by Tim Smith

On June 9, 2014, Germany reached a green technology revolution: it produced more than half of its total energy demands that day using only electricity generated from solar power. Some media outlets took the figure and exaggerated it, claiming that Germany produces all of its power on any given day from solar power which isn’t true, as Germany on the whole does not have enough sunny days to reach that output consistently. Regardless, it’s an indicator of the potential of utilizing solar power.

To put things into perspective, the statistics show that the sunniest region of Germany, Zugspitze, averages about 76.9 sunny days per year, which is barely higher than the perpetually cloudy Seattle’s 71 sunny days a year. Compare both those numbers to the sunny days in American cities like Las Vegas, which receives 210 sunny days and 82 partly sunny days, and Phoenix’s 85 partly sunny days and 211 sunny days.

If a sun-starved geographic location like Germany can fulfill their immense power needs on the sunniest days, the United States could see a large portion of their energy needs filled by solar power and advances in photovoltaic technology have made it cheaper and more efficient. In fact, the idea of constructing driveways and roads out of photovoltaic materials to produce electricity has entered the conversation as entrepreneurs have raised millions to create such a product. The real question is, though, how much effect would having a solar paneled driveway have on your power bill? The answer may surprise you.

The Numbers Behind Solar Power

As the current technology stands, the most efficient solar panel that can be created has converts light to electricity at an efficiency rate of 29% and the best available to consumers is 21%. According to engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the average home uses 48 kWh of power every day and in order to produce that much electricity every day would take a panel of 409 square feet at 21% efficiency and a panel of 574 square feet at 15% in a sunny area on a sunny day. Coincidentally, the average size of a two car driveway in a residential home in the United States is 24 feet by 20 feet, or 480 square feet which would either completely offset or drastically reduce your power needs, depending on the efficiency rating of the solar panels you purchase. While the exact amount of power produced by the crowd-funded photovoltaic driveway has not been released to the public, one can see that in the right geographic location and depending on the placement of their house, a solar paneled driveway would easily pay for itself.

Tim Smith writes for Modernize.

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About Jodi Summers

Jodi Summers
SoCal Investment Real Estate Group
Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty’s legacy dates back to 1744. Respected as one of the world’s oldest and largest fine art auctioneers, Sotheby’s has a longstanding tradition of bringing together buyers and sellers of fine property. Today, Sotheby’s International Realty boasts nearly 13,000 sales associates, located in more than 660 offices in 49 countries and territories. Broker Jodi Summers is the founder of the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group, a top producing team with Sotheby’s International Realty in the Los Angeles area.

With more than $140,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group know finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. We are accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California, including Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

A New York native, Jodi grew up working in the family business – marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.

The City of Santa Monica chose Jodi to be part of the prestigious 9-member Civic Working Group to analyze and offer feedback on the future of the 10.5-acre Santa Monica Civic Auditorium site. Additionally, Jodi is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Beverly Hills + Greater West Side Association of Realtors, Action Apartment Association of Westside income property owners, the Santa Monica Conservancy historic preservation society, the Friends of Sunset Park community group, the Real Estate Investors Club L.A., the American Solar Energy Society, Sierra Club, California Parks Association and the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. She is currently the Communications Chair for the Ocean Park Association in Santa Monica, and a partner in Save the Civic – a community group involved with the City in the adaptive reuse of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and adjacent area.

An honors graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jodi moved to California in the mid-’90s to achieve her goal of living by the beach with a hibiscus bush in her yard.

She has thrived as an entrepreneur in the entertainment, media and marketing industries. She has three books in publication with Allworth Press – The Interactive Music Handbook, Making and Marketing Music and Moving Up In the Music Business. Making and Marketing Music is in second edition. Check out her work on

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