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10/11/14

  08:21:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 360 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Energy Efficiency, Residential Solar

Keeping the Lights on...

We stumbled upon an interesting graphic that highlights just what it takes to keep the lights on in our homes and work places.  It is a tale of both efficiency and waste.  We thought it was worth sharing… (h/t The EnergyCollective.)

The starting point for the graphic (click on the image at left for the full size graphic) is an old fashioned (i.e., wasteful) 100 Watt incandescent light bulb.  If you turned on such a light and left it running for a year, how much energy would it consume?  That’s the easy calculation - 100 W = 0.1 kW.  There are 8,760 hours in a year (roughly - don’t go getting all leap year on me) so our light bulb uses:
0.1 kW x 8,760 hours = 876 kWh. 

Quite a lot, really, just to light a room!

The graphic proceeds to explore what it would take to produce that much power from each of our common energy sources.  Interestingly, only one of these sources is something you can own - and that, of course, is solar.  (While you could own a wind turbine, the one in the graphic is a 1.5 MW turbine, definitely not something to put in your backyard!)  To be fair, the graphic assumes an installation of 100 square meters which is 1,076 square feet, and that is significantly larger than most residential solar systems.  If your system is smaller, it takes longer for your system to keep the light on, but the end result is the same: your own power source meeting your needs, with no pollution or long-lived waste products to worry about.

On the other end of that scale is the coal plant where our light bulb requires us to burn nearly half a ton of coal and emit over a ton of CO2 in the process!

The good news is that both that wasteful incandescent light bulb, and coal-fired power plants are going away, just not fast enough.  (Changing out your old 100 Watt light bulbs with efficient LEDs will drop these numbers by more than a factor of five.)  Every solar installation directly reduces our greenhouse gas emissions - and saves the system owner substantial amounts of money over the lifetime of the system.

10/03/14

  06:26:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 176 words  
Categories: Electric Cars that Run on Sun

Use Your Torque Wisely!

Readers of this blog know that the only thing we like better than Electric Vehicles are Electric Vehicles that Run on Sun. So when we came across this clever ad from Nissan, we just had to share (and it is perfect for a Friday!).

Check this out:

Frankly, we had that same self-satisfied smile on our face when we got to test drive a Tesla Model S a few weeks ago.  Part of the test drive was a short stint on a local freeway.  As luck would have it, the light turned red as we reached the on-ramp to the freeway.  As luck would further have it, a 5-series BMW pulled up alongside of us - both of us first to go at the light.  Somewhat distracted by the many bells and whistles inside the Model S (and the patter of the salesperson), we weren’t focused on the light, and the BMW jumped ahead as the light changed. 

Poor little BMW, he didn’t have a chance.

Grin.

Happy Friday, everyone - but remember, use your torque wisely!

09/28/14

  08:43:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 441 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, SCE, Residential Solar, Ranting

Support Solar!

Regular readers of this blog will know that solar-friendly policies are under constant attach by the utilities, especially the three Investor-owned utilities (or IOUs as they are known), PG&E, SDG&E and our own SCE.  Well they are at it again, with rate proposals before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that could harm both solar and energy efficiency measures alike.  Fortunately, we have an opportunity to have our say - here’s our take. (H/t our friends at CalSEIA.)

Support SolarCurrent policies in California, most notably net metering, along with a tiered rate structure (whereby you pay more for electricity as you use more) have provided powerful incentives not only for consumers to install solar, but to also take proactive measures to reduce their energy consumption.  As a result, energy use in California over the past twenty years has grown slower than the growth in population despite the explosion of new electronic devices in homes and businesses during that time.  Indeed, California has lead the way for the rest of the Nation, proving that you can have a twenty-first century lifestyle and still reduce your energy demand.

In other words, these policies have been a success.

The proposals being floated at the CPUC would change rates throughout the three IOU service areas (i.e., much of California) and threaten that success.  In particular, they are seeking to add a flat, monthly fee to everyone of $10 to all bills, regardless of use and to reduce the number of tiers from four to two.  In addition, the rate for the lowest tier would increase, making this a double-whammy not just to solar owners, but to the poorest electric customers who will see a rise in their rates.  (So much for the utilities’ concern over hurting the poor!)

Fortunately these changes are not yet cast in stone and the public, particularly advocates for solar and energy efficiency, have a chance to have their voices heard.  The CPUC is holding a series of public hearings, some in the Run on Sun service area, as well as others around the state.  Here are the upcoming hearings:

FONTANA

September 29, 2014

2:00 pm & 6:30 pm

Fontana City Council Chambers
8353 Sierra Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335

TEMPLE CITY

September 30, 2014

2:00 pm & 6:30 pm?

Temple City Council Chambers
5938 Kauffman Avenue
Temple City, CA  91780

PALMDALE

October 2, 2014

2:00 pm & 6:30 pm

Palmdale City Council Chambers
38300 Sierra Hwy, Suite A
Palmdale, CA  93550

CHICO

October 9, 2014

2:00 pm & 6:30 pm

Holiday Inn Chico – Conference Center
685 Manzanita Ct.
Chico, CA 95926

FRESNO

October 14, 2014

2:00 pm & 6:30 pm

Fresno City Council Chambers
2600 Fresno Street
Fresno, CA  93721

We are planning on attending the hearing in Temple City.  If you attend one of these important hearings, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

09/22/14

  07:00:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 195 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power

Meet Kendra Hubbard - Intern Extraordinaire!

We are really excited to announce our first ever intern at Run on Sun, the incomparable Kendra Hubbard!

Kendra Hubbard - Intern ExtraordinaireAs many of you know, Kendra has been involved with solar marketing and social media (@kendra_hubbard) for many years, but she has longed to “get her hands dirty” and see more of the business, particularly from the perspective of a well-respected local installer.  We at Run on Sun have long admired Kendra’s insights into the solar industry but have never had the chance before to lure her to our fair city.  When this opportunity arose, we jumped at the chance.

Kendra, of course, wasted no time in getting to work, as you can see in this picture of Kendra working with us on our latest installation: a very cool mix of raised seem metal roof (S-5 clamps and Everest racking) plus ballasted (PolarClaw).

In the coming weeks and months we are looking forward to Kendra’s contributions to a vast swath of what we do, from sales and prospecting, to organizational efficiency (and yes, even some marketing!).  So please take a moment to welcome Kendra - one of the true Solar Women Stars - to the Run on Sun team!

09/08/14

  06:47:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 236 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar

Tracking Solar Permits

We wrote back in May about the number of solar permits that were pulled in March of this year statewide for solar (PV) installs and were surprised to see San Bernardino county leading the field and in a big way.  Well we just got a peak at the data for July—what surprises might it bring?

Solar (PV) Permits - July 2014

Compared to the March data, things have really heated up, with the statewide total of 6,521 permits representing a 67% increase over the previously reported 3,901 permits!  Our leader board has changed dramatically as well, with San Diego County grabbing the top spot with 10.5% of the statewide total.  San Bernardino drops from first to seventh, while Los Angeles County—far and away the state’s population leader—was just barely able to beat out tiny Placer county  (home to a twenty-seventh of LA’s population).  

Unfortunately the data does not report the size of these projects, merely their valuation, which can be an unreliable data point since it is not verified in the permitting process.  In any event, total valuation for the month was in excess of $105 million, with Riverside county taking the lead ($13.9 million), followed by Orange ($7.9), Fresno ($7.5), Kern ($7.4) and then San Diego ($6.8).  PV valuation in LA County was just $4.8 million.  Of course, give the nightmare of doing business in LA County’s largest city—a topic we have discussed previously, and one to which we will return in future posts—LA County’s laggard numbers should come as no surprise.

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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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