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Friday, March 27, 2009

Repower America - Al Gore is Back

In his speech, Al Gore challenges America to use 100% of electric energy from RENEWABLE Resources within 10 years.

Check out the Plan to Repower America, and join California in Action.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Municipal Bonds for Power Purchase Agreements

Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)
Date: 4/13/2009
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: San Diego Energy Resource Center
8690 Balboa Ave, Ste 100
San Diego, Ca 92123

This is the first seminar in a series of five. Each seminar will cover various aspects of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The first seminar will focus on the history and background of PPAs, present day PPAs and what an ideal candidate looks like. Other topics of discussion will include maintenance and operation, SRECs, buyouts, removal, expansion of system and system performance tracking.

Lunch will be provided

Contact Name: Agnes Stupak
Phone Number: 858-244-1177

Municipal Bonds Fund Sustainable Energy:
The biggest city so far to announce its program is San Diego.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will today roll out one of the most aggressive plans in the nation to help homeowners and small businesses buy solar power systems.

"The city would request bids from financial institutions willing to put up money for the solar loans. The winning bid would determine the program's interest rate – which is about 7 percent in Palm Desert – and its size.

San Diego officials said they have been approached by two financing companies interested in participating. They said it's a sign of the fiscal markets welcoming what they describe as low-risk loans."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Notes on the Obama Stimulus Plan - Sustainable Energy

Thanks to the BCA for their invitation to talk at the meeting today.

First some quick links you need:

To use renewable energy responsibly and economically you must first conserve energy, then make sure you're not wasting energy. That means reducing or reusing energy, and using passive thermal and day-lighting techniques to conserve. In San Diego we need about $2-BILLION to retrofit all our homes and commercial buildings with radiant barriers, building envelopes, new windows, pressure testing, new insulation, new low-energy HVAC and weatherizing. This would save us so much energy that we could STOP BUILDING POWER PLANTS, and this efficiency and conservation MUST BE DONE BEFORE INSTALLING DISTRIBUTED RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION.

But we are NOT GETTING $2-BILLION for such work. We will get a limited amount for government buildings. $412 Million in Weatherization Funding and Energy Efficiency Grants for California

The State Energy Program of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project of the U.S. Dept. of Energy - Will this program expand?

DOE - Weatherization Assistance Program - $8-Billion The Weatherization Assistance Program will allow an average investment of up to $6,500 per home in energy efficiency upgrades and will be available for families making up to 200% of the federal poverty level - or about $44,000 a year for a family of four. By STATE

Energy-related issues are a cornerstone of the newly-enacted “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” stimulus package. The signed bill allocates funding for cities to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects within their jurisdictions. It also authorizes funds for weatherization, transportation energy, transmission, green jobs and other energy programs in an effort to stimulate green infrastructure and a green economy. Combined with direct funding for their activities, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) division will receive a total of $16.8 billion to implement energy saving rebates, grants, programs and research projects.

California cities will benefit from the $3.2 billion allocated to fund the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), which were signed into law in 2007, but have not received funding to date. Of this amount, the 10 most populous California municipalities will apply for funds with the DOE and the remaining smaller cities will apply through the California Energy Commission (CEC) for their share. Funded programs will include development of energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies, energy audits and incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, as well as building code improvements and education programs. The DOE will oversee this process through the EERE.

In addition, the stimulus bill will provide $5 billion in funding for low-income weatherization programs. Measures eligible for funding include building envelope, heating and cooling system, electrical system, appliance and other energy efficiency improvements. The income eligibility cap will also be raised to allow for more widespread implementation of weatherization projects.

The act also stipulates that $3.1 billion of EERE funds will go toward the State Energy Program for additional grants not matched with state funds, but the act applies to states that intend to adopt strict building energy codes and provide utility incentives for energy efficiency measures. An additional $500 million is allocated to the Department of Labor to train for green jobs to staff these projects.

The bill also addresses improvements to California’s aging transmission systems. It allocates $4.5 billion toward worker training and a transmission resource needs assessment associated with a “smart grid” program. It directs $2 billion toward grants for the manufacturing of advanced battery systems and components within the United States, as well as the development of supporting software for transportation energy. Another $300 million will support an Alternative Fueled Vehicles Pilot Grant Program, and $300 million will support rebates for energy efficient appliances, while also supporting the DOE's efforts under the Energy Star Program.

For those curious about SEMPRA ENERGY's plan for the new $1.9-BILLION SUNRISE POWERLINK, paid for by YOUR TAXES.
(see online movie A QUESTION OF POWER)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ethical Business Leadership for Solar Professionals, Why it is desperately needed today.

There is a huge amount of competition emerging in the Solar Photo-Voltaic (PV) world. Renewable Energy "Professionals" (i.e. Salesmen) are trying to communicate complex information about technology and financing, along with government incentives, utility directives, contractor costs, site surveys, inspections, safety, liability insurance, and alternatives. The huge gap between the lay-person and the informed pro is growing wide, and this imbalance in power is fraught with potential for unethical behavior.

At this time we decide our fate. Either we will organize to provide clear and transparent accountability for ourselves, and secure potential customers, or we will fall into the old traps of greed and competitive manipulation. I suggest we police ourselves, and lead our peers away from the darkness, not out of some sappy moral convention, but out of shear selfish self-preservation and hope for prosperity. If we fully inform our customers and provide them with the facts about energy efficiency and conservation, rather than fatten our pockets selling them unnecessary large solar arrays.  If we charge FLAT FEES, rather than work on a percentage commission like some slick haired realtor. If we police ourselves, and provide a code of ethics, then we will earn the public trust that NO OTHER INDUSTRY NOW CARRIES.

Energy costs are going to rise, the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. People with equity in their home or business are golden, and the only safe place for investors looking for secure and stable returns. In the current frenzy to capitalize upon people's ignorance about sustainable energy, and take advantage of the customer desire to adopt the NEW GREEN technology, many unscrupulous "GREEN" contractors, hungry for work in this down market, are willing to push the most expensive solutions, and over-build with expensive solar photo voltaic panels.

I want to make it clear. For any contractor to even SUGGEST putting Solar PV on a site without first doing a full site energy efficiency survey, maximizing conservation, and minimizing energy waist, is UNETHICAL. That is why it is vital to have a third party, Sustainable Energy Consultant (like me) do an independent energy survey and create a technology transition plan that makes economic sense for the individual customer.

At this crucial time, at the beginning of our new carriers in the Sustainable Energy field, it is crucial that we police our peers, and set an ethical example. The next few years will set the stage. If we fall into the mistakes of the past, then "Solar Professionals" will become the car-salesmen of the 21st century. But if we do right by our customers, we can become the heros in a failing economy, and be part of the change this country needs.

Some interesting numbers for you to chew upon. 

Size and Scope Comparison:

  • 38,000+ SYSTEMS
  • 17,000 JOBS
  • $2.3 BILLION SALES 2007-2008
  • 410MW INSTALLED 2000-2007
  • 823,075MWH/YR
  • Huge potential to shift technology soon.

  • EVERY BLDG (TITLE 24) - new building LEED certificaion
  • 364 MW AVG DEMAND REDUCTION 2000-2004
  • 1.9MWH SAVED IN 2004
Economics and Incentives:

  • PROJECT COST $16,800 TO


Friday, March 06, 2009

Sustainable Financing

The trick to making sustainable energy work is to create opportunities for sustainable financing. Given the current economic climate any return on investment seems good, but still credit is hard to find for sustainable infrastructure.

Thus government comes to the rescue, again.
Bright future as Berkeley starts solar program

Also: Calling Solar Professionals in San Diego
Join the Solar Professional Meetup

Fools Gold - New materials for Solar Cells

Solargy Systems Announces 2nd Solar Farm Project in Florida

Sustainable Planet: Energy production needs CARBON TAX

Solar Panel Drops to $1/watt

We have a finite amount of carbon based energy on this planet, and we've wasted about half of it already. We need the rest to bootstrap our world into sustainable energy technologies, but they have a sharp cost.

The only way to reach GRID PARITY, where solar production costs equal carbon fuel costs, in our lifetimes is to create a GLOBAL CARBON TAX to reflect the REAL COST of Carbon Based Fuels upon our environment. Thin Film PV, such as First Solar's cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology, is weak, creates toxic waist products, produces less energy per square meter, and will not stand up to the abuse of the outdoor environment.

Regular Silicon Crystal Technology or even iron pyrite PV will cost us much more because we are still making them using CARBON FUEL, not sustainable energy production.

The ONLY LONG TERM SOLUTION that will save life on this planet, is to change what we are doing, that means taking the PROFIT MOTIVE out of ENERGY PRODUCTION and working for the COMMON GOOD. CARBON TAX.