Archive for the ‘SolarTown Current Affairs’ Category

A Green Conversation with White House Correspondent Paul Brandus

Friday, July 24th, 2015

The SolarTown interns discussed the direction of renewable energy in the existing political climate with award-winning White House Correspondent Paul Brandus. Brandus, the founder of @WestWingReports, has over 200,000 followers on Twitter and is scheduled to release a new book in September entitled Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency. Once we made our way to Chop’t, ordered our food, and sat down, we had the opportunity to explain each of our summer projects to Brandus and get his input on where renewable energy fits into politics at the White House.

Brandus with SolarTown interns Max Venezia, Naomi Rogoff and David Edelman (not pictured: Madeline Koelbl)First, Brandus reminisced on one conversation he had with a young Senator Barack Obama about his plans to put solar panels on the White House, if elected president. Once that Senator was elected, however, Brandus would ask the president for updates on the White House solar panels and the President would report back: “We’re working on it”. Five years later, the solar panels were finally installed on roof of the president’s residence. “Everything moves slowly here,” said Brandus.

Solar Forward!

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Solar has arrived—on Earth! Just a few short years ago, most people associated solar with exotic uses like the wing arrays on the International Space Station or the small solar modules powering the Mars Rover. That now seems like ancient history as you will now find solar panels on your neighbor’s roof, your partner’s backpack (got to have that power for your cell phone), and on those solar lights in your garden (won’t exactly reduce your carbon footprint, but it’s a start). When SolarTown was just starting out six years ago, we were selling some of our home solar panels for $5.00 a watt. Do you know what that is today? On some of our modules, we have seen the cost to our customers go down by a whopping 80% or more. Sure there have been a lot of companies that are out of business, and the ones that survived showed that they could do the same job for a lower cost. The industry is now much more stable and mature. We would like to think that we have played a small role in helping our customers on their path to adopt solar as part of their life style and commitment.

Solar Energy: Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Are you going on that summer holiday in August? If you plan on staying at a five-star hotel on Oahu, then please do not read this post. If you are planning on getting out of the city but want to stay connected, then you should read on about how solar energy can help make your trip easier. I just came back from a glorious vacation with the family. We couldn’t get enough of the fresh air, the vistas and just the immense and penetrating beauty that the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion have to offer. And the kids were especially happy that we could stay connected. You may enjoy the hiking or admiring the views, but you need to remember that the kids want to be able to use their electronics even when the nearest outlet is miles away. And in an emergency, you don’t want to look down at a drained cell phone. This risk is especially acute when you are using a lot of energy on your cell phone to take pictures. Then you need to make a telephone call and you may not have enough juice on your tablet or cell phone. That is no problem. Just connect your telephone or tablet to a solar backpack and you can stay connected.

A Day in the Life of SolarTown

Friday, January 31st, 2014

A day in the life of SolarTown is never boring. We field calls all day long from people all over the country, some who are interested in purchasing some of our solar energy products, and some whom simply want to talk solar.

This past week, an owner of a guest villa in Baja California purchased a solar refrigerator to provide off the grid electricity for some of her guests. If you want to supply soft drinks in an idyllic setting, you don’t want to have a noisy generator in the background. Do you want your guests to hear the sound of a diesel generator or the sound of waves crashing against the rocks? Well, if I’m the guest, a solar refrigerator sounds like exactly what I would want. And if it is in the single digits where you are, Baja California probably sounds pretty good right now. We did not receive a lot of calls this past week from those folks in the big freeze. I didn’t hear from anyone in Minnesota this week who planned on installing home solar panels in the next couple of weeks. We did hear from one of our customers in Michigan who is planning a large off grid system for one of his customers in the fall.

Top Ten Solar Energy States: Idiotic List but Interesting

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Even though we think that top ten lists of states by usage of a website may be idiotic, as suggested by a recent article, we didn’t want you to feel left out and so we compiled the first ever SolarTown rankings. We looked at the users of over the past twelve months and here are the top rankings of the states that contribute to the traffic on SolarTown. If you are reading this blog entry, then you probably (but not necessarily) come from one of the states in our top ten list. In our top ten list, only California, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona are on the top ten list of states with the cumulative installed solar electric capacity. The other states on our list may be where the future lies. Look at Texas, for example, which is not a particular solar-friendly state, but there are a lot of SolarTown users from Texas. And which is the city with the most SolarTown users. Did you guess Los Angeles, as I did? Wrong. You are going to have to read the entire blog post to find out.

SolarTown Receives Second Award of GSA Contract

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

SolarTown is increasingly tapped to support our governmental agencies, both at the federal and local level. We welcome the opportunity to respond to the needs of government agencies, educational institutions and others as they become increasingly interested in solar energy. Government customers are increasingly looking to SolarTown for their solar energy product needs. SolarTown received its first contract from the General Services Administration (GSA) over a year ago. We are now getting more calls and look forward to serving the government. We are very pleased to report that last month, SolarTown received its second GSA contract, a Federal Supply Contract for building supplies. This new contract will allow us to offer even a larger breadth of solar energy products to the government.

SolarTown Lunches with White House Correspondent Paul Brandus

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

In what is now an annual ritual, the SolarTown summer interns got the opportunity to lunch yesterday with White House Correspondent Paul Brandus. Brandus, an award winning member of the White House press corps, goes around tweeting to his vast following of over 130,000 followers on Twitter through the West Wing Reports. Now that is what you call influence. You don’t know what is going on at the White House, unless you are catching Brandus’ tweets. We were able to get a little closer to the action at the White House with our memorable Thai lunch with Brandus. Over generous portions of pad thai and drunken noodles, we talked about renewable energy and the presidential election.

New Community Center at SolarTown

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

If you have relied on SolarTown’s Community Center for access to important information about the solar energy industry, then you will love the new look that we now have at our Solar Community. We have added to our section on solar videos. And as before, if you are looking for videos on one particular product category such as those videos on solar water heaters, then you can sort to find just the solar videos on solar water heaters. If you have videos that you would like to share with us, we’ll review them and post those that we think will be of some interest to the SolarTown community. And that is just the beginning of our grand tour of our new solar community.

SolarTown Receives HUBZone Certification

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

SolarTown moved last year to Columbia Heights, a community within Washington, DC, and home to many of the District’s up and coming small businesses. Columbia Heights is often overlooked, but it is on the rise. It is also in a historically underutilized business zone also known by its acronym HUBZone. The government set up HUBZones to stimulate hiring and economic activity in some of the economically depressed areas of the country. Now I know what you are thinking, poor SolarTown is living in a bad part of town. No, no, no. Don’t be afraid to visit us. Columbia Heights may be underutilized but it’s not a bad part of town.

SolarTown Goes Back to School

Monday, March 5th, 2012

SolarTown visited a middle school in Washington, DC today. We let the kids borrow a solar oven for the next month so that they can cook up their favorite foods. On SolarTownKids, we have an activity to make your own solar cooker. If you are the parent of a school age kid, you might ask your child to cook you up some food with a solar cooker. And if you have a favorite solar activity to share on SolarTownKids, let us know.