• New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance

    While there is a growing market for organic solar cells ­­– they contain materials that are cheaper, more abundant, and more environmentally friendly than those used in typical solar panels – they also tend to be less efficient in converting sunlight to electricity than conventional solar cells. Now, scientists who are members of the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Read more
  • Know Your Rights

    Arizona law protects individual homeowners’ private property rights to solar access by dissolving any local covenant, restriction or condition attached to a property deed that restricts the use of solar energy. This law sustained a legal challenge in 2000. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of homeowners in a lawsuit filed by their homeowners association seeking to Read more
  • Home Battery Systems

    Rooftop solar panels are common in Arizona thanks to abundant sunshine, but to get even more use from the technology, homeowners are beginning to pair them with large home batteries. Batteries allow homeowners to store their surplus electricity, rather than send it to the grid in exchange for credit from their electric company. Read more
  • Solar Hot Water

    There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't. The typical solar water heater is comprised of solar collectors and a well-insulated storage tank. The solar collector is a network of pipes that gathers the sun's energy, transforms its radiation into heat, and then transfers that heat to either Read more
  • Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

    (Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009) Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit State: Federal Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies Applicable Sectors: Residential Amount: 30% Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service before 2009: $2,000Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximumSolar water heaters placed in service before Read more
  • Solar Building Design in Arizona

    The idea of using the sun to meet the energy needs in our buildings has been with us since the time of the Greeks, with some of the design manifestations even evident in the prehistoric structures of Arizona and the Southwest. There is a great historic tradition for Arizona buildings that utilize our most abundant resource, and the current increases Read more
  • How Not to- Battery Connections

    Photo shows the situation after a battery discharge test at 300 amps was terminated on a 1530 AH IBE battery string when one post melted. During the discharge test all cell voltages are logged. The sum of the cell voltages was 2.73 volts lower than the 48-volt string voltage. This is an average of 118 mv per inter-cell connection, 5-10 Read more
  • 1 New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance
  • 2 Know Your Rights
  • 3 Home Battery Systems
  • 4 Solar Hot Water
  • 5 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 6 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 7 How Not to- Battery Connections

Blogs

  1. Solar Center Blog
  2. Guest Blogs
Lucy Mason
06 January 2018

Wishing you a wonderful and Happy New Year!

The year 2017 has gone by quickly, and AriSEIA has accomplished a full and active agenda to further solar and renewable energy in Arizona. 

Geoff Sutton
25 November 2017

In the desert south-west the intense sunshine and long summer days result in uncomfortable and even dangerously high temperatures for about four months.


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Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

ASEA REBOOT

The Arizona Solar Energy Association (ASEA), State Chapter of the American Solar Energy Society ASES), will be holding meetings in a follow-up to the-long awaited updated ASES‚  Chapters handbook and directives.

ASES evolution, in response to some problematic economic and operational conditions, has resulted in a hearty and robust context for the present and the future. ASEA is now responding with an appropriate updating, through local and statewide discussion. 

Interim Chair, Andy Gerl, a past ASEA Chair and Board member, is making arrangements for Arizona solar advocates and supporters, members and non-members, to receive both an update re: ASES adaptation and changes, and to discuss solar in Arizona and the “reboot" of the ASEA  context, goals and objectives, within the context of varied renewable energy groups within the State, such as AriSEIA (the solar trade association); various sustainability groups; Green Building organizations; the recently formed solar hot water businesses non-profit entity; research and development at the universities; and others.

For more information about the ASEA Reboot discussions, contact Andy at andrew@blazingsolar.com  or 602-799-5942

 

Meetings:

Notices:

Environmental Achievement Recognition Award

Call for Entries

Is your business or organization a sustainability leader? The city of Scottsdale wants to honor your exemplary achievements.

The Environmental Quality Advisory Board is accepting nominations for its next Environmental Achievement Recognition Award. The award honors environmental excellence in areas such as green building, resource conservation and waste reduction. Eligible candidates include businesses, associations and organizations located in Scottsdale. Learn more about the award program and nominate a worthy candidate.

Past Award Recipient - Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

The Board's inaugural award recognized Hyatt Regency Scottsdale for the resort's many and diverse accomplishments that were "designed, engineered, cost analyzed and then approved by business executives because the return on investment made sense." The Hyatt was originally designed and constructed in the late 1980's. It was not until 2009 that a concerted effort was made towards energy efficiency and other green improvements starting with the installation of  a cool roof and solar thermal (hot water) system. The cool roof showed immediate results by reducing interior temperatures by 8-10 degrees, while the solar thermal panels supplied 100 percent of the domestic hot water used in the resort, providing for significant energy savings.

The green transformation continued with renovation of the guest rooms and other interior spaces, including installation of LED lighting, thermostats linked to occupancy/vacancy sensors, high efficiency plumbing fixtures, and textiles made with recycled materials. Seventy percent of the removed fixtures, textiles and building materials were recycled or donated to local organizations for reuse. Recycling containers were strategically placed throughout the resort, including every guest room.

The resort's Canyon Market began selling refillable beverage containers in lieu of plastic bottled water and water stations were installed  throughout the property. 28,000 square feet of turf grass was replaced with artificial turf resulting in 3.8 million gallons of water saved annually. The turf conversion also  increased the marketability of these areas as event spaces, thereby increasing revenue opportunities. The parking area was retrofitted with LED lighting and equipped with free electrical vehicle charging stations for guests and associates.

As a result of these and other improvements over a seven-year period, the Hyatt team reduced consumption of electricity by 20 percent, natural gas by 30 percent and water by 25 percent; and increased recycling by 15 percent.

Congratulations again to the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch!

Contact: Anthony Floyd, green building program manager, city of Scottsdale, afloyd@ScottsdaleAZ.gov, 480-312-4202.

You may also visit the Green Building Program at www.ScottsdaleAZ.gov, search "Green Building Program".

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Solar Electric (PV)

Photovoltaics (PV) covers the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry.

Solar electric has been a gaining strength for a number of years.  In the beginning, early adopters turned to solar for the independence or its environmental benefits: solar homeowners could live beyond the utility lines, and solar was a non-polluting resource.

The earliest adopters were almost exclusively people that lived beyond the reach of the utility lines.  Solar generated electricity and battery storage allowed people to live where ever they wanted. Land was cheaper beyond the power lines and even with the expense of solar, this made economic sense too many people looking to escape urban living. But, the numbers of people living off grid was still a small number.

Environmental concern represented the second wave of solar adopters – as people concerned about the impact their electrical demand was having on the planet turned to solar to lessen their carbon footprint.

According to a 2011 report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation, the International Panel on Climate Change calculated the life-cycle global warming emissions associated with renewable energy—including manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance, and dismantling and decommissioning—as minimal [1].

These findings were repeated in other research and data collected and reported on in peer studies over the past decade and helped fuel the environmental argument for solar energy.

The Union of Concerned Scientists compared the carbon dioxide emissions equivalent per kilowatt-hour for coal and renewable energy resources.

It is no surprise that coal is ranked the most polluting electricity generating resource and renewables the least. Coal emits more than 20 times as much carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of generation compared to the life-cycle carbon emissions for solar PV. The comparison between coal and wind is even greater. Coal emits 71 times more carbon dioxide than wind for each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated [2].

In addition, a study by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory explored the feasibility and environmental impacts associated with generating 80 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and found that global warming emissions from electricity production could be reduced by more than 80 percent [3].

The healthy alternative extended beyond the concern for the planet, the third wave of solar adopters included people looking for healthy alternatives for humankind.

This wave looked to generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels because of the  significant public health benefits.  From reduced premature mortality to lost workdays associated with breathing illnesses, the economic impact of fossil fuels on overall healthcare costs has been estimated at between $361.7 and $886.5 billion [4].

The last wave came was the during the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Solar PV offered the opportunity to re-tool America and create significant jobs as a result.

In 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an analysis of the economic benefits of a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025; it found that such a policy would create more than three times as many jobs as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels, resulting in a benefit of 202,000 new jobs in 2025 [5].

For the past two or three decades, the reasons for adopting solar have been growing stronger every day.  The tipping point is cost-parity and that day is not far off, and in some cases, it has already been realized.

References:

1.      Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2011. IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation.

2.      Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). 2009.

3.      National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 2012. Renewable Electricity Futures Study. Volume 1, pg. 210.

4.      Machol, Rizk. 2013. Economic value of U.S. fossil fuel electricity health impacts. Environment International 52 75–80.

5.      Environmental Protection Agency. 2010. Assessing the Multiple Benefits of Clean Energy: A Resource for States. Chapter 5.

 

For more information, follow the topics below.

Links about larger scale photovoltaic systems:

Some interesting uses of PV:

In Hot Water - Experiences of Solar Hot Water in Arizona

Summary of Presentation given at the World Renewable Energy Forum (WREF)/ASES Conference in Denver, CO in  May 2012
(Full presentation is available for download below.)

During a utility (APS and SRP) funded 2010 Pilot Study to assess SDHW installations for assuring compliance for RECs, it was determined that there was an extremely high rate of failure in meeting basic national guidelines (SRCC), and now with over thousands of audits executed since the Pilot study, there is critical information that needs to be shared with the various solar arenas in Arizona - utilities; governmental code and inspections departments; State licensing agencies; the solar equipment industry; and the design and construction industry; as well as outside Arizona - the nationally growing trade education element; utilities; state and local governmental agencies; and trade organizations in other states.

With the implementation of permanent programs by both Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS), the AzSC, acting as a 3rd party neutral resource, has executed over 3000 audits. The findings of this effort are significant, not only for Arizona but also for the larger community - nationally and possibly internationally - for both the solar industry and for the consumer.

The Forum established by the AzSC is intended to share Arizona's experience in various contexts with participation of Daniel Peter Aiello and Geoff Sutton of the AzSC, and Joel Dickinson of Salt River Project. The presentation describes lessons learned, and significant issues discovered that impact the ongoing viability of this technology for government, industry, and the consumer.

The presentation comes from different contexts:

  • The utility experience and viewpoint of lessons learned, issues discovered, and actions taken (and planned) within the context of meeting utility incentives programs requirements.
  • Lessons learned in the trenches, and issues found in the quality of work and industry practice.
  • Conditions and issues involved with the numerous "players" in this arena including the utilities, and those outside the utility context - Registrar of Contractors (ROC), solar equipment organizations and trade associations, building departments and the inspections systems, and the design/construction community.

Full presentation available for download here (7.97 MB PDF).

Handbook of Secondary Storage Batteries and Charge Regulators in Photovoltaic Systems

Photo courtesy NREL

Solar photovoltaic systems often require battery subsystems to store reserve electrical energy for times of zero insolation. This handbook is designed to help the system designer make optimum choices of battery type, battery size and charge control circuits. Handbook of Secondary Storage Batteries and Charge Regulators in PV Systems.

NOTE: All files are PDF format

Complete Handbook (4,337kb)

The following files are divided into sections for easier viewing and download if necessary:


Prepared by: Exide Management and Technology Company, 19 West College Avenue, P.O. Box 336 Yardley, Pennsylvania 19067. Work Performed for The U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185 Under Contract No. 13-2202. Originally Printed August 1981; Updated 2003 by AzSC Board Members Lane Garrett and Bill Kaszeta.

About

  • Welcome to the Arizona Solar Center

     This is your source for solar and renewable energy information in Arizona. Explore various technologies, including photovoltaics, solar water heating, solar architecture, solar cooking and wind power. Keep up to date on the latest industry news. Follow relevant lectures, expositions and tours. Whether you are a homeowner looking to become more energy efficient, a student learning the science behind the technologies or an industry professional, you will find valuable information here.
  • About The Arizona Solar Center

    Arizona Solar Center Mission- The mission of the Arizona Solar Center is to enhance the utilization of renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the state of Arizona. About the Arizona Solar Center- The Arizona Solar Center (AzSC) provides a broad-based understanding of solar energy, especially as it pertains to Arizona. Registered Read More
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