Archive for November, 2012

27 November

Cost of Solar Energy Continues Significant Decline, According to National Lab Report

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National Lab Report: Cost of Solar Energy Continues Significant Decline
U.S. Solar “Soft Costs” Offer Opportunity for Additional Price Reduction

The average cost of going solar in the U.S. continued to decrease significantly in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to a report released today by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Solar advocates noted that these findings are the latest indicator that solar is an important and growing part of America’s new energy economy.

“This report shows just how far solar power has come in the U.S., and how much more we can do. Faced with a recession economy, messy election politics and an entrenched electricity marketplace, solar is quietly defying the odds and reinventing our national energy landscape. It’s really remarkable,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of the Vote Solar Initiative.

“With solar energy more affordable than ever, more American families and businesses are going solar to meet their electricity and hot water needs,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Declining costs have driven record growth over the last four years and we expect the solar market to double in 2012 and double again in 2013. This growth proves that smart federal and state energy policies diversify our energy portfolio and grow our economy.  With 5,600 companies employing 119,000 Americans, the U.S. solar industry has become an economic engine for America.”

The latest edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s “Tracking the Sun,” an annual report on solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in the U.S., examined more than 150,000 PV systems installed between 1998 and 2011 and preliminary data from the first half of 2012. Key findings include:

•    The average installed price of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2011 range from $6.1/W for smaller projects to $4.9/W for larger projects, an 11-14% decrease from the year before. Installed prices fell an additional 3-7% in the first half of 2012.
•    Historically, installed PV prices have declined an average of 5-7% per year from nearly $12/W in 1998, with particularly sharp reductions occurring since 2009.
•    The recent price decline is, in large part, attributable to falling module prices, which fell by $2.1/W from 2008 through 2011, and have fallen further still in 2012.
•    Non-module costs, such as installation labor, marketing, overhead, inverters, and the balance of systems for residential and commercial systems declined by roughly 30% from 1998 to 2011, but have not declined as rapidly as module prices in recent years. Market-building policies that target non-module or “soft” costs represent a significant opportunity for continued price reduction.

Tracking the Sun gives us more good solar news as we see efficiencies built into labor and permitting practices without sacrificing quality and safety,” said Jane Weissman, executive director, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC).”The solar industry has built in safeguards through standard-based performance and competency assessment programs which together lead to consumer confidence and sustainable market growth.”

The price declines found in Tracking the Sun add to a number of recent reports that illustrate:

•    Rapid Market Growth: PV installations totaled 742 megawatts (MW) in Q2 2012, up 45% over the previous quarter and 116% over Q2 2011. Source: Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and SEIA.
•    Strong Job Growth: Solar employs 119,000 Americans across all 50 states. Solar job growth has far outpaced the general economy with 13.2% annual growth over 2011. Source: The National Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation.
•    Overwhelming Bipartisan Support: 92% of Americans agree that it’s important to use and develop more solar. Source: Hart Research National Solar Survey 2012

An infographic illustrating the U.S. solar industry’s recent success is available at: http://votesolar.org/2012/11/infographic/
The full Tracking the Sun report is available at: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/LBNL-5919e-REPORT.pdf

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About Vote Solar:
Founded in 2002, the Vote Solar Initiative is a grassroots non-profit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream. www.votesolar.org

About SEIA:
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,100 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org

About IREC:
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of renewable energy since 1982. IREC’s programs and policies lead to easier, more affordable connection to the utility grid; fair credit for renewable energy produced; best practices for states, municipalities, utilities and industry; and quality assessment for the growing clean energy workforce through the credentialing of trainers and training programs. www.irecusa.org

Media contacts:
Vote Solar – Rosalind Jackson, Rosalind@votesolar.org, 415-817-5061
SEIA – Jamie Nolan, JNolan@SEIA.org, 202-556-2886
IREC –Jane Pulaski, janep@irecusa.org

~have a bright and sunny day~

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


Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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24 November

“Shine, Baby, Shine!” As Larry Hagman Would Have Said….

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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I was in Riverside, CA area during the week of Thanksgiving, driving by the construction site of the 550 megawatt Desert Sunlight Solar Farm when I came across the news on the radio of the passing of Larry Hagman (September 21, 1931 – November 23, 2012), the solar energy advocate who is also known as the actor who played “Tony” Nelson in the sitcom I Dream of  Jeannie during the 1960s and ruthless oil baron J.R. Ewing in the primetime TV soap opera Dallas in the 1970s and 1980s.  But in later part of his life, Larry got into a different kind of energy and had been known as a solar energy advocate and spokesperson for SolarWorld.  Below is an interview of Larry Hagman back in 2008:

 

Larry Hagman, the actor and solar energy advocate born on September 21, 1931, in Fort Worth, TX, passed away on November 23, 2012, in Dallas, TX, of throat cancer.(wikimedia)


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23 November

Stewart Craine, A Village Infrastructure Angel, Found His Adventure By Lighting Up The World With Solar Energy!

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Hope this post is finding you relaxed from  turkey feast and with room for left-over turkey sandwiches.  As for me, the more time I’ve spent on researching about Barefoot Power and its cofounder Stewart Craine, the more I am thankful for our access to electricity/power and hope that this solar development wizard Stewart did not only reach his original  goal of reaching 1 million people by 2010, building a solid and sustainable business that will provide not only solar lighting kits but also many other solar energy products available to many earthlings, but also finding time to take a breather for himself, for he certainly deserves it .

Today’s piece is long overdue due to interruption of Hurricane Sandy, US Presidential election, and some hardware difficulty in uploading the video associated with this particular interview.  As much occurrence in life, one can always look for the silver lining in any event.  In this case, the silver lining is that I had more time in doing background search associated with Mr. Stewart Craine,  cofounder of Barefoot Power of Australia.

Did you know that over US $10 billion (some say over 17 billion) is spent each year on kerosene for lighting homes in developing countries? (please see Lighting Africaand Lumina Project )  The light cast from a kerosene lamp is poorly distributed, difficult for children to study; its open flame, smoke, and soot from kerosene lights endanger lives by reducing indoor air quality and increasing the likelihood of fire.

The negative impacts of using kerosene lighting as a result of energy poverty, listed below, are sobering:
*The World Health Organization (WHO) reported-over 300,000 deaths each year from burns, vast majority of these occur in low and middle income countries.
*Nearly 4 million women suffer from severe burns from open fires and kerosene lighting each year.
*More children die from fire related injuries than fatalities from tuberculosis or malaria.
*The poor, mostly women and children, consume the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes of smoke from indoor air pollution, resulting in chronic respiratory and eye diseases.
*The United Nations Development Program and the WHO reported 1.6 million deaths per year (one life lost per 20 second) in developing countries caused by the indoor air pollution due to traditional fuel source. Below, you will find a clip of the interview with Stewart Craine:


What Mr. Stewart  Craine and his team had done is to help people getting onto the ladder out of energy poverty through the use of affordable solar lighting and phone charging to low-income population without access to electricity.  After graduating from UOW (University of Wollongong) with double degrees in civil engineering and mathematics,  driven by the desire to seek adventure rather than security or boredom, Stewart chose to work with AVO (Australian Volunteers Overseas/International), leading to two year stint working on renewable energy projects  in Western Nepal.  This apparently ignited his passion for international development and a desire to find a more effective model than the aid model.  Realizing that he could not volunteer forever, he went to work for Hydro Tasmania, where he and his colleague Harry Andrews collaboratively found the solution for Stewart’s career path of more effective model of international development by establishing Bathurst-based Barefoot Power in 2005.  Barefoot Power is a development for-profit company aiming to fight poverty and climate change in developing countries by distributing household solar lighting equipment and off-grid power solutions to the poor population currently using kerosene and other environmentally harmful energy sources.  Selling solar kits employing LED technology to provide cheap, safe, and efficient power to  impoverished families in the developing countries was not only a worthwhile thing to do, it can be a sustainable business.    In 2010 Barefoot Power won product awards in all tested categories for off-grid lighting products in a competition at an international conference( (organised by the Lighting Africa program of the IFC (International Finance Corporation) which is part of the World Bank Group)  held in Nairobi, Kenya.  This caught the attention of  EIB (European Investment Bank), enabling Barefoot Power to sign an agreement with EIB such that the EIB provided a grant of up to EUR 1 million in the form of a Management Technical Support Facility of the European Community in connection with the GEEREF (Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, www.geeref.eu ).  Prior to the grant (first segment was made available to Barefoot Power in August of 2010), CO2 emission reductions from Barefoot Power’s products were 5,000 tons per year,  and the impact has increased to 30,000 tons per year by the end of the grant in late 2011.  Such CO2 emission reduction is expected to double each year thereafter.  Subsequently, Barefoot Power had received global recognition including an award from G20 and support of entrepreneurial superstar Richard Branson.

My interest in writing this piece did not  stem from the fact that Stewart and I both had received  degrees in mathematics and civil engineering,  but stemmed from our connection to Kiva ( a micro-finance institution  helping entrepreneurs in USA and various developing countries): my connection with the Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva ( w/interest  in helping small businesses in solar energy/renewable energy/energy efficiency/recycling), urging Kiva to expand in the area of Green and Solar loans, and helping to raise the money for Kiva’s first solar loan through Barefoot Power.  It was quite a thrilling experience to have seen over 1000 Kiva lenders (1034  to be exact) gathering cooperatively across the globe to help light up Tanzania through distributor Martin of Barefoot Power.  (Stewart also assured me that The Grace Foundation had much to do with Martin’s loan being a success). Certainly, we (Sunisthefuture Team and many other teams at Kiva) are all looking forward to more opportunities in helping to light up our planet earth via the clean and efficient solar lighting/kits.  So, Stewart, whether your solar kits will be in Africa, Pacific, or any where else, we just want you to remember that  there will be thousands and thousands of us earthlings, ready to collaborate with you in your effort in lighting up the world. Mr. Craine is now broadening his horizon, developing www.villageinfrastructure.com , by expanding his solar product line to more than just the solar lighting kits. We wish him much success for there is plenty of sunshine in Africa, waiting to be tapped.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Any comments/suggestions/questions/concerns will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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13 November

Why Is Solar/Wind/Renewables So Much Cleaner and More Desirable Than Tar/Oil Sands

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Readers/Viewers,

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I have to confess that I do not know half as much about tar sands as I do about solar energy source.  But 350.org’s planned event on Nov. 18, 2012 (posted in Nov. 12, 2012 of http://www.sunisthefuture.net) compelled me to learn  (never let a learning opportunity slip by) more on this topic.  If you’d like to learn more about the environmental impact of mining tar sands, please allow me to share the video and  two links below:

This is a picture of Syncrude's base mine. The yellow structures are the bases of pyramids made of sulphur - it is not economical for Syncrude to sell the sulphur so it stockpiles it instead. Behind that is the tailings pond, held in by what is recognized as the largest dam in the world. The extraction plant is just to the right of this photograph and most of the mine is to the left.(Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Athabasca tar/oil sands (northeastern Alberta, Canada) on the banks of the river, c. 1900 (wikimedia)

1.  Oil Sands/Tar Sands (wikipedia)

2.  Why You Need To Know About The Canadian Tar Sands

Definitely, without the consumption of huge amount of water, carcinogenic byproducts, greenhouse gases emission, nor negative impact on wildlife, solar/wind/renewable energies are far cleaner/safer/less costly in the long run than tar sands as energy source.  I only wish that solar and wind had been more prevalent energy sources because that would have diminished the need/desire to look to tar sands.

So, let’s step up the Solar/Renewable Initiative ! I will do my part and, please, that you will do yours.  A reminder of our Nov. 8, 2012 post at http://www.sunisthefuture.net .

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker.

Your comments/suggestions are always welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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12 November

350.org

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Do you remember our Oct. 30, 2012 post, toward the end of the post there were photos of Time Square Connect The Dots Action “End Climate Silence” by 350.0rg ?  The more I’ve looked into 350.org, the greater I felt that it resonated well with what Sun Is The Future is trying to accomplish.  Our goals are quite compatible with one another;promotion of use of solar energy would ultimately help to reduce the CO2 emission in the atmosphere.  Allow me to share what’s been stated in wikipedia about 350.org, below:

350.org is an international environmental organization, headed by author Bill McKibben, with the goal of building a global grassroots movement to raise awareness of anthropogenic climate change, to confront climate change denial, and to cut emissions of one of the greenhouse gasescarbon dioxide, in order to slow the rate of global warming. 350.org takes its name from the research of NASA scientist James E. Hansen, who posited in a 2007 paper that 350 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere is a safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point.


The organization was founded by author Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist  and writer who frequently writes about global warming, alternative energy, and the need for more localized economies. McKibben promotes the organisation, for instance by writing articles about it for many major newspapers and media, such as the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian.

The organising effort drew its name from climate scientist James Hansen‘s contention in winter 2008 that any atmospheric concentration of CO2 above 350 parts per million was unsafe. James Hansen opined that “if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm, but likely less than that.” Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, rose by 2.3 parts per million to 389 ppm in 2010 from the previous year, and continued to increase with January 2012 atmospheric CO2 concentration at 393.09 and crossed 400 ppm on monitors in May 2012 in the industrialized Northern Hemisphere’s Arctic region.

McKibben first started to organize against global warming with a walk across Vermont, his home state.  His “Step It Up” campaign in 2007 involved 1,400 demonstrations at famous sites across the United States. McKibben credits these activities with making Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama change their energy policies during the presidential campaign. Later, the continued melting of the polar cap pushed him into starting 350.org, based on Hansen’s 2007 book Climate Code Red.

Rajendra Pachauri, the U.N.‘s “top climate scientist” and leader of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has come out in favor of reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 350 ppm. McKibben called news of Pachauri’s embrace of the 350 ppm target “amazing”. Some media have indicated that Pachauri’s endorsement of the 350 ppm target was a victory for 350.org’s activism.

The organisation had a lift in prominence after founder McKibben appeared on The Colbert Report television show on Monday August 17, 2009. The organisation disseminates its message through social networking sites such as FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.  In 2012 the organization was presented with the 2012 Katerva Award for Behavioural Change.

The 350 movement is treating the 350ppm cap as a rallying cry for a 2009 COP15 international treaty. 350 member Alec Appelbaum stated that “We need global compacts to enforce carbon caps, because emissions change the climate whether or not they come from regulated sources. But we also need ingenious businesses to make those caps meaningful. That’s true because no matter how severely we warp the climate, we have to go on living.” The overall goal is to influence governments to adopt policies that would lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Below is the press release (on Nov. 6, 2012) for  an upcoming event of 350.org,

Environmentalists Announce New Keystone XL Demonstration at the White House on November 18, 2012

Oakland — In the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election, environmentalists today called for a demonstration outside the White House on Nov. 18 to show the president that he has their support if he denies the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The demonstration will follow 350.org’s “Do the Math” event at the Warner Theatre and will feature thousands of activists, a 500-foot pipeline, and several speakers–including Bill McKibben, who led the Keystone XL protests last summer in which 1,252 people were arrested.

The full letter is below.

CONTACT: Daniel Kessler, 350.org,             510-501-1779      , daniel@350.org

Dear friends—

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as the warmest year in American history draws to a close, as the disastrous drought lingers on in the Midwest, everyone is looking for ways to make a real difference in the fight to slow climate change. We’d like to ask you to come once more to Washington, to resume the battle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, mid-afternoon on Nov. 18th.

This summer President Obama took the biggest step of any president to date when he raised fuel efficiency standards — a move that will cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 10% when fully implemented. Many of you worked to make this happen. Thank you. It’s an important step in the right direction. Let’s take a few more.

As you’ll recall, your efforts last year slowed down the decision, giving the State Department more time to consider the impacts of a dangerous export pipeline that will transport one of the world’s dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels. Although they did go ahead with the southern segment, where many of our colleagues are waging a remarkable fight against its construction. But now that the election is over a decision by the President is imminent—the administration has hinted a decision could come in the first quarter of 2013.

Here’s what’s changed since last year: the Arctic has melted disastrously.

Here’s what hasn’t changed: Keystone XL is still a crazy idea, a giant straw into the second biggest pool of carbon. Even if it doesn’t spill, it would add 900,000 barrels of oil worth of carbon each day to the earth’s atmosphere, or as much as the new auto efficiency regulations would save. It would, in other words, cancel out the whole long fight to increase auto mileage. Those tar sands are still the dirtiest energy on the planet.

And more and more people are realizing it. Our brothers and sisters in Canada have effectively blocked the so-called Gateway Pipeline to Canada’s west coast. It won’t be built anytime soon, depriving the administration of their only halfway decent argument—that the oil would just go somewhere else. No, Barack Obama is now even more the man who holds the fate of the tar sands expansion in his hands.

No one needs to get arrested this time—though that may come as the winter wears on. For now we simply need to let the President know we haven’t forgotten, and that our conviction hasn’t cooled. Please be there if you possibly can.

Many thanks,

Michael Brune, Sierra Club
Naomi Klein, author
James Hansen, NASA
Tzeporah Berman, author
Jane Kleeb, BOLD Nebraska
Michael Kieschnick, Credo Mobile
Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
Gus Speth, author and professor of law, Vermont Law School
Maura Cowley, Energy Action Coalition
Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network
Joe Uehlein, Labor Network for Sustainability
Mike Tidwell, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Michael Mann, Penn State University Earth System Science Center
Bill McKibben and May Boeve, 350.org
Stephen Kretzmann, Oil Change International
Bridge the Gulf Project
Tar Sands Blockade

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, more editorial comments about this in the next post. Any of your comments/suggestions will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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8 November

Let’s Take The Initiative !

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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During our post-election momentum, I’ve reached out to our Senator Bill Nelson of state of Florida, letter below, and to any of you out there who may have suggestions/input to help the state of Florida or any other states.

Greetings, Senator Nelson,

Firstly, congratulations in winning the election !

Especially in light of recent Hurricane Sandy, I implore you to seriously consider supporting any effective Solar/Renewable Initiative or Bills on the federal level.  In solving much of our energy/ environment/national security/job issues, please support our Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu;Secretary Chu had proven to be quite worthy of his office and is working on solving some of the most critical issues facing our nation today.

We are residents of the Sunshine State.  Let us not squander our beautiful sunshine away.  I would like to seek your advice in how to effectively approach our state legislators to ask for implementation of these measures, below:

1.  Setting Solar/Renewable Energy Goal for the state of Florida.

2.  Implementing an effective Feed-In-Tariff policy (otherwise also known as the Renewable Energy Dividend Policy) that will be inclusive of small users as well as large-scale users.  Feed-In-Tariff had proven to be the most effective incentive program/policy that would speed up the implementations of solar PV .  The goal of  Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) is to offer cost-based compensation to renewable energy producers, providing the price certainty and long-term contracts that help finance renewable energy investments.

3.  Streamline the permitting process of solar PV and solar thermal so to reduce the cost and amount of time in completing the process.

4.  It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.

Any of your input will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Respectfully,

Susan Sun Nunamaker

I would suggest that all of you out there who are Florida residents and are concerned about our energy future to also visit this site, http://billnelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm and write a similar letter to remind Senator Nelson of our concern.  For those of you from other states please refer to this site –> http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and please approach/write your respective district legislators regarding 4 items above (with variation for item 1 ).  Together, we will be able to gather enough strength and voice !  For Florida residents, you may find your respective District Representatives and District Senators at these two sites, ,

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx and    http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/

~have a bright and sunny day~

written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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7 November

Congratulations! President Obama!

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Due to our concern for renewable/solar energy and clean environment issues, this is the first time, ever, that we allowed presidential/political campaign sign to be placed in front of our home…for President Obama is the first U.S. President who has the wisdom to name some one such as Steven Chu, who is actually worthy of the title of Secretary of Energy Department to head this critically important department.

The Only "Blue" For Obama sign in a Central Florida neighborhood

Our house had the only  “blue” sign among our neighbors/block and it is with great pleasure that I would like to share this congratulatory letter from SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) and a video clip on President Obama’s Energy and Environment Achievements, below:


SEIA Congratulates Obama on Re-Election, Praises Administration’s Energy Policy

WASHINGTON, DC — The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today released the following statement from president and CEO Rhone Resch in reaction to President Barack Obama’s re-election for a second term:

“SEIA congratulates President Barack Obama on his re-election. President Obama has been a tremendous supporter of solar energy and we look forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administration over the next four years.

“To date, the Obama Administration has created and supported pro-solar policies that have been vital to the success of the industry. Solar installations and jobs have risen dramatically throughout the U.S, while costs have fallen. Today, the solar industry employs more than 119,000 Americans at 5,600 companies, mostly small businesses, across all 50 states – this is more than double the number of Americans working in solar in 2009.

“Since President Obama took office, the amount of solar powering homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by 400 percent – from 1,100 megawatts in 2008 to more than 5,700 megawatts today. The Administration enacted a policy allowing solar installations for the first time on public lands and set a goal to permit 10 gigawatts of additional renewable energy projects on public lands by the end of 2012, which has been a great driver of this growth. The U.S. now has enough installed solar capacity to power nearly a million households, and 2012 will be another year of record growth for our industry.

“Policy certainty is crucial to continue the growing role of solar in America’s energy mix.  Stable policy frameworks at the federal and state level, including maintaining and expanding commitments to renewable energy initiatives, spur and leverage private sector investments in the solar industry to meet our nation’s future energy needs.

“As we recover from the recession, America needs plentiful and diverse energy resources, including solar, to power our economy. Solar is clean, reliable, and more affordable than ever. Since the beginning of 2011, the average cost of solar panels has dropped more than 50 percent and the cost of a solar electric system has dropped by more than a third, thanks to innovation, entrepreneurship, and strong federal and state policies leveraging private investment.

More than nine out of 10 voters want the U.S. to develop and use more solar power, and the president understands the importance of solar to the American people. The solar industry looks forward to continuing our productive working relationship with the Obama Administration, the incoming 113th Congress, and state legislatures throughout the country to create smart policies that help power our homes and businesses with domestic energy and create jobs across America.”

Additional Resources:
– Report: U.S. Solar Market Spikes in Q2 2012, More than Doubling Q2 2011 Market Size (Sept. 10, 2012)
– America Votes Solar – National Solar Survey 2012 (Oct. 2, 2012)
– SEIA’s Major Solar Projects List

~have a bright and sunny day~
gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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2 November

U.S. Solar Energy Jobs Increase by More Than 13%

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,
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Great News this morning to be shared: Below, is the report that’s just been released from SEIA (Solar Energy Industry Association)

U.S. Solar Energy Jobs Increase by More Than 13 Percent

The Solar Foundation’s Latest Annual Jobs Census Shows Consistent Industry Growth, Notes SEIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today highlighted initial findings from The Solar Foundation’s (TSF) third annual National Solar Jobs Census showing that solar energy jobs have experienced strong growth in the U.S. over the past year, despite global economic challenges. The full National Solar Jobs Census 2012, with analysis of employment trends across the entire solar industry is scheduled for release on Nov. 14, 2012 by TSF, a nonprofit research institution located in Washington, D.C.

Initial results from the 2012 census found that the solar industry now employs 119,016 Americans across all 50 states, having grown 13.2 percent over last year during difficult economic times across the nation. In 2011, the solar energy industry employed 105,145 workers, while 93,502 were employed by solar companies in 2010. Census participants named strong federal solar policy, such as the solar investment tax credit, as one of the most important factors driving growth of solar jobs over the past 12 months. Additionally, one-third of respondents cited the continued decline in solar energy prices as the primary driver of employment growth. State pro-solar policies, including renewable portfolio standards, and the popularity of new third-party system ownership models were other factors creating jobs.

“The solar energy industry is creating jobs in America when we need them most,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “The rapid growth of jobs in the solar industry clearly demonstrates that smart policies, including the federal investment tax credit, are putting Americans back to work.  In addition to jobs, these policies are driving down the cost of solar and providing a clean, reliable energy choice for millions of homeowners and businesses.”

This is what happens when government provides a stable policy environment – the private industry does what it does best – creates new jobs for Americans,” Resch added.

According to the 2012 census, solar job growth easily outpaced that of the overall U.S. economy, which expanded by 2.3 percent (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) during the same period.  In total, the U.S. today has 5,700 megawatts of installed solar energy capacity, enough to power more than 940,000 households.  The industry expects to nearly double its growth over last year, adding 3.2 gigawatts of solar power online by the end of the year and another 3.9 gigawatts during 2013.

The solar industry has grown at significantly higher rates than most other industries in the past several years, making it one of the foremost creators of new jobs in the United States,” said Andrea Luecke, TSF Executive Director. “Our census findings indicate that these new jobs are highly skilled in nature, including solar installation, sales, marketing and software development. These new solar industry jobs are sustainable, cannot be outsourced and play a critical role in our country’s economic recovery.”

The Solar Foundation and BW Research, with technical assistance from Cornell University, used an improved version of SEIA’s National Solar Database and additional data sources to refine the methods used in the census and to reach more employers. As a result, the previously reported solar employment figure for 2011 was revised upwards from 100,237 to 105,145. As in past years, the survey examined employment along the solar value chain, including installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing, utilities, and all other fields and includes growth rates and job numbers for 31 separate occupations. The figures in the report were derived from data collected from more than 1,000 solar company survey respondents, yielding a low overall margin of error of +/-1.5%.

Today’s jobs numbers were a preview of the full National Solar Jobs Census 2012 to be released on Nov. 14, 2012 by The Solar Foundation. The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research with technical assistance from Cornell University.

gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

~have a bright and sunny day~

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