Sir Nicholas vs. Mother Nature

In The New York Review of Books for June 11,  Bill McKibben of 350.org has published a thoughtful review of the new Nicholas Stern book, The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity. Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, made headlines in October, 2006, on the release of his Stern Report, commissioned by the British government, on the potential economic effects of climate change. Briefly, as McKibben says, Stern [...] Share and Enjoy:

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SRP Rebates – A Step in the Right Direction

If you want to become energy independent, but need to wait on installing a solar system, there are small steps you can take. Read more

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Energy Savings | Rebates | Renewable Energy | Solar Hot Water | Solar Water Heating Systems | SRP Rebates | Water Heating Systems


Another Electric Rate Hike?

It seems to be the topic of conversation lately: APS increased our electric rates again! Everywhere I go I seem to be having the same conversation as the summer heat is upon us. Everyone is tired of paying their electricity bill. Perhaps it’s the economy that has all of us talking about our bills more? We’re all looking for ways to cut back, be more frugal and save money. The idea of having virtually no APS bill is hard to imagine, but it’s finally a reality. Now with the solar energy rebates from APS and SRP, which are huge, along … Read more

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Electricity Bill | Federal Tax Credit | Incentives | Rate Hikes | Rebates | Solar Energy System


Water vs. energy

It’s now widely recognized, if infrequently mentioned, that it takes water to make energy, and energy to transport and treat water.Michael Webber of the University of Texas has been mentioning it a lot. In a recent Scientific American article, he wrote at length about the ecological death spiral that results when energy and water utilities chase a stressed resource. Thermoelectric power plants are the largest consumers of water in the United States, Webber pointed out in a talk on [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Thermoelectric Power Plants


Europe headed for hot water

Olivier Drucke, 43, the Franco-German marketing whiz who runs the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF) in Brussels, gave a rapid-fire talk on Thursday to explain how his coalition managed to get solar water heating mandated at 50% of all heating demand by 2050. As a baseline, Drucke said, in 2007 China had the equivalent of about 80,000 MW of domestic solar water heating, and the United States about 22,000 MW – but it was mostly pool heating, outside Hawaii. Turkey had 7,000 MW, [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Domestic Solar Water | Pool Heating | Solar Heating | Solar Water Heating


It’s Not Too Late to Take Advantage of SRP Solar Rebates

SRP Rebates will decrease significantly on June 1, 2009. In order to take advantage of the current rates, you must contact a solar installation company today so that your solar panel design and plan can be postmarked by May 31. Read more

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Electricity Usage | Energy Rates | Energy Usage | Rebate Savings | Salt River Project | Solar Installation | Solar Panel | Solar Rebate | SRP Rebate


Why not let communities own PV?

What if people ordinarily unable to install photovoltaic systems because of the initial cost or lack of an unshaded, well-oriented roof could buy into a community installation and receive a corresponding offset on their utility bills? Speakers at today’s SOLAR 2009 session on community solar described first steps at making this model a reality. Two examples already provide valuable lessons, and more models are emerging. Dana Hall of Pace Law School’s Pace Energy and Climate C [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Climate | Photovoltaic Systems | Pv | Utility Bills


Does grid parity matter?

For decades, solar power companies have worked hard to drive the cost of solar-generated electricity downward, to compete with “conventional” central power plants. “Grid parity” is considered to be 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour – the average cost of utility-supplied electricity across the United States. Speakers at the opening plenary session of SOLAR 2009 said we’ll be at grid parity within a year or two – but that it may not matter. Ajeet Rohtgi, winner of this year’s Hoyt Clarke Hot [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Central Power Plants | Electricity | Solar Power


The ecological bubble

The real estate bubble has burst. Denis Hayes, president of The Bullitt Foundation and a pioneering solar engineer and advocate, thinks the world will work its way out of the its economic morass “in three months or three years.” But, he warned a large audience at the SOLAR 2009 Awards Banquet on Tuesday evening, “Recovery is mostly bad news. Behind it is an ecological bubble. Economic bubbles inevitably lead to collapse, and so do ecological bubbles – and there’s no recovery from an ecologica [...] Share and Enjoy:

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How to think about the future

David Zach is a futurist, not a psychic.  When he speaks next Friday at SOLAR 2009, the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Conference, he says “I’m not going to tell people what’s going to happen in the future, but I am going to tell them how to think about the future.” Zach will talk about looking at the world in terms of fads, trends and principles. Fads, he says, are like flavors, giving our lives color. Fads serve as anchors to a moment in time, but those who live entirely by [...] Share and Enjoy:

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American Solar Energy | American Solar Energy Society | Solar Energy Society


SOLAR 2009: Read the daily blog here

The SOLAR TODAY staff shuffles off to Buffalo over the weekend. We’ll post daily reports on SOLAR 2009 events, right here on the Advances blog. In addition to speeches, we’ll sit in on a lot of policy updates, technology introductions and training sessions.  There’s always something lively and interesting going on, so check this space daily.   Blog readers are welcome to join the discussion — I hope you’ll post comments and questions as the week progresses. &n [...] Share and Enjoy:

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SOLAR 2009 keynote: Success, but no respect?

Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, says the theme of his keynote talk will be that “We got everything we want except respect.”Shah explains that a progressive administration and energy-minded Congress are happy to provide incentives and stimulus funds to promote solar energy projects. But in spite of a seven-year track record of 40 percent annual growth, Washington officials still don’t regard solar industries as grown-up, responsible businesses that can meet their targets. Ev [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Incentives | Responsible Businesses | Solar Energy Projects | Solar Industries


Good news, bad news on carbon emissions

Good news and bad news from our English-speaking cousins:First the good news: Jim Prentice, Canada’s environment minister, announced last week that his Conservative government will institute a cap-and-trade system for coal-fired power plants, effectively forbidding new coal-plant construction without carbon sequestration and leading to the phase-out of existing plants.The bad news is that Australia has delayed its cap-and-trade system by a year, until 2011, repor [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Carbon Emissions | Carbon Sequestration | Coal Fired Power | Coal Fired Power Plants | Coal Plant


Kansas coal plant back on track

Since October 2007, Kansas has waged a war over the issue of a new coal-burning power plant for Sunflower Electric. The utility company lobbied aggressively for it, and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius repeatedly vetoed enabling legislation. Sebelius has now moved on to become secretary of health and human services in the Obama administration. Her successor as governor, Mark Parkinson, instantly reached a compromise with Sunflower to permit the coal plant. The power company agrees to shut dow [...] Share and Enjoy:

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Coal Plant | Coal Power | Power Plant