In this issue:
10 ELECTRIC CO-OPS
20 RESOURCE VALUE OF SOLAR
41 TECHNOLOGY: PANELS
A tale of two tours
Most days, my work as a solar editor is a desk job with a hot cup of coffee and a computer. But even with the World Wide Web and my extensive list of industry contacts, I think I learn the most when I get outside the office and see solar in person. Most days, my work as a solar editor is a desk job with a hot cup of coffee and a computer. But even with the World Wide Web and my extensive list of industry contacts, I think I learn the most when I get outside the office and see solar in person.
On top of this year’s solar trade shows, I had the opportunity to attend two tours. They were quite different from each other—one was an overseas adventure and the other a local trip in a senior center shuttle. Nevertheless, both helped shape my understanding of solar.
I had the opportunity to travel to Germany as a guest of igus, a manufacturer of plastic components used in motion applications, such as the bearings used in solar trackers. I have to commend its unique technology, and thank its team for being such gracious hosts—they didn’t have to take us to the Nürburgring race track or indulge us with so much Kölsch, but they did.
Along with the brilliant fall leaves, I saw lots of solar from the bus windows. Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and the German public staunchly support renewable development. This year the country has hit record days, during which 40 to 85% of all the electricity consumed was produced from renewables.
The crazy thing is that Ohio (location of SPW’s national HQ) receives 20% more sunlight than Germany over the course of the year, but you have to look pretty hard to find solar panels!
Our team did just that when we crashed a solar tour for a local suburb’s senior citizens. Nonprofit organization Green Energy Ohio put on the tour to help residents learn more about solar, and I thank them for letting us tag along. Even with Ohio’s relatively weak RPS, we saw a handful of homes and one business with solar during the tour. Although we were familiar with the technology, it was fascinating to hear the questions consumers had about solar, something many of you experience each day. We got a good idea of the work you do to educate consumers and earn every sale.
By immersing myself in markets big and small, I was able to see the way solar can blossom with the right policies, technology and public support. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get out and explore other solar markets, talk to professionals in other countries or even in other states or cities, and bring what you learn back to your hometown so solar can continue to grow.