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Does Mitt Romney Really Understand Energy?

It’s time to set the record straight.  When it comes to Mitt Romney’s energy policy, all you’ll need to remember is “oil and gas.”  It is clear that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is dedicated to the big oil interests that are helping his campaign. Let’s get some background on Mitt Romney before we delve into this.  Romney’s views on global climate change have been shifty over the years, but he has shown the world that his loyalties are to big oil and other fossil fuel-based energy.   Though Romney used to acknowledge humankind’s role in creating global climate change, his “view” has changed over the last several years. Romney recently said “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” while claiming that reducing fossil fuel emissions “is not the right course for us.”  Furthermore, Romney is actually against the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the EPA and even opposes fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Despite the increase in domestic drilling during Obama’s presidency, Romney has criticized Obama for not moving forward with projects like the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  Whether or not you agree with President Obama’s energy policies, it is clear that Mitt Romney heavily favors fossil fuels over clean alternatives such as solar energy. Not only is Romney’s stance on global climate change scientifically ludicrous, he claims that clean energy is not a practical solution to America’s energy predicament: “To begin with, wind and solar power, two of the most ballyhooed forms of alternative fuel, remain sharply uncompetitive on their own with conventional resources such as oil and natural gas in most applications” – Mitt Romney, 2011. Romney’s previous outlook on this matter seems to be in polar opposition with his current stance.  It’s almost amusing that back in 2003, Romney believed that green jobs were a viable investment for our nation’s future: “Now is the time to refocus its assets in such a manner that it can become a major economic springboard for the commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector.” – Mitt Romney, 2003.   Romney has since done an about face, calling Obama’s “obsession” with green jobs “unhealthy” and his policies “old and outdated.”  Put simply, Romney no longer believes that green energy can produce a significant amount of jobs in the United States.  Yet, clean energy continues to show promise.  The Huffington Post reports that 3.1 million Americans are working green jobs.  Let’s review this a minute.  According to Romney, we don’t know what’s causing climate change, so we should continue to exploit fossil fuel-based resources.  Moreover, reducing fossil fuel emissions is...

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UPDATE: Chinese Evading Solar Tariffs!

A recent decision to impose substantial anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar cell manufacturers shook the solar world.  The intention of these duties is to prevent unfair “dumping” of Chinese solar products in the US market, which hurts American manufacturers.  Those in opposition to these tariffs feel that they have created anxiety within trade relations and threaten to stifle the growth of this global industry. So what have these tariffs actually done thus far?  In the aftermath of a preliminary decision by the Department of Commerce to tax Chinese-made solar cells, many are wondering what exactly has changed. As anticipated, Chinese companies found a loophole, allowing them to keep solar panels at low prices in the US market. The tariffs are surely an inconvenience to many Chinese manufacturers, who must now produce solar panels with cells that were manufactured outside of China. If you recall, these tariffs were only placed on solar cells that are manufactured in China.  Because these tariffs to not include the completed panels, it has left an opportunity open for Chinese companies to work around the anti-dumping duties. Many Chinese firms have been leveraging relationships with manufacturers of solar cells in Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, and other countries. For this reason, some American manufacturers are pushing to extend these duties to Chinese-made solar modules.  Accordingly, critics speculate that if this were to happen, Chinese companies would work through Taiwan-based firms to produce the actual solar modules.   It seems that no matter how the US tries to maintain control, Chinese companies discover new means of evading tariffs.  By branching out into nearby counties, Chinese solar manufacturers are able to circumvent the law. Shen Danyang, of China’s Ministry of Commerce, described the US Department of Commerce’s new tariffs as “trade protectionism.” Tensions remain high around this issue.  Retaliatory measures could be taken against the US, bringing about a trade-war.  This could include the Chinese government placing duties on US silicon imports to China, further exacerbating trade relations and making matters worse for the global solar market.  European companies may be pushing for similar actions against Chinese-based solar firms.  There is still much to unfold in this trade saga. Having an vested interest in these issues, we’ll keep an eye on this and let you know about any further developments.  Fortunately, pricing has not been fluctuating much, which means our prices have not increased.  Just as operations in China are relatively normal, it’s business as usual at GoGreenSolar.com. What are your opinions on this matter? Tell us what you think!...

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BREAKING NEWS: US Department of Commerce Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Solar

U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced their preliminary decision to impose anti-dumping tariffs of 31 percent and higher on Chinese solar manufacturers.  The final decision will be made later in the year. Back in March, the Department of Commerce had issued  2.9% to 4.7% anti-subsidy tariffs on solar imports from China after the World Trade Organization declared that illegal subsidies had been provided to China’s solar industry by the Chinese government. Following a complaint made by SolarWorld and the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) that Chinese companies had “dumped” solar products below fair market value, the DOC began their investigation.  This Thursday, the preliminary ruling was announced, imposing new anti-dumping duties on exported Chinese solar cells, whether or not they are assembled in modules.  These tariffs are added onto the existing anti-subsidy duties Chinese manufacturers have already been paying. Over half of the solar panels in the U.S. market are Chinese.  To remain profitable, the Chinese will have to raise prices to some extent.  Many speculate that the Chinese manufacturers will produce solar cells in Taiwan and Mexico to work around these new tariffs.  Tariffs on non-exporting producers in China are now as high as 250 percent, preventing current Chinese exporters from operating through other companies. Needless to say, this has taken the solar industry by storm. Proponents of these anti-dumping duties argue that they are necessary to ensure that US manufacturers can continue to compete in the global market.  They argue that Chinese pricing was unjust and it was wiping out American manufacturing jobs, citing the highly-publicized bankruptcy of Solyndra. Conversely, the critics of the new anti-dumping tariffs contend that this will impede growth of the solar industry.  They point out that this decision will not only create tension with China, but it will also increase the cost of solar energy, making it less competitive with fossil fuel-based energy sources.  During such a critical point of growth in the solar industry, many are questioning the Department of Commerce’s preliminary decision. What do you think about these new tariffs on Chinese solar panels?...

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LA Solar Incentive Program and Feed-in Tariff Program

For those of you who may not know, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has developed a Solar Incentive Program (SIP) to support solar energy in Los Angeles. This Solar Incentive Program can help you with the cost of installing a new solar system.  The Solar Feed-in Tariff Program, which allows owners of large-scale on-grid solar systems to sell back unused energy, is currently in the works. This Solar Incentive Program was created to help meet the aim of Senate Bill 1, which is essentially an extension of the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and the Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP).  Basically, the goal of this program is to promote solar for LADWP customers to help California reach its energy goals.  By providing a financial incentive to homeowners who install on-grid photovoltaic systems, LADWP hopes to encourage homeowners to invest in solar energy.   LADWP customers who have photovoltaic systems installed can receive a lump sum payment upfront based on the anticipated performance of their new system. To calculate an estimate of the Expected Performance Based Buydown (EPBB), LADWP’s website has an online calculator. This provides an idea of the energy production, annual kWh, CEC-AC rating, Design Factor, CSI rating, and incentive amount.  With this information, LADWP is able to figure out how much money to pay the customer upfront. There are benefits that go beyond this one-time payment.  According to the LADWP website: “Customers who qualify and complete an installation are provided with a ‘net meter’.  When a customer’s solar system produces more energy than they use, the excess energy is calculated as a credit on their bill, and their meter will run backwards.” This means that when an LADWP customer’s solar system is producing excess energy, it goes back into the grid.  The meter runs backwards and LADWP is then able to credit their customers with energy towards their electricity bill.  Conversely, LADWP is presently developing another system to promote the use of solar technology through the Solar Feed-in Tariff Program, also known as the CLEAN LA Program.  Though Solar Incentive Program customers are not qualified for the CLEAN LA Program, this particular program is designed primarily for larger-scale commercial use.  Through this Feed-in Tariff system, customers who produce 30kW and higher, can enter a contract to sell 100% of the energy produced at their facility to LADWP at a fixed rate for up to twenty years. Here’s a brief run-down of how the preliminary stages function: application process: To qualify for this program, applicants must go through a six-week application process.  Applicants provide the base price for the energy, proof of site control, and complete facility and one-line diagrams.  They...

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Free Energy Classes by Southern California Edison

Did you know that every time you pay your electricity bill in California, Edison uses some of that money to provide the public with educational workshops?  These classes are a unique opportunity for everyone to learn how to save money, energy, and the planet. We recently attended a class about plug-in electric vehicle chargers at Southern California Edison in Irwindale, California.  When we first arrived, we sipped on coffee and walked around the interactive lighting display, which has an assortment of lamps for commercial and residential use. Prior to the class itself, we went on the “Smart Energy Experience” tour, which is essentially a tour through a model home designed to demonstrate how Edison plans to help consumers actively monitor their energy consumption in real-time. Our tour guide also explained how energy saving incentive programs can work for Edison customers. The futuristic “smart” electric meters and appliances will make it easier than ever to monitor and successfully reduce energy usage.  Our tour guide talked about the appliances and fixtures that the model home featured. Our tour guide went over all the changes the average household can make to create a more eco-friendly, cost-effective lifestyle. This model home had recycled glass countertops, bamboo floors, and a washer-dryer combo that communicates electronically to pre-set dry cycles. Our tour guide also explained how energy saving incentive programs work. Implementing natural light in the home is a powerful way to save energy. Check out this solar light pipe that utilizes natural light in the home!Edison offers a wide range of introductory and specialized classes that range from from LED lighting, to heating and refrigeration.  Be sure to sign up for a few of these free workshops and learn how you can save energy. Don’t forget to take the “Smart Energy Experience” tour before your class!...

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