Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

October, 2010

Volume: 1 Issue: 10

Glendale Suspends its Rebate Program...
A Cautionary Tale

What is going on in Glendale? In recent years the City of Glendale offered one of the best rebates in Southern California for solar power installations. But suddenly, and without any advance notice, those rebates are gone - at least until next July. While the California Solar Initiative appears to be quite stable and predictable, the actions by Glendale Water and Power are a stark reminder that the rebates that help to make solar more affordable are not guaranteed, particularly when dealing with the Municipal Utilities like GWP, Burbank Water and Power, or Pasadena Water and Power.

Even so, the developments in Glendale are startling, and as bad as the news is for Residential customers, sadly, that is only the beginning. According to Ani Zargaryan, Solar Solutions Program coordinator at GWP, rebates for commercial solar power projects are suspended for five years! Ms. Zargaryan confirmed that there were no press reports about this drastic change in GWP's solar program and there was no advance notice provided. Instead, an email was sent to solar contractors who had pending applications on file with GWP on August 5, after the cutoff had already been implemented.

Apparently, GWP looked at their budget, and the number of applications on hand and said, "Oops, we're out of money!" With all due respect to the good folks at GWP, how can that possibly happen with no advance notice?  GWP had previously published on their website their anticipated rebate amounts through 2012 and they were some of the highest in the State. Unlike most other utility rebate programs where incentive payments are stepped-down based on actual amounts installed (thereby allowing for reasonable planning predictions - if more gets installed faster, the rebate simply steps down sooner), the GWP program structure either had to count on low demand or an unlimited pot of money.  Turns out, neither was the case.

Lack of predictability is a terrible thing in any marketplace and GWP's abrupt suspension of its program is leaving customers - and installers - in the lurch.

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Proposition 23 - Suspicion Warranted

If a ballot initiative is known by the company it keeps, we should be just a teeny bit suspicious of Proposition 23, the Nov. 2 measure designed to eviscerate California's new greenhouse gas regulation. The driving force behind the initiative is the oil industry, which has contributed more than $2.3 million to getting it passed. The biggest single contributor is San Antonio-based Valero Energy ($1.05 million, according to the latest state campaign disclosures), with San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp.in second place with $525,000.

So begins a recent piece from Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times and he is, once again, on to something. Just as he did with last June's Prop 16 - the misleadingly labeled "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act" that was actually the "Protect Pacific Gas & Electric's Monopoly Act," Hiltzik reveals who is behind Prop 23 and explains why their motives might not be consistent with their rhetoric.

As folks who read this Newsletter surely know, AB 32 is the California law that seeks to reduce our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions while making the state more attractive to green businesses (like this one) that represent the state's economic future. Given that transportation is the single largest source of GHG emissions in the state, it is not surprising that oil companies might be concerned about a requirement to substantially reduce those emissions.  While the Texas oil companies seeking to block AB 32 may not be interested in hastening the emergence of a renewable, non-fossil-fuel based economy, surely the rest of us are.  Hopefully the voters will see through the deception and reject Prop 23, just as they rejected Prop 16 last Spring.

If you need any more incentive than you already had to vote No on Prop 23, perhaps this will help.  This Summer, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) released a study of world-wide climate data and concluded that "Global warming is undeniable."  Analyzing data collected in 48 countries by more than 300 scientists, the NOAA report - titled State of the Climate in 2009 - concluded that "the past decade was the warmest on record and the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years."

The retreating Iceberg Glacier in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park

Apart from the climate change implications of implementing AB 32, it should be remembered that burning fossil fuels - particularly the gasoline peddled by those Texas oil companies - contributes to the creation of smog here in the LA Basin.  Cutting back on those emissions will make all of us healthier, particularly those with asthma and other respiratory conditions.  Indeed, when I was a child growing up in Alhambra during the 60's, after lunchtime recess my classmates and I would come back to the classroom and cough repeatedly - such was the state of the air that I was breathing as a boy. We should not forget that the tremendous improvements in air quality here in LA came over the objections of the very same interests that now tell us we cannot afford to implement AB 32.

But they were wrong 40 years ago, just as they are certainly wrong now.

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Do You Have a Solar Kid? We Do!

The Founder's Blog is the source of most of the articles that comprise these Newsletters, but at Run on Sun we are blessed to have two bloggers at our site. On the off-chance that you haven't discovered her yet, we would like to introduce you to that amazing Solar Kid, Julia. Like many kids her age, Julia is busy with school work, and friends, and her dog, Marshy. Yet she still finds time to write about solar from a smart kid's perspective as well as providing a host of tips for just being a little more green. If you have a solar kid, or one who would like to be, please have her, or him, check out Julia's blog and add their comments so that we can all learn from those smart kids out there that are the hope for our world's future.

To give you a taste, here is the intro to Julia's recent series on the Top Ten Things to Do (If You Can't Do Solar):

Sometimes your parents can't always get solar, even though it is very cool and is great for the environment. Especially when they are renting, it makes getting solar a bit harder. I have compiled a list of top ten things to do to be green, even if you don't have solar! Most of the information for this list is from Tiffany Hsu's awesome article from the Los Angeles Times on August 15. In the next four posts, 3  tips will be posted in each one, with number one having its own special post at the end.

Here's the names of the tips in our list:

10. Drought? OK

9. Unplug it

8. Down the Drain

7. In Rags and Tatters

6. Reuse It Again and Again

5. Paper Saver

4. Bright Idea

3. Green Your Clean

2. I Got a Planter, Got a Planter Full of Sunshine

1. Practice Your Geography

Get ready to read!

Solar Kid Julia
Blogs about
being Green
From a (Very Smart)
Kid's Point of View
Check Her Out!

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