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.