Tag: "usc"


  09:43:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 329 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar News, Solar Decathlon - 2013

Solar Decathlon 2013 - Fight On!

The best part of an LA Solar Tweet-up is the chance to meet new folks who share the same passion for solar - and that passion was really on display with the two folks from USC’s 2013 Solar Decathlon Team - Stephen Collins and Evyn Larson.  Fight On, indeed!

For those who missed our prior reporting on the Solar Decathlon, the competition is a biennial event which previously has been held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  As cool as that site is, we are really excited to know that this year’s competition will be held here in Southern California - at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.  The competition will run from October 3 - 13 and will be open to the public.  (We will provide lots more details about how to attend the event as we get closer to it.)

Twenty teams are competing, with four of them from California, including:

Each team designs and builds a livable home that they must then be able to disassemble, transport to the competition site, and re-assemble for the judging.  As the name implies, Solar Decathlon homes are judged in ten separate contests that are either based on objective measurements (such as energy balance) or juried (architecture) or both (home entertainment).  (You can read more about the specific contests at the DOE’s Solar Decathlon website.)

Which brings us back to Team USC which joined us for the solar tweet-up last night.  Evyn is an architecture major and Stephen is in Electrical Engineering and between the two of them, they are all over this project.  Here’s a very cool video highlighting the features of their design:

We look forward to following their progress (and maybe even helping to facilitate part of the process!) and we encourage others to check out their website, go like their Facebook page, and - of course - follow them on Twitter.

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  12:10:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 325 words  
Categories: LADWP Rebates, LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

LADWP Commissioners Revisit RPS and with it the FiT?

Next Tuesday, December 6th at 11:30 a.m., the LADWP Board of Commissioners will host a special meeting to discuss the LADWP’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Policy and Enforcement. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at LADWP Headquarters in downtown LA (111 N Hill Street) in Room 1555-H.

Some in the renewable energy community are viewing this meeting as one of the last, best chances to modify the proposed LADWP Feed-in Tariff program that has been under consideration now for months.  As Michelle Garakian of the LA Business Council put it in an email to FiT supporters, “This is another crucial opportunity to make sure we have a real meaningful Solar feed-in tariff here in Los Angeles.”

The meeting comes after LADWP received substantial criticism of its proposed FiT demonstration program as being too timid and inconsistent with the state’s legal mandates, as well as the release of a major study from UCLA and USC that found that a greatly expanded FiT would find a ready workforce in the area.  State Senator Gloria McLeod (D-32SD), author of SB 32 which creates the statewide FiT mandate, has also been critical of the LADWP approach, noting that it “ignores the intent behind the legislation and diminishes its potential."  (The lawyer in me cannot fail to note that when a legislator says an action “ignores the intent” of the law, they are effectively conceding that the proposed action is legal.)

We have noted previously that LADWP staff appears completely committed to pursuing its demonstration phase as proposed regardless of the pushback from the community.  Armed with a legal opinion that says that their “price exploration process” is consistent with SB 32, it is hard to imagine them changing course at this point.  It will be interesting to see if Tuesday’s meeting shows any softening in that position.

We will report back after the meeting.  If you are attending, please take a moment to come up and say hello.


  07:49:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 588 words  
Categories: PWP, SCE, LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

Solar in LA - Leader or Laggard?

Everyone knows that the Los Angeles Basis is blessed with a near year-round abundance of sunshine. Everyone also knows that LA is a power-hungry region demanding between 4,000 to 5,000 megawatts peak power depending on the season (and anticipated to increase to 6,500 megawatts by 2020). Given that, the marriage of solar power to meet LA’s needs should be a no-brainer. So what’s the hold-up? Why are we so far behind?

A new joint study out from UCLA and USC titled “Empowering LA’s Solar Workforce” places the blame on a failure of policy leadership:

Unless civic leaders ramp up efforts to expand solar programs, the city and region face the prospect of being left behind, as other municipalities and other regions move forward on solar power and clean energy programs. In fact, while a recent study showed that one-quarter of all solar energy jobs in the nation are in California, there is a very real risk of those jobs (and others yet to be created) fleeing to other places. This report is, above all, a wake-up call to policymakers to make certain they are utilizing an important workforce segment – and creating policies that will put qualified people to work. In Los Angeles, the policy mandate is clear: the LA DWP must move forward swiftly on a comprehensive FiT [Feed-in Tariff] program.

By any measure, the region’s utilities are just not getting the job done.  This table shows the status of statewide solar program targets and progress toward completion for the seven utilities in the area:

Progress on Solar goals by utility LA County

SCE and our own Pasadena Water & Power lead the way at 20% and 16% of SB1’s targets being achieved, with the rest falling far behind.  But given its enormous size compared to all of the other munis, LADWP’s failure to lead at only 6% achieved is beyond disappointing.

Clearly the failing here is not for a lack of available human resources.  The report correctly notes that Los Angeles has a substantial population of workers who have been trained - thanks to innovative programs from organizations like Homeboy Industries, LA IBEW11/NECA and community colleges - but not fully employed in the solar industry due to a lack of proper policies to spur the growth of local solar installations.  While LADWP has focused on utility scale installations in remote areas, it has lagged behind on installations that could be done right now in communities all across the city.  A greatly expanded FiT would allow solar developers to match up high solar potential project areas with high employment need areas.

Here’s another way to gauge progress - how much solar power per customer has each utility installed?  Again, LADWP is lagging far behind:

Installed solar per customer by utility

Again, SCE leads the way with 119 Watts per customer installed.  PWP is in the middle of the pack at 36.8 whereas LADWP has less than half that much (and not even a sixth of SCE’s total) at a measly 18.25 Watts per customer.

Faced with such dismal statistics, this is no time for short-sighted measures, but the timid, 6 MW demonstration program being presently contemplated by LADWP is far too meager to make a dent in this need.  To the contrary, the report argues that a 600 MW FiT program should be implemented over the next ten years.  According to the report, such a FiT must: “1) have a fixed price; 2) offer the program to participants on a first come, first serve basis; 3) have a simple application process; and 4) incur minimal administrative costs."  Such a program would create good-paying local jobs and help the region meet its energy needs while protecting the environment.

We couldn’t agree more.

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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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