October 2011 “Solar Myths Debunked”

Published October 18, 2011

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Solar panel
Photo of the Month: October 2011

During our third annual solar tour, father and son overlook the solar panels installed on Street Dixon Rick Architecture in Nashville.   



8 Myths About Solar Energy 


The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) helps debunk these solar myths:


MYTH #1: There are no jobs created by the solar industry.
FACT: Today, the solar industry employs more than 100,000 Americans, double the amount of solar workers in 2009. They work at more than 5,000 companies, the vast majority being small businesses, in all 50 states. The industry grew by 69 percent in the past year, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. economy.  

MYTH #2: Solar only works in states like California.
FACT: Solar energy works in all 50 states. Germany has more installed solar capacity than any other country and it receives roughly the same amount of sunshine as Alaska. Less than one-third of the photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2011 was installed in California. In fact, more PV was installed on commercial buildings in New Jersey than in California during that quarter.  

MYTH #3: The market for solar energy is very small.
FACT: The U.S. solar energy market is big and growing fast. In 2010 alone, $6 billion worth of finished solar energy systems were installed in the U.S. The U.S. solar energy market grew 69 percent in the second quarter of 2011, helping aid our economic recovery. In fact, many analysts project that the U.S. will become the largest solar market in the world in the next few years.  

MYTH #4: Solar energy is too expensive for widespread usage.
FACT: Solar energy is already cost effective in many locations across America. The price of solar modules has dropped 30 percent since the beginning of 2010 as the industry scales up and companies innovate with new products and manufacturing techniques. Also, new financing options allow homeowners and businesses to start saving money on their utility bills as soon as they turn on their solar systems.  

MYTH #5: If solar power really worked, it wouldn’t need government support.
FACT: The U.S. decided long ago to support energy sources since energy drives our economy. Every major energy source and technology has benefited from federal government R&D support and incentives of various types. This is true of the oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear and biofuels industries-all of which continue to receive government support today.  

MYTH #6: Solar products are all made in China.
FACT: The U.S. was a significant net exporter of solar products in 2010, including to China. Total U.S. exports of solar energy products was $5.6 billion, with net exports totaling $2 billion. Of the $6 billion in direct value created by U.S. solar installations in 2010, more than $4.4 billion, or 75 percent of the value, accrued to the United States.
MYTH #7: Solar devices require more energy to manufacture than they produce in their lifetime.
FACT: Studies have conclusively demonstrated that energy payback for photovoltaic (PV) energy is now less than three years. Given that PV module warranties are generally in excess of 20 years, a PV system will produce far more energy over its lifetime than was consumed to manufacture it. Technological progress is reducing the energy consumption of PV manufacturing further. Energy output and input ratios for concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar water heating equipment are also favorable.
MYTH #8: Solar energy needs a technological revolution to go mainstream.
FACT: Solar technologies available today already provide enough electricity to power 630,000 American homes. Solar panel prices have fallen 30 percent in the past year and a half. No scientific breakthroughs are required for solar energy to power America. Solar is ready and available today; it only needs smart and consistent policy to thrive.

Source: http://www.seia.org


Tell TVA to Support Renewable Energy

 Urge TVA to Increase Renewable Energy Support

Last week LightWave Solar sent an email asking you to sign a petition that urges the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to prioritize investment in clean, renewable power.
We received a great response with over 250 signatures signed in the following days.  Thanks to everyone who signed!  If you haven’t yet signed, please read on…
Tennessee Environmental Council created the petition in response to TVA’s recent announcement of a 75% cutback in funding for their Generation Partners Program in 2011; this follows a cut of 80% in 2010.

Generation Partners supports homeowners and businesses that install small-scale renewable generating sources on their property. The program also makes clean, renewable power available to TVA consumers and creates jobs in green power generation.

LightWave Solar has seen first-hand the job creation and growth as a result of TVA’s Generation Partners program. Please click the link below to sign this petition.  TVA is a public utility and will consider public opinion.


Thank you for your support.


 Renewable Energy Reaches Milestone 

According to the most recent issue of “Monthly Energy Review” by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through June 30, 2011, renewable energy has passed another milestone as domestic production is now significantly greater than that of nuclear power and continues to close in on oil.


During the first half of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass & biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 4.687quadrillion Btus of energy or 12.25% of U.S. energy production. By comparison, renewables accounted for 11.05% of domestic production during the first half of 2010 and 10.50% during the first half of 2009. (On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.45% of total U.S. energy use.)


More significantly, energy production from renewable energy sources in 2011 was 17.91% more than that from nuclear power, which provided 3.975 quadrillion Btus and has been declining in recent years. Energy from renewable sources is now equal to 79.83% of that from domestic crude oil production, with the gap closing rapidly.


Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), production of renewable energy, including hydropower, has increased by 15.02% compared to the first half of 2010, and by 22.79% when compared to the first half of 2009. Among the renewable energy sources, biomass and biofuels accounted for 46.04% in 2011 (54% from biomass and 46% from biofuels), followed by hydropower (37.00%), wind (13.40%), geothermal (2.33%), and solar (1.22%).


Looking at just the electricity sector, according to the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly,” with data through June 30, 2011, for the first half of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 13.97% of net U.S. electrical generation – up 26.14% from the same period in 2010. Hydropower accounted for 8.94% of U.S. electrical generation, followed by wind at 3.24%, biomass at 1.33%, geothermal at 0.41%, and solar at 0.04%. Thus, non-hydro renewables accounted for 5.02% of net U.S. electrical generation. Comparing the first six months of 2011 to the first six months of 2010, solar-generated electricity expanded by 43.6%, wind by 35.1%, hydropower by 30.3%, and geothermal by 4.9%; only biomass dropped – by 4.4%.


By comparison, nuclear power’s contribution to net U.S. electrical generation totaled 19.12% representing a decline of 3.8% compared to the first half of 2010 and a drop of over 5% compared to the first half of 2009. Similarly, coal-generated electricity also dipped by 4.8% from its mid-year 2010 level while natural gas increased by 2.4%.


“Notwithstanding a few high-profile set-backs such as the recent collapse of the solar company Solyndra, U.S. governmental investments in renewable energy sources have proven to be highly profitable and are yielding stellar returns,” said Ken Bossong, Executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Ongoing and expanded public support is certainly warranted, particularly in light of the risks posed by continued reliance on environmentally dangerous sources such as nuclear power and fossil fuels.”


Source: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly

LightWave Insider is a monthly online newsletter from LightWave Solar bringing you news and information about the solar industry.  

Where We’ll Be…

Solar Power Int’l 2011
Oct 17-20
Dallas, TX
More info here  

NEXT Awards
Tues, Oct 18, 5:30 pm
Renaissance Nashville Hotel
More info here

TN Sustainable Economy Summit

Oct 28-29 

Lipscomb University

More info here


TN Green Building Summit

Tues, Oct 25

Opryland Radisson

More info here


Nature at Noon

Thurs, Nov 3, 12-1pm

Ellington AG Center

More info here


Solar 101 Workshop 
Sat, Nov 5, 10-11am 

Bells Bend Outdoor Center
More info here 


Living Well Marketplace

Sat, Nov 19 

Factory at Franklin

More info here    



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