Thursday, January 04, 2007

Powered by the Sun

Here's a story from that supports the position of investors that are bullish on alternative energies such as solar power.

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is thinking big about solar power.

The company put out an RFP (request for proposal) last month to solar electric suppliers and expects to receive responses early this month, according to a representative. The move is part of a long-term plan to convert to renewable energy sources.

Wal-Mart is keeping the details of the proposal under wraps as the process is still ongoing.

However, one person who saw the proposal said that if completed, it could amount to a significantly large installation--on the order of 100 megawatts of power over the next five years.

"To put that into perspective, the solar system currently being installed at Google headquarters in California--the largest single corporate solar installation in history--is 1.6 MW, about 1/60th the size," wrote Joel Makower, a clean-technology consultant who saw the proposal but is not bidding on it.

Makower said the Wal-Mart proposal called for a system that could be replicated across its stores in five states and make use of available roofing space.

Wal-Mart has set up experimental stores in McKinney, Texas, and Aurora, Colo. These stores are already using renewable power sources, including solar and wind.

"We will continue to use the learnings from those stores to find ways to achieve our renewable energy goals in our other stores across the nation," said spokesman Kory Lundberg.

Corporations take a shine to solar
Although Wal-Mart's bid may not result in any investment, the move is significant as an indicator of growing corporate interest in sustainable practices and technologies.

Installing solar power is a well understood--and potentially visible--way to use renewable energy. Aided by government incentives such as tax breaks, solar electric systems are becoming more cost-effective as solar companies devise new technologies and target specific markets.

Google's installation, for example, is supplied by Energy Innovations, which uses a solar concentrator design to make solar power systems for flat roofs like buildings in office parks.

Microsoft, too, has gotten into the solar game. Last year, it equipped its Silicon Valley headquarters with more than 2,000 solar panels capable of generating 480 kilowatts at peak capacity.

Renewable energy is central to Wal-Mart's environmental efforts as well. The company has a vice president of corporate strategy and sustainability, Andy Ruben, and its corporate policy is to reduce its "carbon footprint" and greenhouse gas emissions.

Its three specific, long-term environmental goals are: using 100 percent renewable energy; creating zero waste and selling products from sustainable resources.

In a speech in October of last year, Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott provided more detail on the company's short-term goals (click for PDF), including a commitment to invest $500 million a year in energy efficiency and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Scott said the company intends to reduce greenhouse gases from its retail locations around the world by 20 percent in the next seven years.

In the next four years, he said the company is working to develop building prototypes that will be 25 to 30 percent more energy efficient and produce up to 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.


Blogger Jay Draiman said...


In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
"Energy drives our entire economy." We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy."
Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy.

In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (this will also creat a substantial amount of new jobs) It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.

Jay Draiman
Northridge, CA. 91325

P.S. I have a very deep belief in America's capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis--the one in 1942--President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs)the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X's 5 hrs per day X's 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence..

9:01 AM  

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