Archive for July, 2011

31 July

Why Should We Power The World With Wind-Water-Sunlight Quickly

Share

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

It is an exciting time to be alive.  We earthlings may have many problems to deal with, but we are also equipped with many tools, terrific minds, and fantastic ways of communications.  My thirst for solutions for earth’s energy problem combined with my online teaching jobs permitted me to travel to various places from time to time to search for answer…to seek lessons learned and wisdom gathered…. Yes, I’ve attended many lectures by many scholars who have studied the energy issue.

Today, I want to share with you a talk by Mark Z. Jacobson, Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. Professor Jacobson started the talk by explaining what the problem we earthlings are facing today and why is there such an urgency in needing to deal with it quickly:

  • temperatures are rising quickly
  • Arctic sea ice area is decreasing quickly
  • air pollution mortality is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and higher temperature contributes to deaths
  • higher population and growing energy demand will lead to worsening air pollution and climate problems over time

This part of the talk helped me to realize that black carbon (main component of the soot particles) is also a very important factor for causing global warming, in addition to CO2 emission.  Annual premature earthlings’ deaths due to particulates is about 2.5-3 million (in U.S. that is translated into 50,000-100,000 and in Europe, 300,000-350,000 annual premature deaths due to air pollution).

As any good engineer/scholar would approach a problem, Professor Jacobson did not just  alarm us with problems but also evaluated possible solutions both with and without cost considerations.  From reviewing and ranking major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security, his talk also considered various impacts of the proposed solutions such as water supply, land use, resource availability, reliability, wildlife, and  risk of cancer and nuclear proliferation.  Some data I was not aware of in the past was presented, such as the dramatic increase of organic gases (formaldehyde, 200% and  acetaldehyde, 4500%) and increased ozone generated from using ethanol.  In the final analysis, with consideration of materials, transmission infrastructure, costs, and politics, Professor Jacobson concludes that the best way to power the world is with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) technologies.

 


 

By 2030, the cost of using fossil fuel (13.5c/kWh) will be higher than using WWS (8-13 c/kWh) technologies.  Using WWS technologies will also eliminate 2.5-3 million air pollution premature deaths/year and global warming and provides energy stability.  Furthermore, converting to WWS and electricity/H2 will reduce global power demand by 30%.  The greatest concern regarding use of WWS is its variability;this is also addressed by Jacobson’s study by: ( 1.) interconnecting geographically-dispersed WWS;(2.) bundling WWS and using hydro to fill in gaps;(3.) demand-response (provide incentive to discourage use during peak/high demand period);(4.) oversizing peak capacity and producing hydrogen with excess for industry, vehicles;(5.)on-site storage;(6.)better forecasting.

 

 

The study concludes that the best way to power planet earth in the future is with Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) technologies.  It is feasible both technically and economically.  Its potential barriers are up-front costs, transmission needs, lobbying, and politics.

Relevant papers can be found at http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/susenergy2030.html.


Dear Readers, this is exactly why I have written the series on Feed-In-Tariff, trying to urge all of our local and federal governments (not just the Floridians or residents of USA, but residents of planet earth) to give all of us the  incentive to participate  in our move toward the Renewable WWS age.  We, as individual home or business owners, may not be spending multiple millions of dollars for lobbying, but we are just as concerned with the future of energy use and welfare of our planet earth as any large utility companies.  We earthlings are all connected. The particulate matters from China or India or radiation material from Fukushima will impact all of us earthlings.  So as  individual earthlings, let’s start by calling attention and action for our immediate communities.  I, here in Florida, will try my very best in asking my community and local government to consider Feed-In-Tariff (discussions available by going to the search box at right and type in “feed in tariff”). Feed-In-Tariff, now rebranded as CLEAN program, may be utilized by individual home owners, small businesses, organizations such as schools, Y’s, hospitals, libraries, local McDonald’s, WalMart, police stations, and large power/utility companies/plant (refer to the piece I wrote on July 13, 2011, Answer For The Future Is In Hybrid Marriage-Solar And Fossil Fuel at http://sunisthefuture.net) alike. I hope you, readers from 85 countries (esp. for those who resides in countries not yet with Feed-In-Tariff), will do the same.  I will try to find a way to set up a petition page within few days.  Please feel free to email me at sunisthefuture@gmail.com if you have any suggestions.  Any of your input will be welcomed.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org

***************************************************************************************

BIO  for Mark Z. Jacobson (taken from Stanford University web site for energy seminar: http://energyseminar.stanford.edu/node/357)

Professor/Director Jacobson currently sits on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Federal Advisory Committee (ERAC) to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.  He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering with distinction, an A.B. in Economics with distinction, and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, in 1988, an M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences in 1991 and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences in 1994 from UCLA and has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1994.  His work relates to the development and application of numerical models to understand better the effects of energy systems and vehicles on climate and air pollution and the analysis of renewable energy resources. He has published two textbooks and 110 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. His 2000 finding that black carbon, the main component of soot particles, may be the second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide provided the original scientific basis for five recent U.S. proposed laws on black carbon. He received the 2005 American Meteorological Society Henry G. Houghton Award for “significant contributions to modeling aerosol chemistry and to understanding the role of soot and other carbon particles on climate.” In 2005, his group developed the first wind map of the world from data at the height of modern turbines. He recently co-authored a cover article in Scientific American with Dr. Mark DeLucchi of U.C. Davis and two more detailed analyses in Energy Policy on how to power the world with renewable energy.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
29 July

An Urgent Interruption-Vote On Debt Ceiling

Share

Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Sorry about the departure from our usual discussions on renewable or solar energy, but I simply have to get this off my chest and I urge you to do the same. Last night I wrote/emailed my State Representative to do the right thing and this is what I wrote, very simply:

Dear Congressman/Representative Webster,

I am a mother and an educator, how can I/we teach our children, students, or future generation(s) that they should pay their bills if our country/government does not do so. Please do the right thing by having our country/government paying the bills. There is simply no other way around this one!

Respectfully,
Susan Sun Nunamaker

My fellow Floridians and Americans, since the House of Representatives (our Senate has no problem with paying bills)  will be voting on the issue regarding debt ceiling/paying bills before Tuesday (Aug. 2, 2011) of next week, there is not sufficient time to snail mail our Representatives, so I urge you to either call or email your respective Representatives, asking them to do the right thing by having our US government to pay for the bills.

You may find your respective Representatives’ contact information via this web site: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

We will resume our discussion in Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program, Renewable and Solar Energy in the next episode.  Stay tuned in at the same bat channel….

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
27 July

More On Feed-In-Tariff…Let’s Not Waste Our Sunshine And Surface Area Here In Florida And USA

Share

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

If you are concerned about energy security and independence, clean environment, and climate change…are in favor of renewable/solar energy, job creations, and economic prosperity for state of Florida and USA…then check out http://sunisthefuture.net for information, by typing in various topics in the search box at right side of the web site, on: Feed-In-Tariff, Solar Incentive, Solar Cars, Solar Plane, Solar High Speed Trains, Solar Shingles, Solar Hot Water Heater, BIPV, Solar Cells, etc.  Please pay special attention to Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Programs for there is a series of 16+ episodes of discussions on Feed-In-Tariff, an incentive program that allows individual home owners, small businesses, organizations to sell the power they produce to the power company .

Talk to your friends, family, neighbors, and legislators about Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN programs and help us to make the transition into renewable/solar energy age in the coming century.  I was talking to a lady from Denmark at the Y the other day and she commented that she was surprised how little solar activities there are in Florida rooftops compared to Denmark.  For those of you who aren’t sure where Denmark is exactly,  it is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe, definitely with a lot less sunshine and insolation than what we have here in Florida.  Then the natural thing is to ask, why is this happening?  INCENTIVE, or lack thereof !  We need incentive for individual home owners, small businesses, organizations such as schools, Y’s, hospitals, etc. with rooftops and surface areas, that would provide us with sufficient economic incentive to move into the renewable age.  Here is an example (in the next video, with data provided by World Future Council) of another country, Germany, with far less sunshine and insolation than we have here in Florida,  but with the help of Feed-In-Tariff (key features listed below):

  • Gives RE (renewable energy) priority access to the grid
  • Obliges grid operators to purchase electricity from RES
  • Sets the price for RE electricity for fixed periods
  • Sets no limit to amount of RE feeding into the grid4

Feed-In-Tariffs have been so successful in Germany and many other countries because of the long term planning security it provides by having 12-20 year contracts ( this is crucial to investors);it gives technology-specific incentives (this is crucial for driving new technologies into the market);it adapts to technological development (this fosters innovation).

Germany was able to create more than a quarter million jobs in renewable energy sector in less than five years, economic impact of new industry development with total turnover from renewable energy sources of approximately  25 billion Euros in 2007, and saved about 150 tons of CO2 emissions…all due  to the help of Feed-In-Tariff.  Most importantly, Feed-In-Tariffs have made Germany the world leader in solar power.  Another important lesson to take away from the presentation of World Future Council video clip is the fact that majority (more than 80% in Germany & or 90% in Florida) of the market share is from residential rather than the utility scaled facility (about 10%).  That means we, the individuals, will have far more combined impact on the industry and would benefit from the industry of renewable energy via Feed-In-Tariff.  Please allow me to show you this clip right now:


 

 

My fellow Floridians and residents of USA, I know that Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) may not be easy to understand, so  I implore you to carefully view all discussions on this topic (Feed-In-Tariff) at http://sunisthefuture.net by typing Feed-In-Tariff in the search box and listen to those people from different parts of the world who have implemented or benefited from this policy.  Our neighbors in Gainesville, FL, can attest to the economic prosperity FIT had brought them.  Why shouldn’t we all benefit from our generous sunshine?! Then talk and write to your friends, family, neighbors, and your state legislators about introducing this policy so your local communities may prosper.  We need and want more jobs and more small businesses to thrive and pave our way into the renewable energy age.  It is time…we cannot afford to sit idly by and be left behind.  Individually, we may not have millions of dollars to spend on lobbying for this policy, but I believe that our combined strength will enable us to achieve what is necessary to push this through.  After all, we here in USA, historically have a track record of doing what had been impossible.  In response to Rachel and  other readers of Sun Is The Future who want me to write more: if I put up a petition page, will you all be willing to sign the petition in showing your support for Feed-In-Tariff ?  Please keep checking back for future petition page(s).  In the meantime, Facebook, Tweet, or chirp your friends/relatives/family/neighbors/state legislators about Feed-In-Tariff.  I would also like to introduce you all to several organizations and web sites , listed below:

http://www.futurepolicy.org/

http://www.allianceforrenewableenergy.org/

http://www.floridaallianceforrenewableenergy.org/

T  O  G  E  T  H  E  R        W  E      C  A  N !!!

sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
17 July

Rebranding Feed-In-Tariff As CLEAN (clean, local, energy accessible now) Programs

Share

Dear Friends and Readers,
If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Here is the latest I’ve received down the wire:  according to Craig Lewis, the Executive Director of the CLEAN coalition,  a group that is seeking to bring Feed-In-Tariffs (FITs) to utilities across the country,  is now rebranding the Feed-In-Tariffs as CLEAN (standing for Clean, Local, Energy, Accessible Now) programs.  Director Lewis explained that the original rebranding was suggested by Rockefeller Brothers Fund who believed that Americans are not comfortable with the word “tariff”, and are more comfortable with things such as “clean” , “local“, and “accessible“.   He is very excited about the growth of CLEAN programs across the country and expects them to pass in the near future. The program particularly targets wholesale distributed generation (WDG), meaning larger commercial rooftops or apartment buildings.  These rooftops are perfect for CLEAN programs. Lewis believes that utilities should be looking at WDG over central station solar power because the utility will only need to worry about distribution upgrades to the grid as opposed to transmission upgrades. Director Lewis is confident that California will be able to enact a statewide CLEAN program before the end of this year. We here in Florida wish Craig Lewis and his CLEAN Coalition all the best and hope that our state legislators will also be considering statewide CLEAN programs  for Florida in the near future.  Here is the video clip of an interview with Craig Lewis discussing the rebranding  Feed-In-Tariff as CLEAN Programs, available at:  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/07/clean-is-a-better-fit-for-the-usa

The Clean Coalition has also designed the Local CLEAN Program Guide to enable communities and utilities in fulfilling economic and sustainability goals.  This program guide may be discussed in details in future post.  In the mean time, the first module of the Local CLEAN Program Guide is available for download on the Clean Coalition web site at: http://www.clean-coalition.org/local-action/#local

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.com http://sunisthefuture.org

 

 



Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
14 July

Solar Impulse HB-SIA-Solar Plane (2)

Share

Continued from previous post…also of July 14, 2011, on Solar Impulse HB-SIA-Solar Plane (1)….

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

In June of 2011 (from 20th to 26th), key representatives of aviation industry met for the 49th International Paris Air Show, one of the world’s largest and most important events within the industry.  At the International Paris Air Show major companies present their outstanding innovations and the future of flying.  The solar powered Solar Impulse was a special guest at the international exhibition. Among passenger aircraft and military jets, Solar Impulse serves as a symbol for a future belonging to renewable/solar energy.


The 72 feet, single-seat model HB-SIA with a 208 feet wingspan is just the beginning. To top HB-SIA, the HB-SIB is now planned for completion in 2013, with a pressurized cockpit (with supplemental oxygen and various environmental support to the pilot to allow a cruise altitude of 12,000 m (39,000 ft) and advanced avionics to allow for transcontinental and trans-oceanic flights, with wingspan of 80.0 m (262.5 ft), slightly wider than the 79.75 m (261.6 ft) wingspan of an Airbus A380 ( the largest passenger airliner in the world).  A round-the-world flight is in the forecast for 2013;the flight would circle the world in the northern hemisphere near the equator and five stops are planned to change pilots.  Once improved battery efficiency allows the reduced  weight, a two-seater is envisaged to make a non-stop circumnavigation.

Once again, allow me to point out the lesson from this tremendous project…the importance of spirit of cooperation among all earthlings…it is time to shed the barriers of nationalism in order to reach the survival of humankind/ earthling….

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage: http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.org http://sunisthefuture.com
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
14 July

Solar Impulse HB-SIA-Solar Plane (1)

Share

Dear Sunlovers and Fans of Solar Impulse/Solar Plane,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Due to popular demand, I am writing an update about the Swiss Solar Impulse’s HB-SIA and will also be posting 2 video clips on Solar Impulse’s HB-SIA.  Those of you who have read the earlier post (March 12, 2011) at Sun Is The Future, Solar Plane-“All that is impossible remains to be achieved.” may remember that through the clean tech of  solar energy, SOLARIMPULSE has brought us not only the physical possibility of  the first manned flight over night  (lasted about 26 hours) by solar powered plane in July 2010, but also the message to educators throughout planet earth the importance of  motivating children and students the pioneering spirit and developing new ways of thinking about future, energy, environment , and online education. The Swiss Solar Impulse HB-SIA, below,

Solar Plane Swiss Solar Impulse HB-SIA, a long-range solar powered plane

undertaken at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne,  was a project  initiated in 2003 and then promoted by Bertrand Piccard (who co-piloted the first balloon to circle the world non-stop);it has grown to a multi-disciplinary team of 50 specialists from six countries and assisted by about 100 outside advisers.  The prototype HB-SIA has a non-pressurized cockpit, a similar wingspan to the Airbus A340, lithium polymer batteries under the wing, 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface and the horizontal stabilizer generate electricity during the day. These photovoltaic cells and horizontal stabilizer propel the plane and charge the batteries to allow night flight, theoretically enabling the single-seat plane to stay in the air indefinitely.  On July 8, 2010, HB-SIA achieved the world’s first manned 26-hour solar flight, flown by Andre Borschberg (started on July 7, 2010, from an airfield in Payenne, Switzerland).

Stay tuned in for the next episode of the Solar Impulse HB-SIA Solar Plane….

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.org http://sunisthefuture.com
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
13 July

Answer For The Future Is In Hybrid Marriage-Solar And Fossil Fuel

Share

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

Truly, we should all think positively about the alternative future, for human imagination is boundless.  We need to look no further than the state of Florida, where the first hybrid natural gas solar power plant and the world’s second-largest solar plant ( after the 310-megawatt Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert in CA, also owned by FPL, built in 1980s) just opened this year.  One of the nation’s biggest utilities, FPL (Florida Power & Light) Company, is running an experiment in the future of renewable power.  The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center is a hybrid 75-megawatt (MW) (enough to sustain 11,000 homes) parabolic trough solar energy plant

Example of Solar Troughs Farm

, located on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee (just north of Indiantown, FL), is built by FPL.  The solar plant is a component of the 3,705 MW Martin County Power Plant, which is the single largest fossil fuel burning power plant in the United States.   The Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center has an array of about 190,000-mirror parabolic troughs on approximately 5oo acres of the Martin County Plant.

 

These solar collectors (with parabolic mirrors) track the sun throughout the day,  capturing as much solar energy as possible and then converting  solar energy into electrical energy and  feed heat to the existing steam plant, generating electricity at a rate of 155,000 MW-h per year (average of 18 MW).  This is the first natural gas building to be retrofitted with solar thermal capabilities in such an industrial scale.  The real novelty of this project lies in the fact that the solar array is being grafted onto the back of the nation’s largest fossil-fuel power plant, fired by natural gas.  It is an experiment in whether conventional power generation can be married with renewable power so to lower the costs and  spare the environment.  In addition to reducing the consumption of natural gas and carbon dioxide emissions, this marriage will also serve as a real-life test on how to reduce the cost of solar power (compared with a stand-alone solar facility) by not having to build a new steam turbine or new high-power transmission lines. The construction of the plant began in 2008 and was completed by the end of 2010.  FPL expects the $476  million solar plant to reduce the combined-cycle power plant’s natural gas consumption by 1.3  billion cubic feet (37 billion cubic meter )per year. Over the 30-year life of the project, this is expected to save $178 million in fuel cost (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Jan. 28, 2011, Julie Patel) and reduce carbon emissions by 2.75 million tons (The New York Times, Mar. 4, 2010, Jad Mouawad).

Mark Brownstein, an energy and grid specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund, praised FPL’s innovative thinking. “When we talk about getting to a low-carbon, clean-energy economy,” he said, “we know there is not going to be a single technology that is going to transform the industry.”  Currently, 29 states require utilities to increase the amount of power produced from renewable energy, which includes solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. Last year, Congress considered a federal mandate for 25 percent of renewable power by 2025 as part of its energy and climate legislation. (The bill has since stalled.)  While the use of renewable energy is growing, its share of world’s energy use/electrical generation remains small (recall World Energy Usage Chart from the Sun Is The Future post on April 3, 2011,

World Energy Usage Chart (Sun Is The Future, April 3, 2011)

).  Part of the challenge in increasing the share of renewable energy sources is to make up for their variable nature (such as at night, no sun, or when the wind does not blow).  Because electricity cannot be stored easily and utilities must always produce enough power to meet electric demand at any time,  hybrid plants could provide part of the answer.  Adding renewable power to existing fossil fuel plants that operate around the clock, utilities could have readily available power that could be fired up whenever the wind or solar resource drops off.  As long as we remain hopeful and creative, we earthlings will be able to face any challenge that lies ahead in our path toward  renewable and solar energy future.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.org http://snisthefuture.com

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
10 July

Hurray For Gainesville’s Feed-In-Tariff, Let’s Also Get It For Rest of Florida and USA!

Share

Dear Readers, Friends, and Sunshine Lovers,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

I believe we are getting closer to the critical mass needed for Feed-In-Tariff to be receiving its deserved attention to become a state-wide program/policy for renewable/solar energy.

Time for an update on the first-U.S. Feed-In-Tariff in Gainesville, FL.  In June of 2011, Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) recognized GRU (Gainesville Regional Utilities) as one of the country’s leading utilities for integrating solar power into its energy portfolio.  I would like to, on behalf of Floridians, thank Ed Regan, who was instrumental in implementing the Feed-In-Tariff in Gainesville, FL.  For a better understanding of what Feed-In-Tariff is all about and how FIT is a fantastic incentive program that had benefited the community economically by making it more cost effective to invest in renewable energy and by promoting local job growth, please take a look/listen to the series of discussion on Feed-In-Tariff at Sun Is The Future and also at these two sources below:

https://www.gru.com/AboutGRU/NewsReleases/Archives/Articles/news-2011-06-23.jsp

http://blip.tv/etopia-news-now/ed-regan-at-gru-talks-about-gainesville-s-first-in-u-s-feed-in-tariff-1777179

Fellow Floridians, I hope you all will join me in learning and discussing more about Feed-In-Tariff with your friends, family, neighbors, and local Congressperson/Representatives for the possibility of introducing Feed-In-Tariff as one of the Senate Bills during this coming year.  We here in the Sunshine State of Florida should set an example in fully utilizing our most wonderful natural resource, our beautiful Sunshine/Sun power !

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Sun Is The Future subscription is now also available at Amazon Kindle store

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.org http://sunisthefuture.com
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
9 July

Solar Power Evolution

Share

Dear Readers and Friends,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

I came across an interesting graph on the evolution of solar power/technology today in an article by Sebastian Anthony in ExtremeTech,

History of Solar Power/Technology

started from the lucky finding by Alexandre Becquerel in 1839,  a current was generated when an electrode in a conductive solution was hit by sunlight . Then came the first solar cell, at 1% efficiency, produced by Charles Fritts in 1883.  It was in 1904, Albert Einstein published a paper on the discovery of the photoelectric effect, followed by a flurry of photoelectirc advances until AT & T Bell Lab created the first modern silicon solar cell in 1954.  Between 1950s and 70s cost (about $250 per watt) and efficiency (10%) were two important factors preventing solar power to be the major power player.  But today, the solar power industry has brought the cost/price per watt down to around $3 and at-home installations are becoming more common.   In 2010, even President Obama ordered the installation of solar panels and a solar hot water heater at the White House. It will simply be a matter of few years when solar power will overtake coal in terms of cost and efficiency. As  storage battery technology advances and the fact that solar power is the much cleaner technology (therefore, at a much lower environmental cost) and the technology least likely to generate warfare among nations, solar power/technology does appear to be the best choice for the future of planet earth.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.org

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

HTML adl

Google+

Share
8 July

Incentive For Solar (16)-Feed-In-Tariff, Canadian Friend Maury Markowitz’s Advice for Americans/Floridians

Share

Dear Friends, Family, and Interested Solar Fans,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at http://sunisthefuture.net/?page_id=1065 Thank you.

During Fall of 2010, I was visiting my friend Julia in Canada and decided to try to learn from the Canadians about their experience with Feed-In-Tariff.   Ontario, Canada (or course), introduced a feed-in-tariff in 2006, and revised in 2009, which increases from 42 c/kWh to 80.2 c/kWh for micro-scale (<= 10 kW) grid-tied photovoltaic projects. Ontario’s FIT program also includes a tariff schedule for larger projects up to and including  10 MW solar farms at a reduced rate.As of April, 2010, several hundred projects have been approved, including 184 large scale projects, worth $8 billion all together.  It was wonderful to find out that so much  business opportunities/activities were generated for their local community as a result of the feed-in-tariff program.  I met so many enthusiastic Canadian solar entrepreneurs, fully energized by this program.  Below, you will see/hear an edited  interview with Maury Markowitz, President of InPhase Power, Inc.,  for the vivacious Maury  is not only full of wealth of information and insight, but his enthusiasm is contagious. I have also uploaded this video onto Youtube, seen below:

 

To start with, it is important to always consider the fact that any solar program, FIT or not, is in some fashion a form of redistributive taxation. Whatever premium over grid rates that the FIT program pays has to come from someone’s pocket. In Ontario, this is taken care of by  everyone’s electrical bill, which is the best way to handle this. If Maury’s calculations are correct, all of the solar power in Ontario costs  about $0.25 extra a year (yes, 25 cents). That will go up in the future as more systems come online, but if that goes to $25 a year given a huge build-out,  that is a price everyone will be willing to pay to “go green”.

Mark Pinset, Maury Markowitz, Mark Reeve-Newson at InPhase Power Inc.

Below is a correspondence/email of Maury Markowitz to me:
Just BE UP FRONT ABOUT IT! If this is hidden in a separate payment or tax benefit, it disappears under the radar. Then you’ll have the complaints about tax money slush funds and so forth, which can taint even the best of intentions.

If we’re redistributing money, it’s important to ensure that you get your money’s worth. Ontario has a very strong manufacturing sector (#3 in North America I believe) that was hurting due to downturns in existing markets and increased international competition. FIT, especially the “buy Ontario” portion, was seen as a way to return some of these jobs here. So far this has been extremely successful; there are dozens, many dozens, of companies moving manufacturing to Ontario. So this is money well spent.

Florida is another issue. The local economy has been based largely on home building over the last decade or so, and this is definitely hurting these days. However, by carefully arranging the requirements for Florida workers, some of that lost manpower can be recaptured. Whether or not this can be seen as economically positive over a fixed period (20 years in Ontario for instance) is something for the economists to figure out. One of the problems  in Ontario is that the bill that introduced FIT was part of a larger energy bill. A major part of that bill was unrelated to FIT — it was a phase-in period to bring home billing to commercial levels. Ontario always subsidized residential power, which is a serious problem for everyone  and made out consumption one of the highest in the world — why not at 4.5 cents a kWh?! So now prices are going up, and keep going up, and…So everyone blames the solar panels. You see, if you pay a FIT price of 80 cents, then it seems at first glance that that’s the reason your bill is going up. But it’s not, it’s pennies. But in every debate, even the good ones (look for The Agenda on iTunes and get their podcasts about the green energy act — trust me on this), it’s all too simple to write it off.

So the lesson here is to make the law self-contained, and self-reporting. If it fails it fails, but don’t let it fail because someone was able to blame it for problems in some other part of an omnibus bill.  Now how much should you pay in FIT? Well here’s another area where you can learn from Canadians’ lessons. Two of the most asked questions  from homeowners is “how much stuff can I run off of this” followed by “how much will I save”. Well under FIT, the answer is “none” and “zero”. That’s not what a homeowner wants to hear. If you use net metering as opposed to FIT, then you get real numbers for both of these questions. It’s an easier sell even if the numbers aren’t actually as good.  Yet for commercial users, FIT makes much more sense.  Maury could tell them immediately what they’ll make a year on their investment. If they can borrow money for less than that, sold!  So, what to do about this. HAVE TWO PROGRAMS. Instead of “residential” and “commercial”, which is what some countries were trying to do, have a  “small” and “large” programs, assuming they would fall into these categories. The idea was that small systems cost more to install (true) so we’ll give better rates, and that will help the homeowners.

This backfired badly. What happened instead is that companies started putting up small systems due to the higher payouts, flooding the department that was originally expecting a few thousand requests from residential systems. These projects were field-mounted, which costs less to install. So then the government started patching the holes this caused. First they came up with a separate rate for ground mounted, then they said you had to own the house (no rental units) and they keep making changes to patch these problems — causing more problems every time.

So here’s the takeaway — have two programs, one for residential roofmount customers up to a certain size limit (10 kW is already on the high side) and another for everyone else. The power companies already know the difference between residential and commercial customers, let them tell you which is which. Make sure the residential rate applies only to rooftop installs on “main dwellings” that are actively occupied — no letting the farmers put them in the front yard or on their barn. You get the idea.

Now it’s simply a matter of numbers. Our program was set up so owners would basically double their money over 20 years. To do that with a typical residential system given Toronto sunlight, that set the rate to about 80 cents. Tampa gets about 20% more sunlight than Toronto, so right off the bat you can cut 20% off the FIT rate, taking you down to about 65 cents if you want to pay out over 20 years like we do.

But as long as the rules on who can apply are ironclad, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND an alternative approach. Instead of a 20 year program that doubles your money, how about a 10 year one that gives you only 50% more than you invested? Wait, pay out almost half the money and kill the financials? Yes. I guarantee you that the uptake on a program like this would be MUCH higher.  Why? Because people don’t own houses for 20 years — or they don’t think they will. There’s a perceived risk that business owners don’t see. They invest in new equipment all the time, it’s strictly a matter of looking at the numbers.

Now some tech. If you’re going to make this work at the residential level, make sure they figure out the “metering issue”. What’s that? Well with net metering everything is simple, because I pay you the same rate you pay me. All I need is a single meter, and I bill you based on that number (positive or negative). But with FIT you pay and receive different rates, and a single meter doesn’t give you those two measures — you need two meters.  The simple way to solve this is to put a meter anywhere, then run the wire from that meter into a breaker in the customer’s basement. However, this leads to the possibility of errors. Imagine I generate the exact amount of energy I use. In that case, the meter on the solar panels will read something, say “100”. My main meter at the outside of the house will say “0”. So it would seem easy then — I bought 100 at one price and sold 100 at another price, done!  Not so fast. Each of those meters is accurate only to 3% (or so). So if I actually produced 3% more power and used 3% less, the numbers on the meters stay the same, but I just lost 6% of my income. This is bad. So what they did here is demand the two meters be independently metered to the grid, eliminating this problem, now it’s 3% on both, which is within limits (I know that sounds strange).  This costs us an additional $1500 an install, or more. We have to remove the customer’s existing meter, put in a double-one, rewire everything, and get it inspected. The power is off while this happens. The overhead is killer.

There are many solutions to this problem, metering ones, legal ones, billing ones. Just make sure to pick one and let the _residential_ customers use it.

Ok, I think I’m spent. 🙂  Maury

Thank you, Maury, for your input and encouragement !  I only wished that I posted this earlier.  Again, meeting with you affirmed my belief that there is hope for Florida and US in our path of learning/understanding for Feed-In-Tariff and the transition to renewable/solar energy age will be based on shared experience of all earthlings.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://sunisthefuture.net http://sunisthefuture.org

 

Share

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Sun Nunamaker All Rights Reserved · Sunisthefuture.net