09:03:50 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 759 words  
Categories: ASES, LA Renewable Energy Society (LARES), Solar News, ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour

Call for Nominations - ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour - Application Deadline May 15

The Los Angeles Renewable Energy Society has just announced its Call for Nominations to participate in this year’s ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour!

The announcement in full follows the break and the Nomination form and Owner’s release are attached.  Look forward to hearing from you.

To: Los Angeles Area Solar installers, Architects, Designers, Integrators, Builders, PV Panel Manufacturers, Building Owners
Subject: Call for building nominations for the ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour - October 2, 2010 – 
Applications and owner release forms (attached) due May 15, 2010

The Los Angeles Renewable Energy Society (LARES) has issued a call for nominations of residential, business and commercial buildings with unique examples of solar installations that may include an emphasis on sustainable and energy saving building features and unique architecture to be showcased at the First Annual ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour on October 2, 2010 to coincide with the ASES - American Solar Energy Society - National Solar Tour (www.ases.org).

Our goal is to make the ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar tour the most exciting, educational and entertaining community building grass-roots event in LA County. The Tour offers an exciting opportunity for Los Angeles residents and building owners interested in solar and green building design to tour around various cities, learn from the building site hosts about solar energy and other energy efficiency features, and to truly see, experience and sense the possibilities of sustainable living and how they can be a part of the Solar/Sustainability Revolution in greater Los Angeles.

About LARES, ASES and ASES National Solar Tour

The Los Angeles Renewable Energy Society (LARES) is organizing as the Los Angeles chapter of the nationally known ASES. Our core mission is to increase the intelligent use of solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies. Our vision is for the Los Angeles region to become the “Solar Capital” and the leader in solar and other renewable energy usage and initiatives.

Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Its mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. ASES advances education, research and policy. ASES publishes the award winning Solar Today Magazine, organizes and presents the ASES National Solar Conference and leads the ASES National Solar Tour.

The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar energy event in America. The 2009 ASES National Solar Tour had over 5,000 homes and commercial buildings on display with 10,000 volunteers and more than 140,000 tour visitors. We are excited about organizing and bringing this very popular solar tour to Los Angeles and hope that you will be too. Please join us in this exciting solar tour event by submitting an example of your solar and sustainably built residence or building.

Increase Your Company’s Visibility, Share Your Vision and Spread the Solar/Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Revolution in Your Community

LARES selection committee will recognize two buildings – one residential and one commercial/business – as the ASES Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour winners that represent the best of solar design and sustainability in the Los Angeles region.

  • The Los Angeles Grand Solar Tour is a grassroots event organized by volunteers to be held on October 2, 2010 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • This will be a self-guided tour. The participants will sign up in advance for the tour and get information about the location of the sites on the Tour shortly prior to the tour date.
  • Based on the number and location of the selected tour sites, there will be several tour “areas” across Los Angeles County for example: Santa Monica/Venice Tour Area, Pasadena/Glendale/La Canada Tour Area, etc. The Tour will be organized as such that the tour participants will have the opportunity to visit sites that are close to their own neighborhood.
  • The building/site or part of the site should be open to Tour participants, The building owner will decide which part of the site will be open to Tour visitors. Tour guides (installers, building owners, architects, builders, volunteers, etc.) must be available during the Tour hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to guide visitors and answer questions.
  • No charge to Tour visitors. No application or selection fee to solar site hosts
  • Residence and commercial/public building submission applications, site sample photos and building owner’s release forms (attached) must be received by May 15, 2010. Please feel free to submit multiple sites, however, each site needs a separate application and release form.

For more information or assistance, please contact:


Thank you and looking forward to your participation.

Warm Regards,

Zoe Starr
Los Angeles Renewable Energy Society



  02:17:04 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 299 words  
Categories: AB 920 Payments, SCE

SCE Files its Compensation Proposal Pursuant to AB 920

On March 15, SCE filed with the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) its proposed Net Surplus Compensation Rate for solar customers under AB 920.  You will recall that AB 920 requires utilities to pay solar customers who are net producers of energy “fair and reasonable” compensation for the surplus energy provided.  As an investor-owned utility, SCE must file its proposal with the CPUC.  (Municipal utilities like PWP, BWP and GWP need only seek approval from their local City Council.  As of this writing, we have not seen anything from the munis yet.)

The filing with the CPUC consists of three documents, which are linked to this posting, and in total they run to more than 100 pages of at times impenetrable regulatory-speak.  The first document is the Application to the CPUC, the second is prepared Testimony explaining (sort of) the Application, and the third is a short set of “Work papers” filed in support of the Application.  (Please note - any annotations in these documents are MINE, and not those of SCE.)

We will have more to say about these documents in the coming days but for now, we wanted to make sure that interested parties would have access to them and we would welcome your thoughts about the implications of SCE’s proposal.  We would note one thing of interest - SCE is NOT proposing to compensate solar customers for the retail value of the electricity produced.

SCE laid out a potential schedule for adoption of its proposal (subject to CPUC approval):

  • April 15 - Protests and/or initial public comments to be filed;
  • June 8 & 9 - Public workshops to be held;
  • June 30 - Comments based on workshops to be filed;
  • August 6 - Final Decision

Of course, if the CPUC holds a hearing on these proposals (it is also considering Applications from PG&E and SDG&E) these dates are likely to slip.


  08:04:12 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 497 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Rebates, Solar Tax Incentives, Solar News, AB 811/PACE/LACEP Funding

Building a Solar Future - Repowering America's Homes, Businesses and Industry with Solar Energy

Is it possible to provide 10% of the nation’s energy needs - not just electricity but all energy consumption - from Solar by 2030? A timely new study says that we can - and we must. Details after the break.

The report:  Building a Solar Future - Repowering America’s Homes, Businesses and Industry with Solar Energy, (read it here) was just released by Environment America’s Research & Policy Center and it examines the role of the entire gamut of solar energy technologies from passive solar design to PV.  The authors describe each technology in an introductory section devoted to “The Tools” of solar and then applies those tools as appropriate in describing a Solar Future for America which envisions Solar for Homes, Businesses, Factories, Farms, in Transportation and Communities and in the Grid itself.  When combined with appropriate energy efficiency measures, the authors conclude that a full 10% of all of our energy needs could be met by Solar by 2030.

As attractive as this sounds, the authors are quick to point out that a positive Solar Future won’t just happen by itself.  Rather there are policies needed to turn potential into reality.  For those of us in California, we are fortunate that many of these policies are already in place, such as:

  • Financial incentives - utilities in California pay generous rebates (particularly the small municipal utilities) and these are an important part of the equation.  (As for those who complain about subsidies, the authors note that between 2002 and 2008, the fossil fuel industry received some $72 billion in subsidies from the federal government compared with $29 billion for all renewables - and the bulk of that went to subsidize corn ethanol.)  
    Incentives can include:
    • Rebates
    • Tax credits
    • Feed-in tariffs
  • Putting a price on global warming pollution - increasing the cost of such emissions would make conventional energy generators incorporate the true cost of the power that they produce.  That in turn would improve the financial benefit of alternative energy sources such as solar.
  • Renewable Electricity Standards - as utilities are required to get more of their electricity from renewable sources, a specific solar carve-out could spur investment in solar facilities.
  • Government purchasing requirements - like RES’s but these require the federal government to get increasing shares of its energy from renewables, especially solar.
  • Municipal or PACE financing - as with California’s AB 811 Program, PACE funding (for Property-Assessed Clean Energy) allows municipal entities to use their bond issuing power to provide loans to property owners to install clean energy systems, including solar.  The cost is then assessed against the property and payments are made annually as part of the property tax bill.  (For earlier posts on AB 811, see here.)
  • Federal Renewable Energy Bonds - are another vehicle for securing low-cost financing for solar projects.
  • Public education and outreach - since “going solar” starts with “learning about solar,” more is needed in this area - hence this blog!

The authors present their information in a straight-forward and matter-of-fact style that makes its vision both bold and believable.   This is a must-read for legislators and policy-makers throughout America.


  08:45:38 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 265 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Solar News, AB 920 Payments

AB 510 Signed into Law - Doubles Net-Metering Agreements

On February 26, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 510 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) into law.  (Hat tip to the folks at California Green Building Blog for the link.)  As we reported previously (read about it here), under the law prior to the Governor’s signature, utilities did not have to allow any additional net-metering agreements in their service area once they reached 2.5% of their peak power demand.  Having the highest installed base as a percentage of peak demand, PG&E was coming close to the 2.5% limit.  (Sadly, the utilities here in Southern California were in no danger of hitting the limit any time soon.)  The new law doubles that cap to 5%.  Since every residential solar installation in California that ties into the utility grid requires a net-metering agreement, this new law effectively doubles the allowable amount of installed solar power installations throughout the state.

That is especially good news to installers and their potential customers in PG&E land, but it is also good news for all of us in California as it eliminates one more potential obstacle for future planning around solar.  As readers of this blog will surely know, California has lead the nation in its aggressive efforts to promote solar and other forms of renewable energy.  (The Governor’s press release does a good job of summarizing some of these recent efforts - read it here.)  Signing Assembly Member Skinner’s bill into law continues that progress, and further enhances the Governor’s well-earned reputation for leading the charge for renewable energy development.

Of course, where one Governor can lead, another can sound the retreat.  Something to think about in this election year.


  10:36:12 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 140 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Solar News, PWP Rebates, Pasadena Solar, PWP

PWP Rates to go up July 1?

We were informed today by a representative of Pasadena Water & Power that they are planning on increasing their rates as of July 1.   Presumably this will have to go before the Pasadena City Council before it becomes effective, and we do not yet have any information on the magnitude of the proposed rate increase.  When we learn more, we will be sure to post it here.

However, when combined with the drop in solar rebates also tied to July 1, this date is becoming ever more significant as to the economics of electrical power for PWP customers.  This proposed rate increase will only increase the deluge of rebate applications descending on PWP in advance of the July 1 deadline.  Don’t delay, act NOW to be sure that you lock-in your rebate before the rebates go down - and your bills go up!

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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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