Over the weekend I had the opportunity to record an interview for the Disruption! podcast, hosted by Roger Willhite. We talked about my book, Commercial Solar: Step-by-Step, the origin and future of Run on Sun, and larger solar industry trends.
In case you are not familiar with Roger’s work, you should check out his website, Second Silicon, which operates under the tagline, “Get absorbed in Solar” - a sentiment we strongly endorse!
His podcast series, Disruption!, has now recorded fifteen segments, and has included such well known solar industry players as Danny Kennedy, Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza, Frank Andorka, and Jigar Shah, to name a few. Heady company indeed, and we were honored to be invited to participate. (One interesting thing about the process - Roger lives in South Korea so the interview was recorded over Skype—pretty cool!)
In any event, here’s the interview - the opening audio features some sound bites from prior podcasts before we get started - how many of those voices can you identify?
Thanks again to Roger for including me in his wonderful series.
Thanks to our friend Yann over at SolarWakeup.com we came across this great infographic summarizing the State of U.S. Solar in 2013 and we thought we would share that with our readers along with our observations.
The folks at Greentech Media Research and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) compiled the report summarizing the State of Solar in the US, and you can download the Executive Summary here. Yet it is their infographic that really fired our imagination.
The graphic notes that “a solar system is installed every four minutes” in the U.S. which is a pretty amazing stat.
We have an even more amazing stat to share that will be part of our new website roll-out this January. While you wait, take a guess: If 2% of the households in America that wanted solar, added solar in 2014, how fast would that be?
Even as other markets around the country grow, California still leads the way. So let’s grow it even faster - how about allocating some of those AB 32 auction funds to refreshing the solar rebate programs around the state - particularly for non-profits?
Despite our progress - 12 GW of total solar capacity installed - we have a long way to go to displace coal. According to the U.S. EIA, as of 2012 there were 310 GW of coal capacity installed, making solar just 3.8% of coal’s share.
The U.S. will hit 13% of global solar installations - a 30-year high - by the end of this year and that share will grow over the next four years.
Of course, we invented this technology, we have abundant insolation resources and the people overwhelmingly want it - so all we need are the proper policies.
As we wrap up 2013 and head into a bright new year, let’s hope that we can push back the naysayers and the “not-so-smart ALECs” of the world and propel solar to reach its rightful dominance.
It’s holiday season and perhaps you’ve been wondering what to get that solar supporter on your shopping list - well, wonder no more, we’ve got the answer! Our book - Commercial Solar: Step-by-Step!
In the giving spirit, check out this added bonus: if you purchase the paperback version of the book to give to that “special someone,” you can download a Kindle version for your very own, absolutely free! Seriously, how cool is that? It’s like giving away your cake, but eating it too!
But what’s that you say, all of the solar supporters on your shopping list already have the book? Wow, well to that we have a couple of things to say: First - thanks! Second, hold on there a second… what about your favorite business owner - surely they could benefit from learning how to escape their ever increasing energy bills. Or what about your kid’s school? Just think of what they could do with the money they save by going solar? Why they could keep that marvelous music teacher and maybe even hire another art teacher - to say nothing of giving a raise to that awesome Algebra teacher! Or for that matter, you could donate a copy to a local library or even your alma mater (after all, you gotta Be True to Your School!).
Fine, you say, if the book is all you claim it is, then yeah, it would make a great gift - but how can you be sure? Fair enough, don’t take our word for it, check out these reviews:
To my knowledge, this is the only book that focuses directly on commercial-scale solar. That’s enough to make it well worth reading. It’s also well organized, well written, and written by a very knowledgeable and experienced solar business owner. Most people in the solar business are familiar with and look forward to the author’s excellent Thoughts on Solar newsletter, and I’m sure many of his readers were looking forward to the publication of this book. I was, and it beat my expectations. Good glossary too, and well indexed. Strongly recommended.
Doug, Verified Amazon Purchaser
There’s so much information that you need to know when thinking about installing commercial solar. As a solar pro, Jenal provides all of it to you, clearly and transparently. Through a combination of a fictional company going solar and Jenal’s added in-depth insights to each step, businesses and facilities will learn how to find quality commercial installers and what to expect during the installation process. He also covers financing, solar incentives, and key points to analyze in a solar bid.
Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza
Convinced now? Thought so! So click on the happy book cover to order your copy today! And Happy Holidays from all of us at Run on Sun!
The right-wing policy/lobbying group, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), bleeding supporters since its advocacy for “stand your ground laws” exploded in its face after the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, has decided to tackle a new demon - solar power. We’re “freeloaders", didn’t you know?
Of course, being attacked from the Right is nothing new, as this fascinating and depressing video montage demonstrates:
But now our friends over at the Guardian are reporting that “ALEC calls for penalties on ‘freerider’ homeowners in assault on clean energy,” during the group’s three-day meeting this week in Washington, D.C. As we have described in the past, ALEC mostly acts behind the scenes to generate legislative proposals for state legislators across the country. While ALEC membership in the California legislature is very low - only 11 of 120 members belong - in some states - particularly Iowa and South Dakota - the percentage of ALEC membership is as high as 100%.
Not content with its “Electricity Freedom Act” (which would repeal a state’s renewable energy portfolio standard), ALEC is now setting its sites on individual homeowners. From the Guardian story:
Further details of Alec’s strategy were provided by John Eick, the legislative analyst for Alec’s energy, environment and agriculture program.
Eick told the Guardian the group would be looking closely in the coming year at how individual homeowners with solar panels are compensated for feeding surplus electricity back into the grid.
“This is an issue we are going to be exploring,” Eick said. He said Alec wanted to lower the rate electricity companies pay homeowners for direct power generation – and maybe even charge homeowners for feeding power into the grid.
“As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially freeriders on the system. They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non direct generation customers are being penalised,” he said.
Eick dismissed the suggestion that individuals who buy and install home-based solar panels had made such investments. “How are they going to get that electricity from their solar panel to somebody else’s house?” he said. “They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity.”
This is the same battle against net metering that we have been writing about since PG&E declared war on solar nearly a year ago. No doubt ALEC is hoping that it can reverse its funding woes by bringing in utilities from around the country with this new, and utterly cynical, campaign.
Rachel Maddow picked up the story last night with a long piece providing decades of context and concluded with an interview of one of the Guardian reporters who broke the story.
While California is largely immune from the nonsense being peddled by ALEC, other states aren’t so lucky. In Arizona, where a bruising battle over net metering was just fought, 49% of the legislature are members of ALEC, according to ALEC internal documents made public by the Guardian (see p. 39). Looks like that fight is just beginning.
Cyber Monday captures the imagination of shoppers everywhere - so why not solar shoppers as well? We know this time of year is traditionally slow for solar purchases - folks are more focused on presents for others than they are on cutting their energy bills. That will come with the New Year and all those resolutions - after all, saving more money will be one of your resolutions next year, right?
But this year we thought we would offer you a little incentive to break that mold and get a head start on your New Year now. So, in honor of Cyber Monday, we are offering our first ever Cyber Monday Sale on Solar!
Here’s how it works - when you click on that big, “Go Solar Now” sun on the right, enter the code “Cyber Monday” in the comments box. Or if you call us at 626-793-6025, mention Cyber Monday on the call. Then, if we sign a contract before the end of the year, we will take $500 off the cost of your new solar power system!
What could be better? You save some money (heck, you could spend that extra $500 on some of those presents!) and you get a head start on fulfilling one of your upcoming New Year’s resolutions! That just might make this the best Cyber Monday Sale ever!