Ten Electric Utility Company Myths

Ten Electric Utility Company Myths

Electric utilities got their start in the U.S. in the 1880s. Thomas Edison began transmitting DC power as he literally illuminated the world. Then George Westinghouse (with help from Nikolai Tesla) deployed a better way of delivering electricity with AC power. Both Edison and Westinghouse went on to build tremendously successful companies, aptly named General Electric and Westinghouse Electric respectively. Although dominant in the 20th century, both companies have struggled in the 21st century. (more…)

Todd Lindstrom with Enable Energy

Todd Lindstrom with Enable Energy

Success in the solar industry requires leaders with a diverse skill set. Leaders must really understand the technology’s evolution, be effective with sales and marketing, coordinate what always seem to be chaotic operations, juggle financial issues and manage a growing team. I’m always interested in learning from people who have this diverse background — and have demonstrated success in the solar industry. (more…)

Battery Storage System Safety

Battery Storage System Safety

This week we’re talking about battery storage system safety. But first, a brief digression. As a contractor, the biggest safety concern that I have for all rooftop solar and battery systems is not necessarily with the solar panels or the batteries, but with fall protection. It’s an OSHA regulation that all workers must be secured with roof anchors and proper harnesses when working on rooftops. So make sure your solar contractor installs roof anchors during your installation so the people working on your roof are safe. Back to battery safety… (more…)

Can the Battery Storage Industry Avoid the Same Mistakes as the Solar Industry?

Can the Battery Storage Industry Avoid the Same Mistakes as the Solar Industry?

The battery storage industry is roughly where the solar industry was in the early 2000’s. It’s a tiny market now, with fewer than 1,000 grid-tied systems installed last year. Nevertheless, technology is evolving rapidly and investor funds are pouring in. There is tremendous money saving potential for customers — while at the same time risks for incumbent energy providers. (more…)

What are Microgrids?

What are Microgrids?

We call our power system an electric “grid” because it is composed of a network of wires that move the power around from node to node – basically a combination of power sources (natural gas power plants, solar farms, nukes), wires (long distance transmission lines and local distribution utility poles) and controls. Microgrids are the same concept but on a much smaller scale. (more…)

Solar and Battery Storage System Engineering with Josh Weiner of SepiSolar

Solar and Battery Storage System Engineering with Josh Weiner of SepiSolar

Solar and battery storage systems are constructed on-site with components from a number of different manufactures. It’s not as if one crate gets delivered to the job site and is simply plugged in. There are on the order of fifty different solar panel manufacturers, half a dozen inverter companies, a dozen racking companies, half a dozen battery companies, and a variety of monitoring and control software choices. Match that product variation up with three thousand different utilities and eighteen thousand cities in the U.S. and it becomes very apparent that there is no “one size fits all” system. (more…)