They successfully bred last winter, and Kristika laid eggs on March 8 of this year. Incubation typically lasts 7 to 9 months, Pelke noted, and the first of the ten babies hatched on Oct. 17.
San Antonio Zoo’s resident female Komodo dragon, Kristika, successfully bred with a male, Boga, from the Houston Zoo last winter. Mandy Woodburn / San Antonio Zoo
“It’s like a dream to have 10 little babies running around,” said Tim Morrow, the president and CEO of the San Antonio Zoo, to The Washington Post. “It’s another important step forward in sustaining the Komodo dragon’s survival.”
Before their birth, there were 123 adult dragons in North American zoos, Pelke told the Post. The latest brood includes four females, two males and four with genders yet to be determined.
“We’re really excited to add another 10 to that group,” Pelke said in the news report. “It’s wonderful to take their numbers in the other direction.”
Baby Komodo dragons are brighter green than mature adults, and their scales darken with age. Mandy Woodburn / San Antonio Zoo
Under Pelke’s direction, the San Antonio Zoo has coordinated three different hatchings of Komodo dragons. He noted that the successful hatching of 10 dragons from 22 eggs in the clutch is a good rate. Dragons are not social pack animals, instead preferring solitary living, he explained. This makes breeding management and planning complicated because each adult dragon will eventually need its own space at a facility to avoid possible aggressions with another individual.
“In the long run, 10 is a very successful but manageable number,” Pelke told EcoWatch.
Morrow said in the zoo press release, “The hatchlings are thriving, and we are looking forward to watching them grow and help preserve the existence of Komodo dragons.”
The baby dragons will all be sent to other zoos when they're older to act as ambassadors for their species. There are no current plans to release captive dragons back into the wild. Pelke explained why: “One of the biggest factors that must be asked — is there any wild to release them into? One of the Komodo dragons biggest issues is loss of habitat (human encroachment, oceans rising), so the problem is not so much actual numbers of dragons but actually [the] amount of usable habitat.”
The expert added, “If habitat is restored/gained, and the natural populations cannot recover on their own, then releases could play a role in helping to save the wild populations” in the future.
Tiffany Duong is a writer, explorer and inspirational speaker. She holds degrees from UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. As a contributing reporter at EcoWatch, she gives voice to what's happening in the natural world. Her mission is to inspire meaningful action and lasting change. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram/TikTok @tiffmakeswaves.
- Will Climate Change Drive the Komodo Dragon to Extinction ... ›
- New IUCN Green Status of Species to Highlight Conservation Wins ... ›
Every year, there’s a debate on whether to chop down a real, evergreen tree for Christmas festivities, or opt for an artificial tree made primarily from plastic in a factory. According to Greenpeace, you should keep an artificial Christmas tree in use for at least 8 years — but preferably 20 or more — to keep its lifetime emissions to a minimum.
Twenty years is a long time to keep an artificial tree. Each year in the U.S. alone, consumers purchase about 10 million of these fake Christmas trees, many of which are made from PVC and cannot be recycled. Luckily, they can be reused, and with proper storage and a little elbow grease each year, your family Christmas tree can become an heirloom to hold on to for decades.
Choosing a Christmas Tree
First thing’s first — if you don’t already own an artificial tree, you’ll need to buy one. The most eco-friendly option is to find a second-hand Christmas tree that you can give new life to. If you decide to purchase a new artificial tree, look for retailers that have made commitments to sustainability, perhaps through using renewable energy in their factories or partnering with sustainable organizations.
For the tree itself, consider height and width. You want something that is going to last many years, and that means it should be able to move through life with you. You may live in a loft apartment with tall ceilings now, but will your nine-foot-tall tree still work if you move to a place with low ceilings in a few years’ time?
Pre-lit trees are handy, because you don’t have to fuss with stringing lights around a big tree. But they are also one of the most common issues with artificial trees. Don’t drop that faulty tree off to the donation center just yet. If you want to make the most of an artificial tree, take the time to care for the broken lights.
You turn on the Christmas tree, only to find a huge middle section isn’t lighting up. This may mean that the fuse for one strand of lights is out. You can inspect and change fuses in the tree’s fuse box, which is usually found near the central structural support pole or by the primary power plug at the base of the tree. You can switch out the old fuse with an extra supplied with the tree, or find one online or at a local home improvement store.
Broken bulbs and damaged strands of lights can also cause a section of the tree to go dark. Replace broken bulbs as soon as you notice them, because they can put more strain on other bulbs and cause them to burn-out. If you notice an entire strand of lights is damaged, you may need to replace it. Talk to your local waste management company about options for safely disposing of the old strand of lights.
Filling in Gaps Between Branches
Christmas trees are often stored away in cramped spaces for 10 to 11 months of the year. As you store your artificial tree again year after year, the branches tend to compress, leaving large gaps in the tree.
The first step to making the tree look fuller is to fluff the branches. Start from the inner part of the tree at the bottom, gently tugging the branches outward and spreading them out from one another. Enlist the help of family members to make this task go by faster.
After fluffing out the branches, your tree may still look sparse, especially if you’ve had it for several years. Invest in lush garland, especially real or artificial evergreen options, to match the tree and make it seem fuller.
Go for a maximalist look with decorations. Trim the tree in wide ribbons and large ornaments to disguise the spaces between branches. Just be sure to avoid ornaments that are too heavy, which can pull down certain branches and make those gaps look even larger.
Cleaning Artificial Christmas Trees
Yes, you can and should be cleaning your fake Christmas tree each year. Before it’s time to display your tree for the year, make a plan to clean the tree of dust or debris that may be hiding in the branches after months in storage.
- Remove lights and other electrical elements from the tree.
- Use a vacuum or microfiber cloth to dust the branches.
- For dirty trees, mix a couple tablespoons of dish soap into a bucket of warm water. Use a microfiber cloth dipped in the soap-and-water mixture to wipe down the branches, then set the sections of the tree on towels to dry before assembling and adding lights.
Storing Christmas Trees
Proper tree storage is crucial in ensuring your tree lasts as long as possible. After all, artificial trees spend most of their lives in storage. The first step here is to purchase a storage bag that is long and wide enough for your tree. Some options even stand upright or have wheels to move them around easily.
Next, consider where you’ll be storing the tree. You’re probably tempted to hide it away in the attic or garage, but keep in mind that major temperature and humidity changes throughout the year can lead to mold, mildew, or fading of the tree.
Before storing the tree, remove ornaments to prevent breakage. Remove garland, light strands (unless the tree is pre-lit), and other decorative items. Organize them to make decorating next year easier, and keep the most fragile items in labeled, hard storage bins to avoid damage.
When it’s time to put the tree in its bin or bag, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to fold in the branches and take apart the tree. This will help keep that artificial tree in tip-top shape for years to come.
Based in Los Angeles, Paige is a writer who is passionate about sustainability. Aside from writing for EcoWatch, Paige also writes for Insider, HomeAdvisor, Thrillist, EuroCheapo, Eat This, Not That!, and more. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Ohio University and holds a certificate in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She also specialized in sustainable agriculture while pursuing her undergraduate degree. When she's not writing, Paige enjoys decorating her apartment, enjoying a cup of coffee and experimenting in the kitchen (with local, seasonal ingredients, of course!).
Over 5,000 years ago, Rishis documented their practices and beliefs surrounding yoga in the Upanishads. Today, over 36 million people practice yoga, and it makes sense that those who seek balance in mind and body also seek it in nature—through sustainable shopping for eco-friendly yoga mats and other practice essentials.
Not only does yoga improve flexibility, but it also cultivates a greater sense of connection to the self and the world at large. With sustainability in mind, we rounded up the five best eco-friendly yoga mats for your daily flow.
Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats: Our Recommendations
- Best Overall: Hugger Mugger Earth Elements Yoga Mat
- Most Recommended By Instructors: Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat
- Best Recycled Mat: SUGA Recycled Wetsuit Yoga Mat
- Most Socially Conscious Company: Liforme Love Yoga Mat
- Best Biodegradable Mat: 2nd Wind Yoga Mat
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Why Switch to an Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat?
What is the best material for a yoga mat? If you’re eco-conscious, it isn’t polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is typically used to make flexible, firm and sticky yoga mats. It’s also the third highest produced synthetic plastic polymer made in the world, with over 40 million tons of PVC produced annually, according to Ullman’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry.
However, you may find that some greener yoga product companies do include PVC in their materials, just not as much. PVC is difficult to recycle, and its lifetime recyclability is limited. The greener companies that make yoga mats with PVC are thoughtful enough to take back each yoga mat for recycling once its life cycle is complete. Other companies that repurpose difficult-to-recycle materials also often take this approach.
When looking for an eco-friendly yoga mat, consider one made of sustainable cork, recycled natural tree rubber and other recycled materials. Avoid chemically treated yoga mats.
5 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
Best Overall: Hugger Mugger Earth Elements Yoga Mat
Biodegradable, toxin-free and recyclable, the Hugger Mugger brand of yoga mats stands out. The company prides itself on being one of the first to manufacture sustainable yoga mats from thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which can be recycled after use. It’s a trusted brand that many yoga enthusiasts keep coming back to over the years.
The Earth Elements line has a closed-cell construction that’s grippy and prevents the accumulation of sweat and odor. Many reviewers like the feel of the lightweight yet high-performance yoga mats from Hugger Mugger. The mats come in sky blue and teal onyx colorways.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars with about 75 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “This has been my primary mat for 8 years; after using the first one for over 6 years, I bought a second one, as the first one had started to wear a bit. Even so, the older one still is a functional mat and is used for play at home.” — Niehaus via AmazonWhy Buy: Need a biodegradable mat that will hold up for several years with care? This one stands out for long-term use and is lightweight enough for those looking for a travel yoga mat, according to reviewers.
Most Recommended By Instructors: Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat
Manduka is committed to manufacturing eco-friendlier yoga mats that are designed to last. Manduka's eKO Mats are made from biodegradable natural tree rubber and manufactured with zero waste and no harmful plasticizers.
While its PRO mats are manufactured from PVC, Manduka takes back all yoga mats through its Live On program, breaking them down and recycling them. The company ensures that all of its mats are created without toxic chemicals and dyes, and they’re often recommended by yoga teachers.
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with almost 250 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “Although these mats are expensive, they’re totally worth the investment. I always feel stable when I get on this mat. My hands and feet do not slide, especially when I am flowing hard and sweating.” — Dee via Amazon
Why Buy: Want to revamp your yoga routine with eco-friendlier mats and accessories? Manduka is a top brand chosen by yoga instructors around the world. Customer reviews note you should air out the mat after opening it but that it’s light and supportive.
Best Recycled Mat: SUGA Recycled Wetsuit Yoga Mat
Suga, a California-based yoga mat company, makes mats with recycled neoprene wetsuits, reducing environmental impacts with its designs. The company’s process stops wetsuits from entering landfills, and you get a quality yoga mat made from donated materials. If you are a diver or surfer, you can donate your wetsuit at one of the company’s partner stores to receive a 10% discount on your next purchase. For every wetsuit recycled, roughly one SugaMat is created.
If it ever wears out or you just want another yoga mat, send your used one back to Suga for recycling. Suga also supports 1% for the Planet, so a portion of all sales goes to environmental nonprofits.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out 5 stars with over 70 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love this mat for hot yoga — no need for bringing a towel to cover your mat! This is thicker and slightly heavier than other mats I've used, but I love how it feels. I feel extra grounded when using this mat. It looks super cool, too, and I enjoy seeing the small bits of really colorful wetsuits. I saw the comment about crumbles, cleaned it with a microfiber cloth before using it and didn't have any issues.” — #1 Customerrrr via Amazon
Why Buy: Prefer a thicker yoga mat made by a company that perpetually recycles its mats? Neoprene is made from petroleum and can’t be recycled, but Suga set up a successful system that benefits both the yoga practitioner and the planet.
Most Socially Conscious Company: Liforme Love Yoga Mat
Designed under the premise of "Good for you, Good for the planet," Liforme mats are non-toxic, PVC-free and biodegrade within one to five years. The brand prides itself on being eco-friendly, ethical, and socially just. As such, it makes its mats with the highest-quality materials and focuses on charitable giving with each purchase.
Liforme donates 5% of sales from two of its yoga mat collections and has raised over $200,000 for charity partner Friends of the Earth. It also supports social justice causes like women and children's rights, racial diversity, and LGBTQ+ rights.
Liforme’s AlignForMe System helps yogis navigate the mat and is perfect for beginners or at-home practicing. The mats are also slightly larger and longer than the average yoga mat. Many reviews applaud the grip of this mat’s material, which resists the slips of sweaty feet and hands.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of almost 5 stars with almost 190 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I practice a heated vinyasa flow, and am generally dripping sweat within the first 10 mins. I have used Yogitoes towels for the past 10 years but always found the grip to slip. I am happy to report that the Liforme mat has so far withstood the sweatiest of classes.” — Amanda via Amazon
Why Buy: You want a sustainable yoga mat that breaks down like it says it does and gives back to the community like it says it does. Or maybe you get really sweaty during yoga (raising my hand here) and need a mat that can handle that and more.
Best Biodegradable Mat: 2nd Wind Yoga Mat
No glue, latex, PVC or toxins present here — just biodegradable eco-goodness. 2nd Wind is based in Rhode Island and is renowned for its intricate and sustainable yoga mats, which are made with 100% natural cork and rubber and are decorated with water-based ink. Let’s just say the Root to Rise design will inspire your morning flow.
Many 2nd Wind yoga mats have a natural rubber face for support, but this particular model has a towel heat-pressed to its rubber base for added grip. Instead of having to purchase a secondary yoga mat cover, these mats help prevent slipping with their soft surface.
Customer Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars with under 10 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love the design and silky feel, but it is a bit too slippery for down dog poses.” — Lok Wong via Amazon
Why Buy: Your yoga practice is an art form, and you want a high-quality, latex-free mat that reflects that. This natural rubber yoga mat also lowers your environmental footprint with its eco-friendly materials.
FAQ: Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
What should I look for when buying a yoga mat?
When shopping for an eco-friendly yoga mat, avoid chemically treated mats or mats made with PVC. Look for more natural and sustainable materials, such as cork yoga mats or those made with another recycled material. If the material cannot be recycled naturally, ensure the brand has a take-back option for its yoga mats.
As always, check whether the yoga mat you’re considering has your preferred texture for grip and cushioning for support. Thicker yoga mats provide more therapeutic support but may be harder to travel with.
How do you clean an eco-friendly yoga mat?
Most manufacturers suggest cleaning your mat at least every five uses. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your yoga mat. A clean cotton towel and a few drops of natural dish soap diluted with water make for thorough, non-toxic yoga mat cleaning.
Some yoga practitioners prefer using diluted essential oils to clean their yoga mats. Be careful if you try this, as you may have a sensitivity to essential oils.
Are yoga mats bad for the environment?
Yoga mats made from PVC are difficult to recycle and, if they are, can only be recycled so many times. Choosing a more sustainable material that is biodegradable is less harmful to the environment.
Coconut oil has solidified its place in our society’s health and beauty regimens in recent years, but what is all the fuss about? It’s a nutritious addition to your meal plans, but, remember to treat it the same way you would any other oil or fat source.
Health benefits associated with coconut oil stem from research using a formulation of the oil made from 100 percent medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which is not the formulation you will typically find on grocery store shelves, but grocery coconut oil has nutritional and immune value, as well.
1. May Boost Energy
The MCTs we talked about provide a readily available energy supply because instead of going through your blood to the tissues that need them, like muscle or fat, they go right to the liver, much like carbohydrates do. This energy boost is why MCTs have been used in sports products marketed to athletes. It’s important to note that not all triglycerides in store-bought coconut oil are MCTs, however. The oils also contain lauric acid, which is absorbed and metabolized like other long-chain fatty acids — more slowly.
2. May Help Burn Fat
Most saturated fats are divided into three groups: long-chain, medium-chain and short-chain. Coconut oil is special in that it includes those medium-chain triglycerides. There is evidence that MCTs can increase the number of calories your body burns, in addition to giving you that boost of energy.
Coconut oil fats are 65% MCTs, which may allow the body to burn fat faster. Excessive fat in the body can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and even cancer. However, more studies are needed to show coconut oil’s weight loss potential.
3. May Keep You Feeling Fuller Longer
Another aspect of coconut oil that could lead to weight loss is that it fills you up. MCTs have been shown to help people eat less, possibly due to how the body breaks them down, producing ketones which can decrease appetite by altering hunger-inducing hormone levels. Again, more studies are needed to show that coconut oil, itself, can function in this capacity.
4. May Have Antimicrobial Effects
MCTs don’t just burn fat, they also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This is because they are made up of 50% lauric acid which helps defend against several types of harmful micro-organisms by preventing them from multiplying. Studies have found it can even destroy some harmful bacteria, in addition to slowing their growth.
In fact, oil pulling — a practice where people use coconut oil as a mouthwash — increases oral hygiene, according to studies. It reduces harmful bacteria in your mouth when compared to regular mouthwash. The lauric acid interacts with your natural saliva to form a soap-like substance that reduces plaque and gum inflammation, in addition to helping prevent cavities.
5. May Reduce Risk of Seizures
Studies have shown that a keto diet — high in fats and low in carbohydrates — can help treat epilepsy, and decrease the frequency of seizures by reducing the amount of glucose to fuel brain cells. While more research is needed, reducing carbs in your diet does reduce the glucose levels in your blood. The increased ketones can be used as an alternate energy source for the brain. Recent studies have found that the MCTs in coconut oil get transferred to the liver and turned into these ketones.
6. May Keep Skin Healthy
But coconut oil is not just for eating. Studies have found the oil boosts the moisture content of dry skin, and can even improve the skin’s function by helping to prevent water loss and protecting the skin from outside chemicals and allergens. It can also reduce symptoms of atopic dermatitis — a chronic skin disease in which the skin is inflamed due to defects in skin barrier function.
Pertinent to today’s world, one study found that just six drops of virgin coconut oil applied to the hands overnight can prevent damage caused by using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
7. May Protect Your Hair
And it’s not only skin; coconut oil penetrates hair strands to make them stronger and more flexible which can prevent them from breaking. One study found that the oil actually nourishes hair. Say goodbye to that ponytail frizz and hello to luscious locks.
8. Could Reduce Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
In the same way that coconut oil’s MCTs provide ketones that defend against epileptic seizures, these ketones may also help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. They provide an energy source for brain cells that is not glucose, bypassing any damage the glucose could do.
9. Full of Antioxidants
And even when not fighting off specific conditions, coconut oil is simply full of antioxidants. These neutralize free radicals, and help stave off many diseases caused by cell degeneration. In particular, antioxidants in coconut oil may help protect the brain and provide anti-inflammatory properties.
The varied benefits of coconut oil are still emerging, so long as people enjoy it in moderation. You can incorporate it into your diet by using a couple tablespoons to stir-fry your nightly veggies. It can also be used to coat poultry or meat before adding seasonings and popping it in the oven. And if you’re just looking for a snack, consider drizzling the oil on your popcorn, instead of butter. In fact, in any recipe, coconut oil can be used instead of butter or other oil. And if you prefer to drink it, the oil can be added in small amounts to any coffee or tea.
So, eat up and enjoy the healthy effects of this burgeoning oil.
Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer and a professor at the University of Florida, with degrees in communications and ecology.
- The 6 Best Plant-Based Sources of Vitamin D - EcoWatch ›
- 9 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate - EcoWatch ›
- 9 Eco-Friendly Remedies and Preventatives for Dry Skin - EcoWatch ›
See how you can save on solar panels in the Empire State.
In recent years, New York has become one of the hottest markets in the U.S. for solar panel installations. Whether because of the generous New York solar tax credit available to homeowners, the ambitious clean energy targets from politicians across the state, or because New Yorkers simply see the climate and economic benefits of installing solar PV panels, the Empire State is setting a great example for the rest of the country.
For anyone looking to switch to solar power, keeping up with exact policies, such as New York solar incentives and rebates, can be challenging. New policies are rolled out regularly, local incentives vary from one jurisdiction to the next, and if you’re not working actively in the solar industry, it can be a bit confusing.
To ensure that you don’t miss out on any potential incentives and benefits of installing solar panels at your New York residence or business, keep reading to see the key New York State solar tax credits and other incentives to keep in mind when investigating if solar is for you. If you're interested in getting a quote from a pre-screened installer near you and seeing how much you can save with these incentives, you can do so using this tool or the form below.
New York Solar Tax Credit
Perhaps the biggest solar incentive in the state of New York is the Solar Energy System Equipment Credit.
As explained by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, this tax credit is available to anyone who engages in a new solar project for their place of residence, whether that’s through purchasing solar energy system equipment, signing a solar lease, or even committing to a power purchase agreement of solar energy generated by equipment owned by another entity (if that agreement spans 10 years or more).
For any of the above New York solar energy engagements, the person making the purchase or signing the lease or PPA is entitled to a state tax credit of up to 25% of total expenditures (up to a cap of $5,000).
It’s important to note that the New York solar tax credit is not refundable, meaning it reduces your tax liability but is not paid directly if that credit exceeds your expected tax payments. However, any excess credit can be carried over to future tax filings for up to five years.
New York Solar Rebate
Another quite notable and beneficial incentive for solar purchases is the New York Solar Rebate, known as the NY-Sun Megawatt (MW) Block Incentive. Unlike the solar tax credit, this program applies not just to residential solar systems but also to nonresidential, industrial and commercial solar installations.
Specifically, the NY-Sun initiative offers up-front discounts for installed solar systems on a “dollars-per-watt” ($/W) basis in the form of a direct cash rebate. The exact amount that a new installation can expect to receive is dictated by the region of New York it’s in, how many of the allotted rebates in that region have already been paid out, the size of the system, and the timeframe in which installation is completed.
Generally speaking, though, the New York solar rebate starts as low as 15 cents per watt and can rise all the way up to $1 per watt, making up over half of the cost of installing solar in the best-case scenario.
Other New York Solar Incentives
While the New York solar rebate and the Solar Energy System Equipment Credit are the two most critical policies that have incentivized solar energy in the state, potential installations can qualify for additional key incentives as well. The below table highlights these opportunities, which are expanded upon in the following sections.
New York Solar Incentive
New York Solar Sales Tax Exemption
New York does not charge sales tax on the purchase of solar equipment or installation costs for residential and non-residential systems.
Net Metering in New York
New York utilities allow for net metering, so homeowners can sell excess energy their solar system generates back to the grid.
Towns, cities and counties can have their own home solar incentives offered on top of statewide incentives.
New York Solar Sales Tax Exemption
The state of New York charges a 4% sales tax on most products and goods sold within the state. However, to bring down the barriers to entry for homes or businesses looking to invest in solar energy, this tax has not applied to solar energy equipment and installations for residential systems since 2005.
This exemption helps lower the all-in cost for potential solar buyers and serves to make solar energy more affordable with a lower payback period to a greater portion of the population, in alignment with New York’s goals for increased renewable energy.
Net Metering in New York
The state of New York allows for net metering for residential solar systems up to 25 kilowatts, farm systems up to 100 kilowatts and non-residential systems up to 2 megawatts. The original net metering provision passed in 1997 only applied to the first 10 kilowatts of a solar system but has since been expanded multiple times as the New York government leans into its near-term and long-term goals to make solar more viable and prevalent across the state.
Net metering is a system by which customers who own solar systems can be paid directly (or offset their electric bills) by sending the excess energy generated by their solar panels back to the local power grid. While all solar systems create a benefit for owners by allowing them to freely consume the energy they generate, net metering allows for further profiting during times when they don’t consume all the electricity they are actively producing.
In addition to the statewide incentives available for potential solar systems across New York, many towns, cities, and counties will also offer incentives such as tax credits, rebates or otherwise that can be layered on top of the state incentives, serving to move the needle to affordability even further.
One of the most widespread local incentives is a solar property tax exemption. Each municipality in New York can decide whether it wants to take part in the property tax incentive program, and many have opted in. This means homeowners in most areas of the state don’t have to pay increased property taxes after solar panels increase the value of their homes.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
On top of all of the state and local incentives for solar energy that are readily available to New Yorkers, solar installations in the state are also eligible for the federal solar tax credit. The federal government allows for all solar systems installed by 2023 to receive a non-refundable tax credit based on the value of the system (which includes the cost of the equipment itself and the cost to install it) and when the installation is complete.
For all systems placed into service by the end of 2022, the Federal Solar Tax credit is equal to 26% of the cost of the installation. For all systems placed into service through 2023, the credit drops to 22% of the system. As of now, systems installed in 2024 or later are not eligible for the federal solar tax credit, though Congress may opt to extend those deadlines as has been done in the past.
FAQ: New York Solar Incentives
Does New York State have a solar tax credit?
Yes, there is a New York solar tax credit. The Solar Energy System Equipment Credit is a 25% (up to $5,000) non-refundable tax credit available for homeowners who purchase, lease or sign onto solar via a power purchase agreement.
Will there be New York solar incentives in 2022?
Yes, New York will continue to offer solar incentives in 2022, including the Solar Energy System Equipment Credit, the NY-Sun MW Block Incentive, state sales tax incentives, and availability for net metering, as well as federal tax credits and any relevant local solar incentives.
Is it worth going solar in New York?
New York State has made the already financially prudent decision to go solar even more accessible and viable via its various tax credits, rebates and policies that bring down the total cost to install solar. Put together, these measures serve to reduce solar system costs in New York, making it a worthwhile investment.
Are solar panels free in New York?
No, solar panels are not free in New York, though many solar incentives are available for residential and non-residential installations that bring down upfront costs and strive to make solar investments accessible to more New Yorkers.
Whether you're hiring a professional installer or going the DIY route, we show you how and where to buy solar panels.
Installing solar panels on your home can dramatically reduce both your dependence on traditional utility companies and your environmental impact. One of the first steps in switching to renewable energy is figuring out where to buy solar panels. It can be a little confusing at first.
As you prepare to buy solar panels, remember it’s important to do your research and compare prices in order to make a sound investment. If you’re ready to start getting quotes from some of the best solar companies in your area, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.
Where Can You Buy Solar Panels?
Home and business owners typically purchase solar panels through solar companies, which are certified to deal and install products from top manufacturers. These solar installers then plan and execute the installation. However, solar panels and solar panel kits are also sold directly from distributors in the event you’re qualified to carry out your own DIY solar installation. Consider the following when making a decision about where to purchase your panels.
Choosing an Installer
Certified solar energy companies carry out the vast majority of solar panel installations. When hiring a professional solar company, you can either go with a local or national installer.
A local solar installer will usually be able to offer you more personalized service, more affordable prices and more intimate knowledge of local solar incentives and policies. The flip side is that nationwide installers can often have access to a wider range of solar products, like the most efficient solar panels and the best solar batteries in the industry. This can give you more options to maximize the power output and durability of your system.
There’s not really a right or wrong answer here, and in fact, the best approach may be to consult with two or three installers that service your area before making your decision.
DIY Solar Panel Installation
Installing your own solar panels provides the opportunity to save money on labor and also gives you greater control over the final configuration of your home solar system. Be aware, however, that there can be significant downsides to do-it-yourself solar jobs.
First, it is complex, technical work, requiring electrical expertise and thorough knowledge of how solar works. If you’re unskilled or inexperienced in working with electricity, installing solar panels presents concerns to both your safety and the integrity of your roof and electrical system. Additionally, going with DIY solar panels means you won’t reap the benefits of experienced solar designers, who can help you design the optimal energy-generating, money-saving system.
If you do choose to buy solar panels and install them on your own, you can purchase panels from:
- Manufacturer websites
- Hardware stores
- Amazon.com (where you can buy full solar panel kits)
How to Buy Solar Panels
Now you know where to purchase panels, but as for how to buy solar panels, your next steps will again depend on whether you hire a professional or go the DIY route.
Hiring an Installer
For most of our readers, we recommend hiring a solar installer that will plan your system and purchase the solar equipment on your behalf. Note that installers buy in bulk and have access to wholesale prices, so they can actually help you save money on your equipment costs, though of course, you’ll then have to pay for the labor.
The general steps in the process are as follows:
- Consultation: Meet with a few of your area’s top solar companies to compare pricing and proposals outlining the pros and cons of solar for your home.
- System design: Once you choose a solar installer, a representative will take a look at your roof and design a solar system that meets your energy goals. The importance of this step usually outweighs that of the installation itself, as a solar system will only be as effective as its design.
- Permitting: Depending on where you live, you may require permits and approvals from your municipality before your solar system can be installed. Your installer can handle all of this on your behalf.
- Net metering: If your local utility company offers net metering, you’ll need to apply and enroll prior to the installation itself. This step should also be handled by your solar company, though it may require a signature or two from you.
- Installation: Once you receive the needed approvals, your installer can begin work to assemble your system. This may take anywhere from a day to a full week depending on the complexity of your project. Most installations are finished within a day.
- Review and approval: Most municipalities will require you to have your system inspected for safety before it’s “switched on.” Both cities and utility companies usually require inspections. Again, your solar company will handle the logistics of these inspections.
- Using your system: After you get your final approvals, you’ll be ready to turn on your solar system. Your installer will advise you on how to do so.
- Applying for tax credits: Any reputable solar company will walk you through how to apply for solar tax credits, rebates or grants available in your area. Some will even do so on your behalf.
Buying Your Own Solar System
If you’re a more qualified homeowner looking to research, design and install your home solar system, you’ll need to purchase equipment on your own.
First, determine how many solar panels your home requires. This hinges on an array of factors: the amount of electricity your household consumes, the surface area available on your roof, the amount of sun exposure your roof receives and more. For residential installations with limited roof space to work with, we recommend looking into highly efficient solar panels. This will ensure your investment is worthwhile. (We’ll get more into the different types of solar panels below.)
Also, remember that designing a solar system requires a lot more than just panels. Consider what equipment you’ll need before purchasing your solar panels. Do you want a string inverter or microinverters? Do you need a battery? A charge controller? (We’ll also get more into this later on).
Even if you carry out your own installation, you’ll still need to apply for any necessary permits and interconnection agreements. In the event you perform an off-grid installation, you may not need permission from your utility.
What Type of Solar Panel Should You Buy?
There are three basic types of photovoltaic panels available today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline (also known as multicrystalline) and thin-film. The factors differentiating these options have to do with the efficiency, flexibility, solar cell makeup, size and cost of the solar panels. These can all impact which solar panels you purchase.
Solar Panel Type
Monocrystalline solar panels
Highest efficiency and best performance
Highest upfront cost
Polycrystalline solar panels
More affordable than monocrystalline
Lower efficiency than monocrystalline
Thin-film solar panels
Portable and flexible
Lowest efficiency and power output
An important note we’ll repeat: For homeowners with a limited surface area on their roofs, efficiency is the name of the game. Make sure to buy solar panels with high efficiency ratings, as this will maximize the sunlight available to you, making your investment more worthwhile. Most of the best solar panels will be monocrystalline.
Other Equipment You’ll Need to Buy for Your Solar Panel System
If you’re doing your own installation, you’ll need to consider purchasing the following when you buy your solar panels:
- Inverter: This converts direct current (DC) solar energy into the alternating current (AC) electricity needed to power your home. Most options will be string inverters or microinverters.
- Battery: A solar battery allows you to store excess energy for future use rather than feeding it back into the electrical grid. Having a battery maximizes your solar energy use.
- Mounting system: This stabilizes your solar panels and ensures they stay in their proper rooftop position.
- Wiring: Wiring is used to connect your solar system to your electrical panel.
- Solar charge controller: A charge controller regulates voltage and prevents batteries from overcharging.
Final Thoughts: Where to Buy Solar Panels
Installing solar panels involves a number of decisions, starting with where to buy your panels. Are you qualified to install solar panels yourself? What type of solar panel is best for your energy needs? What other equipment will you need to buy along with your panels?
If you choose to go with a solar company, make sure you do your research and hire a vetted, experienced solar contractor with a track record of success. Ask any friends or neighbors with solar who they hired and how their experience was. Some solar companies have programs that reward $1,000 or more for referrals. You can also continue your research on the best solar companies, or look for local solar installers in your area.
Shopping around can end up saving you money and can help you better understand your energy needs and budget. To start getting free quotes from solar companies near you, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.
FAQ: Buying Solar Panels
Can I just buy my own solar panels?
You can buy your own solar panels directly from manufacturers, from hardware stores or online. However, installing panels on your own when unqualified to do so can result in safety issues, an inefficient system or issues to the structural integrity of your home. With an investment as significant as solar, we usually recommend hiring a professional.
How much does one solar panel cost?
Solar panel costs differ widely due to variations in quality, efficiency, warranty and power. One solar panel for an off-grid or small DIY project can cost as little as $100. A standard 350-watt, high-efficiency residential solar panel will cost closer to $300 or more.
Are solar panels a good investment?
When properly planned and executed, solar panels are one of the best investments you can make in 2022. This won’t be the case for all homeowners, however. If your energy use is already minimal, your roof doesn’t receive enough sunlight or the cost of solar in your area is unusually high, you may not get enough out of your investment to make it worthwhile. It’s best to consult with a solar company near you to determine the solar potential of your home or business.
Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
Looking to learn more about Freedom Forever Solar? We offer our 2022 review of the growing company.
One of the fastest-growing solar installation companies in the nation, Freedom Forever Solar (not to be confused with Freedom Solar) has expanded to over 24 states in less than five years. In our Freedom Forever Solar review, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of this up-and-coming installer and see if it deserves a spot among the nation’s best solar companies.
Freedom Forever Solar likes to keep things simple and outlines its services in just three steps: solar panel installation, backup battery installation and solar financing. Similar to a number of its counterparts offering national coverage, Freedom Forever offers solar panels for purchase as well as solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Freedom Forever Solar Fast Facts
25 states, including AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VT, VA and WI
Solar panel and battery installations
Types of Panels Sold
Varies depending on location
Backup Battery Options
Yes, including LG Chem and Tesla Powerwall
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) technicians
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating
A+ with accreditation
Read on to learn more about Freedom Forever Solar, or to see how much a solar system from Freedom Forever Solar or a similar certified installer would cost, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.
Freedom Forever Overview
Founded just six years ago, Freedom Forever Solar is still in its infancy compared to other solar companies of its size. Though a new kid on the block, this Temecula, California-based provider offers a unique approach focused on educating its clientele. With a learning center, a “solar academy,” videos, podcasts and more, Freedom Forever aims to set realistic expectations for its customers when it comes to the big picture of renewable energy and the nitty-gritty of solar financing.
By understanding that an informed customer is the best type of customer, Freedom Forever empowers its clients to increase their independence while reducing their costs via solar.
So, how has this approach paid off? Let’s explore.
Freedom Forever Services and Installation
Freedom Forever Solar strives to make going solar as easy as possible for homeowners. Offering only solar panel and backup battery installations, Freedom Forever Solar focuses on simplicity in its clean energy services. This model allows Freedom Forever to concentrate its efforts on solar and backup power but may disappoint customers interested in add-ons like electric vehicle charging stations or energy efficiency upgrades. The installations themselves are carried out by authorized partner companies that will vary regionally.
The type of solar panels available for your home will vary depending on your region as well, but backup batteries installed by Freedom Forever include the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem.
Here’s what the average customer can expect Freedom Forever Solar’s installation process to look like:
- Receive a free quote by providing preliminary information such as your address, monthly energy costs and credit score.
- If interested after receiving the quote, Freedom Forever will draw up a full proposal including your custom system design, a rendering of the system’s appearance and estimated energy savings over the course of the system's lifetime. The proposal should factor in local and state solar incentives, so be sure to make note that they are included.
- Freedom Forever Solar pledges to handle all permits, interconnection agreements and other consents associated with a solar installation in your region.
- During the permitting process, Freedom Forever will enroll you in your utility company’s net metering program, if applicable.
- The installation itself only happens after permits and net metering agreements are finalized. Installations with Freedom Forever are typically finished within one day and are carried out by authorized partner companies.
- Finally, you'll need to pass inspection and turn on your system. Once the system is installed, both the city and your electric company will most likely require inspections. Freedom Forever will schedule and oversee both. Once you pass both inspections, you’ll be ready to turn your system on.
Solar Panel Warranty
Rather than offering workmanship or product warranties, Freedom Forever Solar promises that your system will perform as advertised through its 25-year production guarantee. Should your system underperform or encounter any problems, Freedom Forever will fix it and reimburse you for any lost savings.
Though this sounds like an all-encompassing warranty, it’s not quite that simple. It should be noted that Freedom Forever outsources its labor to local installation crews, and workmanship is not covered by the 25-year production guarantee. This means that any damages to your roof, home or electrical equipment from low-quality workmanship will have to be negotiated with a third party rather than the sales rep you signed a Freedom Forever contract with. Though these situations are rare, they can complicate what should be a simple warranty.
Freedom Forever Costs and Financing
The average cost of a solar system from a certain provider is difficult to assess, as pricing can vary widely depending on your state, your roof and your electric bills. Freedom Forever is a young company up against some industry leaders, so we expect its solar project pricing to be competitive. However, we always encourage readers to get quotes from competing solar companies to make sure you’re getting the best value from your investment.
Much of Freedom Forever’s expansion can be credited to its utilization of solar leases, which allow homeowners to rent solar power systems at a monthly cost. Though leasing panels provides a switch to clean energy with a low upfront cost, purchasing panels provides the greatest value in the long run. Keep in mind that leases will not be eligible for the solar tax credit.
Freedom Forever Solar offers four solar financing plans for customers:
- Cash Purchase: Purchasing your solar system outright provides you with maximum long-term value. Making one upfront payment reduces loan fees and interest, allowing you a quicker payback period. Also, solar panels add property value and make you eligible for the solar tax credit. Over time, homeowners will see the largest return on investment when paying in cash.
- Home Solar Loan: Freedom Forever Solar partners with third-party loan companies to provide financial assistance with solar power purchases. With a solar loan, you can still enjoy the benefits of system ownership, maintaining eligibility for tax credits, rebates and additional property value. Solar loans will vary in their interest rates depending on credit score, down-payment amount and length of the loan.
- Solar Lease: With a solar lease, you make fixed monthly payments to Freedom Forever, essentially renting your solar panels. The costs of leases are typically about 20% less than you pay for grid-supplied electricity. You can still take advantage of energy savings, but you miss out on a number of valuable benefits associated with system ownership, like the tax credit, rebates and an increase to your property value.
- Purchase Power Agreement (PPA): PPAs are similar to solar leases in that you make monthly payments, but instead of renting the solar panels, you agree to pay a fixed monthly rate for the electricity they produce. From our perspective, PPAs are the least advisable option.
Freedom Forever Solar Reviews
Given Freedom Forever’s strategy of making solar easy, most positive reviews reflect a quick, seamless and effective installation process, as advertised. The company runs into trouble with its customer support and complications involving third-party installers and loan providers. Let’s take a look at what customers are saying.
Positive Freedom Forever Reviews
Not surprisingly, positive reviews reflect Freedom Forever’s simple process. Satisfied customers report a system performing as advertised, saving them money on their utility bills with no maintenance or support needed post-install.
“I was referred to this company by my neighbor that had their system installed by Freedom, and I’m glad they did so. My experience with Robert (my rep) was amazing and honestly effortless from our consultation to install. Very clear and thorough, and what was said was delivered.” — Tai via Google Reviews
“Great company to work with. Efficient and professional. Our sales rep stayed in contact with us the whole way, making for a smooth installation and transition from the grid. He also gave us a great deal; locked in for 25 years with no money down. Goodbye SDGE.” — Kim via Google Reviews
Negative Freedom Forever Reviews
Generally, we prefer to recommend solar companies that handle their installations and financing in-house, and the negative reviews surrounding Freedom Forever Solar are the perfect examples why. Customers too often experience difficulties with warranties when multiple companies are involved and can receive poor treatment from customer service teams looking to offload their issues on another company.
“Be aware that this company is ONLY a solar panel sales company and only installs material, which is NOT made by them, so warranty can be iffy. They hire private party makeshift companies, which are not affiliated with Freedom Forever or solar panel equipment. Be careful with these multiple companies. They are not reliable.” — Robert via Better Business Bureau
“One star for quick installation of solar panels. Everything else is a mess. Customer service is very slow, sometimes hard to get a hold of, probably because of all of the disappointed customers calling in and waiting for their service to turn on. As we speak, I am already being billed by their finance company and also paying the power company because my system is not operating.” — NA via Better Business Bureau
Our Take On Freedom Forever Solar
Freedom Forever Solar’s modern approach to solar education, wide service area and high volume of installations make it an intriguing new company, but a few too many complications with customer service and unreliable partnerships bog down its overall reputation.
By involving third-party contractors and loan providers, there are too many moving pieces in an average solar installation to be carried out as smoothly and consistently as we’d like to see. Overall experiences depend far too heavily on the team that carries out the installation itself, which is arguably the most important part of a solar investment. As a result, we have a hard time recommending Freedom Forever Solar relative to most other top solar companies that likely offer services in the same area.
Freedom Forever Pros
Freedom Forever Cons
Strong production guarantee
Large service area
Customer service issues
Flexible financing options
No workmanship warranty
Freedom Forever Solar can be a good and practical choice for customers looking to quickly and simply save money on their energy bills through a solar purchase or solar lease. However, for homeowners looking for attentive customer service and quality workmanship both before and after installation, we advise you to shop around.
Solar Energy Provider Comparison
To put this all into context, let’s take a look at what industry leaders SunPower and Sunrun offer in comparison to Freedom Forever. What we see as the key factor differentiating SunPower and Sunrun is industry experience. Freedom Forever only has six years of experience as of 2022, which is not a lot of time to establish a reliable process over a range like 25 states. If slow growth is good growth, Freedom Forever Solar doesn’t appear to have as sustainable a business model as we’d like to see.
Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring
Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring
Solar panel installation, battery installation, monitoring, maintenance
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI
All 50 States
AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VT, WI, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
Cash, loan, lease, PPA
Cash, loan, lease
Cash, loan, lease, PPA
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Freedom Forever Solar a good company?
Freedom Forever Solar is a good company, but it lacks the experience and expertise we’d like to see before fully recommending it to our readers. If overall customer satisfaction improves over the next few years (which we certainly hope is the case), we’ll be more likely to recommend it.
How does Freedom Forever solar work?
Freedom Forever Solar makes its money by selling solar contracts, the installations and financing of which are handled by third-party partners. Though you may sign a contract through Freedom Forever’s sales staff, the crews coming out to work on your home and the company you make loan payments to will be subcontracted.
Does Sunrun own Freedom Forever?
Sunrun does not own Freedom Forever, but Sunrun is the primary solar and battery provider of Freedom Forever. This means that Freedom Forever partners with Sunrun, leveraging its brand and services to back the Freedom Forever sales team. If you sign a contract with Freedom Forever, there’s a chance your installation will consist of Sunrun’s technology and be carried out by a certified Sunrun partner.
How long has Freedom Forever solar been around?
Freedom Forever Solar has been around since 2016, expanding to 25 states in just six years. Freedom Forever was able to grow so quickly through establishing a wide network of certified independent installers that it outsources its contracts to.
Where is Freedom Forever solar available?
Freedom Forever solar is available in 25 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
“This really should be the deathblow for Cambo,” Greenpeace UK oil campaigner Philip Evans told The Guardian. “With yet another key player turning its back on the scheme the government is cutting an increasingly lonely figure with their continued support for the oil field.”
The Cambo oilfield was first licensed for exploration in 2001, BBC News reported. It has the potential to produce hundreds of millions of barrels of oil. If drilling is approved by the UK’s Oil and Gas authority, it could start as soon as 2022 and go on for 25 years.
Green groups argue that drilling in the field will hamper the UK’s promise to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to The Guardian. Shell, however, said its reasons for abandoning the project were purely financial.
“[T]he economic case for investment in this project is not strong enough,” the oil giant, which held a 30 percent stake in the endeavor, told The Press and Journal. The company also said it was worried about delays.
That said, Uplift director Tessa Khan argued that public pressure had weakened the project.
“The widespread public and political pressure is what’s made Cambo untenable,” Khan said, as The Guardian reported. “There is now broad understanding that there can be no new oil and gas projects anywhere if we’re going to maintain a safe climate.”
The project’s leader, Siccar Point Energy, argued that exploring the field was still important for the UK’s economy.
"Whilst we are disappointed at Shell's change of position, we remain confident about the qualities of a project,” the company’s CEO Jonathan Roger said, as BBC News reported. "It will not only create over 1,000 direct jobs as well as thousands more in the supply chain, but also help ease the UK's transition to a low carbon future through responsibly produced domestic oil.”
The Stop Cambo campaign is urging the UK government to cancel the project. It argues that the International Energy Agency said limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels meant not starting any new oil and gas developments from this year on. They said the first phase of the proposed project would generate as much carbon pollution each year as 18 coal-fired power plants.
The controversial project isn’t the only oil field exploration the UK has planned for the North Sea. All told, the 18 new projects on the docket could generate more than 1.7 billion barrels of oil.Despite climate concerns, UK ministers said in March that North Sea oil exploration could continue as long as each application passed a “climate compatibility checkpoint,” The Guardian reported at the time.
A comet discovered on January 3 of this year by astronomer and senior researcher at the University of Arizona Gregory J. Leonard is visible from Earth this month. The comet was first observed at the Mount Lemmon Observatory just outside of Tucson, Arizona.
When Comet Leonard was first discovered it was near the orbit of Jupiter and extremely dim in the sky, but now that it’s closer to Earth it will be “the brightest comet this year,” Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society told USA TODAY.
“The comet is in the early morning sky right at the moment, and that means getting up very early, probably around 5:00 a.m. or so and looking more or less to the northeast,” astronomer and director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles Ed Krupp told NPR.
“The comet will just be about half the width of a clenched fist to the left” of Arcturus, Krupp said. “You might spot it with the unaided eye, but more likely, you're going to need binoculars [or] a telescope.”
Peter Veres, an astronomer at the Minor Planet Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told NPR that Leonard might be visible with the naked eye, but “you will need to be in a dark environment, far from the city.”
Tonight, the comet will pass by cluster NGC 5466, a.k.a. the Snowglobe Cluster, reported Space.com. And, for those who prefer to stay indoors to view the comet or cannot see the comet due to light pollution or weather, the Virtual Telescope Project, based in Rome, will be presenting a webcast of comet Leonard on Dec. 7. “That webcast will start at 11 p.m. EST (0400 GMT) when the Earth is close to the comet’s orbital plane or path through space, which should provide a relatively bright view, according to [project founder Gianluca] Masi,” reported Elizabeth Howell of Space.com.
A good time to view comet Leonard, or C/2021 A1, will be on Monday morning, when it will be visible low on the horizon near Arcturus, a star in the constellation Boötes, also known as the Herdsman, NPR reported. “There's an easy way to find it: Follow the curve of the Big Dipper (in Ursa Major) out past the end of the handle. The next bright star you see will be Arcturus. A good memory aid is to remember that from the Dipper handle, you ‘arc to Arcturus,’” reported Scott Neuman of NPR.
“Observers may get their last peek at Leonard steeped in morning twilight on December 12th — and near peak brightness — before it transitions into the evening sky. Fortunately, the Moon will be absent throughout the best part of its morning apparition,” reported Bob King of Sky & Telescope.
You’ll get another chance to view Leonard in the evening later this month if you miss the comet in the morning, Krupp told NPR. “The optimum time [in the evening] probably is from … Dec. 17 on,” he said. “This time, look for the planet Venus to the southwest. The planet is the brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon. The comet will be between Venus and the horizon,” Neuman of NPR reported.
“Masi told USA TODAY Leonard is a long-period comet, meaning it doesn't come around often. In fact, the comet hasn’t passed by Earth in over 70,000 years, and after it passes by the sun, it will be ejected from our solar system, never to be seen on Earth again,” reported Jordan Mendoza of USA TODAY.
Cristen Hemingway Jaynes is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. She holds a JD and an Ocean & Coastal Law Certificate from University of Oregon School of Law and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.
Specifically, the online retail and tech giant is lending its Amazon Web Services computer processors to run 30 models for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and solar radiation management nonprofit SilverLining on what the Earth’s climate might look like between 2035 and 2070, as Gizmodo reported Wednesday. In some of those models, humans have responded to rising temperatures by slightly dimming the sun.
“There are real risks in not knowing what would happen in the model world where sunlight is dimmed,” Gizmodo’s Brian Kahn wrote of the development. “There’s real value in democratizing data access. Including a scenario on Amazon’s servers, though, also opens the door to some unsettling questions. Techniques to lower the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface are comparatively cheap when you’re the world’s richest (or second richest, depending on the month) person.”
Solar geoengineering has long been a controversial climate solution. It has the potential to cool the atmosphere, and this has happened historically when emissions from volcanic eruptions have dimmed sunlight, as MIC reported. However, scientists are concerned it could have other harmful consequences like disrupting weather patterns or fomenting storms.
Another concern is that it might be pushed by corporate entities like fossil fuel companies that have a vested interest in finding a climate solution that doesn’t rely on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Climate scientist David Keith argues in favor of researching the idea, but says it should be a compliment to emissions reductions, not a replacement.
In a 2019 study, he found that using solar geoengineering to halve the temperature increase caused by doubling carbon dioxide emissions would not worsen climate extremes. But other studies have shown that relying on dimming the sun to offset all human induced warming would have harmful consequences, Axios reported at the time.
"If people are thinking this is a get out of jail free card, a technological fix it means we don’t need to cut emissions, then they are mistaken,” Keith told Axios. “Or to be harsher: delusional."
Whether Amazon is a dubious partner in this type of research is less clear. The company has made major climate commitments, including a promise to be net zero by 2040. However, MIC noted that its carbon footprint has increased every year since 2018.
That said, it is important that Amazon is helping NCAR and SilverLinings to conduct their climate modeling using cloud computing. Using the cloud could help scientists store more data sets, have more control over how much computing power they need and save time on setting up the modelling process, Gizmodo explained.
“Cloud computing has started to reach the point where it could contemplate supporting workloads like this,” SilverLining executive director Kelly Wanser told Gizmodo. “And so you have this inflection point where the underlying technology is sophisticated enough, and so the question is, can you break the adoption impasse and see if you can get this stuff running on the cloud? And then what happens if you do?”