Sunday, October 25, 2015


SOLAR POWER NEWSLETTER #1, October 25, 2015,
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and ECOLOGY.

(479) 442-4600
2582 Jimmie Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Contents of Solar Power Newsletter #1, October 25, 2015
Philip Warburg, Harness the Sun.  2015.
Lester Brown et al., The Great Transition.  2015.
Frank Kelly, “Solar Future”
Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project
Solar Electric Panels Research at UAF.  2013
Tech Rev., Solar Cheaper in Developing Countries.  2012.
Solar Power by 2060.  2011.
Hermann Scheer Died.  2010.

Dear friends - I am attaching, below, a great book review, by Amory Lovins, of what appears to be an excellent book titled “Harness the Sun,” by Philip Warburg.  Just in case you are unable to open the attachment, I’m also copying the review into this email.  Peace - Art  
Harness the Sun: America’s Quest for a Solar-Powered Future by Philip Warburg. Beacon Press, 2015. 251 pp.
SCIENCE 9 OCTOBER 2015 • VOL 350 ISSUE 6257 169 Harness the Sun America’s Quest for a SolarPowered Future Philip Warburg Beacon Press, 2015. 251 pp. I n 1931, Thomas Edison remarked, “I would put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of energy!” He was right, but early. In 2014, only 0.5% of U.S. electricity was derived from solar energy. Yet even a little can be highly disruptive. For example, solar power production upended the business models and market value of major European utility companies before reaching even 5% of German power generation. Solar power worldwide is scaling up faster than cellphones. Rooftop solar power has lately been adopted in Australia at an average per-capita rate 10 times that of California, reaching 90% of homes in some areas. And while solar power added 32% of new U.S. generating capacity in 2014, in 2013 alone, China added more photovoltaic (PV) capacity than the United States has added since Bell Laboratories unveiled the first modern solar cell in 1954. PV panels are popping up everywhere— not just on roofs and roadsides but in inner cities, tribal lands, and military bases. A summary of what’s happening and what it means has long been overdue, and Philip Warburg’s readable and engaging Harness the Sun admirably fills this need. His more than 120 interviews vividly portray the diverse motives, beliefs, styles, and methods of a host of entrepreneurs, activists, and ordinary citizens promoting American solar energy. The fastest-growing U.S. energy source, solar power is rapidly creating income and jobs. The solar industry’s pace drives and is driven by steeply falling prices (low prices make us buy more PVs, so they get cheaper, so we buy more, and so on). Spurred by German success, which inspired massive Chinese production, solar modules went on a price path akin to sneakers, falling more than 100-fold since 1975 and by 80% just in the past 5 years. Warburg’s lucid explanations of both PV and concentrating solar plants—whose mirrors or lenses focus solar light or heat onto a boiler—offer readers a broad context for understanding solar energy. He breaks down manufacturing processes, explains federal subsidies, explores ways to make solar panels affordable for renters and low-income communities, describes net metering (in which customers sell solar energy back to the grid), and insightfully dissects domestic solar politics and international trade disputes. Some of the facts that Warburg presents are startling, like the EPA’s finding of 5.5 trillion watts of solar-energy potential on U.S. lands believed to be contaminated with hazardous wastes (“brownfield sites”). But almost none of these facts are wrong. I had only a few quibbles. In chapter 5, Warburg refers to a study conducted by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that claims that in order to supply 100% of America’s power needs from the sun, solar installations would need to be erected on ~0.6 percent of the country’s total land area. He argues, therefore, that “we shouldn’t expect solar arrays on buildings, parking lots, and brownfields to satisfy all our electricity needs.” However, the NREL study actually excluded parking lots, which, by my calculation, could provide up to about half of U.S. electricity, especially at today’s >21% module efficiency rather than the 13.5% that NREL assumed in 2008. Additionally, Warburg notes that ground-mounted PVs “blanket” up to half the land they occupy, but as he mentions later on, nearly all their total land use can be simultaneously used for livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, or other functions. And finally, in chapter 9, Warburg says that solar power costs more than gas power unless externalities are counted, but Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a half-dozen major financial houses have found that utilityscale solar, now averaging under a nickel per kilowatt-hour, generally beats gas plants’ lifetime cost even without valuing carbon or the volatility of gas prices. It’s true that this estimate includes a federal solar subsidy (which is set to fall from 30% to 10% after 2016), but permanent subsidies for nonrenewable energy sources are generally larger. Warburg’s graceful, diverse, wide-ranging, and well-balanced storytelling artfully fits a complex topic into 192 pages of text, which is easily digested in a sitting. That’s a valuable service to a society rife with solar myths, many deliberately manufactured. In a second edition, I’d suggest adding an index and three expansions. It would be worth discussing how the resilience of distributed renewables is vital not just for military bases but for all citizens. Of the billion-odd watts of rooftop solar power in New Jersey, for example, over 90% survived Superstorm Sandy, but not a solar watt worked without grid power. The utility companies that required solar power to depend on the grid are now moving to adopt industry consensus standards that let rooftop PVs work safely with or without the grid. Warburg fails to discuss flexible loads, distributed thermal storage, and other cheap substitutes for bulk electrical storage, whose supposed necessity is variable renewables’ greatest myth. And finally, Warburg’s sketch of how business models will transform to incorporate renewable energy resources just scratches the surface of a rich and important topic. But these are small gaps in what is ultimately an important and timely contribution to the public understanding of solar power. 10.1126/science.aad0474 A bright future RENEWABLE ENERGY Solar farms can be built to accommodate livestock grazing and the habitats of native wildlife. By Amory B. Lovins The reviewer is at Rocky Mountain Institute, Snowmass, CO 81654, USA. E-mail: ablovins@rmi.orgThe rise of solar energy and the path ahead for America’s renewable energy sector PHOTO: HYKOE/ISTOCKPHOTO Published byAAAS on October 25, 2015 


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The Great Transition:
Lester R. Brown (Author, Earth Policy Institute)

The great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way.
As oil insecurity deepens, the extraction risks of fossil fuels rise, and concerns about climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old economy, fueled by oil, natural gas, and coal is being replaced with one powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
The Great Transition details the accelerating pace of this global energy revolution. As many countries become less enamored with coal and nuclear power, they are embracing an array of clean, renewable energies. Whereas solar energy projects were once small-scale, largely designed for residential use, energy investors are now building utility-scale solar projects. Strides are being made: some of the huge wind farm complexes under construction in China will each produce as much electricity as several nuclear power plants, and an electrified transport system supplemented by the use of bicycles could reshape the way we think about mobility.
·         Paperback
·         April 2015
·         5.5 × 8.2 in / 192 pages

“Solar future bright:  Renewable energy can benefit all” by FRANK KELLY, Special to the Democrat-Gazette
   There are many shining examples of community power networks paving the way to the distributed generation frontier. States, cities and neighborhoods across the country are implementing new policies and programs to give renewable-energy developers a spot on the playing field.
    As a customer with a net-metering facility, I create electricity from solar electric panels on my roof. If my facility consumes the electricity, I avoid buying kilowatts from the utility. If the electricity generation is in excess of what I need, it goes back to the utility for credit against those kilowatts I need at night or when the sun is not shining. At the end of each billing period, the amount of kilowatts I received from the utility is offset by the amount of kilowatts I sent back.
    By entering into long-term purchase agreements for the total generation from the renewable-energy system instead of trading kilowatt hours back and forth like we have with net-metering, it would only mean sharing generation capability with independent system owners.
    The Arkansas Renewable Energy Association is one of those groups working tirelessly to help raise the top-of-mind awareness of fellow Arkansans to think more about how their electricity is generated. Once there is an understanding of the real numbers associated with the democratization of energy generation, there is the realization that we should be promoting this, for diversification reasons alone.
    Solar energy generated by rooftop solar panels is something that most Americans can access. This should come as no surprise given the falling costs of solar over the last few years. There is little reason to insert a leasing component into a plan that should end with system ownership being retained by the person wanting a little energy independence and protection from future electricity price increases.
    Rooftop solar system owners continue to pay for the privilege of being connected to the grid through a monthly customer charge that includes a state sales tax. What the utility is getting out of the roof-mounted solar electric systems are kilowatt hours being created at numerous locations around the state. There are no line losses since excess generation flows to the next consuming customer, not back to the substation and then out again.
    Distributed generation from rooftop solar electric systems requires no new utility-owned infrastructure. It lightens the load on the transmission lines, allowing existing equipment to continue in service longer, reducing stress on the lines, and delaying the need for additional grid infrastructure improvements. Rooftop solar electric systems generate electricity during the time of day when it is needed most.
    If Arkansas wants to diversify how our electricity is generated, we should move to enact incentives to promote more renewable-energy installations instead of carrying on with electric utility cartel deterrents. Owners of renewable-energy systems take their own funds or, if necessary, borrow funds to invest, insure, upkeep, and maintain their renewable energy systems. These ownership costs are not borne by other electric utility customers.
    The benefits of rooftop solar electric systems are beneficial to all parties whether they own their own system or not. The most economical and effective policies reward renewable-energy electricity production with an added Renewable Energy Payment (REP). A contract for a REP on your individually owned renewable-energy system would breeze through the lending approval process. A REP stimulus would only be needed for a limited number of years.
    Enacting policy that puts the electric meter as the only thing between the generation and the reward cuts out many middlemen and as much of the present bureaucracy. The price of rooftop solar electric systems has never been lower. All across Arkansas, if your site is suitable for a rooftop solar electric system, you can prepay all or a portion of your next 30 or more years of on-site energy needs at a lower cost than what you are paying your local electricity provider now. That, my friends, is what the utilities are afraid of.
    Any state with an existing netmetering policy should absolutely focus on eliminating the artificial barriers that the electric utility cartel currently has on the books. Arkansas’ own net-metering rules need intervention. Do we have any folks in charge that care enough about it?
    Embracing and promoting efficient, effective, sustainable, and temporary policy incentives that reward the production of electricity from independent renewable energy systems should be enacted.
    Frank Kelly is chairman of the Arkansas Renewable Energy Association.


Dear Dick,
We'll make this one quick: with all the posts about the Olympics, awards shows, and everyone's kids, there's a good chance you might have missed some important social media updates on the climate crisis.
Well, today we rounded up a couple of our top posts from the last few weeks that are too important to building a clean energy future to have gotten lost in the mix.
Share these images on your Facebook account by clicking the "Share" button.
Climate Reality
In just seven years, wind energy in the United States increased by over 600% -- while solar energy increased by over 1000%. Renewables are the future of clean energy -- all we need to do is act.

Does someone you know constantly say renewables aren't a viable option? Share this graphic with them to prove them wrong.
Climate Reality
Carbon pollution is driving climate change, transforming our weather, disrupting our livelihoods, and threatening our future. The culprit? Dirty power plants that are allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air.

But today, you can do something about it. Tell the EPA you support limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.
And make sure you have "liked" the Climate Reality Facebook page to get more posts like these to share with your friends.
Climate Reality
Locked in turmoil three years ago, Morocco is now setting the standard in progressive environmental policies and set a target of having 42 percent of its energy capacity come from renewables by 2020.

We asked our Facebook community what their country, city, or community is doing to follow Morocco's example. Check out what people are saying here.
Climate Reality
If you haven't heard, the comment period for the Social Cost of Carbon has been extended to February 26. This gives us more time to make sure supporters speak up for a government that counts how carbon pollution is costing us every day.

If you haven't already, add your voice right now.
Our Facebook page is a great place to stay up to date on our day-to-day actions -- as well as what's going on with the movement for a safer climate.
Thank you for all that you do for our future,
The Climate Reality Team


Solar Electric Panels get Awards
SunShot Initiative Shines on Silicon Solar Solutions
U of A-affiliated earns $500,000 Energy Department award
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded one of its SunShot Incubator Awards to Silicon Solar Solutions LLC, a start-up company affiliated with the University of Arkansas. The award is the result of the company’s patent-pending process to increase the efficiency of solar cells.
The award could ultimately lead to new high tech manufacturing jobs in Northwest Arkansas.
Silicon Solar Solutions received $500,000 for the award, which is targeted for early-stage assistance to help startup companies commercialize their inventions while encouraging private sector investment.
Silicon Solar Solutions, a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park, is the first company in the state to receive a SunShot Incubator Award.
“This is the most prestigious and competitive award a solar startup can receive,” said Douglas Hutchings, chief executive officer of Silicon Solar Solutions. “Our goal is to prove our technology on industrial cells and work towards Arkansas-based manufacturing of the equipment.”
Hutchings founded Silicon Solar Solutions in 2008 while a graduate student at the University of Arkansas. In January, the company submitted an application for a full patent on a self-aligned hydrogenated selective emitter for N-type solar cells.
The emitter, invented by Seth Shumate, chief technology officer for Silicon Solar Solutions, could improve the efficiency of solar cells by 15 percent and could save an average-sized solar panel manufacturer $120 million annually, making the panels, and solar energy, more affordable for consumers, Hutchings said.
If successful, the emitter represents the single largest technology leap in solar power in 40 years, according to Hutchings. 
The tool will be marketed through Picasolar Inc., a sister company also located at the research park that shares the same senior management and board of directors as Silicon Solar Solutions.
Hutchings said the company’s next move is to raise $2 million from private investors or strategic partners. This would allow his company to partner with an equipment manufacturer to prove if the technology can be scaled for production in the marketplace. 
“We’ve proven the process in the lab using low-cost manufacturing techniques and we’re confident the process will work in the marketplace.”
The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to drive innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Department of Energy supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.
Since 2007, more than 50 American start-ups have participated in the SunShot Incubator Program – attracting more than $1.7 billion in private sector backing, or nearly $18 for every $1 of government support. The Energy Department is investing more than $12 million across 17 companies to help commercialize a wide range of technologies and services– from online tools that can map a rooftop’s solar potential in seconds to automated installation systems for utility scale photovoltaic plants.
“The tremendous growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is helping to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future that protects our air and water and provides affordable clean energy to more and more Americans,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is an important part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and will help ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation.”
Hutchings earned a doctorate in microelectronics-photonics at the University of Arkansas in 2010. Shumate is a doctoral student in the microelectronics-photonics program, offered by the College of Engineering and J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.


Douglas Hutchings, chief executive officer 
Silicon Solar Solutions 
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor 
University Relations 

Subject: In the Developing World, Solar Is Cheaper than Fossil Fuels - Technology Review  Friday, January 27, 2012

“Solar May Produce Most of World’s Power by 2060, IEA Says”
By Ben Sills - Aug 29, 2011 5:10 AM PTSolar generators may produce the majority of the world’s power within 50 years, slashing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment, according to a projection by the International Energy Agency.
Photovoltaic and solar-thermal plants may meet most of the world’s demand for electricity by 2060 -- and half of all energy needs -- with wind, hydropower and biomass plants supplying much of the remaining generation, Cedric Philibert, senior analyst in the renewable energy division at the Paris-based agency, said in an Aug. 26 phone interview.
“Photovoltaic and concentrated solar power together can become the major source of electricity,” Philibert said.“You’ll have a lot more electricity than today but most of it will be produced by solar-electric technologies.”
The solar findings, set to be published in a report later this year, go beyond the IEA’s previous forecast, which envisaged the two technologies meeting about 21 percent of the world’s power needs in 2050. The scenario suggests investors able to pick the industry’s winners may reap significant returns as the global economy shifts away from fossil fuels.
The 17 members of the Bloomberg Large Solar Energy Index have a combined market value of about $27 billion compared with the $2.2 trillion of the MSCI World Energy Index’s 119 member companies.
Under the forecasted scenario, which Philibert will set out in more detail at a conference in Kassel, Germany, on Sept. 1, most heating and transport will switch from dirtier fossil fuels to cleaner electric power. Carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector would fall to about 3 gigatons per year compared with about 30 gigatons this year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sills in Madrid at

HERMANN SCHEER DIED,  leader of German solar movement.  Amy Goodman devoted entire program to him 10-15-10

Saturday, October 24, 2015


for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
Compiled by Dick Bennett

Blog:   189427 pageviews - 1539 posts, last published on Oct 18, 2015 
(479) 442-4600
2582 Jimmie Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

A few UN Achievements marked by UN Days: International Women’s Day, International Youth Day, World Press Freedom Day, World Water Day.  UN Days bring together world cooperation for the conserving and enlargement of life.

Contents of UN Day Newsletter #8, October 24, 2015
Ban Ki-moon Celebrates UN’s 70th
Following Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
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Ban Ki-moon marks UN at 70
"National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world.  But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us. That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea. Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity."
- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message for UN Day
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High-level thematic debate on Maintenance of International peace and security
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at high-level thematic debate on maintenance of international peace and security.
Commemoration of the 2015 International Day for the Total elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the General Assembly Commemoration of the 2015 International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
In the news
Marking the 70th anniversary of the Organization ahead of UN Day on 24 October, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there is only one flag that belongs to everyone – the blue flag of the United Nations.

In the wake of catastrophic war, and following months of intense negotiations, representatives of 51 countries laboured in 1945 to overcome differences and founded an enduring global institution for peace, security and human progress. They called it the United Nations. A new photo exhibit opening at UN Headquarters in November takes a look back at the Organization’s 70-year journey and some of the formative events that shaped its history.

Ahead of UN Day, marked annually on 24 October, the United Nations announced today that around 200 iconic monuments, buildings, museums, bridges and other landmarks in nearly 60 countries around the world will be lit up blue – the official colour of the Organization – as part of a global campaign to commemorate its 70th anniversary.

During a visit to the capital of Slovakia today, the United Nations Secretary-General inaugurated an exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of Organization, featured at the National Council of the Slovak Republic.

Ban Ki-moon's speeches

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
"In many respects, the world is shifting beneath our feet. Yet the Charter remains a firm foundation for shared progress.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in remarks at the General Assembly debate on the maintenance of international peace and security, 01 Oct'15
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