I know that you may have a heck of a time trying to give up with the jargon, and your Latin may be rusty since high school. One thing if for sure: the solar industry is hoping for a minor miracle that the cash grant program will be extended. The solar energy industry is still dependent on government incentives and the cash grant is the most effective of all of government support for the solar industry. The naysayers will roll their eyes: “Handouts are for losers,” they grumble. Tell that to every other energy industry that have received generous support over the years.
Archive for the ‘Solar Events’ Category
What do you do if you are protesting corporate greed in the Nation’s Capital and spending the night in McPherson Square? Do you fire up that old diesel generator that is going to contribute to global warming? Surely not, when there are solar energy alternatives. One of the protesters visited SolarTown’s offices.What solar power products do you have for me, she asked. Like a lot of customers who call us, she wanted to find out what solar energy products you can use off the grid. She purchased a portable solar shower—make that two, she said. It is sunny today in Washington, DC, but unseasonably cold. So if you want to see some protestors across from the White House bathing in warm water from a portable solar shower, you should get down to McPherson Square today. Dress warmly.
You think that the solar industry is just emerging. Well, you may be right, but don’t tell that to the people who have been on the solar home tours for the past 21 years. The 21st Annual Metro Washington, D.C. Tour of Slar and Green Homes took place this past weekend, and if you missed this solar home tour or the one in your area, then you missed out on seeing some of the vibrant solar homes that have taken the solar challenge. This year’s solar home tours, like the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall a week before, was not blessed with sunny weather, but that did not deter the spirits of those who wanted to check out the solar home panels, and solar water heater systems throughout the DC metro region. Despite the rain, solar homeowners were eager to show off their energy efficient houses and to show that, even when it is not sunny, their solar arrays help save on energy costs.
The Solar Decathlon is an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, in which students from around the world design, build and operate solar-powered and energy-efficient houses. The team with the house that best incorporates elements such as design excellence, affordability, customer appeal and maximum energy efficiency, wins the competition. The event is meant to educate both the public and the students involved in the project of energy and energy efficiency. The first day of the Solar Decathlon was rainy, which did not deter the visitors as they waited in line to visit each house and discover what made it so special. Fortunately, the rain did not dampen the spirits of the crowds and was no deterrent to this solar event.
BP Solar is not actually going out of business, but according to BP Solar’s CEO, “BP Solar will shift its strategic direction to focus on large-scale project development activities.” In other words, you won’t be able to buy BP Solar solar modules at SolarTown or anywhere else unless you have a very large project. BP Solar is closing its facility for good, leaving behind unfulfilled promises. BP Solar was a name in U.S. manufacturing. Now its solar headquarters will be relegated to the dustbin of the history of U.S. manufacturing. We are sorry to see you go.
Today in Washington, DC, the U.S. House of Representatives hosted the 14th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The EXPO brought together nearly 60 unique businesses, trade associations, government agencies, and policy research analysts to speak on the potential the renewable energy industry and related energy efficient technologies. The expo showcased 57 exhibits, presentations by members of Congress, by Executive Branch officials, and by the exhibitors themselves. The Caucus Room was abuzz with activity as interested spectators and viewers walked amongst the various booths and displays. All forms of renewable energy were well represented at the convention, including biofuels, biomass, geothermal, water, wind, and good representation from the solar energy industry.
A business school professor gloomily forecast that the US will not have a comprehensive energy policy even in the next ten years. The President and CEO of the Siemens Corporation was less pessimistic, but still did not think it was possible to pass an energy policy at the national level until after the next presidential election. Business school professor predicted that eventually the US will follow the European Union and there is “no doubt that there will be a price on carbon.” He cited a study that there may have been a positive effect on GDP from the cap and trade policy in Europe. “China and India will shame the US into cap and trade.” With the global appetite for energy to burgeon over the coming years, a national policy on energy couldn’t come too soon.
During this holiday season, you may be reflecting on what we can do in our homes and businesses to go green or put onto our roofs solar home panels. But it doesn’t need to stop there. Why not generate solar energy from our churches and synagogues? This isn’t a new idea; it is just an idea whose time has come. This blog post talks about the efforts of congregations throughout the country that are looking for ways to go green.
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.