Tag: "facebook"


  09:47:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 328 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Ranting

Solar Means Jobs!

Solar means jobs!Our friends over at The Solar Foundation have just released their latest National Solar Jobs Census for 2016 and the results (as the infographic on the right demonstrates) are truly eye-popping!  Here’s our take.

While there was a great deal of talk about creating decent jobs for American workers during the past election campaign, the reality is that the solar industry is one of the most dynamic creator of jobs that cannot be sent overseas!  In fact, according to the Census, one out of every fifty jobs added in the United States during 2016 was created by the solar industry.  Moreover, 2016 was the fourth year in a row in which job growth exceeded 20%, year-on-year!

The 260,000 people employed by the solar industry represent more workers than in the natural gas industry, over twice as many as in coal, over three times that of wind energy, and almost five times the number employed in nuclear.  Only the oil/petroleum industry is ahead, but likely not for long.  (And seriously, who wouldn’t prefer to go to work in the solar industry than into the hell that is a coal mine?)

Compared to other high tech entities, the solar industry in the U.S. accounts for more jobs than Google, Facebook, and Microsoft combined—worldwide!  Nowhere is that job growth more explosive than right here in California, with solar jobs increasing by a staggering 32% from 75,598 in 2015 to 100,050 in 2016!  Moreover, these are good paying jobs, with the median salary for solar installers coming in at $25.96 per hour.

The solar industry has reached these levels thanks to the very hard work of many people who strive to make the industry better every day, and thanks to solar-friendly policies at both the state and federal levels.  Policy makers, from the President on down, should keep that in mind as they contemplate changes to energy policy.  Today, more than ever, Solar Means Jobs!

Check out The Solar Foundation’s cool video highlighting some of the many exciting developments in the solar industry!



  10:56:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 529 words  
Categories: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint - One Server (and PC) at a Time

One of the paradoxes of our so-called Information Age is that while the Internet brings a world of knowledge to our fingertips, it comes at the cost of a fairly high carbon footprint. Those servers that sustain the World Wide Web consume enormous amounts of power - power which for the most part comes from burning coal.  That dark little secret means that the very largest Internet entities - such as Google, Facebook and Twitter - could be responsible for enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Google solar array

While Google has been highly visible in its efforts to power its server farms from renewable sources - sporting everything from vast solar arrays to the latest fuel cell technologies - Facebook and Twitter have been largely silent on this issue.

At least for Facebook, that silence has now been broken.  Announcing something that it is calling the Open Compute Project, Facebook is now offering information on the greening of its server farms and providing documentation on what it did so that others can follow suit.  According to the OPC site, Facebook claims that its “vanity free servers” are 38% more efficient and 24% less expensive to build and run than what is generally found in state-of-the-art data centers.  Still, the LA Times is reporting that Greenpeace is pushing Facebook to do more - including pledging to get all of the energy that it needs to run its data centers from renewable sources.  No word yet on whether or not Facebook will make such a pledge.

All of that is good for Facebook, but what about the rest of us?  True, most of us don’t run server farms or manage data centers, but we all use computers to access the Internet - to write and then to read this post, for example.  What about us?  If we are not in a position to upgrade our computers at home or at work to the latest and most efficient models, what are we to do?

In an effort to make our operations as green as possible (within our budget!) we recently installed “power saving software” called Granola from MiserWare that helps you “help save the planet” by lowering the energy usage of your PC.  Or as they say:

Granola makes computers more energy efficient without slowing them down. It’s safe, it’s easy, and it lets your computer run like a hybrid Ferrari – fast when you need speed, but energy efficient when you don’t. Granola helps you save the world.

We have used the software for just over two months on our primary office PC and here are our results so far: 19.7 kWh saved for an overall efficiency improvement of 23.8%  Will those numbers save the world?  No.  But imagine the savings if every PC adopted similar software?  In our experience the software has been entirely transparent and we have had no problems using it at all.

We have said it before and we will say it again - energy efficiency is more cost effective than energy generation.  We encourage all of our clients to make their buildings as energy efficient as possible before adding solar. In that vein, we applaud the efforts by Facebook and are happy to promote Granola - collectively we will save the world.


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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