The Politics Of Solar Power

Opinion: All Solar Wants is a Level Playing Field – Justin Pentelute.
Fine for now, but we have to focus on a major point:  continuing national and state institutional support of solar is essential.  It needs to be a broad, long-term priority.  In a political climate that is partisan and contentious, support for energy innovation sometimes gets lost in the ether.  That’s a mistake. 

In this same category, I am disappointed in the actions of some state legislatures and utility regulatory commissions.  Some have acted with disturbing inconsistency, setting helpful programs in place that foster solar installations and then pulling the plug on them before the benefits have really taken hold.  What’s equally disturbing is what I call “the race to unviability,” where programs are put in place to imminently fail and be canceled.  It seems unfair for homeowners’ access to affordable solar electricity to depend on the state in which the home happens to be built and the all-powerful utility company that provides their electricity. This is a countrywide priority and we should deal with it that way.

Think of the societal good that comes from continued development and implementation of solar electricity.  There would be less carbon in the atmosphere if our electric utilities can build fewer new fossil-fuel power plants.  That could happen because solar electric can supplement power-grid electricity generated by these plants.  Moreover, solar electricity often feeds into the grid when its output exceeds its need in residential and other applications.  That’s a plus because not many electric utilities today are anxious to build expensive new generating plants…Read on>

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Portland Mayor Welcomes SoloPower

sam adamsX390 300x219 Portland Mayor Welcomes SoloPower  SoloPower, the San Jose, California-based leader in high efficiency, lightweight, and flexible thin-film solar cells and modules, recently  announced  the grand opening in Portland, Oregon of its high-volume manufacturing (HVM) facility. The event marked a significant milestone in the company’s plan to make solar energy the primary source of power for commercial and industrial buildings worldwide, and in its ability to meet demand for its unique solutions. SoloPower was joined at the ceremony by Portland Mayor Sam Adams who toured the state-of-the-art manufacturing floor with local and state elected officials, company executives and customers. “Oregon’s manufacturers are playing a key role as we add jobs back to Oregon,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “With the opening today of this high-volume manufacturing facility, we mark a significant milestone for SoloPower and for advanced manufacturing in Oregon.”

“Portland congratulates SoloPower on the grand opening of its operations here, which are ultimately expected to employ 450 people. We have worked proactively and collaboratively to nurture the success of our local industry of which SoloPower is a growing part,” said Mayor Adams. “Portland benefits when we help maximize the global competitiveness of local businesses. SoloPower is creating living-wage jobs in a vital sector of our economy, a sector that is helping to establish Portland as one of the most sustainable economies in the world.”

SoloPower‘s lightweight, flexible SoloPanels and proprietary installation systems revolutionize the rooftop solar integration process, making solar energy easy and cost effective for nearly any commercial and industrial building. The company’s suite of solar solutions optimizes energy performance on a variety of roofs in a range of climates with diverse sun exposure conditions. Non-penetrating installation systems make it simple to remove and reinstall SoloPower‘s solutions, enabling installation on older roofs not yet due for a reroof and substantially expanding the market beyond new and reroof applications. Due to their very low profile on rooftops, SoloPower‘s solutions provide an unparalleled ability to withstand wind, opening additional segments that could not utilize solar energy in the past, particularly in areas susceptible to storms, such as Japan.

“The opening of SoloPower‘s state-of-the-art HVM facility in Portland increases our capacity to meet the energy demands of the world’s commercial and industrial buildings, which consume 40% of global electricity,” said Tim Harris, CEO, SoloPower. “Both we and our customers are very excited: It’s a huge market, our unique solutions expand that market, and now we have the ability to serve our customers who are looking for an easy-to-install, predictable, and cost-effective solution for their energy needs, no matter their continent.”

SoloPower‘s operations in Portland are ultimately expected to have a capacity of 400MW.

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SunPower Energizing Exploratorium’s New Home

solarpanel9sm 300x193 SunPower Energizing Exploratoriums New HomeSunPower Corp announced the completion of a 1.3-megawatt high efficiency SunPower solar power system on the roof of the Exploratorium’s future home on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. The system is designed to ultimately generate 100 percent of the electricity demand at the new state-of-the-art facility, which is scheduled to open in spring 2013.

“The SunPower system is a critical piece of the puzzle in meeting our ‘net-zero energy’ goal, reducing our impact on the environment, and eliminating a significant operational cost,” said Dennis Bartels, executive director of the Exploratorium. “The savings will allow us to invest more in the innovative learning experiences for which we are known worldwide, as well as create learning opportunities about the physics of energy.”

The system uses SunPower solar panels that are up to 50 percent more efficient than conventional panels. System performance, updated every 15 minutes, will be displayed in the lobby of the new facility. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the SunPower solar power system will avoid the emissions of 33,150 tons of carbon dioxide over the 30-year life of the system, which is equivalent to removing 5,910 cars from California’s highways.

“Only with SunPower’s high efficiency technology will the Exploratorium be able to generate all of its electricity demand from a rooftop system – no other solar panel on the marketECO10262 05MAR2009 WSJ SCHNEIDER 290x290 SunPower Energizing Exploratoriums New Hometoday can achieve the same results within the limited roof area,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. “SunPower is proud to be one of the Exploratorium’s sustainability partners, enabling the museum to achieve significant long-term savings that will support its important work advancing scientific learning for all ages.”

To meet its net-zero energy goal, as well as to qualify as a LEED gold facility, a number of additional features have been integrated into the design of the new Exploratorium facility, including an innovative heating and cooling system using filtered water from the San Francisco Bay, high performance glass to limit heat gain, maximized use of natural light, and use of low-emitting materials and materials with recycled content.

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Fans Get Charged During Ball Game

att park headshot 300x240 Fans Get Charged During Ball GameThe City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Giants, ChargePoint and ABM, a leading provider of integrated facility solutions, unveiled four new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at AT&T Park. The stadium is the first ballpark in California to offer public access to Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, a next-generation technology that can charge an EV in four hours, or about the length of a baseball game.“Our San Francisco Giants lead the division in wins, and have now beefed up their environmental batting average by having the division’s first up-to-date EV-ready stadium”

According to the San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco now boasts a total of 110 charging stations at 42 locations across the city — more charging stations per capita than any other city in California.“San Francisco is the Innovation Capital of the World and the EV capital of the world, because we have focused on building the infrastructure needed to make electric vehicles a viable choice for the public,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “The installation of charging stations at AT&T Park, and another 100 on public property for all to use throughout San Francisco, will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create a more sustainable environment, while creating jobs.”

“Our San Francisco Giants lead the division in wins, and have now beefed up their environmental batting average by having the division’s first up-to-date EV-ready stadium,” said Melanie Nutter, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “Supporting new EV infrastructure provides ease and accessibility to electric vehicle owners and is part of our ongoing commitment to making San Francisco the most sustainable city.”ABM installed and will maintain the charging stations, and is offering the public free EV charging at the AT&T Park stations throughout the week of September 17-21. For availability or to locate other charging stations check out ChargePoint’s online tools and mobile applications. ABM has installed over 100 ChargePoint EV charging stations throughout Northern California and ChargePoint is the largest online network of independently owned charging stations operating in more than 14 countries.

The charging stations mark another sustainability milestone for AT&T Park, which in 2010 became the first Major League Baseball park to receive LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance.“AT&T Park’s sustainable features, including solar panels, energy-efficient concession stands – and now the EV charging stations – not only have a positive impact on the environment, but also enhance the fan experience at the ballpark,” said Alfonso Felder, senior vice president of facilities, who oversees ballpark operations for the Giants. “Giants fans will now have a quick and convenient way to charge their electric vehicles while they enjoy a baseball game.”

$10,000,000 Offered For Solar Innovation

Solar Power International Offering Free Solar Training

A Photovoltaic (PV) Technical Training program consisting of 11 in-depth sessions is being offered on the exhibit floor in booth 1008 during Solar Power International 2012 (SPI ‘12). The training sessions are the newest addition to the SPI conference program and have been developed in partnership with Solar Energy International (SEI) and the North American oBoard of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). The sessions are included in both full conference and exhibits-only passes and are included with other industry participants on a variety of topics including certification programs, solar site analysis and battery-safety and maintenance.

Taking place September 10th through 13th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, SPI ’12 is North America’s premier business-to-business event for professionals in solar energy. The show is presented by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). This international event is expected to attract attendees from more than 100 countries to learn about new markets for solar, new products, and the issues and strategies that will guide the industry’s growing emergence as an energy solution.

“We’ve introduced these technical training sessions as an added value to companies who want to enhance their technical skills and knowledge of their staff,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO, SEIA. “Our industry is fast-evolving and this new program helps people working in the field keep up with the latest developments and procedures. This is critical for expanding the solar business.” “We are thrilled to partner with Solar Energy International and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, two prestigious organizations who can share their knowledge with SPI attendees,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA president and CEO. “The program consists of a wide range of topics addressing the interests of professionals at all levels, from beginner to advanced, enhancing an already comprehensive conference program.”

Rent And Drive Electric In LA

Lex8HybRangLSNew tcm585 894924 Rent And Drive Electric In LAThe City of Angels is fast becoming the electric car capitol of America. And to showcase that fact,  MPG Rent-a-Car is committed to changing the way that customers rent cars by taking a boutique-oriented, green approach to automotive rentals. It has also made a serious commitment to environmental issues as the only fully sustainability centered rental car company in Los Angeles. The agency has therefore taken to heart the recent Best Global Green Brands rankings made available by Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consultancy. Based in the progressive, green-friendly haven of Venice, California, MPG Car Rental, an all-green car rental company, proudly offers the eco-friendly brands named in the report.

David Pearson, Global Sustainability Leader of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, discussed why  why successful businesses are being strengthened by a new focus on sustainability.  He noted that consumers are becoming increasingly passionate about eco-consumerism. MPG Car Rental is passionate as well. By filling a niche for environmentally-minded renters, the MPG team can build relationships with their coastal Los Angeles clientele, which leads to happier experiences all around. Sustainability-minded car renters are bound to be energized about having an all-green rental fleet. Innovation was also cited by Mr. Pearson. To attain a smaller ecological footprint, inventors and developers have to think of new ways of operating and manufacturing alongside the use of cleaner fuels. MPG Car Rental explores these types of vehicles by constantly updating its fleet.

The MPG fleet includes vehicles mentioned in Interbrand’s list, from Toyota (Prius, Prius Plug-In, Highlander Hybrid) and Lexus (RX, CT), to Honda (Insight), Volkswagen (Jetta), and many more. All of these brands ranked on the Best Global Green Brand list. A recently-added electric car rental, the Chevy Volt, should be making waves with green-minded renters as well.  The company will even pick you up and drop you off where you need to go after, a crucial convenience.

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