Tag: "solar power"

06/22/11

  09:43:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 413 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, Climate Change

Beck Mocks President on No Solar Panels

It is bad enough that President Obama has failed to deliver on his promise from last Fall to install solar panels - PV and hot water - on the White House roof by the end of the Spring. But now Glenn Beck is using that failure as an opportunity to mock the President’s energy policies.

Here is how Mr. Beck marked the summer solstice:

(Video Clip of Energy Secretary Chu):  The White House will lead by example. I’m pleased to announce that by the end of this spring, there will be solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity and solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.

BECK: Oh, my goodness! I thought – when I heard that I thought – thank you, Jesus, for having a hot water tank powered by the sun on the top of the White House, because that’s going to make all the difference in the world. We’re fixed, America! That’s how upside down this White House is.

By the way, look at the clock, officially end of the spring. Yes!

White House roof - no solar in sight

Let me show you. What it looks like. Now at the top – I don’t see it. Where are the solar panels? It must be an old picture. Tiffany, is this an old picture?

FOX NEWS PRODUCER: It’s a brand new picture.

BECK: Brand new picture. So, I don’t know where the solar panels are. Maybe it was a different spring. Maybe it’s camouflage. Maybe they didn’t do it because it’s bull crap from the beginning. What do you think? No solar panels, even though this White House solar panel project was, quote, “designed to accelerate deployment” of solar technologies.

Ouch.

In tennis, this would be called an “unforced error."  In the ER they would describe it as a “self-inflicted wound."  To those of us in the solar industry, who constantly battle the bad PR about solar power and the misinformation that is floating around in the minds of the public, this is one more hurdle that we must overcome if we are going to see our way through to the future that we know can - and must - be developed in this country and the world.

Contrary to Mr. Beck’s surmise, solar power is for real and it is helping real people save money every single day.  If you want to learn more about why solar isn’t “bull … from the beginning,” contact us and we will show you how it can make a difference for your home or business.

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03/28/11

  07:39:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 171 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, PWP

Pasadena Named One of the Top-Ten Cleantech Cities in the United States

In an article Monday by Shawn Lesser, Reuters has published its list of the top ten cleantech cities in the U.S. Surprising no one around here, Pasadena made the list, coming in at number 9.  Reuters highlighted Caltech’s influence in the region, including through it partnership with the City of Pasadena to found Entretech, a non-profit dedicated to fostering the growth of hi-tech companies in the Pasadena area.

Ironically, on the solar front, Reuters identified Energy Innovations Solutions as an example of a Pasadena cleantech company, despite its relocation to Poway last summer.  Nevertheless, there is plenty of solar power innovation going on here in Pasadena, and your friends at Run on Sun (somehow overlooked by Reuters!) are leading that charge.

Top-ten in cleantech?  Heck, yeah and just one more reason why we love Pasadena and are committed to making this one of the greenest cities in the world!  If you are a Pasadena building or business owner, give us a shout and let’s get you onboard with the greening of Pasadena.

02/08/11

  08:07:49 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 410 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Electric Cars that Run on Sun, Climate Change

FedEx CEO Calls for the End to Our Oil Dependency

In a to-the-point Op-Ed in the online edition of Fortune Magazine, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith calls for “a truly bipartisan solution to our oil dependence” that involves replacing the existing fleet of oil-consuming vehicles with electric cars and trucks.  He’s absolutely right, and it is high time for Congress to act.

As the head of FedEx, Smith knows something about oil dependence: everyday FedEx puts 670 aircraft into the skies (flying half-a-million miles each day) and over 70,000 other motorized vehicles - nearly all of which consume oil.  But give him credit - for unlike some who simply cry for us to “drill, baby, drill” - Smith acknowledges that this is simply not sustainable.  Rather, the solution he proposes is legislation that would encourage the deployment of EVs at a vastly accelerated pace:

What we need to protect our nation is the environment to create in a few short years an entirely new transportation system with millions, and then tens of millions, of electric cars and trucks.

And there is a way to make it happen – pass a bill to promote electric vehicles. Last summer Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Energy Committee voted in favor of a plan to assist the deployment of electric vehicles and infrastructure in the U.S. The bill, which still hasn’t passed, was based in part on policy recommendations by the Electrification Coalition, a group of which I am a member. It calls for the creation of electrification “deployment communities": regions where incentives would support electrification at scale. It leverages constrained federal resources in a market-friendly way by encouraging communities to work with major employers, utilities, and other stakeholders to find the most cost-effective pathways to electrification.

Readers of this blog know well that we are huge supporters of EVs. Legislation at the national level that would encourage the production and deployment of EVs should also promote solar and other renewable energy sources at the same time. It is a natural fit - renewables like solar can fuel EVs so that there are zero emissions associated with the miles traveled and a solar power installation will continue to provide the energy needed to fuel that EV for 25 years or more.

We encourage you to read the entire piece (link at the headline of this post) and share your thoughts in the comments.

On a related note, here is an interview with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn discussing the rising cost of oil and how that is driving demand for the all-electric Leaf.

02/03/11

  12:34:32 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 593 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Electric Cars that Run on Sun

Unrest in the Middle East - Yet Another Reason to Switch to Solar Power

As we witness events unfolding in Egypt and elsewhere throughout the Middle East we are struck by the desire of people everywhere to be free and to live lives of hope and self-determination.  But here at home we are reminded that instability in the Middle East means higher energy prices - both directly at the pump, and indirectly in the form of military and other costs associated with preserving the continual flow of oil coming to these shores. It is not a sustainable future, and as Americans we need to rethink how we fuel our lives.

Everyday nearly 3 million barrels of oil flow through the Egyptian-controlled Suez Canal, an amount equal to Canada’s entire daily oil production. Much of that oil is destined for the United States, which imports nearly 6 million barrels of OPEC oil each and every day.  As the widget to the right shows, oil prices are on the rise again, above $90/bbl as this is written.  If the situation in Egypt deteriorates to the point of disrupting the flow of oil through the Suez Canal, oil prices will likely spike to all-time highs.

It simply doesn’t have to be this way.

The new generation of EVs - like the Nissan Leaf - and plug-in hybrids - like the Chevy Volt - have the potential to lead the way to a new future of energy independence.  Combine them with a solar power system of your own, and your energy savings really mount up.

Let’s look at an example.  Take a Leaf with its 24 kWh battery pack.  It is advertised to get roughly 100 miles per charge, but let’s be conservative here and assume that it only gets 80.  Moreover, we will assume that our charging system is only 90% efficient so to fully charge that 24 kWh battery pack will actually require 26 kWh of energy.  At SCE’s top-tiered rate of $0.325/kWh, our Leaf costs 10.8¢/mile to power.  Compare that to the average gasoline-powered car on the highway today.  That vehicle, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, averages 22.6 miles/gallon.  For gasoline priced at $3.50/gallon, that average car on the road today costs 15.5¢/mile to fuel. Let oil prices spike, and gasoline prices climb to $4.00/gallon (certainly well within the realm of possibility) and that cost per mile goes to 17.7¢.  That means if you drive 10,000 miles per year, your fuel cost alone in that typical American car will be $1,770/year and the Leaf - even using the most expensive electricity in SCE territory, will save you $690/year.

Now what if you powered that Leaf not from SCE’s Tier-5 electricity, but with solar power from a Run on Sun solar system? Assume that you installed a 5 kW system that cost $6.00/Watt to install (a reasonable cost).  That system would cost $30,000 to install. After rebates (from the utility) and a 30% federal tax credit, and the out-of-pocket cost is roughly 1/2 of that initial cost - say $15,000.  That means that the savings from driving 10,000 miles/year will pay for your solar power system in eight and a half years.  But during those years you will contribute zero pollution to the environment and never have to stop at a gas station again.

This is the way forward. This is the way to insulate ourselves from political instability while at the same time clearing our air and drastically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

For years detractors could say this wasn’t realistic - that the vehicles didn’t exist or that the economics didn’t pencil out. Those days are over.  The future requires a new way of thinking that will turn us away from the failed practices of the past.

10/05/10

  09:52:34 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 308 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Solar News

Solar Power to Return to the White House

President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu announced today that solar power - both in the form of solar electricity and solar hot water - will be returning to the White House after a long absence. First installed during the Carter Administration - but subsequently removed when Ronald Reagan became President - this new installation of solar power “reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home,” said Secretary Chu. “Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”

The Solar Industry - which had been pressing hard for President Obama to take this step - reacted with excitement to the news:

“Putting solar on the roof of the nation’s most important home is a powerful symbol calling on all Americans to rethink how we create energy,” said Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industry Association. “It’s an example of how each one of us can improve energy security, employ Americans and cut energy costs. I can speak from personal experience that taxpayers will benefit. In the four years since I’ve had solar on my house, I’ve gotten a better return on my solar system than on my 401(k).”

At Run on Sun we are excited by the news as well.  That is why we are announcing our first ever solar sale - the White House Solar Sale, to be precise.  In honor of this great leadership moment, we are offering special discounts on solar power systems from now until Election Day - November 2, 2010.  If you sign a contract with Run on Sun between now and then, we will take $500 off the price of a Residential system (3.0 kW or larger) and $1,500 off the price of a Commercial system (20.0 kW or larger).  To get the ball rolling, please sign up at our White House Solar Sale page!

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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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