Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

August, 2012

Volume: 3 Issue: 8

Enphase Features Run on Sun and Westridge School

We have written at some length about Enphase microinverters in the past, but now Enphase has returned the favor. Here was the lead story in their Summer 2012 Newsletter that just went out this morning:

Enphase newsletter featuring Run on Sun

That is Run on Sun Founder & CEO, Jim Jenal, posing amidst our solar installation at the Westridge School for Girls here in Pasadena. The article quoted Jim and provided a link back to our video highlighting the Westridge installation. Pretty cool.

Even cooler, however, was the meeting that we had this week with Mark Abrams, the Director of Product Management for Enphase. We met with Mark to provide him with feedback about their existing products and to offer our insights about their next generation product that is still in prototype. This was a great exchange - we told Mark what we loved about their products - but also important ways in which the product could be improved, at least in the eyes of an installer! Mark listened intently, took notes, and promised to see what he could do to incorporate our feedback.

It is hard to over estimate the value of such interactions between manufacturers and installers, yet it doesn't seem to happen as often as it should. So here's a note to the rest of the manufacturers out there - if you really want to improve your products, start spending (more) time with installers, and I don't mean your sales people. (Trust me, we already get more than enough contact from your sales reps.) You might not like everything that you hear, but learning first hand what our problems are is the best way to build a long-lasting relationship with the folks who are the most important to your long-term success.

After all, that might be Jim's face that you see in that photo, but its Enphase's products that made that project a reality.

“That is Run on Sun Founder & CEO, Jim Jenal, posing amidst our solar installation at the Westridge School for Girls…”

Help Us Spread the News!

Link to us on LinkedIn

Get our toolbar!

Return to Newsletter Archive | Return to ROS Home

Green is Now: California's IOUs Hit RPS Target

While a meaningful national energy policy is nowhere to be found, California continues to lead the way, announcing that its three Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) have reached their intermediate target of 20% energy from renewables in 2011. According to a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Status Report just released by the California Public Utilities Commission, Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Pacific Gas & Electric each exceeded the 20% target for renewables in 2011. Specifically, SCE lead the way with 21.1% of its energy delivered coming from eligible renewable sources, followed by 20.8% for SDG&G and 20.1% for PG&E. Collectively, the three IOUs account for roughly 68% of the state's electric retail sales. Unfortunately, the report does not provide a breakdown of those numbers by type of renewable energy source.

Most of the gains are the result of utility-scale renewable energy products, but customer-side renewable energy generation - such as that created through the California Solar Initiative (CSI) - has also played an important role in two ways:

  • First, while the system owner of a customer-side facility generally retains ownership of the renewable energy credits (RECs), in some instances they can be sold to an IOU which can then count it toward the RPS goals.
  • Second, since customer-side generation reduces electrical demand that must be served by the IOU, it decreases the denominator in the percentage calculation thereby improving the reported RPS score.

Under the RPS, the IOUs must average 20% from 2011-2013, 25% from 2014-2016 and 33% by 2020.

Growth of renewables in California has been dramatic: between 2003 and 2011, 2,871 MW of renewable capacity came online, with over 300 MW coming online in the first half of 2012 alone. But future growth stands to be even more dramatic with more than 2,500 MW scheduled to come online before the end of the year! According to a report in Forbes, that is the equivalent at peak output to the electricity generated by five nuclear power plants - which is good news given the problems at San Onofre.

Return to Newsletter Archive | Return to ROS Home

Climate Skeptic "Converts" - Will Others Follow?

We don't often write about Climate Change - our last piece on this topic was more than a year ago - not for any lack of passion about the subject, but mostly because we take the view epitomized in this cartoon that was being "shared" on Facebook this month by the League of Conservation Voters:

climate change cartoon

Solar has the potential to make the world - and your bottom line - better regardless of your politics and hence that is our focus.

But late last month a story broke that is so significant that it merits at least a passing reference.

Richard Muller is a physicist at U.C. Berkeley and for the past several years he has gained a certain notoriety by his public displays of skepticism regarding the science of climate change. In particular, he questioned the reliability of the temperate data itself - the very predicate upon which the climate change models are built. Climate change deniers seized on his skepticism: if the data are no good, then the conclusions drawn from that data cannot be any good either. For example, here is climate change denier Fred Singer praising Prof. Muller's efforts - before the results were announced:

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) Project aims to do what needs to be done: That is, to develop an independent analysis of the data from land stations, which would include many more stations than had been considered by the Global Historic Climatology Network. The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all "climate skeptics" — which should enhance their credibility. The Project is mainly directed by physicists, chaired by Professor Richard Muller (UC Berkeley), with a steering group that includes Professor Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) and Arthur Rosenfeld (UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech).

I applaud and support what is being done by the Project – a very difficult but important undertaking. I personally have little faith in the quality of the surface data, having been exposed to the revealing work by Anthony Watts and others. However, I have an open mind on the issue and look forward to seeing the results of the Project in their forthcoming publications.

As far as I know, no government or industry funds are involved – at least at this stage. According to the Project’s website www.berkeleyearth.org, support comes mostly from a group of charitable foundations.

(See full article here.)

As it turns out, a significant chunk of the funding from a "charitable foundation" came from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation - the funder of first resort for climate change deniers across the country. Put most simply - the denier community was expecting the Koch-sponsored Project to slay the climate change dragon.

Didn't happen that way.

Instead, Prof. Muller's painstaking analysis, first released last Fall, demonstrated that the temperature data was solid and that the Earth was warming. Then, at the end of July, Muller published an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times. Titled, The Conversion of a Climate Change Skeptic, the piece takes on the denialists in no uncertain terms:

Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I'm now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.


Rachel Maddow interviewed Prof. Muller (video below) and it was interesting to watch from a number of perspectives. The key point - that climate change is real and humans are the cause - came through. But rather than call for policy that would provide real relief, he threw in with the oil and gas industry and supported "clean" fracking, which is a bit like supporting "clean coal" in that neither one exists.

The denialists might have lost their last great hope, but the oil and gas industry is far from calling it a day in favor of carbon-neutral technology. Sadly, Prof. Muller appears to be ready to lend them a hand.

Rachel Maddow interviews Richard Muller

“The denialists might have lost their last great hope, but the oil and gas industry is far from calling it a day in favor of carbon-neutral technology…”

Return to Newsletter Archive | Return to ROS Home