Categories: "All About Solar Power"

01/22/22

  01:43:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 392 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Ranting, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

CPUC Delays Decision - Urgent Action Needed!

TL;DR - We are having an impact, but we need your voice on the 27th!


Rally goers in downtown LANine days ago, thousands of solar supporters rallied against the CPUC’s Proposed Decision that would gut the value of rooftop solar, driving payback periods from 5-7 years to 20 years or more! As of that date, the CPUC was scheduled to vote on the Proposed Decision at its next scheduled meeting - January 27th.  A veteran of many a march in my time, I know that sometimes it can seem futile - does anybody care?  Is anyone who matters really listening?

Turns out the CPUC was listening: earlier this week we learned that, quietly, the vote on the Proposed Decision was taken off the agenda for the meeting on the 27th!  So, squeak, squeak, we are having an impact - and by we I mean everyone of the 120,000 people who have signed our petition, or called the Governor’s office, or yes, marched in the streets.  You have taken action and you have been heard!  So thank you for taking the time to help save rooftop solar.

But there’s more to do (of course)…

We need as many people as possible to sign up to speak to the CPUC board during the public comment period on Thursday, January 27th at 10 a.m.  Certainly every solar company in the state should have someone speak, but we also need the public to add their voices.  We know that the utilities like SCE will be having their workers call in, repeating the same scripts over and over.  What we need to counter that are regular folks - people who have solar now and are angry that the CPUC would change the rules midstream, or people who would like to add solar but won’t be able to afford it if the payback period goes to 20 years or longer, or simply people who believe that SCE shouldn’t be able to tax people for the privilege of putting solar on their home or business.

In other words, we need YOU.

CALSSA is making it easy - providing a form where you can sign up to speak.  How?  Just SMASH the Sign Me Up! button below and we will take care of the rest.  Speakers are limited to one minute, so all you really need to do is say something short and sweet, from the heart.

Thank you for your support!

SIGN ME UP!
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01/14/22

  03:05:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 270 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, Non-profit solar, Net Metering

Run on Sun Rallies for Solar Jobs - along with a few thousand of our friends!

On Thursday, January 13, 2022, the Run on Sun crew - and a few thousand of our friends and colleagues - got together at simultaneous rallies in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Our message was simple: the Proposed Decision from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) would imperil thousands of solar jobs, drive up the cost for solar for everyone (truly meaning that only the most affluent could afford it), and frustrate California’s efforts to address Climate Change.  It is time for Governor Newsom to do more than suggest that the proposal, “needs some work."  In fact, the Proposed Decision needs to be scrapped in favor of a policy that will make solar more affordable for everyone.

Nearly two thousand people gathered in LA’s Grand Park to listen to CALSSA’s Policy Director,  Brad Heavner, and other speakers exhort the crowd to stand strong in solidarity against the CPUC’s disastrous proposal.  We then marched from the park the four blocks to the CPUC’s offices in DTLA.  Along the way we were greeted by cars honking in support of solar - including the driver of a Metro bus!

Here are some images from the rally:

Amanda does her thing!

Project Coordinator Amanda Watson puts the finishing touches on our signs!

Crowd listens

Crowd at Grand Park listens to Brad and the other speakers.

Marching to the CPUC!

Amanda’s colorful sign tells the story!

Making our voices heard

Making our voices heard outside the CPUC offices.

Colleagues

Amanda and Adrian flank Scanifly’s Chance Venable at the march’s end.

By any measure, the rallies were a success - but there’s still one metric to be determined: the final outcome! Of course, we will write about that as soon as we know more. Watch this space.

01/12/22

  04:29:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 304 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power

Amanda takes Flight!

Anyone contacting Run on Sun in the past year or so has had the opportunity to speak with our Project Coordinator, Amanda Watson.  An avid cyclist - we seem to attract them! - and former racer, Amanda has thrown herself into her new gig with the same zeal that she demonstrated in her racing career.

While working in solar has a pretty steep learning curve, one aspect of how we do solar here at RoS is especially challenging - getting licensed and qualified to operate our drone.  Since we fly the drone commercially - we use it on site evaluations and for after-project photography - to operate it legally the Pilot in Command has to be licensed by the FAA (Part 107).  Central to getting licensed is passing the Part 107 written exam, which is no mean feat, requiring the student to master the complexities of sectional charts (one of the densest data visualizations ever created!), the arcana of acronym-dominated weather printouts, and a host of details that frankly, have way more to do with being an aircraft pilot than a drone pilot!

I am proud to report that this past week Amanda passed the exam on her first try with an 82 (70 is passing).  Once her license shows up she will be legal to operate the drone for us!  Of course, passing the test and getting your license doesn’t teach you how to operate the drone!  So earlier this week we went down to the Rose Bowl and Amanda got a chance to make her first flight in the park adjacent.  She did great!

  Amanda flying Oscar

Amanda at the controls of the RoS Mavic Air, Oscar!

Mastering the drone is just one step in Amanda’s evolution.  She is presently enrolled in courses at PCC, paving the way for her ultimate NABCEP certification! 

Way to go, Amanda, the sky is no longer a limit!

01/05/22

  02:15:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 174 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Residential Solar

Guess Who is Certified to Install IQ8?

Readers of this blog know quite well that the long-awaited Enphase IQ8 microinverters are almost here.  (Enphase reports that shipments have started, and our distributor is promising to have them in numbers by next month.)  But there’s one slight catch: in order to commission a PV system with IQ8’s, you have to be certified by going through an online training at Enphase University!

So guess who just got certified?

IQ8 certification for Jim Jenal of Run on Sun

Jim Jenal - newly certified IQ8 Installer!

The training takes you through all of the four use cases for installing IQ8: solar only (no backup or storage components), Sunlight Backup which allows partial backup even without adding any storage components, Partial Home Backup and Full Home Backup. Each of these use cases has different components, and those components need to be properly configured to guarantee that the solar system owner has the best possible experience.

We are excited to be at the forefront of this exciting next step in our partnership with Enphase, and with you, our cherished clients.

Let’s make 2022 one for the record books!

10/26/21

  05:46:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 591 words  
Categories: Residential Solar, Energy Storage

Enphase IQ8 Released - Sunlight Backup is a Thing!

They say all good things come to they who wait - and boy have I been waiting for this day for a long, long time! But Enphase has finally released their much anticipated IQ8 microinverter - the first device that can provide “Sunlight Backup” without batteries! Here’s my take…

Long Time Comin!

Those of you who follow this blog know that I have been writing about the IQ8 microinverter for almost forever, starting with this piece from August 2018, titled “What I saw at Enphase - Mind Blown!“  Back then I was fortunate enough to get to visit the Enphase lab in Petaluma and got to see a demonstration of what Enphase is now calling “Sunlight Backup” - the ability for your PV system to continue to operate when the grid goes down.  While I wasn’t allowed to record the demo, Enphase, to mark the public release of the IQ8, has posted the following video which illustrates the concept quite nicely:

This is the wow-factor for the IQ8 - when combined with an automatic transfer switch for code compliance - if the grid fails during the day, your PV system with IQ8s on the roof will continue to produce power, no batteries needed!

Of course, there are a few caveats: during the day the output from your PV system will fluctuate based on prevailing conditions.  For example, it rained like crazy here yesterday - and the power went out!  How much value would the PV have been then?  Not too much.  However, today the sun is shining like crazy and the weather is cool, the air clean - outstanding day for solar production.  Go ahead, take down the grid, we’ll be just fine!

And a word about code compliance.  The anti-islanding rules that require a grid-tied PV system to not export power to the grid when the grid fails, are still very much in force.  After all, we want our systems to be safe for all involved.  So to meet code, you need to also install an automatic transfer switch, which Enphase is now calling the IQ System Controller - FKA Enpower - into your system.  But the IQ System Controller costs a fraction of what the actual storage components do, so this is a way to have some power during the day at minimal additional cost!

As this video nicely demonstrates, if you have too many loads turned on when the grid fails, the microgrid cannot start.  But as soon as you shed sufficient loads, the microgrid will form instantly, all on its own.

Enphase has put together a pretty good chart (albeit kinda small here, but click on it to see it full size) that shows the components needed to achieve different capabilities:

 energy goals chart

Solar Only is what we have been doing for years.  Home Essentials Backup, aka partial-home backup, and Full Energy Independence, aka full-home backup are what you get when you add storage.  But Sunlight Backup is what IQ8 brings to the party!

Please don’t keep-a me waitin…

So when can we put these on your roof?  Well not today, that’s for certain.  We are being told that we will see shipments toward the end of December.  (Of course, if they are coming into the ports of either LA or Long Beach, we could be waiting for months!)   First quarter of next year is likely a safer bet.  Still waiting to see firm pricing as well, but figure something like 25% higher than the comparable IQ7+ that we have been installing for the past two years - and without a single unit failure!

The wait is almost over - watch this space!

 

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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