Category: "PWP"


  08:10:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 467 words  
Categories: PWP, SCE, LADWP, GWP

LADWP Power Outage Safety

A bit off-topic, but given the wide-spread existence of downed power lines throughout the LA Basin, we thought it would make sense to include this timely advice from LADWP:

LADWP strongly encourages the public to stay away from any downed power lines and poles as well as downed trees and limbs, and protect children home from school today from the same. Beware of traffic signals that may be affected by power outage and proceed with extreme caution. Allow access for uniformed LADWP crews, all of whom carry Department-issued identification cards, so they may service infrastructure in need of repair.

In the event of a power outage:

•Stay calm.

•Have a flashlight and extra batteries nearby. Don’t use candles in a power outage.

•Turn off lights but leave one light turned on so you will know when your service is restored.

•Turn off and unplug appliances and other electrical equipment. Unplug heat-producing items like irons and space heaters. This helps prevent circuit overloading, which could delay restoration of service.

•Call us and report your outage at 1-800-DIAL DWP (1-800-342-5397). If you encounter a downed power line:

•Report any downed power lines immediately by calling the LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP (1-800-342-5397). If you or someone else is in danger, call 911.

•Do not touch a downed or dangling wire or anyone or anything in contact with it. Always assume a downed line is still energized.

•If a power line falls on your car, stay in the car and wait for help. If you must get out, make sure you do not touch the metal parts of the car and the ground at the same time. The safest exit method is to open the door, stand on the door sill and jump free without touching the car.

•Stay away from metal fences, such as chain link fence, as there may be a power line down and touching the fence somewhere beyond your sight.

•If there is damage to the connection from the power pole to your house, you should go to the electrical box and turn off the main switch or shut off the fuse switch. Again, always assume electric lines are live.

•In case of an electrical emergency, stay calm and think before you act. Don’t become a victim while trying to help others. Call 911.

•If someone is shocked or not breathing, apply cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR.) Then cover the victim with a blanket, keep their head low and get medical attention.

The public and members of the media are encouraged to check the Department’s news site at and Twitter page, @LADWP, for updates.

For folks not served by LADWP, you can report downed power lines by calling:

  • Pasadena Water & Power (PWP): (626) 564-0199 or  (626) 564-0299
  • Glendale Water & Power (GWP): 818-548-2011
  • Southern California Edison (SCE): 911 and report an “electrical emergency” - see their safety tip sheet.
 Permalink2 comments »


  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.


  04:11:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 161 words  
Categories: PWP Rebates, PWP, Commercial Solar

PWP to Slash Non-Residential Rebates

We were just informed that Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) will be substantially lowering its solar rebate rates for non-residential customers effective December 1, 2011.

The new rebate rates will be as follows:

  • Commercial incentives for small (? 30kW) systems (EPBB) - Drop from $1.40/Watt to $0.85/Watt;
  • Commercial incentives for larger systems (PBI) - Drop from $0.212/kWh to $0.129/kWh.

  • Non-profit/government incentives for small systems (EPBB) - Drop from $2.15/Watt to $1.60/Watt;
  • Non-profit/government incentives for larger systems (PBI) - Drop from $0325/kWh to $0.242/kWh.

That works out to a 39.3% drop for commercial and a 25.6% drop for non-profit/government installations.

Residential rebate rates will remain at $2.00/Watt (EPBB) and $0.302/kWh (PBI).

Rebate applications that are deemed complete by PWP on or before November 30, 2011 will qualify for the present rebate amounts.  However, it is impossible to guarantee that a rebate application will be deemed “complete” upon submission so potential clients are advised to get their rebate applications on file as quickly as possible to avoid losing out on the higher rebate amounts.


  10:40:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 857 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, SCE/CSI Rebates, PWP, SCE, LADWP, Commercial Solar, Residential Solar, 2011

The State of Solar California - What Does the CSI Data Reveal?

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is responsible for overseeing solar rebates for California’s three Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs): PG&E, SCE and SDG&E, and in that role the CSI program collects some very interesting dataAs we have in the past, we decided to dip into the data from the first half of this year to gain some insights into the State of Solar in California.  Over the next several days we will be reporting on what we have learned - and there are some very surprising things in here to be sure!

Overview & Methodology

A word first about how we processed the CSI data.  We downloaded the most recent active data set as of this writing (the August 24, 2011 data set to be precise) and parsed it into Excel.  Since we were only concerned about systems in our service area, we excerpted out just the data from SCE.  To narrow our focus more, we wanted to only look at applications that had significant status during the first half of this year.  The CSI data has a host of date fields - we took the latest of the fields ranging from First Reservation Date to First Completed Date as our Status Date and excerpted those that fell between 1/1/2011 and 6/30/2011 - a total of 6,306 data points.

That’s a fair amount of data but it necessarily omits any data at all from the municipal utilities such as Pasadena Water & Power (where we do much of our work) or LADWP.  Unfortunately, none of the munis make their program data generally available - which is particularly odd given that the local residents actually own those utilities (and thus, their data) - but that is a topic for another day.

Finally, for the purpose of these posts, all system sizes are reported in CSI Rating AC Watts (to account for differences in equipment choice and system design) as opposed to DC (or nameplate) Watts.

What can we say about those 6,306 projects?  Collectively they account for 164.7 MW of new solar power at a total installed cost of just over $1 billion - with incentive amounts totaling $219 million - roughly 21% of the installed cost.  Unfortunately, not all of those are built - or even ever will be.  Fully 11% (698) of those projects have the status ‘Delisted’ - meaning that they have been cancelled for one reason or another.  Those delisted projects account for 37.8 MW of potential solar power that presumably will never see the sun.  (Do some installation companies have a significantly higher rate of “delisted” systems?  We will answer that question in a subsequent post - stay tuned!)

The remaining 5,608 are split between “Installed” and “Pending” with 55.8% (3,131) installed and 44.2% (2,477) pending.  Breaking that down a little more, the installed projects account for  33.8 MW worth $240.1 million with incentive amounts totaling $57.1 million.  In contrast, the pending projects account for almost three times as much capacity at 93 MW worth $575.8 million with incentive amounts totaling $120.6 million.  (That is, nearly three times the to-be-installed solar cpacity for roughly twice the rebate dollars.)  On average, installed projects cost $7.09/Watt whereas pending projects cost $6.19/Watt - a positive trend for consumers since it shows the cost of solar power systems declining over time.

Does Bigger = Lower Cost?

Finally, for today, let’s examine whether the data supports the notion of solar economy of scale - that is, as system size increases does the installed cost/Watt decline?  To get a handle on that, we took two different cuts through our data set - “small” installed or pending systems <10 kW, and “large” systems ranging between 10 kW and 1MW.

System cost as a function of system size - small systems <10 kWFirst, here’s the graph for the “small” systems (consisting of 4,992 installed or pending systems - click on the graph to view full size).  As the trend line makes clear, larger systems really do drive down costs - decreasing from over $10/Watt at the small end of the range to just above $6/Watt for systems around 10 kW.

Another interesting observation from this graph are the outliers - with some data points below $3.00/Watt (mostly from self-installed system) all the way up to nearly $18/Watt!!! (We will have way more to say about those data points - and who is responsible for them - later in this series.)

Large system costs

If we now look at larger systems - those between 10 kW and 1MW - our data set has 587 such systems and again, the trend line shows the decline in system costs as system size increases.  (Note, because there is such a huge range in system sizes on this graph, we plotted the system size on a log scale.)  Some of these outliers are also pretty curious - a 200 kW system coming in at over $14/Watt?

Of course, this data is showing what happens when an individual project gets larger and there the trend is clear.  One might well ask, does the same trend apply to larger installation companies?  In other words, as a company has more and more installs, does that economy of scale translate into lower costs for the end consumer?  That’s a very interesting question and the answer - coming in our next post - just might surprise, or maybe even disturb you.

If there are some other cuts of this data that you would like to see, just let us know in the comments.  Trust me, we are just getting started!


  11:29:00 am, by   , 435 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, PWP Rebates, PWP, Energy Efficiency

Run on Sun Featured in Pasadena Weekly Article - The City of the Future

The April 28, 2011 edition of the Pasadena Weekly has a very nice article by Sara Cardine titled, The City of the Future, which includes an interview with Run on Sun Founder & CEO, Jim Jenal.

Part of its month-long series of articles on going Green, Cardine’s piece looks specifically at how Pasadena has taken long strides toward turning itself into a truly Green City.  Starting with its adoption of a “Green Action Plan” in 2006 - the same year that Run on Sun was founded - Pasadena is working hard to turn its good intentions into practical actions.  For example, Pasadena has made major reductions in its own energy usage and is pushing to do much more.

From the article:

Since the Green Action Plan was established, the city has seen improvements on multiple levels, said Ursula Schmidt, the city’s sustainability affairs manager. In addition to increased water and energy conservation, renewable energy use and recycling, the city is also making headway in its green building program and in an effort to establish an alternative-fuel fleet.

Last year alone, Pasadena trimmed its peak power demand by 4.45 megawatts and saved enough energy to power 3,640 homes for one year. Officials now hope to see a citywide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 25 percent by 2030, along with an increase in the citywide use of green energy sources beyond recently adopted statewide standards. Last month, state lawmakers passed SBX1 2, a law requiring that 33 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2020. Pasadena is already pushing itself past that benchmark; last year the City Council adopted a comprehensive integrated resources plan that set a goal of 40 percent renewable energy use by 2020, according to Gurcharan Bawa, PWP assistant general manager.

Encouraging commercial and residential customers to Go Solar is a big part of the strategy to meet those goals.  Caltech, one of the largest energy users in the City, has installed over 1.3 megawatts of solar power on its campus with more planned.  Yet some customers have been reluctant to follow Caltech’s lead.  To get the installer’s view, Cardine interviewed Jim Jenal and quoted him as he described the process of working with an installer to get a proposal and ultimately, an installed system.

Please check out the article online or pick up a print copy (which features a wonderful picture of Jim with that famous Solar Kid) and let us know what you think.

As Cardine concluded:

“This isn’t rocket science — it’s truly something normal, everyday people can understand and feel comfortable with,” Jenal said.
It just begins with a little knowledge and the commitment to make a difference.

We couldn’t agree more!

<< 1 2 ...3 ...4 5 6 ...7 ...8 9 >>

Help Save Rooftop Solar!

California Utilities are trying to kill rooftop solar on your home by gutting net metering - but you can stop them!
Join the fight by signing the petition today!

Sign the Petition!


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.

Ready to Save?

Let’s Get Started!

We're Social!

Follow Run on Sun on Twitter Like Run on Sun on Facebook
Run on Sun helps fight Climate Change
Responsive CMS