Consolidation of old posts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Solar Coaster Rolls

I have fallen prey to couching my talk on solar with defenses for why Solyndra failed,  why coal is cheaper,etc etc.

Fact is in six years this industry has slashed prices, increased output, refined technology, chosen winners and losers, gotten closer to parity in under a decade and likely will gut the number of manufacturers in China from over 200 to less than 50.  All this while we have no national policy, a slow-growing economy and political detractors from every corner.

Solar has been a massive success!

Anyone who remembers $12w installed knows Solar has made it over the hump.  Not only that  but we need to stop defending base load capacity.  If the coal trucks stopped rolling 29billion short tons a year then coal has no storage capacity.  100yrs of infrastructure and no wonder we are reliant on 50% of our energy from digging up dirt to burn.  How big a hole are we willing to dig waiting for 21st century energy solutions?

Our transportation and Energy sector equate to $17trillion of investment.  We can continue to do more of the same or we can accept that change is inevitable, needed and exciting and start the build out of a new energy grid.

I don’t know about the rest of the nation or the world but in South Carolina we need to bring the country kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  For years I have heard nothing but negativity and stalling and it has worked.  No more, any time I hear anything negative on Solar I am calling them out loud and clear.  Its time for facts and the fact is one day directly mined solar energy will power the world because today solar already powers the world.  In the last several weeks I have seen or heard about some absolutely amazing things taking place in the automotive and energy sector.  it is exciting, real and coming before I (hopefully) kick this mortal coil.  I personally discovered today that something I thought impossible is not only being done but on large commercial scale.  You can be sure I will do everything I can to introduce this ‘new’ technology to every sector where it fits and it is a doozy.  The solar coaster continues to roll, everytime I hear a new hurdle to jump, I know its coming and solar will clear the hurdle and make those obstacle pushers wish they had been ‘on’ the ride sooner rather than later.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Good vets are hard to come by

I took my 12yr old beagle to the vet on a Sunday, she was messed up pretty bad and she had me scared. They were quick, friendly and efficient.

The Vet talked over my options, explained cost and let me decide on what to do. She could have any number of things but he had to do x & y to find out. When we got back later they were again quick, polite and thoughtful. I need to remind you all this was Sunday, I got there at 9am and now it was 1pm.

Molly had a puncture wound on her eye, we think we know what happened but either way she will live, be happy again but may lose her eye. She is an awesome dog, licks only when you need it and takes food from your hand like a surgeon. She likes to be petted but is just as happy sitting near you.

She will bark only to tell you “hey something isn’t right. I used to let her sleep at the foot of my bed, but kids…marriage etc she became an outside dog.

Well she’s in for two weeks and I intend to spoil her rotten. Happy thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Getting older

There was a time when I could party til 5am, go to a late night diner, eat and laugh to 6am, get up at 1pm and go do it again.

Last night we took my kids to see “2012” (absolutely awful, every cliche possible employed with no reason) my sister-in-law came over for dinner, we had a drink afterwards, by 9pm I was ready for bed. I was asleep before 10pm.

Leaving the theatre there was a huge line to see “Twilight” I have no interest in and am not aware of the phenom of this movie. And then it hit me, I am officially no longer young! I didn’t realize it would happen just like that.

Has anyone else had this same single event let them know, hey you’re not 30 anymore.

Will SC open the door to Solar?

News – Local / Metro

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012


Sun farms boom across South Carolina state line

 – [email protected]
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ROWLAND, N.C. — Just off a country road, a few miles from the South Carolina border, is a sight few people ever imagined around here.
Solar panels cover a 35-acre field that once produced corn, tobacco and other crops in this corner of southeastern North Carolina. When the sun shines, the panels generate enough electricity for hundreds of homes.
“I initially thought this was a pipe dream,” said farmer Billy Dean Hunt, recalling discussions with a solar company about using his cornfield for a sun farm. “But I started talking to them. They convinced me they would honor what they said. So I did it.”
  • series that looks at alternate ways of producing electricity in South Carolina.
    Today: Is solar the next row crop?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

South Carolina may move on more solar

Solar in SC is lagging but information about monopolies, state regulation and true costs may start to see this change.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sun shines brightly in GA

GA Power, a typically conservative utility has taken the lead in the SE by asking the Public service commission in GA to allow them to buy 210MW of solar power over the next three years.  GA power has said this will not increase rates.  I think what GA has found is that solar has become cost competitive to the point that investing in a small power plant’s worth of solar will teach them about how much they can actually deploy.  Germany is at 8% power production from solar and climbing.  On May 22nd of this year, that 8% of production met 40% of demand on a sunny spring Saturday.

Makes you wonder why the South Carolina is still waiting to do any real testing and development of Solar.  Solar is fast becoming main stream clean, safe energy nationally and across the world.  Most of the popular cliches from detractors have been proven false.  One of the largest investors in Solar deployment is the oil and gas industry.  They typically don’t make investments lightly.

Solar, here today, will be here tomorrow.

Georgia Tech Prof brings Research to the commercial world

SolBright uses Suniva modules on a lot of our installs.  They are a US based company with manufacturing facilities in GA and they have a competitive price point.  The founder of Suniva is an India and US educated expert in photovoltaic research and development.

“Ajeet Rohatgi, Ph.D.

Founder, Chief Technical Officer
Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi is a Regents’ Professor and a Georgia Power Distinguished Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), where he joined the ECE faculty in 1985. He is highly regarded as one of the world’s leading research scientists in photovoltaic (PV) technology, and is the founding director of the University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research and Education (UCEP) at Georgia Tech. Dr. Rohatgi is also the Founder and CTO of Suniva®, Inc. and has positioned the company as a U.S. leader in the research, development and manufacturing of high-efficiency, low-cost monocrystalline PV cells, using unique processes and techniques that evolved from his work at UCEP. Dr. Rohatgi continues his research interests in the development of cost and efficiency roadmaps for attaining grid parity with silicon PV, and innovations in cell design and technology.
Under Dr. Rohatgi’s leadership, Suniva has accomplished several industry firsts and achievements in manufacturing, technology, research, and development, including the fastest ramp-up to 100MW production in the industry; the raising of $130 million in capital following the formation of Suniva in 2007; the successful production of cell efficiencies exceeding 19% and R&D cell efficiencies exceeding 20%.

Dr. Rohatgi is an IEEE Fellow. He has published more than 370 technical papers in the PV field and has been awarded 16 patents. Dr. Rohatgi has been widely recognized for his research and development contributions.” Suniva web site

Suniva sales staff are technically capable and have provided excellent service after the sale on a number of occasions so I recommend them.  In my blogs in the past I have always had a US centric slant.  I am a firm believer in multi-national trade and cooperation but never at the expense of a strong domestic economy.  If it can’t work here then to me it can’t work.  Suniva is a great example of this and there are many others.  Dr. Rohatgi has contracts across the world but started his company through his previous employer, Ga Tech.  We need entrepreneurs around the world to unleash the potential of solar.  The founder of SolBright is a hard charging very successful businessman and I fully expect SolBright to continue growing and employing people locally and across the solar spectrum.  With a can do attitude and excellent attention to detail in service we can make a difference.  The Solar coaster continues on.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

SC Senate blocks the sun!

For a third year SC failed to create an economic development package to help unemployed workers move into the solar arena and support a growing new industry.  In the same month that Germany hits 20GW of solar power installed, (20 nuclear plants worth of solar power) Senate members stalled a very good Solar bill until today it died.  These gentlemen are on the wrong side of history.  The world is deploying solar, the US is supporting solar and the Southeast is putting people back to work through solar.  I think that’s what bothers me the most, if you look at other southern states, they are all ahead of SC in this regard.


The Irony of Joe”you lie’ Wilson is I stood in his DC office last year and he said he was for a Tax on fossil fuels, which is supported by the Oil industry. He then came to a tea-party in Lexington SC and in front of 2000 rabid and uneducated voters he said the Waxman bill was a “TAX against business” …dirty word that tax is, although it pays his salaryand health benefits! So more or less, no in actuality he lied directly to me to suite his purpose. I am old school, if its a pig call it a pig, don’t have different speeches for different people. Don’t tell me one thing in your office and espose something completely different elsewhere. I travelled 600miles to hear his opinion and voice mine. This Wilson is “no southern gentlemen”, or a gentlemen at all, he’s just another political whore, no offense to the hard working prostitutes of our nation.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Akeena Solar shares skyrocket on Lowe’s deal – MarketWatch

Akeena Solar shares skyrocket on Lowe’s deal – MarketWatch

Posted using ShareThis

I had told myself I would have accomplished my ‘mission’ when a quality solar kit was on the shelves of home depot for $4 a watt installed, we’re not there yet but we are getting close.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Long blog, worth every word.

Clean energy conservatives can embrace

By James Murdoch
Friday, December 4, 2009

Conservatives champion the essential characteristics of America: liberty, enterprise and ingenuity. As world leaders consider how to transform the way we make and use energy in the face of a changing climate, it’s time for an energy policy true to that spirit — and it shouldn’t be anathema to the American right.

Conservatives have a robust tradition of principled concern for the environment. It was, after all, Teddy Roosevelt who created five national parks and signed the Antiquities Act. It was Richard Nixon who established the Environmental Protection Agency, and George H.W. Bush who ushered in one of the greatest environmental success stories, the 1990 cap-and-trade plan to take on acid rain.

Today, Americans of all political persuasions want to see their country on a path toward an economy powered by energy that is clean, safe, secure and stable. With climate legislation pending and a binding global treaty being negotiated, conservative leadership is critical because the only way to get the job done is with broad bipartisan agreement.

How can they do it? By establishing a Red-Blue-Green agenda on whose principles conservatives, Democrats and independents can all agree. Which Americans would argue against energy that meets the following principles:

— Freedom from national insecurity. The Western world’s dependence on oil means transferring billions of dollars to nations whose interests are at odds with democratic ideals. This makes for geopolitical instability and forces the United States to compromise its role as a beacon of freedom just to secure traditional fuels.

— A return to economic strength. Ultimately, the question is: Which countries will lead the world to a clean-energy future — and reap the benefits? The United States is already falling behind. It has lost its dominance in solar manufacturing and ranks 22nd in energy efficiency. The Chinese market for clean tech is forecast to grow to as much as $1 trillion per year. America cannot afford to cede new markets and the jobs they create without even trying.

— New employment, with lower long-term costs. Much of the U.S. debate focuses on the short-term costs associated with the transition to a clean-energy economy without considering its long-term benefits or calculating the costs of continuing business as usual. The wave of innovations around clean energy will not only create new industries and jobs but also allow businesses to have increasingly efficient — and therefore more profitable — operations.

— Cleaner, healthier communities. Republicans once played a leading role in cleaning up our air and water, and conservatives of all stripes should champion that role again. The manufacturing booms that built cities such as Detroit and Cleveland left environmental degradation in their wake. Good climate legislation will bring jobs back to hard-hit areas, but this time factories will not pollute the groundwater or make the air unsafe to breathe.

— Competition trumps regulation. A sensible clean-energy policy should free, rather than constrain, markets. Smart policy corrects market failures and provides certainty, stimulating investment in the technology and infrastructure necessary to build an economy based on clean energy. Washington must ensure that such investment will be rewarded. The government shouldn’t “pick winners” — it should unleash competition, ensuring that the cleanest businesses thrive and the dirtiest are held accountable. A well-crafted federal law to limit pollution is better than unfettered regulation by the EPA or ever-changing regulation by the states.

The seeds of these opportunities have already been planted. And companies that have taken the lead are prospering. At News Corporation, we have saved millions by becoming more energy-efficient, overhauling a range of systems from the production of such shows as “American Idol” and “24” to energy usage in our buildings around the world. This has yielded savings that help us invest more in talent and has inspired us to look for further opportunities to improve.

You do not need to believe that all climate science is settled or every prediction or model is perfect to understand the benefits of limiting pollution and transforming our energy policies — as a gradually declining cap on carbon pollution would do. This is the moment to champion policies that yield new industries, healthy competition, cleaner air and water, freedom from petroleum politics and reduced costs for businesses.

Through market-based incentives we can achieve clean energy at the lowest cost and with the strongest incentives for innovation — ensuring that the energy solution will help, not harm, the economy. Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) get this and are working across party lines to build support for new legislation. Previously conservation-minded conservatives are missing in the heated partisanship of today’s politics. It’s time they found their voice again.

The writer is chairman and chief executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let the Sleeping Giant Wake

While we lag Germany in solar installs, and this is because Russia holds the keys to 80% of winter heating fuel for Europe, we are beginning to catch up with other nations in conversion to renewable energy (RE).

For me personally its depressing that the rest of the US is making huge investments in solar while South Carolina is still pretty much an off-grid and small residential state.

It should be every new home and business building in the state has to meet stringent energy efficiency code and have to have either solar thermal or PV. We should have a feed in tariff over 8yrs that stabalizes energy cost and provides investment security. Since there is no greater economy in the world, no greater military and no stronger political body than the USA, we could, thru sheer will power, affect these changes.

Europe is years ahead of us in building requirements. I have seen the spec home I live in, built in Minnesota and Arizona, this is crazy!

Like my good friend Bruce Wood says, “Those Germans might be a little smarter than us, but not that much.”

Solar’s 2nd time around

 November 2009

Hi, my name is Andrew if you are here, welcome, its nice to share with you. So I tried blogging a few years ago, three to be exact, I sucked at it for the most part and had no direction, I am going to post those old blogs sometime in the near future to see what three years have done.

I can tell you what I have realized on my own. That being a good dad has completely sanitized me from any sense of humor I once had. As a single guy I enjoyed humor based almost exclusively around or for women. I have worked in bars and construction for a while so this kinda made sense.
I am not, nor ever have been a mysoginist it was more of a pedastal/idolization and admiration for all things female. So one thing was clear, once I had two great kids, that particular brand of humor was out for 16yrs minimum.

I grew up in England and have a reserved demeanour with an underlying core of adventurous, recklessness. So I was never really Jack the Lad or overly popular but I have always liked and got on with different types of people. I am a mutt when it comes to geneology, my mother is a Welsh/English girl from Coventry, England whose dad left her Mum in the 1940’s. My dad is an athiest jew/avid reader/tv shouter/funny guy from New Jersey.

I have adopted my wife’s religious leanings (United methodist) mainly because mine were too oblique to fit in any one category. With my mutt background I wanted to make sure the kids had a foundation of safety early on, as life typically tests you from time to time as you get older.
Being married its hard to spend your time honing your humor skills when the primary reason you have to be funny is to get your wife to marry you when she did that already.

I do have many interests, many, many interests, I could read about stuff, all day everyday if it paid. But it doesn’t so I got into solar power because it was going to be the next big thing, but also because I am a student of history and history tells me we have to come up with a new energy source in order to continue to support 9billion people and modern society.
What my goal here is to let you know about me, my brand as I have just read in “Crush it” and learned about at a SC New Ideas conference, but at the same time let you know about the market potential, job growth, societal necessity of exploring and investing huge amounts of money in solar energy, it is our future. Thanks for stopping by and see you soon.