Category Archives: solar energy

BMW i, Malibu (Solar Carport Demo)

Solar carport charging BMW i8 PHEV sports car with World Team Now’s Founder Suzanne Maxx

BMW chose Malibu to be their back drop venue to showcase the BMW i series replete with solar carport, charging hardware and software for their press day’s ride and drive; see full photo story through album  here. I happened upon the festivities yesterday at Nikita Restaurant’s parking lot, and met up with lead BMW team members. The new BMW i8 PHEV sports cars and the all electric BMW i3 are vehicles being marketed with the big picture in mind of climate action with support for the gestalt of a completely green conscientious life style.

Representatives from BMW Corporate: Wieland Bruch, Corporate Communications Manager BMWGroup Nadine Alice Carl, Product Management Automobiles and Aftersales Project e-Mobility

BMW manufactured with a supply chain consideration of a “cradle to cradle” intent to reduce carbon emissions, and ideally, optimize the choice to source “the charge” from all renewable energy.

Simultaneously creating carport shade and electricity from the solar glass roof supported by a steel frame, DesignWorks’ savvy approach to BMW’s solar carport uses sustainable bamboo-sourced carbon fiber, and the placement of SolarWatts’ high yielding solar panels in a grid with space between the panels allowing some light to shine though, while the rest of the light is captured by the solar panels.

BMW has put a lot of thought to handle many of the obstacles like range anxiety in the all electric vehicle, which comes with options such as a trade-in for other BMW’s on long trips and a charging infrastructure tapping into all charger locations, with software that organizes and allows for a universal payment scheme through BMW.

The hardware and software connected to the charger allow for intelligent communication with one’s home as soon as the vehicle is plugged in to charge.  Programs to support these initiatives showcase the BMW’s  service package 360° ELECTRIC electrically integrated concept and BMW’s various opportunities that came from partnerships with Schneider Electric and the Mobility House MyGekko provides the home automation platform that makes it all seamless. This integration supports what World Team Now refers to this as, “consciousness of energy usage systemically”— which is more than just the vehicle sales. BMW’s programs include i Wallbox Charging, maintenance and other services, with the customizable intelligence to potentially turn on lights and other electrical devices, as soon as the vehicle plugs in the charge at your home or office.

There are many pluses, beside the vehicles themselves in the BMW i series, that could take advantage of the vehicle to grid connection with battery energy storage where the battery could be a back up for home/office energy. Ideally, based on time of day and peak load, you might have the option to charge entirely from solar or a mix with the energy (ideally renewable) coming from the grid.  In CA there is the option to arbitrage energy, and sell energy back to the grid from the vehicle’s storage during peak hours, gaining the charge off peak, and saving money by making energy from sunshine.

The Round-the-World Solar Aircraft, Solar Impulse 2 is Launched

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg launched Solar Impulse 2 today in Switzerland.

© Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

© Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

“A vision counts for nothing unless it is backed up by action. With 8 world records for Solar Impulse 1, the first solar aircraft capable of flying during the night, crossing two continents and flying over the United States, we have shown that clean technologies and renewable energies can accomplish the impossible,” said a delighted Bertrand Piccard, founder and Chairman of Solar Impulse.

“Now we need to go even further,” added André Borschberg, co-founder and CEO. “Solar Impulse 2 will have virtually unlimited autonomy, and now we need to make sure the pilot is as sustainable as his aircraft. This is why the round-the-world flight will be as much a human as a technological feat.”

Solar Impulse 2 Facts

  • single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber
  • has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I)
  • weight of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car.
  • 17,000 solar cells built into the wing
  • supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each)
  • solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg (2077 lbs.)

© World Team Now (WTN) 2014. All rights reserved.

The Solar Impulse— Living Dreams of Transformation

Across America 2013:Final leg from Washington DC. to New-York City. Final Approach © Solar Impulse |Revillard| Rezo.ch

Across America 2013:Final leg from Washington DC. to New-York City. Final Approach © Solar Impulse |Revillard| Rezo.ch

Pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the pilots for the all-solar plane, had the dream for The Solar Impulse— the first manned flight to fly both day and night. When we first met, it was a model plane and now it has made history.  There are few people who choose to live their lives by pioneering inspirational projects that prioritize the global dream of transformation; in that spirit we are united.  In this way, even when I met Bertrand Piccard and André Roschberg for the first time in Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 at the United Nation’s conference COP15, they shined the light through their eyes, with words and ultimately deeds of inspiration.

Bertrand Piccard and André' Roschberg of the SolarImpulse at The United Nation's Conference COP15 Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 when the SolarImpulse was a model and a dream.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg of the Solar Impulse at The United Nation’s Conference COP15 Copenhagen, Denmark 2009 when the Solar Impulse was a model and a dream.

The Solar Impulse when it was a model at COP15 in 2009.

The Solar Impulse when it was just a model at COP15 in 2009. Now its mission has been accomplished — to demonstrate that flight can be done in a totally sustainable way. Now on to the second Solar Impulse airplane, the HB-S1B, in 2015!

Betrand would say, “Life is not governed by chance, but by encounters”.  We shared about realizing dreams against seemingly impossible challenges; we shared visions, and together laughed louder than the chorus’ that sang songs of cynicism and doubt, and knew this was an important time for our planet.  A time where human’s challenge to live in balance with our natural resources needed demonstration. The Across America journey was then a distant dream.  From San Francisco to Texas to Arizonia to St. Louis to Washington DC and ultimately to New York.

The Solar Impulse the all-solar airplane follows in a rich tradition of risky aviation demonstrations from the Wright Brothers to Lindberg’s hop over the Atlantic. These pioneers used their flights to push the dream into reality, launching new industries by piloting courageous first flights for the public to witness.  Bertrand’s family has a lineage of this type of pioneering legacy as well, with a message. But it is more than the technology, it is a model for a path that is needed—and each major step, is a metaphor not just for realizing aviation dreams but also for a demonstration project about renewable energy to combat climate change. It’s more than teaming-up unique pioneers like Bertrand and André. Herein, this project is a marriage of innovative technology and sustainability, both needed to come together for real change at a rapid rate with public adoption, for global transformation.

We at World Team Now watched from afar as the plane became a reality, as it was tested and flown in different parts of the world—following, promoting to the public, sharing, blogging, tweeting and holding the light that we would unite, and all of our dreams would indeed be realized. We watched and followed the stream in real time through the pilot’s journeys watching one major step after another.

In the tone of realizing dreams, and being an inspiration for the Wall Street financial world at REFF Wall Street our friends André and Bertrand, the Pilot's of the Solar Impulse airplane teamed-up for a game changing keynote speech.

In the tone of realizing dreams, and being an inspiration for the Wall Street financial world at REFF Wall Street our friends André and Bertrand, the Pilot’s of the Solar Impulse airplane teamed-up for a game changing keynote speech.

What a surprise to learn that both Bertrand and André Borschberg who I just followed virtually from St. Louis to Washington DC, would be the key note speakers for Renewable Energy Financing Forum (REFF) -Wall Street. REFF-Wall Street, an event World Team Now participated in as a supporting organization is held in New York City, and they, us, and the event would all be in New York.  Their key note’s message to the extremely traditional Wall Street financial brokers was that “green” was not just good for the ecology; it was also good for the economy, stimulating new industries, and many green jobs.  The Solar Impulse’s approach to financing going beyond traditional methods was indeed an entrepreneurial approach with integrated marketing partners, branded with their technology and services within the Solar Impulse, patrons, angels, and other fundraising mechanisms. This all hit home harder when President Obama  gave a speech on his plan to fight climate change which echoed similar sentiments that were spoken by the innovators of the Solar Impulse team. When we connected after the key note, I learned of the challenges of the last leg to New York with what was then an exact unknown departure date and time; there were still formidable obstacles. To top it off, it was a surprise to see Bertrand and André again in the same day during NY Clean Energy Week’s event at the Tesla showroom celebrating along with other innovators.

We at World Team Now worked diligently to find a way to support the last leg’s landing of the Across America from Washington to New York, and through our contacts at the Governor’s office were able to team-up people and bring in the Port Authority to participate and contribute to help overcome some of the obstacles.

Visit our gallery of the Solar Impulse JFK Landing by clicking on the picture.

Visit our gallery of the Solar Impulse JFK Landing by clicking on the picture.

We were honored to participate in a slice of history and be present for the successful landing of the Solar Impulse at JFK on Saturday July 6th 2013 at 11:09 pm. This “dream come true” moment was ineffable. To be in the presence of all who made the living dream of transformation a true reality, to share in the moment of completion of the Across America Journey with them and be there to see with one’s own eyes is an indelible moment that lives in many lives, besides mine. There was only a small group of us VIPs, journalists, and 50 lucky contest winners allowed to this special historic event. Not only was aviation history written in New York, but it was such a victorious event, as the plane continued to fly even after a rip in the fabric about 8 feet occurred in flight, forcing the plane to land early and modify their originally intended route and landing time.

Had the plane crashed, instead of the one in San Francisco, of course all eyes would have been on the Solar Impulse (a commentary about our society’s present values).  Those of us that bore witness to this historical moment were so elated; a spirit that was contagious with looks of awe in the silence and lack of noise, with clean fresh breathable air free of burned jet fuel, with a wing span (208 ft / 63.4m)  a bit larger than a 747 ‘s  (195 ft 8 in / 59.6 m) when it landed a few feet in front of us on the tarmac where we waited.  We met others who were equally blown away by this moment and also captured it here in Roland Pabst’s blog.  The media impressions surpassed expectations with  8.3  billion thus far—which is significant, especially given the poor presence of traditional media sources at the New York landing.

The public at large has had a hard time of truly understanding the full potential of solar energy and other renewables as well as the importance of the change to a more balanced energy source.  So when people can see that the all-solar plane flies at night they begin to really understand the battery storage concept— the choice to be able to feed energy back into the electrical grid and/or store energy, and even sell it back to the grid or use it.  As Bertand explained, “Our plane, Solar Impulse, was never designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message”.

We learned more about the message at the press conference on Monday; events continued reaching the public like the opening of NASDAQ where Tom Werner from SunPower rang the bell with Bertrand and André.  Then the meeting at the U.N. where the Clean Tech flag was planted—hopefully this will further inspire the U.N. towards a binding climate treaty— finally (especially after the horror of Copenhagen) —  we are long overdue for global action for collective energy and for our one environment, our one world.  The people of New York got other opportunities to share in the gift of the Solar Impulse at the various other community events hosted by sponsors, such as Schindler at the Intrepid.  We hope this inspires you to see for yourself and take advantage of the Solar Impulse’s Public Day.  If you miss the Solar Impulse this time, keep it on your radar, as in they will return during their World Tour in 2015.  Say good-bye to this airplane yourself— it is for all people to see here in the USA at JFK now for the public, click here to find out more. Be an ambassador for our future, and go and see the beauty and possibility the Solar Impulse represents.

Act Locally, Act Globally – Think of Us All As Part of One

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Join us next week and use this  20% Off Discount Code “SPT20WTN”

Change seems to be accelerating. Change, not just with our climate, but also with the “systems” humanity has created, spurred by Globalization.  Whether that be the legal system, political system, financial system, health care system, or educational system— the systems in place to provide the world’s basic needs.  Have we learned to scale our systems to meet Globalization’s challenges? Humanity can learn  from how nature scales to support the whole—  Biomimicry of man-made systems seems key to the stewardship of our earth and for an organically sustainable future.   

Global transformation is in the works, and is needed within all systems including those within our one global governing body – the United Nations. Friday ended the two week climate talks in Bonn, Germany. The disappointment was all too familiar as it seemed like yesterday, but it was a year ago when World Team Now produced the event as part of the UNFCC’s Rio+20, and also an event at The People’s Summit.  We went down to Rio once again with great expectations for more progress than what was able to be achieved inside the United Nations’ RIO+20 conference’s time. So now, it is distressing that there was a huge snag caused by foot dragging by Russia in a key entity, the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI). At least there was some progress in the overarching 2015 international climate action agreement. Why wait until disaster? We clearly need more projects that influence public perception. “To see is to believe” for most, so we need more examples to inspire the masses to embrace change.

At World Team Now, we are growing, and eager to see the change that happens once our non-profit World Team Now can be supported by our World Team multi-media platform, and broadcast.  Our World Team project too needs to be demonstrated to be fully understood, and to that end our development of our pilot project continues.  While we are working to have this World Team model up in full scale, we have been occupied with events.  In California, for example what we did in Malibu with Earth Day (photo album here), with our “Ride & Drive”, and “The Circle-Up  Around Renewable Energy”.  We owe a shout-out to all of those who showed up to participate or volunteer, and for the support of Nissan of Thousand Oaks, and Edwards/Wildman.  We hope to be sharing some of the edited footage soon at WTN’s upcoming event September 26 and 27.   Another example is what World Team Now is doing in NY to support ACORE’s Renewable Energy Financing Forum (REFF)-Wall Street. Join us and get 20% off registration by using this code “SPT20WTN”. REFF is the perfect activity, included with more than 20 Energy Industry Events for New York City’s Energy Week, June 24th-28th.

Please save the dates for World Team Now’s upcoming annual event in Malibu September 27th & 28th, 2013. Watch World Team Now’s Event’s page for more details about the timing.

Speaking of timing, two great renewable energy demonstration projects born in Switzerland also have “New York” as a destination.  PlanetSolar, is the world’s largest solar boat, and it includes an interesting research component with the project it just arrived in New York.  The soaring approach to change done state by state has value. The Solar Impulse is a renewable energy demonstration project with great potential. You can take flight and  follow in real time on their final segment of the “Across America” trip, and join the history in the making as they land in New York early July.

Planet Solar is in New York

PlanetSolar reaches New York, the second american stopover of its 2013 campaign

The two states where World Team Now is based are proudly taking leadership positions in the environmental transformation needed to address climate change— let’s hear it for California and New York, especially Mayor Bloomberg’s action plan to address the affects of climate change .  The water situation and the issue of drought is rapidly becoming more serious, due to climate change.  Often, to execute solutions at a scale needed to address the affects of climate change, bonds are created.  California is taking the lead with creating a Water Bond.  World Team Now was present when Senator Fran Pavley, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, hosted the Hearing; “Encouraging Regional Water Solutions: Implications for a Statewide Water Bond” at Pepperdine University.  Californians are set to vote on the $11.1 billion water bond in November, 2014.

More action needs to be able to take place on a state level and even city level, which gives more weight to the “Think globally, act locally” mantra—  but not to preclude think global act global actions which are needed as well— the local can catalyze the global.    It is a huge victory to finally permanently close the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in California, not just for the immediate risk of radiation, but also in respect of the long term issue of what to do with the radioactive rods which are byproducts of nuclear reactors. With no safe disposal protocol for these rods, even closed plants will continue to pose risks to the public and our planet forever The pressure is on for Southern California Edison to strive towards truly renewable energy— the kind with no radioactive byproducts to threaten public safety. It is time for us citizens to spearhead energy independence, be active in supplying a diversity of local renewable energy resources (supporting grid stability as a benefit), and to learn how to responsibly use energy.

But it is time for the whole of us in society to consider “Act locally, Act globally- Think of us all as part of ONE”.

 

Aside

Some knew him as “Master” in I Dream of Jeanie, others as “JR” in Dallas but we knew Larry Hagman, as the Honorary President/Chairman of our non-profit organization World Team Now. Larry was an innovator and inspiration for many, with his use of renewable energy! We loved his appreciation for nature and humanity— and his spirit! Continue reading

Solar, the Key to Change the Game for Our Future

By Suzanne Maxx

LOS ANGELES, California, October 19th 2010– Solar Power International (SPI) has realized its name, and begun to move at the level of critical mass, thanks to booming global industry and the ongoing efforts of the presenting organizations Solar Electric Power Association ( SEPA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) . The growing annual solar conference and expo took place for the first time in Los Angeles last week with over a thousand exhibitors and about 30,000 people, made up of stronger constituencies from China; India, Korea, Japan, Spain and Germany among countries from around the world. Despite the economic downturn rapid global market growth, SPI is beginning to prove what many people espoused in various languages and the conference echoed— Solar is anticipated to become the largest growing market in the world, and is a key energy source for our future.
The energy and excitement at SPI came from more than motivating speeches; the spectrum of the solar industry on the exhibition floor, and the CEO panel. Events from the Hollywood-style Solar Block Party, to Solar World’s fashion show engaged the industry. Biz Stone co-founder of Twitter drew parallels from his viral phenomena that collect trends to the solar industries’ capabilities, while the Bureau of Land Management finalized permitting to allow the first-ever utility-scale solar projects on federal land. A few game changers launched here; the first National Solar Jobs Census from The Solar Foundation, the U.S., Solar Market Insight™, and a new website (www.SolarWorksforAmerica.com) There were sessions that explained the rules of the new electricity game such as “Solar to the Smart Grid,” and a variety of topics throughout the conference —whether you followed on the track of policy, technology or finance; in person, or by “tweeting”.

The conference opened with game changing “State of the Industry” speeches from Presidents and CEOs: Julia Hamm (SEPA) and Rhone Resch (SEIA).

Rhone rallied the audience, “Solar energy is now the fastest growing energy source in the United States, during a recession with 10 percent unemployment. Solar is rocking!

He further captivated the audience with a powerful vision for the industry: “A vision where we increase the amount of solar we install in the U.S. by more than 20 times over last year’s record levels. A vision where all solar technologies come together and we install 10 gigawatts – that’s 10 billion watts – of clean solar power each and every year”.
To grasp this ambitious vision from a different perspective, it is enough solar to power 2 million new homes or shut down 10 polluting coal plants every year all by 2015.

With events like 10-10-10’s Day of Global Action with solar installations demonstrated, not just in the USA but around the world, this vision is finally becoming a realistic goal for the USA to join in on, and it helps when President Obama, decides to install both PV and solar thermal on the White House and announces it in time to go along with the people’s day of action and before the launch of the Solar Expo.

“It does take a team” said Julia Hamm. She stressed that the companies who collaborate and improvise will prevail. The impact of her words and leadership with concrete examples had great weight, and it wasn’t just because she was speaking for more than one’s future.
Julia Hamm made a powerful case by demonstrating solar power capacity was up and it is predicted to at least double next year. In the ten utilities with the most solar in their service territories, solar power capacity was up by 66 percent. These utilities were ahead due to collaboration on projects—team work that was inclusive of all parties in the solar industry, capitalizing on the synergy of projects like the one Julia described between Public Service Electric & Gas in New Jersey and Petra Solar that will result in smart grid enabled two hundred watt panels with micro inverters on 200,000 utility poles totaling 40MW in capacity. The equipment is provided by Petra Solar but owned and installed by the utility.

Another example Julia brought forward was how Southern California Edison, in partnership with multiple companies, completed the initial rooftop projects that are part of its 250MW utility owned rooftop program. SCE also began purchasing the output of the 21 MW PV plant developed by First Solar and owned by NRG Energy. More examples of these collaborative projects can be found in SEPA’s recently released Utility Solar Business Models Report.
Rhone’s vision for the industry is; “Where solar becomes America’s number one source of new installed energy each year – bigger than coal, bigger than natural gas, bigger than nuclear. We create 220,000 new solar jobs for our families and neighbors while supporting half a million more jobs in other industries We add over $30 billion in direct economic growth and hundreds of billions of dollars in other sectors of the economy -each year. This vision drives economic recovery, creates energy security, and of course, substantially cuts the pollution causing climate change”.

An international game changer was introduced by Rhone, “I was in Phoenix for the opening of Suntech’s new manufacturing facility. Who would have thought, a Chinese company opening up a manufacturing facility here in America”.

The Chinese allocation of 34 Billion towards solar was at the core of the discussions during the CEO panel too, as it is an international game charger, especially because funds are available to companies from the USA.
Other take always from the CEO panel; Trina Solar grew by 180% to reach 1billion this year (find quote about leveling the playing field for global growth) First Solar is living into their name as#1 in export, Standard Solar is the fastest growing renewable energy company in the USA with a 100 million in revenue. Colorado has ambitious distributed generation goals going for 30% of their electricity produced by renewable sources by 2020. All CEO’s concurred that to reach SEIA’s goal, “cost”, has to be driven down. Policy has to be in place to incentivize the industry. Utiilities need a prescribed “decoupling” of sales and profitability tied to earnings incentives to sell less energy. Many agreed we would also need a National Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS), aka Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), combined with extending the federal tax credit program, and US cash loan guarantees for the Solar industry.

The solar industry is reliant of government policy and subsidies, and one of the reasons we can even begin to get close to grid parity in the USA, is due to China.
State-controlled China Development Bank so far this year has extended $24 billion in loans to solar companies. Yingli, Trina Solar, Suntech, Solarfun Power Holdings Co. and others, according to data collected by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance. China spent $34.6 billion on clean-fuel projects in 2009, almost double the $18.6 billion investment by the U.S. China installed 160 megawatts of solar capacity last year, a fourfold increase from a year earlier, and may almost double it again this year to 311 megawatts, according to the New Energy Finance research firm.

China’s manufacturers grabbed 43 per cent of the global photovoltaic-panel market in the last six years, pricing products as much as 20 per cent cheaper than European offerings, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Chinese firms shipped 3,300 megawatts of panels worth $6.6 billion last year, enough to power about 2.6 million U.S. homes.
At Rutgers University in New Jersey, 7,600 panels convert sunlight into electricity, saving some $200,000 in energy costs this year in the biggest solar-power experiment at a U.S. college. Yingli Green Energy Holding, China’s second-largest solar-panel maker, supplied the $10 million project. Yingli is one of several Chinese manufacturers that have slashed costs to reduce global prices for solar modules by about 50 per cent in two years. The drive made them more affordable for buyers from Rutgers to Wal-Mart Stores, the biggest U.S. retailer.
China is slashing the price, as the cost of solar energy toward what’s called grid parity, or renewable electricity is at the same prices charged for conventional power.

Sun power may become as cheap as the retail price of grid-delivered electricity in certain markets as early as 2013, according to a June 29 report by Pike Research, a Boulder, Colo., clean-energy consultant.
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association, a trade group, forecasts grid parity by 2010 in some southern parts of Italy, by 2012 in several regions of Spain, and 2015 in Germany.

“The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra,” President Obama said in May. However these innovative start ups in the solar industry with new technology like Solyndra, Nanosolar and MiaSolé dreamed of transforming the economics of solar power, but they are now challenged to compete with China. The loan guarantees help get these companies off the ground, but with federal government loan guarantees expiring at the end of this year and no Energy Bill from congress yet, the solar industry in the USA is at a disadvantage. The Chinese companies offer low prices, quality products, cheaper labor, and financing, which could be a motivating factor -if the playing field can be leveled, Evergreen Solar, SunPower and Energy Conversion Device moved manufacturing to Asia. Although some companies like Canadian Solar, that currently does all its manufacturing in China and sells to customers in Europe and North America, will move 60% of the manufacturing back to Canada to be eligible for feed-in tariffs .
72 billion dollars was spent on fossil fuel subsidies in the USA , between 2002 and 2008 but only 12 billion went to the entire renewable energies sector altogether: solar, wind, except if you want to count the nearly 17 billion dollars that went to corn-based ethanol.
Rhone explained that special interests spent $500 million in lobbying and campaign contributions to defeat the clean energy and climate legislation in Congress. Using their resources, they were able to delay and ultimately kill any hope of a national RPS or cap and trade program, or energy bill.

“After 150 years of subsidies it’s time to level the playing field – it’s time to cut their subsidies and shift support to solar and other renewable energy technologies”. Rhone explained, “Every year, the toxic fossil industries receive $550 billion in subsidies worldwide, a trillion dollars every 22 months. From tax credits to price supports, to access to millions of acres of lands given away to drilling, the fossil fuel industry is grotesquely over subsidized at the expense of the renewable energy industries.”

Collaborations for solar renewable energy partnerships with solar companies, utilities, and government together creating new business models is unprecedented territory for the USA.


One highlight during the conference were seeing history in the making when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed off on the first large-scale solar project ever to be approved for construction on public lands in Nevada. In the past two weeks the first four solar projects were approved on U.S. public lands -green lighted.  Salazar says he is committed to changing the permitting game for renewable energy: “Frankly – (I) wasn’t prepared for the growing interest from the private sector in capturing renewable energy resources on public lands and oceans. Permit applications for wind, solar, and geothermal were languishing. The permitting processes were hazy. And there wasn’t enough coordination among permitting agencies to move projects forward.”  He explained, “As the department that oversees one-fifth of the nation’s land and 1.7 billion acres of Outer Continental Shelf, the Department of the Interior has a major role to play in the transformation of our nation’s energy future. We oversee sunny deserts in the southwest, windy open spaces across the Rockies and the West, and the breezy expanses of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. The renewable energy potential on America’s public lands and oceans is staggering. But to capture that potential, the Department of the Interior – in the past two years – has had to change how we do business.”  He shared the details of the new fast track process and what was established for the Solar Industry in the US on public land “The Solar PEIS identifies more than 20 million acres across 6 western states – including 24 solar energy study areas – that may be appropriate for solar development. We expect to have a draft of the Solar PEIS available for public review by the end of this year”.  He encouraged the innovative entrepreneurial spirit, that is one of the greatest riches of the USA. He declared, “You are the engine for the ideas that will help our nation transition to a renewable energy economy. Somewhere in this room is the next bright idea. Somewhere in this room is the person who will push the boundaries of knowledge and possibilities for solar power. President Obama reminds us that: “Today’s frontiers can’t be found on a map. They’re being explored in our classrooms and our laboratories, in our start-ups and our factories.” His speech inspired a standing ovation from the audience at the Nokia theatre.
Julia Hamm shared “According to Greentech Media approximately twenty percent of residential systems installed in California during the second quarter of 2010 utilized the SolarCity or SunRun type business model. As an investor, Pacific Gas and Electric can take advantage of the federal tax credits and will receive the lease or PPA revenues from projects installed by these companies”
Two areas of opportunity where more collaboration would have a positive end result for everyone’s solar energy goals: is smart grid and energy storage
Julia dove into a few of the regulatory issues like revenue erosion, which is a legitimate concern for many utilities.  “Utilities usually make money by selling more electricity, so why would a utility choose to encourage its customers to generate their own electricity and thus buy less energy, unless there is a clear value proposition for the utility?

Decoupling, is a mechanism that has been implemented for electric utilities in a handful of states, is one option that presents a partial solution. While decoupling can take multiple forms, essentially it means that the way a utility makes its profits is separated from how much electricity it sells. This removes the incentive for the utility to sell as many kilowatt hours to customers as possible and thus eliminates the barrier for utilities to encourage customers to install solar on their homes and businesses.

The most productive path towards changing the reality of revenue erosion is for the solar and utility industries to collaborate to identify win/win business models that create the necessary value proposition for utilities and to help educate regulators about policy changes that could create an incentive rather than a disincentive for utilities to implement solar programs and projects. As former Chrysler Corporation executive Thomas Stallkamp said, “The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.”

With the smart grid emergent and state to state policy dramatically different around the country there are many tactics to reach grid parity, and there was the opportunity to learn about many of these policy “game changers” through various workshops and sessions that covered the gambit from Feed In Tariffs (FIT) as recently adopted by Hawaii, to Renewable Energy Standards (RES) and other ways to incentivize renewable energy Distributed Generation (DG). “Solar and the Smart Grid,” a topic of one of the sessions speaker Sam Jaffe of IDC Energy Insights, further explored-distributed energy strategies and energy storage. He explained that when one interconnects PV with grid, and EV’s get plugged into the Smart Grid, “Making the (electrical) grid, by-directional with a flexible load, and with a flexible generating stack, which creates a virtual power plant for distributed supply and demand.” He explained, “Demand Response” is where the utility actually calls up large consumers and they literally shut down or turn off power, to prevent potential damage to the grid, like a black out). The smart grid will provide the option for both the consumer and the utility to interact in real time with applications on the computer and mobile device so they all can benefit from in communications using technology to make choices about energy use.

This emergent concept that changes perspective on our homes and vehicles is the opportunity to arbitrage energy with the developing smart grid, for profit. To generate energy from your solar roof, or solar parking structure– sell it at peak demand to the utility and buy it, off peak. The various opportunities to commoditize energy were explored during panels, “breakout sessions” and among the exhibitors that were all part of the solar supply chain.  Even your own energy generated from the movement of your body with various exercise devices like a little clip on your body solar device from Schneider Electric that calculates your energy output with every step you take, translates it to miles and counts the calories you burn. There were also human powered electrical sports equipment like a bike actually stores energy you make from excising and riding called KElectric Bike. 

The quest for energy storage, referred to by some as “The Quest for the Holy Grail” and all angles of batteries and policy were exhibited and discussed. Regardless of the energy generated from solar, wind, tidal or energy produced by your own body the key conversation remained: how to capture it efficiently, to store the energy produced and then transmit at a time of choice. . Just having conversations with the variety of experts from various regions around the country and the world, brought in a vast perspective, a variety of opportunities were presented on how to change the way we play the energy game in society. The electric infrastructure and industry of tomorrow is likely to look very different from what it looks like today and storage and transmission are on the minds of many.

• The U.S. Solar Market Insight™ was released at the conference opening. SEIA expanded their market research and teamed up with Green Tech Media Research (GTM Research) to work together on this new report with data and an analysis of the U.S. solar market – all technologies and market segments with the latest news on the solar market- highlights include: –The U.S. solar electric market is growing by over 100 percent this year, exceeding 1 gigawatt. In the PV industry, all segments are having record years. Back in June, utility-scale installations already surpassed 2009 totals – and residential and commercial installations continue to grow at a 40-50 percent rate.
• America is also quickly becoming the largest CSP market in the world. Roughly 80 megawatts are expected to come online in 2010 – that’s 10 times more than last year. And we have over 23 gigawatts under development – enough to power 4.6 million homes.

• Solar water heating jumped from 2.6 million square feet installed in 2009 to more than 3 million in 2010 – a 16 percent growth rate and in the first half of 2010, U.S. manufacturers produced more than a third of the world’s polysilicon supply, over 500 megawatts of cells and over 500 megawatts of modules.

Three of the five energy businesses on FORTUNE 100’s list of Fastest Growing Companies are solar manufacturers: First Solar, Trina Solar and SunPower, as worded in Solar World’s campaign, with Larry Hagman ,who is said to own the largest private solar installation in the USA; “Shine Baby, Shine!”

If all the policy, workshops, meets and technology was too much to absorb there were great parties that educated as well as entertained. Solar World held two industry transforming events. “Fantastic,” exclaimed Catia, from San Paulo Brazil, during the exhibition packed run way fashion show. “Solar is the Next Black” campaign was inspired by a tour of Solar World’s Factory where designer and Project Run way winner Seth Aaron’s clothing line was a hit. “Love the models,” she continued with enthusiasm. Becky Campbell of SEPA said, “Great way to get technology out there”.

The Petersen Museum was rented out for the night with an incredible vehicles exhibit featuring solar world’s race car. With the electric vehicle (EV)’s and solar chargers and parking the hot topics of the moment there was a lot of eye candy for a historical perspective of how far we have come with science and technology in a short period of time and the view of the circling dynamic of trends before they took hold, especially seeing the first electric vehicle in the 1800’s. There you see how far we have come with science and technology.In the heart of downtown LA SPI held two events a lovely opening cocktail party, and a huge outdoor Block Party at LA Live, replete with a Hollywood style red carpet, for all to experience as they entered, making each person feel special with the illusion of celebrity, media flashing cameras as you entered and celebrity impersonators on hand to have your picture taken with “BrAngelina” and more. The variety of global food from Wolfgang Puck and Katsuya had something for everybody, and the DJ was so good, I had to go grab my roller-skates from the car to take advantage of the wide space with no one dancing until they caught the energy and enthusiasm! It would have been a novelty to have a potable energy floor like the discos in London.

Whereby Julia and Rhone shared common grounds and alignment in the Opening feeding off one another, the Closing Key Notes worked off of the alchemy of the politically opposition from married couple Mary Matalin (Republican) and James Carville (Democrat). The polarity of their politics like a magnet attracted the common power of the importance of Solar, and they both stood behind solar energy in various ways and this transcended their bi-partisan difference. Unfortunately political forecasting about parties in general which both indulged in here, was not popular among the solar industry, however most agreed policy is a critical game changer for the industry.

The solar LED lights from SolarOne Tech were new technology that has great potential. Solar LED packs of both III-V GaAs solar chip and LED chip in a Lamp or SMD. By utilizing its shape to concentrate, the conversion efficiency of solar cell is raised up and the power is transferred from sunlight to supply LED. It is featured with compact size, simplified structure, high efficiency and illumination, and can be used for various applications.

I t was very exciting to see a full scale set up with BMW’s fully electric MiniE charging to a solar car port, with a clipper creek fast charger. The opportunities for potable solar storage systems had my imagination running wild with possible uses in various regions of the world.

GroSolar stole the show for most innovative booth design with a booth that had two floors. It gave a very private roof top feeling– that over looked the expo floor where business could take place in a peaceful environment, with the crowds left below.

Swiss scientist Michael Grätzel’s innovative solar cell uses a process akin to photosynthesis to generate electricity – even inside buildings – to power mobile devices and wireless keyboards, way to go!

Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa shared his 2020 vision for LA with SPI; to get to 10% Solar with a feed in tariff, and to draw 20% of the electricity from renewable energy, to get 7500 retrofits done and generate 1200 megawatts of power from solar all by 2020. He shared, “LA has out an RFP for clean tech manufacturing with a site of 22 acres”.

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, explains Twitter can collect data trans-globally in real time, the actions could influence policy. The “Aha” moment of Twitter came for Biz when he realized that people could move together as one, in real time,” therefore addressing disasters or anything that needs rapid response and Twitter could serve humanity. Twitter might influence policy…
Rhone’s summary of the solar policy situation now: Cash grants will expire in 2010 with the grant cancelation. The USA needs a tax bill before the end of the year for the solar industry. The Solar Bill of Rights needs to be woven into new policy to be passed by Congress. Utilities’ financing projects need to see the IRR and know they are making safe investments with little risk, or have a tax equity appetite for continued growth. DOE loans need to be refilled, and money paid back that was taken out of funds allocated to loan financing for the solar industry.
At the CEO panel and press conference it was conclusive that policy will be the driver of the future. There is an expressed need for global policy taking shape to better serve the solar industry after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol, and with the Copenhagen Accord. Globally, a Cap & Trade market structure with carbon off sets and global policy adoption was suggested, to get to grid parody for renewable energy. All concurred that we need the ratification of a global agreement for our environment and energy that is enforceable. However some of the USA CEO’s stressed it needs to start at the state level and then the national level, before we can address the international level. DOE Loan Guarantee Program helps, but only for big projects. CEOs discussed financing remains an obstacle to growth, and what is needed is a solid, sustainable domestic funding sources that provides low interest loans quickly to the solar industry for all markets and all technologies.

To change the game, we have to, “Level the playing field,” words echoed throughout the conference in various contexts, besides in Rhone’s. One is with USA’s government subsidies that supporting renewable energy sectors as they have done for Oil, Gas, Coal and Nuclear. In addition to government support the USA bank & financing sector doing the equivalent of what the Chinese government has done to generated extremely large loans for renewable energy and technology.
Cindy Stanley, Director of Operations, at The Centre for Building Performance in Texas described SPI10 as; “Doing better than the United Nations, it’s the UN of the future, seeing every company from different countries here in one space, while the whole world is watching, and all are getting along. I have three kids, and my wish is that SPI is an example of their future.

“The Sunset” is on the Rize

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Thanks to all of your support, our chosen venue for World Team Now’s solar installation:

The Sunset Restaurant is nominated as, “The Best Venue” in LA! 

 Since our 2007 Gala dinner at The Sunset to announce our long term installation plan to demonstrate a solar energy project, and launch a public commercial campaign and education program, the restaurant has been a non-stop winner.  

Of course it’s really due to the owners’ vision, management, chef, events team, staff, interior design, Feng Shui of the place, local & global clientele, and of course it’s number one location, being on the beach at Malibu’s Zuma Beach near the sacred Point Dume.  It’s iconoclastic location, surrounded by raw earth cliffs behind and the vast ocean in front — amidst nature — is rare in LA, where it is the only commercial building, solo, on the beach, for an exclusive meeting with nature.  You cannot beat this location for seeing sunsets, dolphins and whales breaching while dining.  So please do your part to support our World Team Now’s chosen venue, and vote here.

Beginning in 2007 The Sunset Restaurant has been on the rise, it was voted Best Southern California Beach Destination Wedding Venue by  WE Entertainment, Los Angeles (City)’s, 2008 it won Best of Project Wedding, 2nd Best Wedding Venue,  Fox LA. This is again largely due to the owners “consciousness”, and their values.  Let’s help them to win “The Best Venue” in LA. Many remember that they hosted a wonderful event at their venue, in support of World Team Now, and our location for World Team Now’s first solar installation.   So again, please take a moment to vote for The Sunset Restaurant now.

Copenhagan-The Big Picture

 

Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

 

Think Global: Act Local  Act for ALL 

By Suzanne Maxx

The reality of one home and shared resources for us all is starting to take priority for many who had been previously concerned only about personal survival or achievement.    Global philanthropy is an at all time high —  ironically this comes at a time when personal survival is challenged and despite these times many people seem to  continue to seek the bigger picture, beyond their own challenges.  Regardless of country, we are all dealing with the world now, and our potential future.  We all have a need for air, water, earth, and energy.  Our collective resources are shared and how we use them regardless of where we are, affects us all.  An emergent question is how we put a value or “price” on responsibility to these elements.  What can that replace or transform our present monetary structures and support the global “eco”mony/ology ?  This is what humanity is beginning to awaken to with our global environmental movement.  How do we live on earth in balance with our resources?
 
Growth is challenging.  Is there a higher reason we all are being called to look at the way we have structured the game of life in our world now? Here’s to human evolution, and global transformation.

 

This is an exciting time for those of living inside the environmental and social movement for two decades or more…. Our time is now — people, like you are listening, and want to participate, as we are all stake holders in our children’s home.  With perseverance, the battles to convince people of the existence of environmental and social challenges facing the planet are not over, but we have succeeded to begin to educate the masses.  Multi-media telecommunications have shrunk the world, and some powerful leaders (without countries) have emerged on the global scene — thank you, Yvo de Boer, Al Gore, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Bono. Now the challenge lies in doing the work to create the change in enough time for the change to take hold so humanity has more options.  The speed at which we are able to move now is exhilarating, if not overwhelming.  Just when I’m ready to post about G20”, or “solar energy”, something changes or the technology advances — it is a challenge to keep pace with accuracy with the speed at which the transformation is happening.  Please forgive me if by the time you are reading this the information is obsolete.

For the future direction of humanity and our global environment, one thing is clear; there is a lot riding on the potential of the upcoming United Nation’s Conference in Copenhagen.   The possibility of a global treaty that is enforceable and honored by the world for our world — could be a global game changer or life transformer.  One of the challenges with the U.N. model is the way the world is divided, described, and regulated — by the concepts of categorizing countries by their “development”.  Is there a more powerful framework to view with the world?  Does it serve us to label the USA as “developed” and China and India as “developing” nations?  We have to at least try to work within the U.N.’s global framework as it is the only global framework we have now.  Just like we have to work within our challenged systems like our legal, educational, political, monetary and healthcare systems, as that is what we have now.  How can the “systems” better serve humanity, and what role can the machine play in the transformation?

The outcome of a powerful Global Treaty could be like what The Constitution is for the USA, or like what the Declaration of Human Rights distinguishes for the world. Personally I have been following this dream of a global treaty for our environment, since Rio De Janeiro 1992, when I was there where it all began in the global community, at The Earth Summit/Global Forum.  Then the treaty was just emerging as the “The Climate Change Treaty” or more formally; “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), with more nations ratifying this global document than any other in the history of our world — for our environment. The idea behind the climate treaty is aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent change in our climate system.  It became The Kyoto Protocol, after a rocky history of trying to get the USA to ratify, but the distinctions between developing and developed countries made the playing field questionable, when developing giants like China and India would not have to play by the same rules as the USA, for more history click here.  The UNFCCC or FCCC roots grew back to The Earth Summit /Global Forum, formerly The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The acronym “UNCED” remained the joke that many told which summed up a strong underlying truth, of the outcome for many with the frustration of what was “UN-SAID” in the United Nations’ conferences. We believe at World Team Now name’s are significant.  What about a new name for what could become “The Copenhagen Treaty” (It would be nice if we could evolve past the place it was created, and call it something that could have meaning for all in the World;  like “The World’s Action Treaty for Environmental  Resources and Sustainability”, with the acronym; “WATERS”…. This name is more encompassing as it could allow the off set, trading game to apply to more than Climate Change but also to other environmental contaminants that affect our earth and humanity offing a reward for the clean up, and cost to pay for those who chose to take our collective resources.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Solar Energy: Here Comes the Sun

Our path for World Team Now is to create change, show it through the journey of teams of people, as they take on environmental and social projects.

 

Our pilot World Team project is the Malibu Solar Roof on “The Sunset Restaurant,” in 2009. Team World Corps'(“World Team Now’s”) first gala dinner event was held in December 2, 2007 at The Sunset. To learn more about the event and the Sunset Restaurant, click here:

 

http://worldteamnow.org/events/twcgala.html

 

Policy & Politics: Shining the Light on Solar Energy

 

A good for beginning real change in politics is to know that Congress passed an 8-Year Extension of Solar Investment Tax Credit

 

This historic legislation extends the 30-percent federal investment tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations for 8 more years.

 

This legislation will:

 

  • Extend for 8 years the 30-percent tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations;

 

  • Eliminate the $2,000 monetary cap for residential solar electric installations, creating a true 30-percent credit;

 

  • Eliminate the prohibition on utilities from benefiting from the credit;

 

  • Allow Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) filers, both businesses and families, to take the credit; and

 

  • Authorize $800 million for clean energy bonds for renewable energy generating facilities, including solar.

 

The energy presented with the Inauguration of President Obama is historical and represents the best of what can be united within us: unity within the possibility of freedom, and change for ALL.