Recommended Article: Thermal Storage Gets More Solar on the Grid

When we see articles about solar technology that we think are important, we like to share them.  We find this one, published by, very useful.  It discusses how to improve the reliability of solar power including how thermal storage can “even out the bumps,” the importance of grid flexibility,  the use of molten salts as a low-cost solution, storage plants in Spain and the USA, and the economic sense of PV/CSP symbiosis.

“Thermal Storage Gets More Solar on the Grid
By Bill Scanlon, NREL (This article was originally published on NREL and was republished with by Renewable Energy World with permission.)

“WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s 4:45 on a sweltering August afternoon, and the rooftop solar panels are starting to lose juice. The sun’s lower angles and that huge cottonwood tree are interfering with the efficient photon-to-electricity transfer.

Photo courtesy of NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

What is an environmentally conscious — but air-conditioning-loving — homeowner to do?

Peak demand for electricity in the United States typically hits between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., which doesn’t quite line up with the sun’s schedule. It’s fortunate that the sun is high in the sky during many of the hours when the air conditioning is in demand.

But in summer, people tend to need air conditioning during the dinner hour and beyond, when kitchen appliances are whirring, lights are on, and TVs are blaring.”

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Policy Outlook 2012: Don’t Expect Much From Washington in 2012

You Have a Hand in a Clean Earth. Make Your Voice Heard Today!

We hope you have the time to read this article, written by Meg Cichon, Associate Editor of, it discusses “Looming deadlines, expiring credits and a turbulent election — renewables have a challenging year ahead in North America as 2012 is set for policy change.”  And, you can make a difference by emailing your reps. (Details on how to contact your Federal reps and find out who makes the decisions at your state or County level are shown in main body of this post.)

“…Political turmoil has enveloped 2011, and it is expected to set the scene for the coming year. The late-August Solyndra bankruptcy news cast a dark mark on the Department of Energy (DOE) loan program, which is fueling an already fiery Washington D.C. climate. The heated political atmosphere has already affected a biofuels industry facing a $6 billion cut in tax breaks for ethanol producers. It also is poised to impact debates on the set-to-expire 1603 cash grant and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass industries.

So what does this all mean for 2012?”

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“How Tariffs Could Impact Solar Industry,” from

How Tariffs could Impact Solar Industry, is time running out?

Image from

There is currently a trade complaint against China, which alleges illegal practices in selling solar products, particularly “dumping” products to the US and Europe markets, at “unfair prices.”

Many solar manufacturers (designers and engineers) in the US and European believe that their strives in solar products are based on quality innovations for better solar products, China’s goal is simply to dominate the world market. Continue reading

Survey Says 9 of 10 Americans Want Solar… What You Can Do About This

The following article is from one of our favorite renewable energy news sites: Renewable Energy, which is a very pragmatic, business-oriented site.  It notes that 9 of 10 Americans want more solar power.

Many subsidies and tax incentives outlined by President Bush in the 2008 Stimulus Package have been trimmed severely by the current US Congress, while subsidies to large oil companies remain intact.

Your job: let your state reps and Governor know that you vote and that you are in favor of solar energy.  And, also notify your US Congressperson and Senators. 

The bottom line is that your opinion does matter if you choose to let it be known. Politicians know that for every email, phone call or letter they receive, several people feel the same way but don’t bother to contact them.  By voicing your concerns, they are more likely to realize that Your Vote and You Want More Solar. So, read the following article and then make a phone call, or send out a quick email or letter.

The following URL has information to contact members of the House of Representatives:  To contact your US Senators, please visit:  Most Senators and Congresspeople have quick forms that you can fill out in just a few minutes.  And don’t thinks that it doesn’t matter, because your voice DOES COUNT! Continue reading

Seniors Go Green, Not Gray, with Solar!

Older Generation Going Solar

The Older Generation's Been Going Solar

One of the largest markets for solar power is senior living communities, both those run by private companies and those managed by state or municipal agencies.  For the most part, these are solar panel installations to supplement on-grid power and reduce energy and operating costs.

For communities managed by corporations or government agencies, it’s logical:  the cost of running senior living communities, whether post-55 complexes or those providing assisted living or advanced care services, have small profit margins.

Along with lowering operating costs, solar energy programs instituted at senior communities often take advantage of incentives offered by federal and state agencies. Continue reading