Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

May, 2010

Volume: 1 Issue: 5

Building a Solar Future

Repowering America's Homes, Businesses and Industry with Solar Energy

Is it possible to provide 10% of the nation's energy needs - not just electricity but all energy consumption - from Solar by 2030? A timely new study says that we can - and we must. The report: Building a Solar Future - Repowering America's Homes, Businesses and Industry with Solar Energy, was just released by Environment America's Research & Policy Center and it examines the role of the entire gamut of solar energy technologies from passive solar design to PV. The authors describe each technology in an introductory section devoted to "The Tools" of solar and then applies those tools as appropriate in describing a Solar Future for America which envisions Solar for Homes, Businesses, Factories, Farms, in Transportation and Communities and in the Grid itself. When combined with appropriate energy efficiency measures, the authors conclude that a full 10% of all of our energy needs could be met by Solar by 2030.

As attractive as this sounds, the authors are quick to point out that a positive Solar Future won't just happen by itself. Rather there are policies needed to turn potential into reality. For those of us in California, we are fortunate that many of these policies are already in place, such as:

  • Financial incentives - utilities in California pay generous rebates (particularly the small municipal utilities) and these are an important part of the equation. (As for those who complain about subsidies, the authors note that between 2002 and 2008, the fossil fuel industry received some $72 billion in subsidies from the federal government compared with $29 billion for all renewables - and the bulk of that went to subsidize corn ethanol - politically easy, but environmentally foolish.)
    Incentives can include:
    • Rebates
    • Tax credits
    • Feed-in tariffs
  • Putting a price on global warming pollution - increasing the cost of such emissions would make conventional energy generators incorporate the true cost of the power that they produce. That in turn would improve the financial benefit of alternative energy sources such as solar.
  • Renewable Electricity Standards - as utilities are required to get more of their electricity from renewable sources, a specific solar carve-out could spur investment in solar facilities.
  • Government purchasing requirements - like RES's but these require the federal government to get increasing shares of its energy from renewables, especially solar.
  • Municipal or PACE financing - as with California's AB 811 Program, PACE funding (for Property-Assessed Clean Energy) allows municipal entities to use their bond issuing power to provide loans to property owners to install clean energy systems, including solar. The cost is then assessed against the property and payments are made annually as part of the property tax bill. (For earlier posts on AB 811, see here.)
  • Federal Renewable Energy Bonds - are another vehicle for securing low-cost financing for solar projects.
  • Public education and outreach - since "going solar" starts with "learning about solar," more is needed in this area - hence this Newsletter!

The authors present their information in a straight-forward and matter-of-fact style that makes its vision both bold and believable. This is a must-read for legislators and policy-makers throughout America.

The Authors Conclude that a Full 10% of
All Our Energy Needs
Could be Met by
Solar by 2030...

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AB 811 Timeline Update

We have learned that a letter was sent to City Managers around the end of March advising them of the updated timeline for the AB 811 program in LA County. You will recall that AB 811 allows for PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing where money is loaned to property owners and paid off as an assessment against the owner's property taxes. (We have written at some length about AB 811 previously, you can find those posts here.) That program - presently referred to as the Los Angeles County Energy Program (LACEP) - is coming quickly.

We have attached a copy of the letter to this post. The key dates are as follows:

  • April 12, 2010 - City Adoption Toolkit materials (i.e., draft resolution of participation, etc.) distributed
  • May 25, 2010 - Public Hearing and Adoption Vote (presumably in downtown Los Angeles)
  • May 26, 2010 or later - Local City Councils vote to adopt resolution to join the County program
  • September, 2010 - AB 811 program goes live with first projects being funded.

We will be posting additional materials as we receive them so check back here often.

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Run on Sun Bats 1000 in
Achieving NABCEP Certification

Last March, all three of the Principals at Run on Sun - Founders Jim Jenal and Brad Banta as well as Chief Electrician Velvet Dallesandro - took the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners' Certification Exam for Solar PV Installers. Touted by NABCEP as the "Gold Standard" for industry certification, it is generally referred to as "the one that's hard to get" in the installer industry. Requiring appropriate educational accomplishments as well as practical, on-the-job experience with a number of installed systems as the lead installer, the certification process culminates in a multi-hour exam that covers every aspect of PV system installation. Among the topics covered in great depth is the applicant's knowledge of the NEC - the National Electrical Code - which provides the standards by which safe and efficient solar systems are judged. The exam is so tough that pass rates, even for experienced installers, are typically below 50%.

Well now the results are in and it is a clean sweep for the solar professionals from Run on Sun! Whereas many solar companies would be thrilled to have even one NABCEP certified installer on their team, Run on Sun now has all three of its Principals designated as Certified Solar PV Installers™! No other solar company in Southern California can make that claim.

As NABCEP puts it:

When you hire a contractor with NABCEP Certified Installers leading the crew, you can be confident that you are getting the job done by solar professionals with the "know-how" that you need. They are a part of a select group of people who have distinguished themselves by being awarded NABCEP Certified Installer credentials.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

All Three of the
Principals at
Run on Sun
are NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installers™
No One Else Can Make That Claim!

NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installers

Jim Jenal
Brad Banta
Velvet Dallesandro

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