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The Path of the Sun Across the Sky

The sun raises and sets everyday, but the path the sun takes across the sky can differ between seasons. Azimuth is a concept defined as an angle measured in degrees between a reference plane and a point. When installing solar panels to ensure maximum system output you must consider the azimuth of the sun. Obviously, the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, this is because the sun is traveling on different paths across the sky. In the winter the sun is low in the sky, on December 21st the shortest day of the year is called the Winter Solstice, at this point the sun is a the lowest point in the southern sky. Each day after Winter Solstice the Sun’s path goes up higher in the southern sky. The Summer Solstic occurs on June 21st which is when the sun follows a longer path through the sky. As the sun moves through its yearly rhythms is important to take note what may not be a shading issue in the Summer could be an issue when the sun changes its path in the winter. The diagram above provided by the US Department of Energy shows an example of the difference between the summer and winter sun in relation to a solar photovoltaic...

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A thought about solar energy on Labor Day.

Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone out there had a memorable weekend. Like millions of Americans I fired up the grill today, while cleaning the BBQ grill with my garden hose I noticed that the temperature of the water spraying out of the hose was hot since the garden hose had been baking in the Southern California sun. The temperature of the water from the garden hose was comparable to the hot water that we get inside our home heated by natural gas. I realized this labor day the sun, our largest and most obvious energy source is not being used in our lives to its maximum capabilities. Many people across the world are installing solar hot water heating systems to offset their energy usage from traditional fossil fuels, it just makes sense, because not only does the person use the sun wisely but we create jobs in the process. The renewable energy industry can create many domestic jobs everywhere, in our rough economic times, with most American jobs being outsourced, renewable energy is an industry that can take America back to the #1 spot in terms of employee wages in relation to GDP. If you support American energy independence and domestic job growth, you must educate and help everyone around you realize the benefits of solar energy, you can use a simple example, temperature of water coming out a garden hose during a hot summer day to help people realize the potential of solar energy and the significant impact renewable energy can have in our daily...

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Oh the Confusion! Understanding CA Ballot Initiatives…

Summer is ending, fall is approaching and that means the election season is in full swing. Chances are good that you know the Congressional and Presidential candidates you’re going to vote for. And since you’re reading this blog, chances are even better that renewable energy is a top priority for you. Well, for those voters in California who believe renewables are important, you’re in luck. This November you have the option of voting on two major ballot initiatives that address renewable electricity and next-generation vehicles. But don’t get too excited yet – there are a lot of contradictory claims about these ballot initiatives that you should sort through before casting your ballot on November 4th. Let’s take a brief look at each of the initiatives: The first – Proposition 7 – is an amendment to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require utilities to procure 50% of their electricity from renewables by 2025. This sounds like a wonderful law on the surface. Who wouldn’t want to set targets like that? Theoretically, it would create a robust renewable energy market for big and small players alike. But many renewable energy trade groups and environmental advocacy organizations are saying it will do the exact opposite. There’s a big debate over how the drafters have defined eligible renewable energy systems. According to opponents, the proposed law would exclude systems under 30 MW from the RPS. Indeed, in the document, “solar and clean energy plant” is defined as “any electrical generating facility…with a generating capacity of 30 megawatts or more.” That term (solar and clean energy plant) is used throughout the entire ballot initiative, which could lead one to believe that systems under 30 MW will not qualify. Proponents say it was not their intention to disqualify any size system or any technology. In fact, they fervently deny that the law could be interpreted as such. But opponents say it’s not about intention, it’s about clarity of language. And if the language is not clear enough, it could create a complex legal environment for producers of renewable energy who want their electricity to qualify for the RPS. It’s impossible to say who’s right and who’s wrong. But one thing is for sure: There are many different – often contradictory – interpretations of the proposed law. Given that, it’s uncertain how a court would interpret the law if it passes. Industry representatives like to point out that there’s already enough uncertainty in the market to begin with…. The second ballot initiative is Proposition 10. Under this proposed law, California would issue $5 billion in bonds from its general fund to pay for incentives...

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Barack Obama says he will invest in renewable energy.

Did anyone tune into Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC tonight? Who did’nt notice his speech he talked about energy, specifically he said he would invest 150 billion dollars into solar energy , wind power and renewable energy and within 10 years we would be off our oil addiction in the middle east. The goal of the USA free of foreign oil within 10 years would require massive investment, I just hope we have the budget to invest in renewable energy. We would really need to limit our foregin policy to free up money in reinvest back into renewable energy. Gore recently stated a similar goal just a month ago in a speech, it seems like the democrats are really supporting renewable energy, which is a good sign for all Americans but will they follow up with their promises? What do you think? Democrats do control the congress right now, why haven’t they passed the renewable the renewable energy tax...

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94% of Americans feel its important to use solar energy.

Wake up members of congress, we’re heading deep into an energy crisis, and Americans are sick of the lack of support for renewable energy, according to SCHOTT Solar Barometer , an independent poll was conducted across all party lines (democrats, republicans and independents). The results clearly favored that American clearly want to develop and use solar energy. The majority of the respondents agreed that the use of Solar Energy is vital to the future of the United States and should be the federal government’s TOP priority. The respondents were asked if they were President, which energy source would they support, and the answers were overwhelmingly favored towards solar and wind power, In fact 20 times more favored than coal. So, why is there such a great disconnect from what the people want and what congress is doing? The renewable energy investment tax credit is expiring at the end of this year and Bush has threated to veto it if the tax credit is extended for renewable energy. With rasing energy prices and our slumping economy, renewable energy not only lowers our energy expenses and helps us become more energy indepedent but it keeps jobs at home, it situmlates our economy here at home. If you reseach how Germany came out of their last recession, it was by investing in their renewable energy program which created jobs and pulled the country out of a recession. Now Germany is the world leader in renewable energy, moving forward this was the best move they could have made due to the power play for energy...

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