Friday, December 30, 2011

What Free Market? Subsidies Have Always Been a Big Part of Energy Industry, New Report Shows

America’s support for energy innovation has helped drive U.S. growth for more than 200 years, yet government support for new energy sources is much lower today than it has been at any other point in U.S. history according to a new report analyzing U.S. energy incentives.
Every great expansion of the U.S. economy can be linked with the discovery of a new energy source. In every single case, the government, often at both the federal and state levels, heavily subsidized that new energy source according to the report, “What Would Jefferson Do? The Historical Role of Federal Subsidies in Shaping America’s Energy Future,” authored by Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner, DBL Investors and Ben Healey, a Yale University graduate student.

“All new energy industries – timber, coal, oil and gas, nuclear – have received substantial government support at a pivotal time in their early growth, creating millions of jobs and significant economic growth,” said Nancy Pfund. “Subsidies for these ‘traditional’ energy sources were many, many times what we are spending today on renewables.”

During the early years of what would become the U.S. oil and gas industries, federal subsidies for producers averaged half a percent of the federal budget. By contrast, the current support for renewables is barely a fifth that size, just one tenth of one percent of federal spending.

Among the report’s key findings:
• Energy industries have enjoyed a century of federal support. From 1918-2009, the oil and gas industry received $446.96 billion (adjusted for inflation) in cumulative energy subsidies. Renewable energy sources received $5.93 billion (adjusted for inflation) for a much shorter period from 1994-2009.
• Average annual support for the oil and gas industry has been $4.86 billion (1918-2009), compared to $3.50 billion for nuclear (1947-1999) and $0.37 billion (1994-2009) for renewable energy.
• There is a striking divergence in early federal incentives. For example, federal support for the nuclear industry overwhelms other subsidies as a percentage of federal budget, but equally striking is the support for oil and gas which was at least 25% higher than renewables, and in the most extreme years 10x as great.

“The take away from this history lesson is that government support has been and should continue to be an essential component in the growth of emerging energy sources, enabling U.S. technology innovation, job creation and economic expansion.” said Pfund.

 read on

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

You heard America loses money on the Solar Industry?

I figured in the past, that the Solyndra mess leads to people thinking that the whole Solar Industry "sucks the money out of the taxpayers pocket". The opposite is the truth. After all, the Industry doesn't just consist out of the assembled panels. When looking at polysilicon production, equipment for manufacturing lines, power electronics, solar hot water tanks, and any number of other domestically-produced products, the U.S. actually offers a good-sized contribution to the global market.

Read the whole article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

U.S. Solar Industry Posts Best Quarter Ever

Judging by the headlines, the American solar industry is going through some rocky times. The Solyndra bankruptcy, the solar trade complaint filed against China and the pending expiration of a wildly popular grant program continue to provided fodder for an increasingly politicized discussion.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Friday, December 23, 2011

great CUNY Project: NYC Solar Map

The New York City Solar Map is a tool that all New Yorkers can use to learn about the potential for solar on their buildings and across the city. It also provides practical information and steps for installing solar.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

New York Trying to Create New Solar Rebate Market

New York solar energy advocates are pushing for the adoption of a new bill that would create a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market. If enacted, the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act would launch an SREC market starting in 2013.

An SREC represents the environmental attributes from a solar facility and is generated each time a certified and registered solar power system produces one thousand killowatt-hours (KWh) of energy. For every 1000 killowatt-hours of electricity produced by an eligible solar facility, one SREC is awarded which can then be sold on an SREC specific market, typically to utility companies that are required to purchase SRECs in order to comply with renewable portfolio standards (where state utilities are required to purchase or generate a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy resources). Depending on the size of the solar system, the typical residential solar system can produce one SREC every two months.

While there are a number of excellent New York solar rebates to help interested residents go solar, the state is trying to ramp up its solar production, particularly in light of the fact that its neighbor, New Jersey, currently ranks second in the nation in total installed solar capacity, while New York is only seventh. In terms of total solar capacity, New York is likely to pass the 100 megawatt mark this year, compared to New Jersey’s installed base of 500 megawatt. The thinking is, if New Jersey can be a solar mecca, why can’t New York. And the difference appears to be the SRECs.

The New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act contains numerous provisions that are similar to New Jersey and have helped make New Jersey solar a powerhouse in the U.S. Specifically, the bill provides for the unbundling of SRECs (power and SREC can be sold separately) and two-year banking (SREC can be sold in the year it was generated or in the following two years – provides consumer/generator economic flexibility).

New York, however, is making some notable differences to make the creation of their SREC market unique. The first requires utilities to offer some SREC contracts for as long as 15 years, as opposed to how it is in New Jersey where contracts generally run no longer than three to four years. The goal is to make solar projects more financially attractive as utilities are required to purchase SRECs for up to 15 years.

The other unique provisions require that 20% of New York SRECs be sourced from solar systems that are smaller than 50 kilowatts, which would help prevent large utility-scale solar systems from dominating the SREC market. In essence, the bill would guarantee that residential solar markets will be able to participate in the market.

Currently missing from the bill is a non-compliance penalty. In New Jersey, for utilities that do not hit their renewable energy targets, there is a penalty of $675 per missing megawatt. If the price of an SREC were to rise above the $675 compliance payment, no SRECs would be purchased, therefore creating a price ceiling. The cost of penalties there cannot be passed to ratepayers, while the costs of purchasing SRECs can be, giving utilities an additional incentive to purchase the credits.

While there is substantial support for the bill right now, it is going to take some additional revisions and soothing to bring all of the necessary parties, including the unions, into agreement. The next step is a review of the bill by the Governor’s office in January and a cost-benefit analysis of establishing the SREC market in New York.

If New York does succeed in adopting an SREC market, it could truly allow solar power in New York to dominate.


What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

may I simply call this headline 'lol'?

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Installations of photovoltaic solar panels increased by 69% during the first half of 2011

The recent spike in bad news focused on the Solyndra debacle is obscuring the positive long-term trend for solar energy. Installations of photovoltaic solar panels increased by 69% during the first half of 2011, compared with the same time period for 2010, says the U.S. Solar Market Insight quarterly report. In the second half of 2011, growth is expected to continue with 1,750 megawatts installed for the whole year. “The U.S. markets are expanding and heading toward becoming the largest in the world, and our goal is certainly to surpass Germany and Italy and some of those markets that are larger than us today. The resilience and the core stability of this market is remarkable given the economic conditions that exist today,” said Rhone Resch, from the Solar Energy Institute of America.

more here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Google invested more than USD 880 million in 2011... clean energy projects. Wow, someone is comitted. That is one amazing number, hope to hear more news like this in the future...

Details here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

3D - soon on a roof near you...

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that replacing flat solar panels with three-dimensional structures could make photovoltaic systems as much as 20 times more effective. 
It makes sense to me...trap the light and you have more profit out of it...
find the short article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Schwarzenegger: Debate over bankrupt solar maker Solyndra loan ‘narrow minded’

It's never a good thing to loose a million...or even 500. Does this make Solar Technology a thing to avoid? I'd rather say no, it is the future, even if mistakes were made. Read the opinion of America's greenest Politician so far in an article in the Washington Post here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

German Village Produces 321% More Energy Than It Needs

German Village Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs – and it’s generating 4.0 million Euro (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue by selling it back to the national grid. 

the full article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Monday, December 12, 2011

IKEA going 75% green

IKEA, the Swedish home furnishings retailer, last week announced that it will install solar energy panels on ten additional U.S. branches, covering its entire presence in the Southern part of the country. Pending governmental permits, installation is scheduled to begin this winter, with completion expected in the summer of 2012.
IKEA already has 12 U.S. solar energy systems operational with 11 more underway. With 10 more solar powered sites, the company’s solar presence will increase to 75% of its U.S. locations and a total solar generating capacity of approximately 26.8 MW.
article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

real quick...

check this out! amazing design, must read message!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"There's no other way. There's no Plan B for the planet"

 True that. Maybe the rising awareness leads to new solutions. Read the Reuters article "U.S. denies delaying global climate deal" here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

The ten greenest companies

Climate Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing "consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change," has released their latest corporate rankings. In general, the scores show improvement. Average scores have increased by 54 percent since 2007 and by 10 percent since 2010, according to a press release.
read more about this Huffington Post article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How big is it really?

Since I am still very enthusiastic about the potential of Solar Systems to electrify the planet the green way, I am asking myself: how big is it really? With China and India on the rise, and the US potentially becoming the world leader in Solar installations in 2013, which other regions out there would profit from going solar asap? Many countries in Europe showed us how it is done (also read my earlier blog post in Feed-In-Tariffs)

Well, take a look at Africa for example to find more countries, or lets say a whole continent, that couldn't get enough independent energy systems, if possible by tomorrow.

According to information provided by the Organization for One World of Solidarity (OEW), only 26% of the population located south of the Sahara Desert has direct access to electricity – making the region one of the least electrified in the world. And furthermore, the number of Africans who still have to live without access to electrical energy is on the rise.

This situation will not change without outside help. The reason is obvious: expanding the overland network is not a lucrative endeavour for energy providers. There are long distances to cover before all the villages ‘in the bush’ can be reached and, as far as the distribution companies are concerned, the installation costs for electricity networks would be far greater than whatever the rural households would be able to pay.

Without electricity, it is not possible to create added value in the local environment, which is in turn the basic prerequisite for any type of sustainable development. After all, energy supply plays a key role, not only in the economy, but also in virtually every area of day-to-day life – regardless of whether in private households, schools, the skilled trades or hospitals.

Since my wife is founder of a non profit organisation that cares for children in Senegal whose life is affected by lepracy (ASB Foundation), we were planning to go there in 2012 and see what we can do to improve our efforts.

I am really motivated to find out whether my contacts to the industry can help to supply some households with energy. Any advice, help, support highly appreciated!
I am thinking about small off grid plants, maybe financed by local microcredits, installed by local inhabitants or electricians. Way to go if this vision shall became reality. Lotta potential!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

most creative solar plant ever?

In Switzerland, a utility company is planning to build a solar plant onto a stone quarry. After it's lifetime of 25-30 years it will have helped to renaturate the quarry since the solar panels shadow will keep temperatures low and avoid evaporation on the stones.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Tip "The Agile City"

Christmas Time is coming, so let me read a little for you

Excerpt from "The Agile City" by James S. Russell

"As global warming effects become more evident, and the debate over what to do about it becomes more difficult, it's important to know that buildings can get to zero emission. After all, they are responsible for almost 40 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions. (...) The Agile City shows that change undertaken at the building and community levels can reach carbon-reduction goals rapidly, perhaps much quicker and at lower cost than shoving the economy into carbon submission with a disruptive range of carbon taxes (...). Buildings tend to use the dirtiest energy: electricity generated from coal. (...) A wide variety of tested tactics exist today to dramatically reduce the impacts of buildings on the environment, from old-fashioned awnings to new ways to light buildings with the sund and ventilate them with breezes. We're just leaving them on the table."

Amazon Link

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Why we (should) demand FIT's

America needs to introduce a nationwide feed-in tariff (FIT) to kick-start the renewable industry, restore America's leadership role, and accelerate the expansion of the renewable industry worldwide.
The FIT concept is proven, as it has worked far above expectations in Germany for the past 10 years. Germany set a 2010 target of 12.5 percent share of renewable energy in electric generation in 2000. They surpassed that goal in late 2007 with 15.1 percent share. That exceeded their schedule by two years and 20 percent — and Germany receives half the amount of sunlight as the U.S. on average.
The FIT has proven superior to any other program currently in use around the world, such as subsidies with public money, tendering models and quota models. In fact, since the German’s have launched their FIT program, approximately 35 to 40 counties have followed suit and implemented their own.

more infos about FIT's, what they are and much more here 

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

been there, done that??

I found myself going through this article enjoying memories, as well as making notes of places to go. Where have you been? Did you fully enjoy it, see the beauty, or did you dislike it? Here are some opinions about public spaces by authors like John King, Inga Saffron, Anthony Flint and James Russell.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Sun provides the amount of remaining fossil fuels every 4 weeks!

The current world energy usage is approximately 16 trillion terawatts (TW) per year. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2008, the amount of direct solar energy that arrives on Earth during an average four-week period is roughly 1,853 TW/yrs., which is greater than the total remaining reserves (1,755TW/yrs.) of all fossil fuels. The numbers speak for themselves and the technically feasible long-term solution is Renewables.

Not a doubt: we should accelerate the worldwide development of renewables as quickly as possible
What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good news for you - the customer

The cost of solar cells and microchips has nowhere to go but down because of a supply glut for the commodity they’re made from, a brittle charcoal-colored semiconductor baked in ovens at 600 degrees centigrade.
Polysilicon has plunged 93 percent to $33 a kilogram from $475 three years ago as the top five producers more than doubled output, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The industry next year will produce 28 percent more of the raw material than will be consumed, up from 20 percent this year, said Robert Schramm- Fuchs and Shai Hill, analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd.

While Solar manufacturers maybe not so happy about this, it certainly is good news for your pocket. And not to be forgotten: for the world of tomorrow. Free Energy, I still love that idea.

(source: Marginal Revolution)

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trade War news: SolarWorld lost many friends

SolarWorld's trade action has been largely unpopular in the U.S. solar industry, given its potential to hurt thousands of jobs throughout the solar value chain. In a survey conducted by PV Magazine, 76.4 percent of respondents opposed the petition with only 20 percent expressing support.

more here in PR Newswire

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Don't miss the Incentive Finder for Renewables and Energy Efficiency

Trying to get an overview over 2772 Incentives is a nightmare, no question. If you are interested in finding out how you can take advantage of all the incentives that can be obtained for a solar energy system, REW Solar will gladly assist you on that journey.

If you want to go further to make your home even more energy efficient, you might want to use this Incentive Finder, powered by the US Department of Energy, IREC and others to gain an overview of the possibilities. Enjoy your savings!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Rooftops

Love the idea of encouraging the people to get their forces together and go green, even if they don't have the rooftop space.

"Community solar projects are taking the first steps toward a future where people can move their money out of low-yield savings accounts and into safe and high-yield solar investments that lower carbon emissions and create green jobs and local prosperity."
more here

The Facebook Group

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

They still want to withhold this information???

This article about a great BBC Production from their Wildlife Series is shocking to me. The Production is sold to 30 countries, but 10 of those will not show the truth about what time it is on our planet. I'm angry about this, so allow me to share the link for I couldn't prevent myself from yelling.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Heard of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?

If you want to follow Googles, Ikeas and many other Global Brands Example to purchase and use green energy, you have to know about Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), so let's go for it:

One REC represents 1 MWh of renewable energy generated; the actual power produced is sold to the grid and the REC is sold as a commodity (a certificate) in the marketplace. But don't confuse it. A common misconception is that organisations can purchase RECs as a method of carbon offsetting. This is not the case. RECs and carbon offsets are different mechanisms that accomplish different goals. Carbon offsets allow companies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions liability by purchasing the emission reductions made by another corporation, so that each carbon offset purchased represents the equivalent of one tonne of CO2 emissions. Whereas when a corporation buys an amount of RECs, often equal to their electricity consumption, they are perceived to be purchasing the power directly and can therefore claim to be powered by renewable energy. The idea of going green with your company mustn't be underestimated:

An impressive 81 percent of CEOs surveyed by U.K. newspaper The Guardian stated that sustainability issues are now "fully embedded" in their companies' strategies and operations, with many extending this focus to their subsidiaries and supply chains, specifically including procurement and investment in renewable energy sources.
What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Friday, November 11, 2011

'The Future' is such a big word. How are we gonna get there in style?

We are fast approaching a tipping point in terms of climate disruption, food production, financial meltdown, and Peak Oil. Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous and countless other groupings indicate, that the society goes through a radical change as well. Think of Egypt, Libya etc etc etc.
I think: To survive and thrive in turbulent times we will need to organize ourselves at the grassroots level to carry out a series of transitions - not only in terms of saving energy, but also in transportation, housing, health, food and farming, and education.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Solar Installations up 66 Percent in Q1 2011

Compared to the first Quartal of 2010, the number of solar installations increased by 66 Percent, according to the " U.S. Solar Market Insight™: Q1 2011" released in mid June by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. Just another proof for the bright future, that solar systems have.The amount of 252 MW of grid-connected photovoltaics (PV) was built on US roofs in Q1 2011 alone. The SEIA reports the United States’ cumulative grid-connected PV installations have reached more than 2.85 gigawatts (GW), enough to power nearly 600,000 U.S. homes.

Geographically, the top seven states in Q1 2010 accounted for 82 percent of U.S. installations. While the Top Seven list changed a bit since 2010, the seven top-ranked states of Q1 2011 (California, New Jersey, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York and Massachusetts) made up 88 percent of U.S. installations. In other words, the top-ranked states continue to gain traction and dominate market share. This is partly attributed to state-specific programs that incentivize customers to participate in solar installations. The awareness of solar energy systems as a great investment will rise, the more we can spread the word about the Return on Investment that those incentives provide for the customer.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How Solar is developing in the US

as you might have noticed, I decided to post links whenever I feel the article is too full of content to just give you a short review. In this case, I even want to offer two interesting links to the reader...

First there is an article about the Rooftop Solar Challenge that will incentivize local governments to help them develop innovative solutions that will streamline permitting processes, standardize policies, update planning and zoning codes, improve interconnection and net metering standards, and increase access to financing.
you find it here

and this article gives an insight of where the US stands in regards of solar now and in the future...

very interesting I think, enjoy

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

WOW!! Trade war now deserves its nickname!

It was clear, that this would become a little rough. Let's face it, threatening the chinese government with a trade petition is something between courageous and stupid. Now China shoots back and shows off muscles. If the US government begins an investigation, it will bring considerable damage to PV companies in both countries, Li Junfeng, secretary-general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association said. "Chinese companies are only one part of the global PV solar production chain," said Li. "If the US government raises (duties) on the Chinese PV products, the cost of US PV products will increase and the market will be downsized." "The US government's objective of employment expansion through the PV energy market will fail to be achieved," Li added.
According to Li, an investigation will only benefit two or three US companies, saving about 300 jobs, but resulting in up to 10,000 people losing their jobs at other US companies directly and indirectly.
China spends $2 billion annually to import raw materials such as poly-silicon, ethylene vinyl acetate and silver paste. The nation's solar industry spent about $3 billion in 2010 to import equipment from the US, according to the association.
"These equipment manufacturers and material suppliers will suffer as a result," Li said.
If the US government initiates an investigation, it is very likely that the European Union will follow suit, said Jiang Heng, researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce.
"It is common for the US and Europe to use trade disputes to protect their domestic markets and jobs," Jiang said.
However, major Chinese solar companies are preparing, said Gao Hongling, secretary-general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Alliance.
"Regular production before mid-November at most large Chinese PV companies will not be influenced, but it will be hard after November," she added.
Wei Qidong, former secretary-general of the Photovoltaic Industry Alliance in Jiangsu province, said many small and medium-sized PV companies in the province have gone bankrupt or halted production since mid-year.
"We heard the news before October and warned all the PV solar companies in Jiangsu," he said.


What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

How important are subsidies for the solar/energy industry?

To answer this question let's take a look at a british newspaper article first:

Ministers have been accused of destroying 25,000 jobs and “bankrupting a whole industry”, after the Government unveiled plans to slash subsidies for green energy. Hundreds of solar companies are likely to go bust by Christmas after the Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed it is looking to halve subsidies for new panels.—Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2011

I commented on the trade wars between the US and china, which is accused to subsidize the local industry beyond any international trade agreements. This helped them become the worlds biggest producer of solar panels and leads to hard times at companies outside of china. Many solar producers in the US had to close their doors in 2011.

This leads to the question, what do federal subsidies actually mean to an industry? So let's make up a rational comparison of historical U.S. energy incentives. In fact, there is no free market in energy, since subsidies are necessary to be competitive on a globalized market. Coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy did not emerge as fully matured, low-cost energy sources. Instead, they were the beneficiaries of decades of permanent and significant federal government incentives and supportive regulation. As part of a larger push to create jobs, support expansion, and fuel economic growth, the U.S. government has used a variety of financial and regulatory incentives to support energy innovation for over 200 years. Here are some of them:

Throughout the 19th century, timber and coal interests benefitted from below market land grants, state sponsored geological surveys identifying resources, federal support to build out railway and waterway transportation systems to enable the extraction of these energy resources as well as a host of policies to spur growth.

In 1950, Congress passed a subsidy that allowed owners of coal mining rights to reclassify income traditionally subject to income tax as royalty payment, for which a lower capital gains tax rate is paid. This special tax treatment is still available to members of the coal industry today and totaled well over $1.3 billion in forgone tax revenue between 2000 and 2009.

And the nuclear industry got a huge boost when Congress passed the Price-Anderson Act in 1957, which provided federal indemnification of utilities in the event of nuclear accidents. At the time, the Edison Electric Institute testified that without such immunization from the risk, “no utility company … will build or operate a reactor.”

So how do those incentives compare to current investments in renewables?

The level of support in the early days of the coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries, as a percentage of the overall federal budget, dwarfs what is being spent to promote renewables. The report concludes that nuclear subsidies accounted for more than one percent of the federal budget over the industry’s first 15 years (as a percentage of inflation-adjusted federal spending). Oil and gas subsidies comprised 0.5 percent of the federal budget from 1918-1933. Meanwhile, support for renewables constituted only 0.1 percent of the federal budget since 1994. As you can see on the chart below, in inflation adjusted dollars, nuclear spending averaged $3.3 billion over the first 15 years of the subsidy life, oil and gas averaged $1.8 and renewables clocked in at less than $0.4 billion.

 What’s even more surprising is that 50 percent of the Department of Energy’s research and development spending from 1948-2010 supported the nuclear industry. During that same period, 25 percent was spent on fossil fuels, 12 percent on renewables and nine percent on energy efficiency.

Equally important is the fact that support for oil, gas, coal and nuclear has made its way in the permanent tax code, whereas tax incentives for renewables have traditionally been short term and renewed or not renewed on a sporadic basis. That causes a boom/bust market where investors fear making long term bets.


If we want to insure leadership in the transition to the next predominant energy source — a transition underway in every major economy in the world — we need to use rational policy and sound regulation to steer us in that direction.

found on

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Obama comments on trade wars with china

President Obama, asked about a trade case U.S. solar manufacturers have filed against China, said China has "questionable competitive practices" on clean energy and his administration has fought "these kinds of dumping activities."

Obama responded to a question about whether he'd be willing to look at "any kind of actions" to protect green jobs in the U.S.

"We have seen a lot of questionable competitive practices coming out of China when it comes to the clean energy space, and I have been more aggressive than previous administrations in enforcing our trade laws. We have filed actions against them when we see these kinds of dumping activities, and we're going to look very carefully at this stuff and potentially bring actions if we find that the basic rules of the road have been violated. "

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Survey Says ... 9 in 10 Americans Want More Solar Energy !

The awareness is there! I was really happy to read this...find the article from Renewable Energy about a survey conducted by independent polling firm Kelton Research here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Solar Shingles now available - looking better?

Did you ever worry what your home looks like with a solar energy system on it? How do you feel about having a high tech roof, does the modern look keep you away from renewable energy? Do you wish there was a more traditional looking way to profit from the technology?

Solar Shingles produced by Dow Chemical are now about to hit the market after finally being tested and certified. Dow Chemical claim, that installation cost is cut in half. We will see, what that really means for the actual value of the product. Many questions are unanswered to date, but first of all I have to ask: would you prefer these to more productive panels for aesthetic reasons?

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

How can tax rebates help you to save money?

Tax rebates help bring down the cost of purchasing a new solar energy system for both commercial and residential entities. Residents in most states including NY see an estimated 65% off solar “SALE” because of state and federal tax incentives, while businesses can take advantage of over 90% worth of tax credits to offset the purchase of a new solar energy system. Considering this, solar energy systems turn out to be a modern form of a smart investment.
What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Distributed Solar Power Gets More Affordable

Installed costs for solar PV have dropped and economies of scale improved significantly in 2010, opening the door for much more cost-competitive distributed solar power.

source: renewable energy world , more here 

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

World Resources Report: Leaders Will Have To Adapt To Climate Change

A new report released this week suggests that world governments need to prepare for the likelihood of climate change in the coming decades, especially in the face of more frequent and extreme weather events.

The 2010-2011 World Resources Report, entitled "Decision Making In A Changing Climate," is a joint effort of the World Resources Institute, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. It noted, "Some countries are already making an impressive start in addressing these elements and accounting for climate risks. Others, however, are just beginning to grasp the enormity of the challenge -- even as they are dealing with the pressing demands for energy, jobs, education, and health care."

Let's hope that the US Government realizes the urgeny for a change and the chances this brings.

Find the Huffington Post article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

About 90% of the energy a household consumes ...

is used for heating and warm water! 3/4 from that is used to heat up the room. Time to take action. Lets talk about the potentials.


Heat is lost:
through the roof
through windows
through gaps around the door
through the walls
through the floor

Heat energy is transferred from homes by conduction (transfer through a material) through the walls, floor, roof and windows. It is also transferred from homes by convection (transfer through a liquid or gas). For example, cold air can enter the house through gaps in doors and windows, and convection currents can transfer heat energy in the loft to the roof tiles. Heat energy also leaves the house by radiation through the walls, roof and windows. If I hold a candle in front of the window, it doesn't need a hurricane to almost blow the candle. Ok, I might be exaggerating. Anyway, time to get some duct tape and silicone for some first aid, our windows for example are waisting energy big time! US households use 25% of the worlds oil. Every single step to improve the energy efficiency of our houses is welcome!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Half a nuclear plant...

...will be replaced by Desertec's latest project. The world's most ambitious solar power project will produce 500 MW in the desert of morocco and cost an estimated 2 billion Euros. In a recent post I mentioned, that the sun provides us with an annual supply of energy within 30 mins. The earths deserts can still this hunger within 6 hrs, says Desertec. A lot of state of the art science will be needed to make this project a success story. The energy will have to be brought to the customer. Technical and political challenges have to be mastered. Personally, I hope this becomes an exampe for future projects, as this idea has many advantages to any other kind of power plant (no pollution, no land-need if you want, no danger etc, in fact it even cools the planet by reflecting the sun light)
read the article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Did you like the movie "Inside Job"?

Having an inside look into the important issues of our daily life and future can never be wrong. A friend recommended the movie "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash" I recommend it to you (instant at netflix). It's an easy watch, yet it has a lot of eye-opening informations. If you want to envision the future, you should consider this!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not only the latest energy bill...

 ...will bring a smile to your face after installing a solar system on your roof.

The Berkeley Lab analyzed California home values after the installation of a solar power system. The study found that solar panels add value to a home at an average rate of $5.50 per watt. The fact that solar systems increase your homes value was well known (and obvious), but so far not as detailed as these studies indicate now.

According to the study, a small 5 panel system with 230 watt solar panels will add an average increase of $ 6,325 dollars, while a solar system with 10 panels will add an average value of $12,650 dollars to a home - on top of your investment to save energy for the next 30-40 years.

The 2011 solar energy home value report can be downloaded from the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Labs here.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Astoria, NY, has 10 nuclear power plants in 200 miles zone"

Not too long after the latest Chernobyl in Japan, the government of my home country, Germany, decided to get out of nuclear power asap. Now asap doesn't mean tomorrow in this case, but this decision still means a whole lot for the whole economy, for the country, and also for the people. I feel like their attitude towards their environment and their safety was affected by the process, but also their trust in the political leaders got a boost in my perception. Their voices and concerns were heard, and the bond to the elite was strengthened. The nuclear lobby finally lost a fight!

Thinking about my own family planning in my new home I couldn't pass on researching the local situation. First finding: there are TEN nuclear plants closer than 200 miles from my home, which is the American Thyroid Association's recommended protective zone. (

ok, so much about that. But that was not even the worst news yet:

"The Most Dangerous Nuclear Plant in America Is About 30 Miles From New York City" (Headline,

at least the problem is well known by the government...

let's take care that at least the most dangerous plants are getting closed...I think we can do this by raising our voice (the times for political awareness are there), and by becoming independent from the plants. "I will raise my kids in a nuclear plant free zone" a vision that sounds as appealing as possible to me!
What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And the average price is...

The average price for a photovoltaic installation decreased by 3 percent in the second quarter to $ 5.20 per Watt, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s latest quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight Report. As usual, talking about nation-wide avg. prices shouldn't be seen as one simple price. This number contains a lot of different costs, cumulated as one. First of all, we have to separate residential systems from commercials. Residentials have an avg. price of $ 6.42 in the secound quarter of 2011. The value chain in this business includes distributors, integrators, electrical contractors, etc.. The price drop in module prices is reduced by further additional costs, as permitting, interconnection, incentive applications, financing, and other fees that are included in the whole process. Furthermore, one mustn't forget that different states profit from different incentives, or suffer under different restrictions. While California's market is red hot already due to the states heavy strive to go yellow, the NY market is working on it, but not there yet. In Manhattan for example, system prices can go as high as $ 12, depending on administrative challenges. But anyway, to shorten this up let me finish this with good news for our customers: REW Solar USA is easily lying under the nation-wide average price for a residential installation of $ 6.42, indeed even under the total avg.price of $ 5.20 per Watt! And the challenging paperwork...taken care of...

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

High-Tech Cardboard

German Solar Panel Producer Schott is currently developing a Solar Panel that will not only be about 40% lighter, but also cheaper than conventional panels. This allows an installation on roofs that couldn't be used so far, like old industrial buildings with thin roof tiles that can't carry heavy panels. The solution is: cardboard. The High-Tech version, of course. This type of material is even used in planes! Just thought I'd share this surprising fact real quick. (Source: Photon Solar Magazine)

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Friday, October 14, 2011

First week findings

My first week at REW Solar is about to end in a couple of hours, so it's time for first answers.

First of all, it doesn't seem to be too easy to quantify the amount of energy that the sun is sharing with us down here since I found different numbers on that, but it seems safe to say that any 30 minutes "a one year supply" of the energy needed worldwide rains down on us. This is quite HUGE!
Below you will find an illustration that helps to understand the immense quantity of solar energy that reaches the earth in one year (1), compared to the annual world consumption of energy (7). All reserves of coal (4), natural gas (3), oil (5) and uranium (6) are shown also. Now guess what the tiny cube (2) displays: it is the amount of solar energy that we currently use! One can't overlook the potential, right?!

Again, it's hard to name precise numbers, but this need for energy is going to double in the next 20 years, while the amount of fossil fuels is going down rapidly. No one knows when the prices for a gallon of this endless source won't be affordable anymore, some say there's no need for panic, others think there is.
Personally, I think the answer is obvious. We all remember the disaster that happened some 5000 feet deep down in the Gulf of Mexico, which shows the risks we have to take these days in order to feed our inevitable hunger for energy. Furthermore, looking at your latest receipts will help you visualize the need for a change: stopping at the gas station is just not what it used to be, and the day Con Edison sends its bill hopefully is not a friday... just in case you planned to take out your wife for a fancy dinner on Saturday. :)
We need to find a balance...when it comes to our energy consumption, and also regarding our finances and lifestyle. Do you still believe investing in the stock market is a smart move? Or do you tend to go into the raw-materials market to find out whether that is a safe bet?
May I suggest: Invest in your own property. Make yourself independent. I feel like investing in solar is like duck, cover and smile, while holding out your hand to take the incentives that are offered to you.

Let me double check this whole investment thing, but so far there is no rub in sight. I'll keep you posted. Have a nice weekend!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

how did that happen?

Hi, my name is Torsten Flaegel, and I am 33 years old.
I worked ten years as a property manager to find out that this was not really what I wanted to do forever. A couple of job interviews later it became clear: to move on to a new challenge I had to go back to school.

While I was curious about any social, economic and ecological aspects when I started to study urban planning, I soon realized I had a strong passion for finding solutions on the environmental pollution that affects our lives incrementally. After finishing studies in Germany I was finally able to move to NYC, where my wife awaited my arrival.

Solar power systems turn out to be the best way to lower emissions in cities, which host more than 50% of the world population already. In combination with the one demand I had on my new job, being that I desire to be on my feet most of the time instead of sitting on my behind, the field I would want to go into became more and more clear. The growing number of organic markets shows that New Yorkers can't get enough of becoming green these days, so I chose to do my thing and go yellow.

Three days ago it was my first day at REW Solar NYC, where I will work as a Residential Sales Consultant to not only help New Yorkers obtain free access to energy, but also to increase the value of their house, creating a true win-win situation for everybody ( I must admit that bringing home money is also one aspect in the back of my head).

Located right next to New Jersey, which is the second biggest market for solar systems in the US, the NY market is expected to evolve in 2012. Differing local restrictions even among the borroughs make this market quite a complicated one, which is why we team up with different companies to gather know-how in all the fields, like installations, planning etc..

It is my pleasure to share with you what the workdays, trainings, conferences, meetings and phone calls that lie ahead of me will teach me, and therefore you if you will.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.