Archive for June, 2010

Inverters and Their Role in Renewable Energy

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Inverters and Their Role in Renewable Energy

Inverters may be the one piece of electrical equipment that most solar energy users do not know much about.  They are very discrete, unobtrusive boxes that convert direct current (DC), in this case from solar panels, to alternating current (AC) for practical use.  With the use of proper transformers, switching, and circuit controls, AC can be converted to any voltage and frequency.

Apart from solar panels, inverters are also used to transmit power from batteries and fuel cells.

Most property owners using solar electricity use grid tie inverters.  These inverters are capable of feeding back energy into the utility grid because it produces alternating current with the amplitude and frequency as the energy provided by the utility distribution network.  These are quite useful as they can shut off in the event of a blackout.

Micro-inverters are used to convert direct current from individual solar panels into alternating curre nt solely for feeding it into the utility grid.

A commercial generator or uninterruptible power supply uses a battery and an inverter to store alternating current for a main power distribution outage.  Once main power is restored, a rectifier is used to supply direct current electricity for recharging the battery.

Though inverters are frequently unnoticed when admiring a solar system, there role is what makes any solar energy generation project possible. 

According to a new report from Yole Developpement, a French industry analysis firm, the growing photovoltaic market has resulted in a multi-billion euro market for European inverter manufacturers.  The photovoltaic inverter market is expected to double in value during the coming years.  Analysts project the industry to be worth an estimated $8.1 billion by 2014. 

Rich Hessler Solar
Solar Business Services:

Texas Renewable Energy Incentives

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

 

Texas Renewable Energy Incentives

Apart from TXU partnering with various solar companies to lease solar panel systems to homeowners, Texas provides other incentives for businesses and homeowners involved in renewable energy technologies.

Texas incentives allow for companies and other organization subject to their franchise tax to deduct 10% of the total cost of a solar energy system from the franchise tax.  

Another of Texas’ incentives includes corporations involved in the manufacturing, selling, and installation of solar energy devices to be exempt from the state franchise tax.  This exemption is significantly beneficial to manufacturers as there is no ceiling on the exemption.

According to Texas’ solar incentives program, the franchise tax is equivalent to the corporate t ax.

A solar energy device is defined as a system or series of mechanisms designed primarily to provide heating or cooling or to produce electrical or mechanical power by collecting and transferring solar-generated energy. The term includes a mechanical or chemical device that has the ability to store solar-generated energy for use in heating or cooling or in the production of power.  Wind energy technologies are also eligible for the franchise tax deduction and exemption.

Texas incentives also allow for the property tax exemption of the appraised value of a property as a result of any installation or construction of either a solar or wind-powered energy device meant to produce and distribute thermal, mechanical, or electrical energy for on-site use or for a device that is used to store that energy.

To apply for this incentive, one must fill Form 50-123, “Exemption Application for Solar or Wind-powered Energy Devices”.

With many states offering great solar rebates and incentives, it is time for the federal government to strongly encourage the use of renewable energy. In his national address on Tuesday, the President declared one of his next goals is to push clean energy in the United States. This is in response to the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that the United States is spending billions every year on foreign energy. The President want more of our consumed energy to come from national, clean energy sources.

Rich Hessler
Business Services for the Successful Small Business 

Obama Calling for Clean Energy

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Obama Calling for Clean Energy

After visiting the victims of the BP oil spill in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, Obama commits the United States a new future of clean energy.

After a BP oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana in April, an estimated 35,000 barrels of oil have been released into the Gulf of Mexico each day. The oil has caused irreversible damage on the eco-system and destroyed the jobs of many fisherman that live on the coast.

As part of its commitment, BP must pay for all clean-up costs and reimburse those affected by the spill, totally near $1.6 billion (still rising).

As one of the largest environment disasters in United States history, President Obama may use this as an opportunity to promote renewable energy. In addition to the environmental costs of drilling for and consuming oil, citizens give billions of their hard-earned money to unstable foreign countries for more. Obama wants to change the way America produces and consumes energy.

This includes investing into energy efficiency and renewable energy. Through these retrofits, America will become energy independent and create quality green jobs. 

Why Solar Sales Jobs are as Abundant as Ever

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Why Solar Sales Jobs are as Abundant as Ever

Not many people have researched solar sales jobs for a new career simply because the renewable energy industry has not received the type of promotion it deserves.  The traditionally popular use of credit in the automobile and real estate industries has attracted many valuable sales professionals to those two lines of work.  This dependence on credit has driven our financial system up until very recently.  Banks have not truly capitalized on the practical investment of solar.

Though solar sales jobs have existed ever since solar energy has been offered to utility customers, most professionals drawn to this industry commonly come from technical employment backgrounds.  This includes scientists, engineers, electricians, and other such technicians.  Construction and roofing contractors have found great interest in solar energy as well.  Though there still is a great need for all of these types of professionals, there is a greater to need for the creation of solar sales jobs.    

Solar sales jobs will attract many Americans that have been dislocated from their respective employment industries due to the devastating recession.  While many have been long-unemployed, there are also those professionals who struggle to find financial reward and fulfillment in their current line of work.  Making the career transition into solar sales may seem impossible without the proper skills and experience, but there are many sales professionals who find the right direction and build their own path to success.

To answer the question is solar a sustainable energy? This about this: in a world full of uncertainty, we know that fossil fuels will run out relatively soon. Solar energy is just beginning to replace it. Since solar has already created green, sustainable jobs, why not join a growing industry from the beginning?

Rich Hessler Solar
Solar Courses

2010 MIT Energy Conference

Friday, June 4th, 2010

2010 MIT Energy Conference

It is comforting to know that there are minds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinking up ways to commercialize many new renewable energy technological developments for the solar, hydrogen, and energy storage.

The 2010 MIT Energy Conference was an open house to all of the energy research projects being conducted by both faculty and students of the institute.  The main goal of the research according to MIT’s Energy Initiative director, Ernest Moniz, is to work with the renewable energy and power industries to commercialize groundbreaking technologies.  He noted that their energy technology ideas cannot be commercialized in a garage like you can with Internet Technology (IT).

Exactly 20% of MIT’s faculty is involved in some form of energy research.  Energy is a big business at MIT.  The 2010 MIT Energy Conference was not just some science fair.  MIT has been very involved in the energy sector having already formed companies in the industry. The most notable of which is 1366 Technologies.

MIT is also home to one of the 40 nationwide Energy Frontier Research Centers that are solely funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through stimulus funds.  

Of their many energy research projects, developing energy storage technologies may be one of the most important to the energy industry.  Large scale or utility scale energy storage systems must be commercialized in order to ensure our nation’s energy security.  Only 2.5% of America’s energy grid capacity can be stored compared to Europe’s 10% and Japan’s 15% storage capacities.  This could be a foreshadowing of further energy troubles for the U.S. if the proper technology is not developed.  Energy storage is vital for incorporating solar and wind energy into the grid which are renewable but intermittent energy sources.

The 2010 MIT Energy Conference is a bright spot in the timeline t oward our country’s energy independence and security.  We can also be sure that there are other academic institutions, companies and organizations that are putting forth the same level of effort in bringing the best possible ideas on energy to fruition.

Rich Hessler Solar
Solar Marketing
Solar Financing
Solar Class 

How to Choose a quality Solar Installer in Los Angeles

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

How to Choose a quality Solar Installer in Los Angeles

The age of renewable energy is upon us.  Going green in one’s daily routine is easier.  However,  making a renewable energy retrofit on your home can be a chore if you do not know where to begin.

Here are some things to think about when choosing a quality solar installer in Los Angeles. 

First, you can always think about looking up a quality solar installer in the Los Angeles Yellowpages.  Those professionals tend to be dependable because they wouldn’t be listed in the Yellowpages if they were not dependable.  If you don’t use that method to find a quality solar installer, try locating a Los Angeles contractor on the internet.  There are many directories that provide lists of certified and experienced quality solar installers.

You must know what questions to ask when you select a quality solar installer.  In Los Angeles, there are many quality solar installers; this may result in a bidding war if you decide to contact several.  This may not be what you want.  Getting the lowest estimate is not the best course of action.  Contractors can easily take shortcuts to win your business with the lowest bid or they may not be experienced and are willing to go lower than quality solar installers.  You must ask pertinent qualifying questions of your installer to determine if they are experienced and trustworthy.  You will naturally gravitate toward a quality solar installer in Los Angeles if they can demonstrate these characteristics.

Ask them to show you all the proper licenses that are required of a solar installer in Los Angeles.  Not all electricians know how to install solar and not all certified photovoltaic installers know how to tie in the system to the utility grid.  Make sure they are experienced in both or have a team who can do each task competently.  In some cases, experience can be interchangeable with formal training.  You have to like your quality solar installer but make sure they have the proper credentials.

Also, ask if they have any references of past jobs.  It gives you a resume of their work.  You can find out if there were any complications with their service on prior projects.  

 

Ask about a service agreement.  This states what services the quality solar installer is responsible for and lays out the terms of the deal.  You should also ask your quality solar installer what incentives and rebates are available to apply for in Los Angeles.

How to be a Renewable Energy Entrepreneur

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

How to be a Renewable Energy Entrepreneur

Though our climate and energy crisis is primarily based on social responsibility, there are many avenues for entrepreneurs to grow our economy using the renewable energy industry.  If planned and executed properly, a renewable energy company can kill two birds with one stone – reduce our impact on the environment while being profitable.

Homeowners tend to complain about the price of renewable energy though they would admit it is one of the few options that can improve our economy and address our environmental and energy issues.

It is the responsibility of a renewable energy entrepreneur to engage consumers into a discussion about what they can do to improve their energy independence and minimize their carbon footprint while saving money long-term?

A renewable energy entrepreneur must first establish their goals.  In what sector of renewable energy do I want to pursue business?  What do I need to accomplish in order to gain business?  What would be the focus of my operation?  Who is my market or customer base?  How do I communicate my message to consumers?  How do I show my company’s value?  How will I deliver my products and/or services?  How will I ensure my profitability?

All these questions are the tip of the iceberg.  They actually help you focus on how you must perform.  

In the end, you cannot do everything on your own.  There is something called human resources.  This doesn’t mean you have to hire the best people to be successful.  It means that you must simply surround yourself with people who can tell you how to get things done.  You can already remind yourself of all the ways that you can fail.  You need minds around you that will focus on developing solutions and not problems.  

It always helps to have a mentor as well.  Someone who can always point you in the right direction.

If you think you have what it takes to be a renewable energy entrepreneur, particularly in the solar industry, this would be me reaching out to you to be your mentor.  I can personally prepare you to sell the benefit of solar to homeowners all across the country.  

Visit www.pvsolarsalestraining.com to learn about Rich Hessler Solar and how we can support you to becoming a successful renewable energy entrepreneur

Google Energy

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Google Energy

Google Energy. Here are two words you never really thought would be next to each other but now you cannot help but be intrigued and happy.  The search engine leader has found itself one step closer to becoming a “carbon neutral” company.  They have formed the Delaware-based subsidiary, Google Energy, not initially to be a utility company, but to buy and sell renewable energy for its own operations in Mountain View, Ca.

The data centers that are required to run the most popular search engine in the world are already utilizing a 1.6 megawatt solar array.  But now with the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Google Energy can buy and sell renewable energy like utilities do. FERC, the agency that oversees the U.S. power grid, has granted Google Energy the rights “for the sale of energy, capacity, and ancillary services at market-based rates”.  Even with this authorization, neither Google nor any of its affiliates currentl y own or operate any generation or transmission facilities.

The primary purpose for forming Google Energy is to manage Google’s energy costs.  Though this move would suggest plans to be a utility player in the renewable energy movement, Google affirms that they have no real concrete plans to become a consumer-based utility.  Google has been known to be an interested investor in renewable energy research and development.  They emphasize the need to trade in the wholesale energy market so that they may one day capitalize on becoming a utility.

In 2007, Google publicized their commitment to investing hundreds of millions of dollars to engineers and scientists to develop a method of producing 1 gigawatt of electricity cheaper than coal.  In 2008, Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, introduced an energy plan that supported the possibility that the U.S. could one day generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.  It seems as though Google E nergy is just another stepping stone for the search engine king to employ high-quality, renewable energy for its own use and to potentially offer that same energy on a utility scale.

Rich Hessler Solar
Solar Financing and Solar Marketing