Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

January, 2010

Volume: 1 Issue: 1

The Solar Bill of Rights

In the late Fall of 2009, the Solar Energy Industry Association published what they are calling the Solar Bill of Rights. This declaration focuses on the importance of having a level playing field for the solar industry everywhere from the halls of Congress to local permitting agencies and homeowners' associations. In the next few Newsletters we will be writing at some length about all of these rights and why they are so important.

Here they are, courtesy of the SEIA website:

1. Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses.

2. Americans have the right to connect their solar energy system to the grid with uniform national standards

3. Americans have the right to Net Meter and be compensated at the very least with full retail electricity rates.

4. The solar industry has the right to a fair competitive environment.

5. The solar industry has the right to equal access to public lands.

6. The solar industry has the right to interconnect and build new transmission lines.

7. Americans have the right to buy solar electricity from their utility.

8. Americans have the right, and should expect, the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry.

Let's look a little more closely at number one:

1. Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses.

Well, of course they do - what is holding them back? Aside from a weak economy, there are a number of things that make putting solar on a home or business more difficult than it should be. For example, some utilities make the entire rebate process so confounding that the public becomes confused and intimidated. Some communities charge excessively high fees for permitting and inspecting a solar power installation. (Kudos to PWP here - they actually include the cost of the permit in their rebate payment.) Some local jurisdictions impose "guidelines" as though they were binding regulations without ever bothering to hold a public hearing and or passing an authorizing ordinance.

All of these things conspire to make adding solar more complicated, time-consuming and expensive than it should be.

What can be done? The key, as SEIA President Rhone Resch made clear during his speech at Solar Power International last year, is for solar advocates to speak up and start demanding their rights. This involves writing letters to the editor, advocating solar with elected officials - and keeping solar in mind when going out to vote.

In the months ahead, we will be highlighting opportunities for action in these pages - stay tuned!

Well this is It
Run on Sun's
Inaugural Newsletter!

We are really excited to be compiling this content for those of you who have expressed a desire to stay up-to-date on what is happening regarding solar power, energy efficiency, climate change, and local and national efforts related to these issues. By and large, these newsletters will be drawn from our Founder's Blog, and if you haven't yet signed up to follow that, you should go there now and do it!

We will be archiving these Newsletter on our website, you can access the Newsletter Archive here.

We really value your comments, suggestions and questions. Send them to us here.

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AB 811 is Coming to LA County - is Your City In?

Assembly Bill 811 authorizes cities and counties to create a funding mechanism for property owners to add solar (or other energy efficiency measures) to their property without any upfront cost. Instead, the loan is paid back through an assessment on the owner's property tax bill and is paid back over twenty years.

Los Angeles county is developing an umbrella program to implement an AB 811 project throughout the county. The initial funding for the program is to come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus bill). You can follow LA County's progress by checking out their AB 811 website.

This is a great opportunity for home owners to add solar with no upfront cost and a low interest loan paid back over twenty years! We are being told that the first loans will be made available next spring.

Don't be left out - make sure that your City is signed up to participate in the program. Here is the list of Cities that are known to be actively involved with the County in planning this program:

  • Claremont
  • Culver City
  • Lancaster
  • Lomita
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Malibu
  • Monrovia
  • Palmdale
  • Palos Verdes
  • Santa Clarita
  • Santa Monica

There are 88 incorporated cities in LA County - the above list accounts for 12 of them. (There are also two Government Associations listed, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and the South Bay Cities COG.)

Why does this matter? As we understand the program, if your city does not adopt a resolution of participation, YOU, as a potential solar customer, will not be eligible to participate in the program - and thereby be cutoff from a potentially low-cost source of solar financing.

Frankly, there is no excuse for any city not to participate. So contact your city manager and find out why your city is not represented.

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A Look Back to Solar 2009 & a Look Ahead to 2010

For many folks 2009 was an extremely difficult year with lost jobs, lost homes, lost fortunes. Even for those more fortunate among us, business growth was way down (as one wag put it, "Flat is the new Up!") and many anticipated projects were delayed or cancelled altogether.

Still, as we head (eagerly) into 2010 it is worth noting that there were some bright spots in the Solar industry this past year, and here are a few:

  • Lower Costs - with the feedstock silicon bottleneck largely a thing of the past and new manufacturing facilities springing up around the globe, 2009 saw dramatic drops in the price of solar panels, just in time for the economic slow down to create an even greater surplus driving prices down even more. Look for that decline to stabilize (if not reverse) in 2010 as economic growth catches up with pent up demand for solar PV.
  • Solar Power International - the annual industry showcase was quite the marvel in 2009 with an exhibit floor that was truly as exhausting as it was exhilarating.
  • Legislative Progress - while Nancy Skinner's net metering cap bill didn't make it, AB 920 did, and so for the first time in California, utilities will have to pay net energy producers for their surplus energy production. (Unless you are "served" by LADWP - what is up with that?) This change in the law is a win for consumers and installers.
  • AB 811 Progress - as has been reported on here in some detail, LA County is moving ahead with its efforts to get the AB 811 program up and running. If done right - potentially a big if based on some comments made by some bureaucrats at the most recent stakeholders meeting - this could be a huge boon to the industry by allowing residential customers to install solar with little or no upfront cost.
  • Formation of an ASES Chapter in LA - although still a work in progress, a fledgling chapter of the American Solar Energy Society is working hard to establish itself in this diverse and far-flung region. The chapter is looking to recruit new members and we will be posting about the chapter throughout 2010.
  • Our Friends, Fans & Customers - thanks to all of you, this was our best year yet and we look forward to 2010 as being a breakout year for Solar in Southern California generally - and even more so for Run on Sun. Without your loyal support, that simply could not happen and we are extremely grateful.

From the home of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game, all of us at Run on Sun wish you and yours a safe, prosperous, and most of all, Happy New Year!

From all of us at
Run on Sun
we wish you a safe, prosperous,
and most of all,
Happy New Year!

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