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Archive for the ‘Renewable Energy’ Category.

The UK Backs Off Plan to Drop Solar Thermal

Backers of solar thermal in the UK have spent the better part of the last six months lobbying their government to prevent solar thermal from being removed from the UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) program. The program is similar to the various tax and credit programs local governments in the U.S. offer for renewable energy installations. UK authorities were planning to drop solar thermal from RHI in 2017 so that money being spent to promote it could be invested elsewhere.

The Solar Trade Association led a coalition of lobbyists to convince UK officials to change their plans. The Association began their efforts in earnest with government consultation this past March, bolstered by the support of business owners opposed to the plan.

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The typical business owner installing solar thermal in the UK breaks even at about seven years with RHI incentives. In other words, it only takes about seven years for a solar thermal installation to pay for itself. Without RHI incentives, it could take three times as long. The Solar Trade Association and its army of lobbyists argued that eliminating solar thermal from the RHI would prompt business owners to avoid new installations.

Now that the UK government has agreed not to drop solar thermal, there are high hopes for significant expansion in the commercial market. The Solar Trade Association now expects to see the growth it was projecting prior to the March consultation, growth that could help the UK reach its target of 12% renewable heat by 2020.

The Government Incentive Question

Questions about whether government should subsidize solar thermal installations are not unique to the UK. We see the same kinds of things being wrestled with here. Only here, things are a bit more complicated due to the way things are regulated at the federal, state and local levels.

Energy credits are typically the domain of state governments in that utilities are regulated at the state level. However, it’s very common for counties and local municipalities to throw their own credits in as well. The question is always one of how much to spend on incentives and to whom those incentives should be offered.

Here at Solar America Solutions, we have proven that our patented SunQuest 250 solar thermal panel is so efficient and produces so much thermal energy, that systems we have installed have provided a return on investment of less than five years even without government subsidies. However, governments that commit funds to renewable energy demonstrate to the public their support of seeking replacement energy sources that do not rely on fossil fuels.

Solar Thermal in America

Solar America Solutions has been a leader in solar thermal technology since our inception. Here in America, the industry is more focused on commercial applications than residential, which is why our company concentrates on commercial buildings including prison facilities, healthcare facilities, office buildings, dormitories, hotels, and the like.

As solar thermal grows in this country, we are proud to be part of the industry. Our patented SunQuest 250™ solar thermal collector is the best of its type in the business, capable of providing up to 35,000 BTUs per hour per panel, across a ten-hour solar day. Combined with the right equipment and a well-designed installation, the SunQuest 250™ can provide nearly all the space heat and hot water a commercial building requires.

UK government and industry officials have come to realize how important solar thermal is to future renewable energy goals. That’s why they have changed course and are now agreeing to include solar thermal in their RHI program. We would do well to learn from their example. Solar thermal is just as important to the future of renewable energy in the U.S.

Sources:

1.Sun & Wind Energy – http://www.sunwindenergy.com/solar-thermal/solar-thermal-to-stay-uk-renewable-heat-incentive

Walmart to Ramp up Renewable Energy Use

Like so many other companies, Walmart used the occasion of Earth Day 2013 to announce plans to ramp up their use of renewable energy. America’s mega-retailer plans to increase its use of renewable energy sources to 7 billion kWh across all of its operations. The plan for the company is to be completely free of all non-renewables by the end of 2020.

Walmart already uses renewables for about 21% of their total power needs. That’s impressive when you consider the number was closer to 2% just a few years ago. The company is taking advantage of a variety of technologies including wind and solar.

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Solar America Solution’s SunQuest 250 evacuated tube solar collector would be the perfect fit for new installations at Walmart outlets, or even retro-fitting existing stores. Currently our systems are proving successful in agricultural, manufacturing, hospitality, and government applications. In fact, we have outfitted everything from a state prison campus to a working poultry farm.

Our evacuated tube technology is the most advanced and most efficient system in the industry. By using evacuated tubes, we are able to capture the energy generated by the sun’s Ultra-Violet (UV) rays, putting it to use rather than letting it escape into the atmosphere. What’s more, our system works even on cool and cloudy days because no direct sunlight or heat is necessary. The SunQuest 250 takes advantage of UV rays, which easily penetrate cloud cover and are present even on the coldest days.

One of our systems perched atop a Walmart could provide the space heating and hot water needs of the store without much modification.

Solar Power Is Good for Business

It is important to know that Walmart’s primary motivation for increasing renewable energies is one of good business. With the price of traditional energy off the grid continuing to rise, Walmart saves money by taking advantage of less expensive renewable sources. Although that may not sound as noble as a company motivated purely by environmental desires, it is the real world nonetheless.

Most of the systems Solar America Solutions has installed have been based on our customers wanting to save money. Renewable energy sources offer tremendous long-term savings over fossil fuels and, at the same time can significantly reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gases. For example, when a business installs our SunQuest systems, only equipment and installation labor is being paid for. The unit generates its own energy that, in turn, reduces or eliminates what the client pays for energy. The savings more than pays for the entire system in less than five years.

Walmart’s desire to use only renewable energy sources by the end of the decade is one that makes good sense. There’s no telling how much of that energy they will be producing on their own, and how much they will be procuring from other sources. However, one thing is for sure: it is saving the company money and is environmentally responsible.

If you are interested in what Solar America Solutions can do for your company, we would be happy to sit down and discuss your needs with you. We have the right combination of technology and equipment to provide something optimal for your needs and budget.