AMERICAN SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY SOLAR2008: DAY 1 - THE ONLY THING
Originally posted May 5.
Solar energy just keeps getting hotter. Opening day of Solar2008, the American Solar Energy Society’s annual conclave, was busy. Not frantic, just busy, like an industry with business to take care of. And its business is much more than just putting panels on everybody’s rooftops, though they clearly intend to do that, too.
It’s important to start with a great big BECAUSE: Why is solar getting hotter? BECAUSE the western states driving solar growth have something in common, a strong Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). An RES requires state utilities to obtain a specific percent of their energy from New Energy sources by a specific year. With it, energy producers from giant corporations and utilities planning huge solar power plants to small storefront solar panel and solar hot water systems installers can be sure of a customer base for the foreseeable future.
A national RES is just another of the crucial New Energy incentives, like the vital Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) and Production Tax Credits (PTCs), the present Congress has been unable to implement for the American people while the Bush administration has stood implacably by.
Sign a petition telling Congress to get down to business on New Energy incentives at Support Renewable Energy Tax Credits
There is a ton of action on the Solar2008 floor around solar hot water systems. Driven by the expiring of the federal incentives and by state policies that will run out at the end of 2008, solar advocates are urging installers and the marketplace forward. There probably has never been a better time to put in a solar hot water system, which is doing something as great for the earth as it is for the home utility bill bottom line.
click to enlarge
But that’s just the glimmer of sunrays on the rising sun of SOLAR2008.
Industry giants Conergy and Schuco are the big anchors on the sprawling Solar2008 exhibition floor. If the folks in those booths SEEM to be eyeing the system installers, panel makers and electronics companies a little too closely, it might be because they ARE. Rumor: Aggressive vertical integration is afoot and the Bigs are looking to buy every good company they can get their hands on.
There is no shortage of good companies on display, just like there is no shortage of good companies in any and every town. Looking for a good installer? Try Find Solar
Not sure what the right solar choice is? Try the best solar energy advocate spotted on the Solar2008 floor: California Center for Sustainable Energy. If they don't have the answer, they will find somebody who does. Their motto: Instilling passions and motivation to drive the business of green.
Notable name of the day: A couple of speakers in the Solar2008 Opening Plenary paid homage to a name that ought to be as well known as Al Gore's, Charles David Keeling. Keeling was the guy who did the original work tracking accumulations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Without Keeling, there would be no Al Gore.
Keeling was the first to do this work. (click to enlarge)
Two more highlights and then on to the heart of the conference and another report tomorrow.
Most interesting idea in solar panels: SunDrum Solar has a solar energy design that dissipates heat. If they can do what they claim, they can dramatically enhance efficiency. It's a big IF but it's the idea of the day. New concentrating solar panels also incorporate such design concepts. NewEnergyNews requires independent verification of the claims but does not doubt it's the right idea.
ReflecTech has a remarkable new aluminum reflective surface that could change the financing equation in solar power plants. For either parabolic troughs or flat surfaces, 1500 square feet of ReflecTech material rolls out of an 8 inch by 6 inch by 60 inch box and self-adheres to structural frames. Extensive testing has proven it exceptionally durable in comparison with the traditonal glass reflective surfaces with no loss in reflectance at a significantly lower price.
The day ended with a talk from Tom Kimbis, Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Program Office, who described the change in the solar energy industry as a change from the languid pace of a baseball game to the explosive drive of a championship horse race. Truer words were never spoken by a member of the Bush administration.
It IS a race and everybody in the solar energy industry knows it. It's a race against global climate change and peaking fossil fuel supplies. And like somebody once said, winning isn't everything - it's the ONLY thing.
Which is why NewEnergyNews is proud to be here with the folks from the solar energy industry, looking over the winning game plan.
On behalf of the American people, they've got to do better than this. (click to enlarge)
SOLAR 2008: CATCH THE CLEAN ENERGY WAVE
The American Solar Energy Society’s Solar 2008
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) plenary session speakers:
- Conference Opening Plenary: Donna Frye, San Diego City Councilmember; Irene Stillings, Executive Director, California Center for Sustainable Energy; Tom Kimbis, Program Manager, US DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program Office; John Reynolds, Chair, American Solar Energy Society; Tony Haymet, Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Molly Tirpak Sterkel, Supervisor, California Solar Initiative and Distributed Generation Section, California Public Utilities Commission
Opening Day at Solar 2008, the American Solar Energy Society annual conclave covering everything important in the world of solar energy.
- Solar 2008 Opening Day: May 4, 2008
- ASES was founded in 1954.
Illustration from the American Solar Energy Society's Climate Change paper. (click to enlarge)
Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108
ASES headquarters is Boulder, CO.
ASES is the U.S. affiliate of the International Solar Energy Society
Descriptions of the plenary sessions:
- Policy and Marketing Solutions: Renewable energy is taking off. With this success comes the need for smart policies and market sustainability…the opening plenary session one [covers] some of the hard issues and innovative strategies…
- Renewable Energy Technology Solutions: …An overview of the current state of the industry, and visions for where the industry will be in 20 years.
- Emerging Architecture: …the San Francisco Federal Building
- Emerging Transportation: The documentary Who killed the electric car? has mainstreamed interest in electric vehicles and has brought attention to the auto industry’s role in delaying the availability of clean renewably powered vehicles. Chris Paine, director of the film, and Chelsea Sexton, one of the main characters in the documentary will speak on their continuing efforts to promote vehicles that can be charged from renewable energy. Steve Heckeroth, Chair, Renewable Fuels and Sustainable Transportation Division will wrap up the plenary with a presentation the many advantages of solar electric mobility.
Few ways to tackle climate change better than solar energy. (click to enlarge)
- Vital new ASES report: Economic and Jobs Impacts of the Renewable and Energy Efficiency Industries
- Vital new ASES report: Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.; Potential U.S. Carbon Emissions Reductions from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency by 2030
- President Woodrow Wilson: "I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow."