Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

May, 2013

Volume: 4 Issue: 5

Enphase Joins the Team:
Donates Microinverter System to
USC Solar Decathlon Effort

Enphase logo

USC's Solar Decathlon Team keeps building steam with the latest boost coming from our good friends over at Enphase Energy.

Enphase just donated 36 M215 microinverters complete with cabling and an Envoy monitoring system for fluxHome™ - USC's Solar Decathlon entry.

As you can see from this image taken from the live feed, fluxHome is really starting to take shape.

fluxHome in progress - click for live feed

Enphase microinverters will soon be seen atop fluxHome

The donation from Enphase - along with earlier contributions - means that the equipment needs for the solar component of the project have all been met. Now the USC team will be able to demonstrate to the thousands attending the Solar Decathlon this October down in Irvine how each individual solar module is producing power thanks to the module level monitoring provided by the Enphase system.

Given that one of the ten competitions in the Decathlon is Communications, this augmented ability to show the public what the solar system is doing could be a key component of an overall communication strategy.

We at Run on Sun are proud of our role - minor though it may be - in helping to make this donation happen and we are confident that the brilliant and dedicated team at USC will make the most of this opportunity.

Enphase products at fluxHome site

The gear in these boxes will soon be helping Team USC to power fluxHome in the Solar Decathlon competition - and ultimately, they will be providing clean power for a lucky family in the neighborhood around USC.

Way to go, Enphase - way to go, Team USC! Fight on!!!

“Enphase microinverters will soon be seen atop USC's fluxHome™…”

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Solar Impulse Soars Across America

If there is anything cooler than a solar-powered airplane that can fly at night, we sure haven't seen it.

Solar Impulse flying over Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

The plane, called Solar Impulse (technically HB-SIA) is making its way across the United States, originating in San Francisco, with scheduled stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, DC and New York City. The information learned during the flight will inform the design and construction of a second plane (HB-SIB) that is intended to fly around the world in 2015.

The plane has a take-off speed of 27 mph, an average flying speed of 43 mph and a maximum cruising altitude of 27,900'. The pilot wears a parka to stay warm and breathes oxygen from a mask since the cabin is neither heated nor pressurized.

Here are some specs of the Solar Impulse:

Wingspan: 208'
Weight: 3,500 lbs
Length: 71'
Height: 20'
Motors: 4 (each 10hp)
Solar cells: 11,628

Indeed, the plane has already garnered Five World Records including:

  • Absolute height: 30,300'
  • Altitude gain: 28,690'
  • Duration: 26 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
  • Free distance along a course: 695.5 miles
  • Straight distance over pre-declared waypoints: 683 miles

But how, you may ask, does a solar powered plane fly at night? Clearly it is not fast enough to chase the sun, so what happens when the sun goes down? It is all about energy management - both electrical and potential. During daylight, as the nearly 12,000 solar cells are producing power, the plan climbs toward its service ceiling. As it goes higher, the solar power system becomes more efficient due to both the drop in temperature and the thinning of the atmosphere. Thus, the plane is able to store energy in two forms: electro-chemical (in the batteries) and potential in the altitude attained.

When the sunlight fades, the plane begins a very gradual descent, aided by its massive wingspan - equivalent to an Airbus A340 jetliner - that allows it to glide long distances forward for every foot of descent. Finally it levels off and flies at a very slow cruising speed powered by the solar power now stored in its batteries until it once again meets the sun and can begin its ascent once again. In theory, the plane could do this perpetually - not so the poor pilot!

Speaking of the pilots, one of them, Bertrand Piccard, has quite the lineage as a pioneer. His father, Jacques Piccard was aboard the Bathyscaphe Trieste (designed by his father, Auguste) when it descended to the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench - some 35,814' deep - in 1960!

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Run on Sun & KPCC Partner to Provide Solar Benefits

Two of Pasadena's most beloved institutions - NPR affiliate KPCC and Run on Sun - have joined forces to offer KPCC Members exclusive benefits on solar power systems. As the only solar power company offering Member Benefits, Run on Sun is demonstrating its commitment to the outstanding programming on KPCC and to enriching the lives of its Members.

KPCC logo

Here is the deal as shown on KPCC's Member Benefits page:

  • $500 off a residential solar power system, 5kW or larger;
  • $2500 off a commercial solar power system, 30kW or larger.

To qualify for this special offer, just show us your Benefits Card when we come out to do your free solar site evaluation.

Wait, what, you aren't a KPCC Member yet? No worries - just click over to the KPCC website and make a one-time contribution of $60! (Wow, how is that for an immediate return on your investment?) Or better yet, become a sustaining member. It is the ultimate win-win!

“As the only
solar power company offering Member Benefits,
Run on Sun is demonstrating its commitment to the outstanding programming on KPCC and to enriching the lives of its Members…”

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