Categories: "Solar Organizations"

11/29/12

  11:20:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 626 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, SEIA, Climate Change, Ranting

Smart ALEC Attacks Renewables - UPDATED

ALEC logo

UPDATE - We are starting to see “news” articles that seem to be following the ALEC playbook, including one from the AP bemoaning the carbon footprint of solar modules, particularly once you considered disposal of associated hazardous waste.  But not so fast, says this piece which offers a contextual rebuttal.


The ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - the organization that brought you the much maligned “stand your ground laws” - has trained its guns on another vulnerable target: economic support for renewable energy.  Now it is up to the supporters of a clean energy future to push back against ALEC’s concerted campaign of “subversion” against renewables.

We have written before about the PR problems facing the solar industry, a problem that continues to this day.  However, we are starting to see that this problem isn’t simply the fault of misinformed or lazy reporters.  To the contrary, it now appears that there is an orchestrated campaign underway with the expressed intent of denigrating the entire renewable energy industry - and the spearhead of that campaign is ALEC.

ALEC’s mission - funded by such dirty energy sources as Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers - is to develop conservative legislation for adoption by state legislatures around the country.  Although generally unknown to the public, ALEC has had considerable success pushing its conservative agenda, which now includes climate change denial.  Not content with promoting “model” legislation that would roll back Renewable Portfolio Standards, ALEC is now looking to create a national organization devoted to making the wind industry in particular - and potentially all renewables in general - unacceptable to the public, and thus to policy makers.

The Guardian newspaper got a copy of an ALEC internal memo that laid out their ultimate goal:

Cause subversion  in message of industry so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants  to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and  clean to dirty).

Ultimate Goal: Change policy direction based on the message.

While it may be true that the present target of ALEC’s efforts is the wind industry, one need not be a visionary to realize that if they can succeed there the solar industry will be next.  And while the Orwellian prospect of “turning green to black and clean to dirty” might seem like an unlikely goal, these types of “big-lie” campaigns have been successful in the past. Indeed, the failure to take meaningful national action on Climate Change is at least in part attributable to the tactics of the Heartland Institute, coincidentally one of the co-conspirators on this scheme with ALEC.

So how do we fight back?  Here are a number of ways:

  1. Get informed - the Sierra Club has published a detailed report about the threat titled, “Clean Energy Under Siege” which is alarming but very informative.
  2. Get involved - if you are a solar installer you need to support our trade association, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). If you are a concerned member of the public, the Sierra Club would love to have your support.
  3. Push back - contact your legislators and let them know that you are wise to the attack on renewables coming from ALEC and that you demand that your representatives say No!

Without a doubt the folks supporting ALEC have more money for this fight than does the renewable energy industry.  But we have the people on our side with more than 90% of the American electorate supportive of solar and other forms of clean, green energy.  Let this be our wake-up call - we are making strides and our opponents have noticed and are now fighting back.  As has been noted before, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

It’s winning time!

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10/02/12

  03:12:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 483 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Tax Incentives, SEIA, Ranting

Q: What is more popular than Solar? A: Nothing!

In this intense election season, we are accustomed to seeing lots of polls tracking the day-to-day changes in the “horse race” of the political process. But while various candidates struggle to “break out” of the pack, solar energy is an overwhelming consensus winner with strong support from 92% of the electorate - and when was the last time that 92% of us agreed on anything?  Given that tomorrow night’s debate turns on domestic issues, it will be interesting to see how this issue plays, if at all.

We base our observation on a poll that was recently conducted by Hart Research Associates (Hart) for the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA).  (You can find the poll results here.)  The Hart poll got responses online from 1,206 registered voters, including an oversample of so-called “swing” voters (people who did not indicate a strong or consistent partisan voting history).  The margin of error was ±2.8%.

Solar Enjoys Unprecedented Bi-Partisan Support

Support for solar among voters cuts across party lines.  98% of Democrats and 95% of Independents think it is very important or somewhat important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power - but even among Republicans, support was at a very impressive 84%. And voters think that energy issues should be a factor in this year’s Presidential election with 27% saying such issues are one of the most important while another 47% say they are very important.

Coal is Upside Down

Despite an aggressive and well-funded ad campaign to support the quaint notion of “clean coal", of all of the different energy sources surveyed, only coal is upside down on its favorability rating: 34% of the electorate has an unfavorable view of coal, compared to only 32% with a favorable opinion.  Solar energy, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with 85% having a favorable opinion and only a miniscule 4% unfavorable.  Here are the overall results:

Chart of favorable-unfavorable ratings for different energy types

Interestingly, the three greenest energy sources are at the top of the list while the two dirtiest, coal and oil are at the bottom.

Talk is Cheap, It Takes Money to Buy Solar Panels

As nice as it is to be supported, perhaps a more pressing question for policy makers/candidates is this: Which, if any, of these forms of energy should the federal government support through tax subsidies?  Once again, solar energy was the clear winner with a full 64% of all voters (67% among swing voters) supporting federal tax subsidies for solar.  In contrast, only 8% overall support subsidies for coal (4% of swing voters) and just 13% for oil (9% among swing voters).  Yet subsidies for the coal and oil industries dwarf those provided to all renewable energy sectors overall and solar in particular.  Here’s the overall chart:

support for energy subsidies

These results, if not surprising, are nevertheless gratifying, particularly in an election year.  We can only hope that voters will determine where the candidates stand on support for all energy sources, particularly solar, and use that knowledge to inform their vote next month.

09/25/12

  11:30:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 274 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, SEIA, Commercial Solar

Solar Means Business!

We have written before about the types of companies that choose to install solar and we featured the specific strides that IKEA is making toward energy independence. But now comes a report from the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar that shows that when it comes to saving money, solar really does mean business!

Top twenty companies for installed solar capacityAs the above chart shows, these twenty companies have installed more than 700 solar power systems with a combined total capacity of 279 MW, or enough to power more than 46,000 typical American households!  Retail giant Walmart leads the way with 65 MW of installed capacity, followed by Costco, Kohl’s, IKEA and Macy’s.

Indeed, the report shows that IKEA has installed solar at 79% of its stores, exceeding by mid-2012 the goal that it had set for 2015!

What is motivating these companies to adopt solar at such an impressive - and accelerating - pace?  Well, it certainly isn’t green-eyed environmentalism nearly as much as it is far-sighted economics.  These companies have figured out that solar power systems are a great money maker - with paybacks occurring in 4-7 years and decades of savings thereafter.

The good news is that your company doesn’t have to be a giant in the field to save money like one.  Commercial solar is simply the smartest investment any company could make, and when combined with PACE financing (at least here in Los Angeles County) you can have all of the benefits of commercial solar with next to nothing out-of-pocket.

So what are you waiting for?  Give us a call or click on that giant “Go Solar Now” button on the right to get you started on the road to some major savings!

04/18/12

  09:33:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 149 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, SEIA, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar

CPUC Ruling on Net Metering Cap - Take Action!

The folks at SEIA - the Solar Energy Industry Association - have put out an action alert for Californians who are concerned about expanding access to solar power through the expansion of the net metering rules.  Here’s their action alert - please take a look and then click on the link to add your voice.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is deciding how much customer-owned renewable energy is allowed to get the bill saving benefits of net metering.  This statewide clean energy credit program has empowered over 100,000 solar energy systems to be installed on homes, businesses, schools, libraries and other buildings around the state.

The Commission has proposed allowing for more homeowner solar– and some utilities are trying their best to restrict continued access to it.

Click here to tell the CPUC that you support their preliminary decision to give more Californians access to solar net metering: I support net metering!

12/13/11

  07:33:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 247 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Solar Tax Incentives, SEIA, Commercial Solar

1603 Crunch Time Push

We have written before about the importance of the federal section 1603 Treasury Grant Program as a means to spur further growth in solar.  Well it is crunch time and if you agree with me that this is a program that needs to be continued, there are a couple of things you need to do, NOW.

The good news is that it is easy, thanks to the 1603 Coalition folks over at SEIA - here’s what you need to do:

We have railed in the past about the PR problems plaguing solar - well, here is a way for you to help counter some of that by making a little positive PR of your own.  If everyone who supports solar were to take five minutes today to do these two things, we would be well on our way to getting the 1603 program extended for another year - and wouldn’t that be a swell way to ring in the New Year?

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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.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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