Archive for the ‘Solar Events’ Category

Your Help is Needed Now to Defeat Solar-Unfriendly Utility

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Join the momentum that is building against the proposed Exelon-Pepco merger right when we need it most. DC residents and business leaders turned out to set the record straight on why the merger would be a bad deal for the District. On Tuesday, more than 100 Maryland residents appeared at a Montgomery County hearing, demonstrating overwhelming opposition to the proposed merger.
But it’s not over yet, and the battle is far from won.

Protect DC Solar: Help Stop the Exelon Merger!

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Guest blog from DC Sun. As you have probably heard, Exelon has plans to take control of Pepco, our local electricity utility. This deal would make Exelon the biggest power distributor in America. And they’re not interested in working with local stakeholders to bring more solar to the District. (Exelon has a history of undermining local stakeholders and opposing renewables.) As frustrating as Pepco can be, Exelon would be even worse.

The Greenest of Olympics: Where is the Caulking in the Bathrooms?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

The promise of the greenest of all Olympics may be fading in the mud of the Olympic Village. As the Opening Ceremonies are just days away, the more immediate concern is the condition of the hotel rooms. When a reporter for the Washington Post starts posting pictures of the sink in her bathroom, you know that you have a PR problem. It’s not that anyone is hoping that the Russians will fail to put on a stellar Olympics. But the reality is sinking in that the 2014 Winter Olympics, despite being the costliest ever, are not ready for prime time. The organizers made special mention (or was it window dressing) that they were using solar hot water heating. According to the press release, the “potential for solar energy” (sounds to me like Soviet speak) has been “successfully applied at the new railway station in Adler, where solar-powered radiators and boilers have been installed, to service buildings, including the water-based heating systems.” Is that all that was promised to make these the greenest of all Olympics? According to the press release, “The use of solar power as a ‘green’ alternative to traditional sources of energy will enable annual savings of up to 30% on heating costs, and will satisfy all of the venue’s requirements as regards hot water.” We will try to look at some of the reports to see how green these Olympics will be.

Sensational Solar Homes: Solar Homes Roundup in Washington, DC

Monday, October 7th, 2013

The news around Washington D.C. has not been altogether bright. The Nationals didn’t make the playoffs this year. The federal government is closed. The museums are closed. Imposing concrete barriers block you from parking in any lots managed by the National Park Service. A woman suffering from postpartum depression leads the police on a chase from the White House to the Capitol Building, where she is killed in her car. Despite all of the bad news and gridlock elsewhere in the city, the solar home tour celebrated its 23rd year in the metropolitan Washington DC area this past weekend. And if you missed it, you missed one of the bright spots in Washington, D.C. Homeowners with solar panels and solar water heating systems graciously opened their homes to visitors just to show off their solar prowess. Some of the homeowners even fed us (and our kids, thank you very much!). Human psychology plays a role in the financing of these systems. When there were more incentives, there was more of a frenzy to buy solar panels. Now that many of the incentives are no longer around, the frenzy has quieted down, but the cost of the solar systems without the incentives is now much less than it was before because of the falling cost of the modules. As one homeowner told us, he originally bought his panels ten years ago at $7.00/watt. Now a better module can cost around a dollar a watt. But what is missing is that hook that you better get on the bandwagon today. There is one major incentive that will almost certainly disappear, and that is the federal income tax credit, which ends in 2016, but you still should have time to put in your solar water heater or solar energy system before the credit expires. With the craziness in Washington, D.C., you probably should think about getting your system up and running before the solar tour next year.

Solar Industry Survivors Talk About Going Global at GW Solar Institute

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

SolarTown attended the GW Solar Institute’s Fifth Annual Symposium. The theme of the symposium was “Going Global,” although the panel that we attended was more of a celebration of solar’s arrival on the world stage. Since the discussion had the feel of preaching to the choir, one solar advocate in the audience suggested that the Institute should have invited a few more skeptics to generate more lively discussion. Representatives of three powerhouses in the solar industry participated in the panel discussion. They represented the survivors in an industry that has seen considerable consolidation—meaning that a lot of companies have lost their shirts betting on solar. Some have sold their solar divisions, others have filed for bankruptcy. Survivors in the industry shakeout see opportunity. The panelists did not see the recent upheaval in the solar industry as anything “unnatural.” The industry is still at its infancy, and the recent industry shakeout is part of a natural business cycle. Solar still comprises less than 1% of the energy production in the U.S., despite huge growth in the industry. The opportunity lies ahead for those companies that survive.

Solar 2013 Lights Up Baltimore

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Solar 2013, Baltimore. Today is the last day of the 42d annual ASES National Solar Conference. The conference may not have drawn the large crowds as in previous years—the field for solar and renewable conferences is getting crowded—but those who attended were treated to a heavy dose of solar policy, feed-in tariffs and installation guidance. One common theme at the conference was to learn from the experience of Germany, which has made tremendous strides that Germany to make solar and renewable a significant part of the energy output. This has also brought the cost down and between 2006-2012, the installed cost of solar systems in Germany has declined by a whopping 66%. Germany’s goal is to generate 30% of its energy from renewable energy by 2030, and it is well on its way to meet that goal.

SolarTown Attends 15th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo + Forum

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Last Thursday we woke up early and headed to the Canon House Office buildings to attend the 15th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Expo + Forum. The exposition brought together various members of the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries to debate US energy policy and present new products. Trade associations, policy analysts, businesses, government agencies and the general public attended the event for a unique networking and learning experience.

SolarTown Attends Panel on Climate Change Solutions: The Development World Eagerly Awaits

Friday, June 8th, 2012

SolarTown went to a panel discussion at the Aid and International Development Forum held in Washington, DC earlier this week. The panel of policy analysts made a strong case for why we need to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy, including solar energy, into our energy portfolio. Otherwise, by the time that we get around to using solar energy, we may have to rely on a lot more on solar arrays floating on water. While all the panelists agreed that solutions were desperately needed, they differed in their approach to how to address the challenges of global warming. As one panelist said during his presentation, “climate change is the largest scientific experiment in the world.”

Solar Power for International Development

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

We changed gears somewhat this week and attended the Sixth Annual Aid and International Development Forum (AIDF) being held here in Washington D.C. Some of the manufacturers whose products we represent at SolarTown such as Voltaic Systems with its solar bags and Sun Danzer with its solar refrigerators were there to show how their products have an important role to play in helping countries develop and saving lives. You don’t believe that solar fridges can keep critical medicines safe. Well, think again, as this solar vaccine refrigerator has been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization and has undergone rigorous testing. There are many other applications of solar energy to the developing world such as solar lights and solar battery chargers, which can provide a lifeline to those living off the grid throughout the world.

Solar Energy Symposium: Natural Gas, Chinese Manufacturing, Austerity Programs

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Natural gas, Chinese manufacturing and austerity programs were the themes at a solar symposium yesterday in the Nation’s Capital. The GW Solar Institute brought together teachers, students, policymakers and the president of SolarTown to take on the subject: “Solar Energy: A Path to Energy Significance.” No one seemed to suggest that it was going to get any less dull in the solar market in the coming year, but the forecasts were few and far between as the solar market continues with its fits and starts.