Categories: All About Solar Power, Electric Cars that Run on Sun, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Safety

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05/09/14

  11:53:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 142 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Residential Solar

Solar on the White House!

It took way longer than we had hoped, but last year the Obama Administration fulfilled a promise to return solar to the White House and now they have a video to prove it!

Solar was first placed on the White House by President Jimmy Carter as a symbol of what was to come.  Unfortunately, the next President reversed course and removed the solar panels.  When Barack Obama was elected, the solar community began to agitate for solar to make a triumphant return to “the People’s House."  It took quite awhile, but now we have the proof—check it out:

While this system is too small to offset more than a token amount of the energy needed by the White House, most homes or businesses can do far better.  Whether its Your House or the White House, solar is here to stay.  Finally.

05/08/14

  07:01:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 432 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Ranting, Net Metering

What could be more Conservative than Solar?

We have long held that adding solar is a very conservative thing to do—as in conserving your money to say nothing about conserving the planet.  A recent Op-Ed in the LA Times echoed that sentiment quite clearly just the other day and it is worth a mention.

Titled, “Koch brothers and big utilities campaign to unplug solar power,” the piece by David Horsey lays out quite clearly the cynical attempt by the Koch brothers (who have inherited one of the largest family owned corporations in the oil and gas industry and in so doing, are richer than God), investor owned utilities and the American Legislative Council (see, Not so smart ALEC), to roll back laws in red states that help promote the solar industry.  Those laws—specifically renewable portfolio standards (known as an RPS, that mandates a percentage of renewable energy in a utility’s energy mix) and net metering—were readily adopted across the country when solar was still too expensive for most consumers.  But the recent, precipitous price drops in solar power systems has awakened the sleeping giant of the fossil-fuel industry and now they mean business.

Apparently they scored a recent victory in Oklahoma with the governor there signing a repeal law for that state’s RPS.  Score one for the Kochs.

But, as we have noted before, there are conservative groups who see this issue through a—dare we say it—more conservative lens.  From the Op-Ed:

Environmentalists have been energized to stand in the way of this well-funded multi-state onslaught against solar power, and it is gratifying to hear there is one conservative with a venerable Republican lineage who is taking their side. Former California congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. has formed a group, awkwardly named Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed, that hopes to gather support among conservatives to oppose the big utilities.

“These solar companies are becoming popular, and utilities don’t like competition,” Goldwater told The Times. “I believe people ought to have a choice.”

Consumer choice. Business competition. Autonomy for individual Americans. Those certainly seem like sound conservative principles. You would think that is something the Koch brothers could appreciate, but, obviously, their brand of conservatism is defined less by principles than by profits.

Indeed those are sound principles that both conservatives and liberals can rally around. 

The internal battle amongst conservatives is spilling over into the renewable energy arena, and how that battle plays out will determine whether conservation-minded conservatives can join forces with their enviro sisters and brothers, or if the only wearers of a conservative mantle will be following the scorched-earth policies of the Kochs. 

Watch this space.

05/02/14

  09:37:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 240 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, LADWP, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar

Who's Building Solar?

We all know that solar is booming throughout the U.S. and especially here in California, but where in California exactly? What county leads the state in permitting new solar projects? Take a guess—the winner may surprise you!

We recently came across a publication that attempts to compile information regarding building permits throughout the State of California.  The data reports the total number of permits issued by county and gives a valuation for those permits.  However, since the value assigned to a project at the permit office is generally not verified against the actual price of the project, we aren’t looking at that data.  Instead, we simply focused on the total number of permits issued in March of 2014 for new, solar PV installations. 

Go on, take a guess…

Top 10 CA counties for new PV permits

Did you see that coming?  We certainly didn’t!

Wow, San Bernardino you are kicking it, and in a big way, accounting for nearly 12% of the 3,901 new PV permits pulled statewide in March.  The top ten counties listed here combined for 65% of all permits for the month.  Solar hotspots indeed.

Still, I suspect it tells you something about the continuing horrors of doing business in the City of the Angels,  when Los Angeles county, with five times the population of San Bernardino county, has roughly half as many permits in the month.

It will be interesting to follow this data going forward to see whether this month was a fluke or a continuing trend.

04/22/14

  07:41:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 173 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Ranting, Non-profit solar

Solar Panel Syndrome: The Right Fights Back!

We’ve seen and written about the backlash against solar from utilities, fossil fuel interests and their allies for sometime now, but the brilliant Chris Hayes had a great segment about this on his show the other night (H/T ClimateCrocks.com). In case you missed it, here’s his piece:

There’s lots to like in this story, but one thing we really like is his guest, Nikki Silvestri from Green for All, who explains how adding solar to a neighborhood church or school really allows the technology to come home to people and educate them about the benefits of renewable energy in general, and solar in particular.

But it is precisely that educated familiarlity that has the reactionary forces so upset.  While Solar Power Syndrome might be tongue-in-cheek ("ever since that solar installation went up, everything around here has been dimmer - those dang solar panels are sucking up all of the sunlight!"), the concerted attacks from ALEC and the other Conservative heavyweights [that] have [the] solar industry in their sights is painfully, and dangerously real.

03/31/14

  05:47:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 347 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Events, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Non-profit solar

Nominate a Solar Champion!

White House website for Champions of Change

In the “How cool is this?” department we have learned that the White House is seeking nominations for their Champions of Change program, but this time specifically related to Solar Deployment!  Here are the details…

According to the White House website:

The White House Champions of Change program regularly highlights ordinary Americans from across the country who are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. To celebrate the breadth of individuals who are taking action on solar deployment, we will honor “Champions of Change” to lift up entrepreneurs, innovators, legislators, affordable housing owners, community leaders, and others who are accelerating deployment. 

We are asking you to help us identify standout local leaders and businesses by nominating a Champion of Change for Deployment of Solar in the Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Sectors by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 4. These champions can include:  

  • Community leaders working to bolster solar adoption; including participants in DOE’s “Rooftop Solar Challenge,” through which 22 teams are working to advance deployment;
     
  • Business leaders promoting solar procurement (building supply chains and smaller organizations that provide information about the benefits of solar);
     
  • Companies and non-profits training veterans for solar jobs;
     
  • Multifamily housing owners, home builders/associations and organizers promoting onsite solar generation on our rooftops, and organizations providing innovative financing mechanisms to developers and homeowners;
     
  • Utility leaders seizing solar energy’s potential by supporting and facilitating solar deployment, including through community solar; and
     
  • Organizations working to help consumers navigate the regulations and paperwork necessary to install solar in their communities.

Click on the link below to submit your nomination (be sure to choose ‘Solar Deployment’ in the “Theme of Service” field of the nomination form).

Nominate a Solar Deployment Champion of Change

This is a great opportunity to help give some well deserved recognition to your favorite hero in the effort to build a clean, sustainable future.  You can submit more than one nomination, but the deadline is this Friday at 5 p.m. (and that’s Eastern time, so 2 p.m. here on the left coast).  So don’t hesitate, get those nominations in now!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
In addition, Run on Sun offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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