On October 27, 2009, Rhone Resch - President & CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association -- declared, in the City of Anaheim, California, a Solar Bill of Rights...

And we find it very inspirational!

Here you go...

The Solar Bill of Rights

We declare these rights not on behalf of our companies, but on behalf of our customers and our country.  We seek no more than the freedom to compete on equal terms and no more than the liberty for consumers to choose the energy source they think best.

1.      Americans have the right to put solar on their homes or businesses. Restrictive covenants, onerous connection rules, and excessive permitting and inspections fees prevent many American homes and businesses from going solar.

2.      Americans have the right to connect their solar energy system to the grid with uniform national standards. This should be as simple as connecting a telephone or appliance. No matter where they live, consumers should expect a single standard for connecting their system to the electric grid.

3.      Americans have the right to Net Meter and be compensated at the very least with full retail electricity rates. When customers generate excess solar power utilities should pay them consumer at least the retail value of that power.

4.      The solar industry has the right to a fair competitive environment. The highly profitable fossil fuel industries have received tens of billions of dollars for decades. The solar energy expects a fair playing field, especially since the American public overwhelmingly supports the development and use of solar.

5.      The solar industry has the right to equal access to public lands. America has the best solar resources in the world, yet solar companies have zero access to public lands compared to the 45 million acres used by oil and natural gas companies.

6.      The solar industry has the right to interconnect and build new transmission lines. When America updates its electric grid, it must connect the vast solar resources in the Southwest to population centers across the nation.

7.     Americans have the right to buy solar electricity from their utility. Consumers have no choice to buy clean, reliable solar energy from their utilities instead of the dirty fossil fuels of the past.

8.      Americans have the right, and should expect, the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry. Consumers should expect the solar energy industry to minimize its environmental impact, provide systems that work better than advertised, and communicate incentives clearly and accurately.

Resch is president & CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. He made this statement before a gathering of thousands of industry professionals at the Solar Power International conference.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009 15:42

The Basics of Solar Electricity

Here's a lesson for you on the basics of solar electricity --

The direct conversion of sunlight into electricity is known as photovoltaics or PV for short...

Photovoltaics (PV) is a technology that uses semiconductors to convert solar radiation into direct current electricity.

If you live in south Florida, the next time you drive across Alligator Alley take note of the many small modules powering the lights along the road, or the next time you stop at a road construction site notice the modules powering the signage.

After many decades of improvement and a decrease in the cost, solar technology is becoming more common in the United States.
For the home, there are two categories of PV:

    1. Grid-tied - where the home is connected to the utility grid and supple- ments energy needs by generating its own electricity with photovoltaics; and
    2. Off-grid, where the home is located too far from the utility cable so it generates all of its own energy with PV systems and often other sources.

Residential and commercial grid-tied PV systems, or supplemental power systems, have become the largest growth sector for PV.

There are four major components that make up a batteryless, grid-tied PV system:

    1. PV modules
    2. The inverter
    3. A mounting system and
    4. The balance of system (or BOS).

The PV modules generate DC electricity from sunlight.

They are grouped and wired together into what is called a PV array. The DC electricity is converted to AC electricity by the inverter and fed to the utility.

Mounting systems are the structures that hold the PV modules and they vary depending upon the type of roof. Finally, the balance of the system includes the module wiring, combiners, junction boxes, and disconnects.

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