08:35:58 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 252 words  
Categories: SEIA, Solar News

Solar Bill of Rights - Right # 1

Yesterday I posted the eight Rights from the Solar Bill of Rights introduced by SEIA President Rhone Resch during his speech at last week’s Solar Power International conference.  Over the next several days I will be discussing these rights in greater detail.  Let’s start today with number one:

1. Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses.

Well, of course they do - what is holding them back?  Aside from a weak economy, there are a number of things that make putting solar on a home or business more difficult than it should be.  For example, some utilities make the entire rebate process so confounding that the public becomes confused and intimidated.  Some communities charge excessively high fees for permitting and inspecting a solar power installation.  (Kudos to PWP here - they actually include the cost of the permit in their rebate payment.)  Some local jurisdictions impose “guidelines” as though they were binding regulations without ever bothering to hold a public hearing and pass an authorizing ordinance.

All of these things conspire to make adding solar more complicated, time-consuming and expensive than it should be.

What can be done?  The key, as President Resch made clear during his speech, is for solar advocates to speak up and start demanding their rights.  This involves writing letters to the editor, advocating solar with elected officials - and keeping solar in mind when going out to vote.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will be highlighting opportunities for action in these pages - stay tuned!



  08:29:03 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 185 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, SEIA, Solar News

Solar Bill of Rights

The Solar Energy Industry Association has just published what they are calling the Solar Bill of Rights.  This declaration focuses on the importance of having a level playing field for the solar industry everywhere from the halls of Congress to local permitting agencies and homeowners’ associations.  Over the next few days we will be writing at some length about these rights and why they are so important.

Here they are, courtesy of the SEIA website:

1.      Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses.

2.      Americans have the right to connect their solar energy system to the grid with uniform national standards

3.      Americans have the right to Net Meter and be compensated at the very least with full retail electricity rates.

4.      The solar industry has the right to a fair competitive environment.

5.      The solar industry has the right to equal access to public lands.

6.      The solar industry has the right to interconnect and build new transmission lines.

7.      Americans have the right to buy solar electricity from their utility.

8.      Americans have the right, and should expect, the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry.


  09:08:39 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 161 words  
Categories: Solar Events, Solar News, SPI 2009

Is it Magic? Can you really get a Solar Edge?

One interesting product development here at SPI – DC to DC conversion for optimizing string performance. National Semiconductor’s Solar Magic product pushes MPP tracking down to the module level.  Israeli company, Solar Edge, takes it a step farther, offering an integrated system that includes their own inverter that takes advantage of strings providing output at the optimal voltage to run at peak efficiency.

These are not micro-inverters - it looks like Enphase still has that market to itself (surprisingly) - instead these products allow each panel to operate independently, but still only have DC on the roof.  Solar Edge touts that it is installer and firefighter friendly because the panel boxes shut off when the inverter is off and thus, de-energizes the DC run.  (Something roof mounted DC disconnects are intended to accomplish, but cannot.)

Too soon to tell whether these products will grow beyond interesting ideas and into mainstream products, but no doubt they would like to catch some of that Enphase magic.


  12:33:04 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 121 words  
Categories: Solar News, SPI 2009

SPI 2009 - First thoughts

I am here at Solar Power International  2009 in Anaheim and I’ve just had my first taste of the exhibit floor.  Or should I say, floors – there are three of them at the ground level, plus more upstairs!  More than 900 exhibitors on this floor makes it something of an overwhelming experience.

One cool discovery already is a company called Pictometry that is selling high quality images with resolution far greater than Google Earth.  They also have some smart looking software that allows for accurate site measurements online.  This is part of what is great about this show - the chance to discover new resources that have the potential to make the job easier that you weren’t even looking for until you saw it!


  12:54:02 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 247 words  
Categories: Solar News


Greetings, and welcome to my blog.  In it I will be providing views on the solar industry, including information about why solar is more affordable than ever, new developments in solar technology, and upcoming events of interest to solar enthusiasts.  If you find the contents of this blog interesting, please tell your friends.

Here’s a little background on me and Run on Sun:

Run on Sun was founded in 2006 by Jim Jenal and Brad Banta.  We believed then - and even more so now - that there is a need in the solar installer industry for clear communications about how solar works, and how it can best work for commercial and residential consumers.  This blog is an additional part of that effort to increase our communications with the solar-interested public.  
We welcome your questions and comments - if there is an area of solar that you would like us to discuss, please let us know.

Jim Jenal - is a resident of Pasadena, California and the co-founder and CEO of Run on Sun.  Jim holds a B.S. in Mathematics, an M.S. in Computer Science and a J.D.  
In a long and varied career, Jim has worked as a Member of Technical Staff for Bell Labs, taught high school (at Mayfield Senior School here in Pasadena), developed the nation’s first municipal ordinance regulating ozone-depleting compounds, and practiced law with the preeminent law firm in Los Angeles, O’Melveny & Myers.  
Now a recovering lawyer, he brings a multi-dimensional perspective to the solar industry and green technology.

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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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