The solar homeowner has enough challenges at his or her doorstep without yet another obstacle. Some utilities have welcomed solar as a growing part of their energy portfolio—and yet still others see solar as a threat, to be stopped at any cost. This blog entry is about the latter sort. You probably have a hard enough time in reading your electricity bill—do the utilities do that on purpose? Try finding the average rate utility customers are paying in your region. You may be lucky and the utility may provide good access to that data—or not. If they can obscure the information and get away with it, who wants to sift through all of the arcane data? And that is the backdrop to the new net metering battles playing out throughout the country.
Archive for October, 2010
You are a plumber, an electrician or possibly a roofer and you increasingly hear from your customers that they are in the market to install a solar energy system to reduce their energy costs. We understand that you want to serve this rapidly expanding solar market, and there is no reason that you shouldn’t. Some of our most loyal customers are contractors who are making the transition to solar energy installations. If you are a quality contractor, you already have many of the requisite skills that are easily transferable to installing solar energy systems. We want to be able to continue to reach out to contractors who are just getting into the field. SolarTown has become a featured solar and green energy resource for plumbers, roofers and electrical contractors.
We went to a reception by the Clean Economy Network last night—we had a chance to meet with lawyers and lobbyists, financial analysts, and even a few solar energy installers. We got a good review of industry trends and some of the upcoming challenges from Reed Hundt, CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital and Ethan Zindler, Head of Research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. There is obviously keen interest in renewable energy these days. Take a look at the news article we posted today on some of the latest optimistic trends in the solar industry. Support for solar energy is up—right across the board, regardless of party affiliation or geography. Some want to reduce the threat of global warming, and some want to create jobs, and still others simply want to do their part to save energy. The solar energy industry is optimistic that the residential PV market will continue to expand. At the reception, despite some of the hopeful signs, there were some long faces in the room.
This past weekend, homeowners opened their solar homes to those wanting to catch a glimpse of the future of home energy. We hope that you were able to attend one of the 648 tours throughout the country. I took my kids to visit some of the solar homes in Washington, DC and Virginia and enjoyed the display of solar electric, solar thermal and even passive solar. My kids especially enjoyed the solar cookies from the solar ovens. The solar home tour showed just how far solar applications have come and how new technology is reshaping the world around us. We only hope that next year we will see more innovations and more homes on the solar home tours, and we hope that we’ll get an invite to the White House to see Obama’s new solar energy system.
You live in your desert home and just spent $30,000 for a solar energy system—when all of a sudden a dust storm comes up and layers your panels with a layer of dust, reducing the electricity output by 40%. You are not very happy and are wondering why you wasted your money. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that there is a drought and water is being rationed. Now you are really peeved. Do you simply wait for the next rain—which could be next year. Not to fear, help is on the way. Researchers at Boston University have innovated a solution based on electrodynamic screen (EDS) technology. Using this technology, you can get rid of 95% of the dust within two minutes.