Posts Tagged ‘energy independence’

29 July

Bravo! IKEA, in Being Florida’s Largest Non-Utility Solar Owner!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below and note magenta)

Some wonderful solar news closer to home, in Florida: the Swedish company and the world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA, had completed the installation of South Florida’s largest solar array in June of this year. This solar array will be atop the future Miami-Dade IKEA store opening this summer in Sweetwater, FL. Combined with rooftop arrays in Orlando, Tampa, and Sunrise, this fourth solar project will keep IKEA as Florida’s largest non-utility solar owner.  The 416,000 square-feet future IKEA Miami, with 1,500 parking spaces, is being built on 14.6 acres adjacent to the Dolphin Mall, at the intersection of the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) and Florida’s turnpike, in the city of Sweetwater, FL.

The 178,000 square foot solar array at Sweetwater consists of a 1,178 kW system, built with 4,620 panels, and will produce about 1,738,876 kWh of electricity annually for the store,  equivalent to reducing 1,227 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)-equal to the emissions of 256 cars or providing electricity for 169 homes annually (calculation for clean energy equivalents).  IKEA contracted with REC Solar (a national leader in solar electric system design with installations of more than 350 systems across U.S.). Let’s take a look at the video about IKEA’s Clean Energy/Solar Installations, below:

This installation will represent the 40th solar project for IKEA in the U.S., contributing to the IKEA solar presence atop nearly 92% (35 out of 38) of its locations in U.S. and a total generation of 38 MW (translating to powering 90,000 homes). IKEA owns and operates these solar PV systems, rather than through solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement), and has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015 globally.  This investment demonstrates IKEA’s long term commitment to sustainability and confidence in PV technology and industry.  Due to IKEA’s goal of becoming completely energy independent by 2020 (“We want to get to 70% by 2015, and by 2020, we actually want to produce more energy from renewable sources than we/IKEA consume in the total operation“, commented the President of IKEA USA, Mike Ward), IKEA has installed more than 550,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operated about 157 wind turbines in Europe and Canada, with 49 more being build in the U.S.

IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material;incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water-conserving restrooms.  IKEA has also eliminated plastic bags from the check-out process, phased out the sale of incandescent bulbs, facilitates recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 will sell only LED.  IKEA has also installed EV charging stations at 13 stores, with plans for more locations in the future.

Besides helping to improve our environment, these conservation efforts and  solar investments have enabled IKEA to spend less on energy. This would also mean lower cost and lower prices that will be passed down to consumers. IKEA’s Swedish heritage and respect of nature is not only good for the environment, but also great for business. Bravo! IKEA! We hope more businesses will try to emulate what IKEA has done.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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11 November

Do You Want Energy Independence or Our Democracy to Return To Us?


Dear Readers,

I am a mathematician, so numbers are very important to me….11/11/11 contains such a unique combination that I should not let the day pass without posting something significant and meaningful, on this day.

I desperately want and need to share these words of Hermann Scheer, member of the German Parliament who was responsible for implementing the German Renewable Energy Act (equivalent of effective Feed-In-Tariff) and also known as the Hero of the Green Century, spoken before his passing. From his life experience with politics, he sees the necessity in the shift into distributed renewable (particularly solar) energy in order to keep human society’s democratic human values. It is an Ethical Must! He warned and compared our current status of energy dependency to that of feudal regime. America is not independent and neither is European democratic system. Self-determination would vanish if the life fluid of all activities would have to come from another. He also wrote, “a solar based economy would overcome global economic disparaty” (two of his books:Energy Autonomy: The Economic, Social and Technological Case for Renewable Energy, The Solar Economy: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Global Future).  Finally, in his words of hope and encouragement, do not wait for others but mobilize for our own renewable energy change/shift.  “Only then, movement comes…”  I would like to invite you to finish viewing this series of three videos of interview with Hermann Scheer below,

followed by my article on Why and How We Should Power Planet Earth With Sun-Water-Wind Quickly, below:

Why and How We Should Power Planet Earth With Sun-Water-Wind Quickly(written and published by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, parts also published at

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/EnergyProgram and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, available at, July 31, 2011 post. 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 highertemperature contributes to deaths

• higher population and growing energy demand will lead to worsening air pollution andclimate 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 uswith 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 prematuredeaths/year and global warming and provides energy stability. Furthermore, converting to WWSand 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 upfrontcosts, transmission needs, lobbying, and politics.

Relevant papers can be found at

Dear Readers, this is exactly why I have written the series on effective Feed-In-Tariff, in Sun Is TheFuture, available at 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 fromFukushima will impact all of us earthlings. So, as individual earthlings, let’s start by calling attentionand action for our immediate communities. I, here in Florida, will try my very best in asking my community and local government to consider effective Feed-In-Tariff (discussions, articles, and videoclips available by going to the search box at upper right hand corner of and type in “feed in tariff”). Effective Feed-In-Tariff, now rebranded as CLEAN program, may be utilizedby 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 pieceI wrote on July 13, 2011, Answer For The Future Is In Hybrid Marriage-Solar And Fossil Fuel at alike. 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 incentiveto move into the renewable age. Here is an example (in the video of July 27 post at, 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 grid

Fundamentally, with an effective Feed-In-Tariff incentive program, any one who produces excess renewable energy may be able to sell the power he/she generates back to the power/utility company.Feed-In-Tariffs have been so successful in Germany and many other countries because of the long termplanning security it provides by having 12-20 year contracts ( this is crucial to investors);it givestechnology-specific incentives (this is crucial for driving new technologies into the market);it adapts totechnological 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 industrydevelopment with total turnover from renewable energy sources of approximately 25 billion Euros in2007, and saved about 150 tons of CO2 emissions…all due to the help of Feed-In-Tariff. Most importantly, Feed-In-Tariff have made Germany the world leader in solar power. Another important lesson to take away from the presentation of  World Future Council video clip of July 27 post in 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 do view these discussions and video clips on Feed-In-Tariff, accessible at, beginning from May 8 through Aug. 11 of 2011, at If you’d get to my May 8th post on Incentive For Solar (8)-Feed-In-Tariff (FIT), at, there is a very informative discussion by a panel of scientists and policy makers and even our very own Floridian Ed Regan, you would also see in my August 11 post that:the first form of feed-in-tariff was actually implemented in US in 1978, under President Jimmy Carter’s administration, telling Americans that the energy crisis was a “clear and present dangerto our nation” and drew out a plan to address it.The problem with the federal mandated feed-in-tariff rate from 1978 is that: the federal governmenthad given individual states the authority to set its own FIT rate as long as it meets the minimal level ofavoided cost. So, we ended up getting a lot of states simply setting its FIT rate at the avoided cost (for FL, this avoided cost is much lower than the cost of producing solar energy, therefore, there is no incentive for any one trying to produce extra energy). It simply would not be economically feasible.You can also find this discussion in my June 8th post and video with Craig Lewis of CleanCoalition, at I have another issue with this avoided cost FIT rate: that is, itis set at a fixed rate without the consideration of what time in the day when the energy is produced. The value of energy changes throughout the day because energy is in greater demand during the day time and when sun is up (esp. in FL when it is on a hot summer day, when AC is in huge demand). The current fixed avoided cost FIT rate ends up favoring the wind energy producers and very unfavorable for the solar energy producers (solar energy is produced when demand is highest and therefore during the time when the energy is/should be more valuable.) But this can all be modified/monitored with current technologies and smart meters. So, what we need from the state government is an effective Feed-In-Tariff rate that would provide incentive (economically feasible) for every/any one who wants to participate in production of renewable energy (solar, water, wind, etc.) to do so feasibly. Some of you may argue to wait until the cost of producing renewable (esp. solar in FL) energy to be much lower and continue the status quo for now. But I (and many others) feel that we cannot afford to wait any longer because it takes time to educate, implement, and assist the general public to make the transition into a new world of renewable energy. If we want a smooth transition, without too much societal disruption, nor increased unemployment or dramatic lowering of standard of living, the most effective strategy is by implementing effective Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program (as indicated in World FutureCouncil ASAP. We have seen how effectively implemented Feed-In-Tariff had already benefited our neighbor Gainesville, FL community(and at least 65 other nations and territories):

We would simply like to ask our state legislators to consider re-examining the issue of Feed-In-Tariff and come up with a plan for an effective Feed-In-Tariff/CLEAN Program that may be inclusive of all,the small users, medium users, and large users (even utility companies). For we are all in this together. I am sure that the power/utility companies are well aware of the fact that it is much better to serve acommunity of economic prosperity, because 10% of a smaller number is still larger than 100% of zero,(such would be the case if/when the power company has to cater to the needs of a lot of unemployed users.) To insure a win-win situation for all, it would be feasible to consider working out an agreeable percentage of the net profit (resulting from renewable energy produced from effective Feed-In-Tariff) going toward the power companies for the use of the power grid.I hope you, the readers, in addition to talking to your friends, family, neighbors, and your legislators about effective Feed-In-Tariff, I urge you to sign the petition page available at and tell as many people about this web site and petition drive as possible. To encourage you all to think positively about our renewable/solar energy future, I have also written and posted various topics at for your perusal. Simply type these topics in thes earch box at upper right hand corner of and see/hear….about….


Incentive For Solar

Solar Impulse Solar Plane

Cars Of The Future

Solar High Speed Trains

Solar Shingles

Solar Hot Water Heater

What Is Solar Cell


Why Solar

Solar Decathlon

Veolia World Solar Challenge


Please feel free to email me at if you have any suggestions, questions or comments. Any of your input will be welcomed.

Written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

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5 July

Incentive For Solar (15)-Feed-In-Tariff-US


Happy July 4th!! (Creative Commons, shot from Anderson and Villanova, 07/04/2010)

Firstly, Happy July 4th!!!

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

A thousand apologies for this delayed post. As a result of some family matters, my time had been very restricted this past month. But the upside of this is the fact that I had the opportunity to be exposed to people from various states and a chance to spread more of words on solar/renewable  energy and the idea of Feed-In-Tariff.  I also came across an article, Are Feed-In Tariffs Part of Colorado’s Solar Future?, by James Cartledge in ColoradoEnergyNews, indicated that solar industry groups from 13 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland-DC, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, have said it is high time for the entire country to make use of feed-in-tariffs to encourage homes and businesses to generate their own solar power.

In recent years, I’ve often heard some young people responding to any discussion of our national energy or national debt issues with a “I don’t care and why should we the youth care?” attitude.  So, it is my pleasure to have come across and be able to share this next youtube clip, developed by a young lady from my home state of sunny Florida,  Yelena of University of Florida, who understood that our  youth now will be the ones who will be most affected by the energy policy implemented today.  The real cost of  energy include energy security, environmental pollution, and the impact of climate change.  Our youth of today will be paying for these cost of energy tomorrow.  The sooner more of our youths will come to appreciate Feed-In-Tariff(s) (aka Renewable Energy Dividend Policy), the better chance these youths will not have to pay as high of a price in the future.  Yelena managed to have interviewed Ed Regan, the Assistant General Manager of Gainesville Regional Utility, who was responsible for the implementation of Feed-In-Tariff  in Gainesville, FL and from Andrew Walmsley, Assistant Director of Agriculture Policy of Florida Farm Bureau. You will be able to see/hear Mr. Regan explaining how/why Feed-In-Tariff approach would be superior to the stand-alone Renewable Portfolio Standard and countries with Feed-In-Tariffs end up with more renewable energy at lower cost (reported by National Renewable Energy Lab).  We will also hear from Tim Morgan, the President and CEO of TM Industries,  Jennifer Morgan, owner of MGI Solar Electric Power,  and Don Davis, President of Capital City Bank, explain how  local communities would benefit tremendously and quickly from implementing Feed-In-Tariff. 

Put it simply, Feed-In-Tariff is an incentive policy that requires the power company to buy renewable energy from any one who produces it. No matter how small the producer is, the power company has to buy the renewable energy from the producer. Different tariff rates are set for different renewable energy technologies, linked to the cost of resource development in each case.  Typically, FITs include three key provisions:

  • guaranteed grid access
  • long-term contracts (often 15-25 years) for the electricity produced
  • purchase prices that are based on the cost of renewable energy generation and tend towards grid parity

The cost based prices therefore enable a diversity of projects (wind, solar, etc.) to be developed while investors can obtain a reasonable return on renewable energy investments.

Finally, we have affirmation from FARE (Florida Alliance For Renewable Energy), stating that Feed-In-Tariff, had proven to be the most effective incentive program for rate payer (meaning least costly) for rapid wide spread  deployment of renewable energy toward the path for Energy Independence, Job Creations, and Economic Stimulation.  I believe it is very apropos to give a big SHOUT-OUT for Feed-In-Tariff in our celebration of July 4th, to remind not only those 13 states, but throughout USA that we are ready to walk down the path for ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, JOB CREATIONS, and ECONOMIC STIMULATION…we want Feed-In-Tariff !

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, 
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