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Bill Clinton Promotes Solar Energy at Solar Power International 2012

Bringing in more than 21,000 professionals from countries all over the planet, Solar Power International is the known to be the solar conference to attend in the solar industry today.  This event, which will be held on September 12 in Orlando, Florida, offers a series of workshops, exhibits, and networking opportunities for renewable energy enthusiasts and experts everywhere.  Solar Power International will feature over 1,200 companies on an expansive trade show floor, making for an exciting networking event.  Manufacturers, distributers, contractors, engineers, investors, and policy-makers are just some of the professionals who will be in Orlando come September.  This eclectic group of solar aficionados will be amassed at the Orange County Convention Center for this massive business-to-business event. Put on by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), all the proceeds of Solar Power International go towards advancement of U.S. solar markets through education and market-building initiatives. And there is no doubt that U.S. solar markets are already growing rapidly.  According to Scott Sklar, the United States has witnessed the start of more than 100 new renewable energy and energy efficiency manufacturing plants in the last 36 months alone.  With technological advancements and declining costs every year, solar energy markets are expected to continue to grow.  This year’s Solar Power International will kick off with a keynote address from a man whose vision taps into this bright future of solar energy. Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, will be giving the keynote speech at this solar convention.  Clinton is the most recognized speaker Solar Power International has had and will surely garner much publicity for the event.  Not only is Clinton well known, but he also has the ability to articulate his understanding of our planet’s current state and what the direction we need to move in to solve our energy problems at home and abroad. In the last decade, Clinton has devoted his valuable time and resources to promoting the use of clean energy such as solar.  Solar energy has also been an integral part of Clinton’s efforts to help Haitians recover in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010.  President Clinton has long been forthright in his criticisms of those who deny the causal relationship between human behavior and global climate change.  Clinton has been and will continue to be a powerful advocate for industries in renewable energy. Julia Hamm, CEO of SEPA, expressed the shared excitement about Clinton’s participation in Solar Power International 2012: “President Clinton’s global perspective and stature are sure to motivate and inspire our exhibitors and attendees. We are honored to present the former President...

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Solar Cabana on The Price is Right

We got our 15 seconds of fame on National TV on Earth Day 2010 last month. Our Solar Cabana was given away as a prize on the longest running TV game show in history The Price is Right produced by CBS. check out the video! The unique aspect of the Solar Cabana is it offers an affordable method for homeowners and businesses to get started with solar power without a huge upfront investment typically associated with rooftop solar. Additionally, in many cases the roof is not the best place to install solar panels due to shading, improper orientation or age of roof. The Solar Cabana provides customers a solution to take solar panels “off the roof” while providing an elegant structure that not only holds the solar panels but provides shade and comfort for people. With the Solar Cabana as an alternative option in the marketplace, solar panels don’t have to be “those ugly things on the roof” anymore. The Solar Cabana works by connecting to your electrical service panel, when your building is consuming less energy than being produced by the Solar Cabana, you’re electric meter will spin backwards, thus offsetting your highest cost of electricity you buy from the utility company. Each solar panel on the Solar Cabana has an Enphase Micro-Inverter behind it that converts the DC power generated by the solar panels into clean, grid compliant AC power. The conduit runs alongside one of the four support legs of the Solar Cabana and connects inside the electrical service panel via a 2 pole, 15 amp ganged breaker. The Solar Cabana is compatible with either a 240VAC or 208VAC electric service. Since the Solar Cabana is a grid interactive solar electric system, it doesn’t require batteries to store the energy. What do you think about the Solar Cabana? Would you install one of these in your...

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Interviewed by SolarDave

We’re working on a unique solar panel project called, Battle of the Solar Panel Brands. A solar panel competition that makes various solar panel brands compete head to head against each other to determine which solar panel will generate the most kWh (kilowatt-hours) in our local area. A few weeks ago, our project caught the attention of SolarDave, a respectable solar blogger. SolarDave thought it would be interesting to his audience to have a conversation with me about the process of installing solar panels on his very first podcast. The purpose of SolarDave’s blog is to take people along for the ride as he is doing lots of research since hes going to install solar panels on his own home in Colorado. I feel there is a lack of information out there for people considering solar panels for their own lifestyles and SolarDave is doing a great job sharing information on his blog with written, video and audio content. SolarDave’s podcast covers the following topics: comparison test with different panels with solar production data collection. Problems with the permitting process. overcoming challenges of digging and trenching installing Enphase micro-inverters Make sure to check out SolarDave’s blog, download the podcast or follow him on twitter hes a great resource for information about solar...

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permit for solar panels in west covina

I find it quite ironic that the City of West Covina has the Sun in their city seal because there is one thing I can guarantee you, West Covina does not support solar energy. I learned this the hard way through the miserable process of working with City Hall to obtain a permit to install solar panels in my backyard. I was born and raised in West Covina and had a great experience the 26 years I have lived in this city, although that changed in a heartbeat when I began working with the city on our project, the battle of the solar panel brands. All I wanted to do was install a few solar panels, using UL listed parts and a very popular pre-engineered ground mount called GroundTrac made by ProSolar that has been permitted all over the US. When I first started the project I thought obtaining the permit would be a breeze since we’ve helped many of our customers secure permits for their projects. Plus, I had Dennis Epp of Heritage Solar wet stamp the plan set. Dennis is a well respected electrical engineer, C-10 contractor, and NABCEP Certified Solar Installer and his company is a top solar contractor in Southern California. Going into the project I figured the City of West Covina would be appreciative of a homegrown citizen putting together such an important project that would help solar energy move forward, but boy I was wrong. I was confident our plan set was in good order before submitting it, because I googled “West Covina photovoltaic permit” and found a document on westcovina.org titled, Basic Information Required for Photovoltaic Plan Check Submittal. I submitted the three copies of the plan set on December 8th and was instantly approved by the planning department. When I got the Plans to Building and Engineering, that’s where things started to get rocky. They wanted a fee to “check my plan” and if I wanted an expedited check I would have to pay an even higher fee. I paid $166.50 for the “expedited plan check” which guaranteed me a response on my project within 7 working days, in our case that would be December 21st, since the city does not work on Friday. On the 6th the working day, I stopped in unexpectedly to check on the status of my project and they told me the plan checker had not even looked at our plans yet, at that point I could smell the trouble ahead of me. One of the plan sets we submitted went to the West Covina Fire Department. They called me on December 15th and told me...

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energy needed to cook our turkeys

As Americans across the nation flip on their ovens to cook their Thanksgiving turkeys, I’m sitting here thinking the nation’s electric grid is going to take a big hit today to supply the energy required to power this historic day. So how much power is it really going to take to cook our Thanksgiving meals? Has attempted to estimate how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) will it require to cook our country’s beloved turkeys? I think not! I feel like doing some math today, so let’s get to the bottom of this ever so important question. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. for Thanksgiving. American per capita consumption of turkeys has soared from 8.3 pounds in 1975 to17.5 pounds in 2007. Most of the ovens in America are electric, according to Mr. Electricity’s, How much electricity does my stuff use? the average oven uses 4,400 continuous watts when cranked up all the way, which is$5 typically required to cook a Turkey throughly. It takes approximately 4 hours to roast a 17lb turkey in the oven. 4,400 watts (oven) * 4 hours (time to cook) = 17,600 watt hours 17,600 watt hours / 1,000 watts = 17.6 kWh per turkey   45,000,000 (number of turkeys cooked) * 17.6kWh = 792,000,000 kWh Since most people can’t relate to 792,000,000 kWhs, let me quantify kWh to $. The average nationwide cost per kWh is 12 cents. Therefore it will cost $2.11 in electricity costs per turkey roasted today. 45,000,000 (number of turkeys cooked) * $2.11 (electricity cost) = $94,950,000 So I guess the Turkey suppliers aren’t the only ones making a lot of money on Thanksgiving but the companies providing you electricity to cook your turkey are making close to 100 million dollars today! 792M kWh is a lot of energy, in fact I went to NationMaster to check up how much electricity is produced on an annual basis from all sources for each country around the world and I realized that 56 countries generate less than 792M kWh on annual basis! I hope that makes a good comparison of how much electricity is consumed to celebrate Thanksgiving by roasting turkeys in the oven. I got a couple suggestions of how you can offset your dependence on the electric grid next Thanksgiving by going solar without breaking your pocketbook. Global Sun Oven – Solar Cooker When pointed in the optimal direction the can boil, steam, roast or bake food at cooking temperatures of 360° F / 182° C, making it ideal for cooking the majority of foods, including most turkeys. The...

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solar technology trends at #solpwr09

With over 26,000 thousand people attending Solar Power International 2009 at the Anaheim Convention Center on the last week of October, the conference broke attendance records. The massive exhibition hall featured 929 solar companies throughout the entire solar industry supply chain. This year show was so large in scale, it was way too easy to get lost between the aisles of exhibitors. My objective of being at Solar Power International 2009 was not to visit every booth, but to scout out cutting edge solar photovoltaic technology. Here’s what I think was cool at the show this year: Solar Micro-Inverters: The new Enphase D380 “TwinPack” Micro-inverter offers double the power at half the labor. The new D series product line focuses on the needs of a commercial installation in which it’s much too cumbersome to install an Enphase M190 unit behind each solar panel. The Enphase D380 is called a “TwinPack” because it has two Micro-inverters within one housing. The benefits include, reducing installation costs through the two in one design, Reduced balance of system costs and installation time are realized through a 50 percent reduction in the number parts, 33 percent fewer connections and junction boxes, the Enphase D380 also reduces installation time by an innovative cabling system. Soon Enphase Energy is not going to be the only one offering a solar micro-inverter. DirectGrid, a company based in New York is developing it’s own version of a micro-inverter that will initially only work combined with thin film solar panels and also have the option to add on smart grid compatibility. Direct Grid Technologies is a new player in the solar micro-inverter space but is a subsidiary of Island Technology which is in the business of the design, manufacture and support of utility power grid monitoring & distribution systems. The picture of the mirco-inverter above shows the Direct Grid Technologies DGA-S300, which has an AC output of 300 watts 120/240 volts 50/60 hz. The DGA-S300 has a nominal DC input range of 12-170 volts, which is a wide range to accommodate many types of thin film solar panels. AC Solar Panels: Solar Panels that come off the manufacturing line with micro-inverters integrated are going to be the next trend in photovoltaic technology. As solar micro-inverter technology continues to improve and shrink in size, this could be the game changing technology that can make solar much simpler and more cost effective to install. Enphase had an interesting AC module for display that had a prototype inverter built into directly into the solar panel! Solar Power Industries has partnered up with veteran solar inverter manufacturer, ExelTech to offer their own version of...

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