Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Federal Agency Just Put America's Solar Power Industry in Danger

The future of solar power in the U.S. was thrown into question Friday by a closely watched federal ruling. The International Trade Commission, an agency that advises on some trade issues, ruled that Chinese solar panel (like GOAL ZERO NOMAD 13 ) imports threaten American manufacturers, giving the White House authority to impose a tariff on imports of solar panel. Such a measure would dramatically increase the cost of solar panels in the U.S., making the electricity source less competitive with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.

The case was brought by two U.S. solar panel manufacturers — Suniva and SolarWorld — that have struggled to compete in recent years as Chinese manufacturers slashed solar panel prices and U.S. energy companies bought and installed them. "Without temporary relief, there will likely be no existing American [solar] cells or modules industry within a short period of time," wrote Suniva in a federal complaint. "Relief is necessary to prevent the permanent loss of a competitive domestic industry."

While the ruling could protect American solar panel manufacturers from foreign competition, it could also threaten other sectors of the solar power industry — and renewable energy in the U.S. as a whole. Thousands of Americans rely on the solar industry for jobs installing, repairing and operating solar panels, whether those panels are made in the U.S. or not. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has claimed that a tariff could cost 88,000 U.S. solar jobs of more than 250,000 employed in the industry. (Solar panel manufacturing accounts for about 8,000 of those 250,000 jobs.)

"If you were to double the price of a solar module, it would have massive negative impacts for 99% of the solar supply chain,” said Amy Grace, head of North American research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm, before the decision. “You would be cutting off your entire body to save your pinky.”

The decision on whether to impose a tariff now falls to the Trump administration. And while President Trump has not yet said what he will do, many observers expect him to impose a harsh tariff, based on his repeated questioning of free trade, barbs directed at China and promise to restore American manufacturing. Still, that move would face major pushback from conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which have publicly opposed a solar tariff. A bipartisan group of governors has also raised concerns about the effect of a tariff on jobs in their states.

"Tariffs today would amount to nothing more than a crony capitalist giveaway," conservative groups including Heritage and Alec said in a September open letter. "They would be paid for by crippling an otherwise growing domestic solar industry."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


In an effort to ameliorate the ongoing Gazan energy crisis, the World Bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company and the Palestinian Authority to launch a $2.5-million solar roof pilot program in the Strip.

The initiative, funded by the World Bank and a multi-donor trust fund called Development Partners, is part of an $11m.

project designed to expeditiously expand and engender the mobilization of the private sector to install 1,000 rooftop panels.

According to a new study by the World Bank, entitled “Securing Energy for Development in the West Bank and Gaza,” more than 150 megawatts of solar power can be produced in the Gaza Strip.

However, due to a reliance on expensive diesel fuel, the region rarely produces more than 60 megawatts.

The recent reduction of imports from Israel has resulted in a full-blown crisis, endangering patients at area hospitals, and forcing Gazans to search for viable, affordable alternative energy solutions.

Gaza residents currently subsist on two hours of electricity daily.

Rooftop solar technology, first introduced to the impoverished coastal enclave in 2012, is increasingly proving to be the best solution, according to the World Bank.

“As of May 2017, approximately 310 kilowatts of rooftop solar systems have been installed on rooftops of health facilities in Gaza,” said Sara Badiei, an energy specialist at the World Bank. “For an embattled company such as GEDCO, this is an opportunity to improve their services and customer relations by providing additional power independent of political uncertainties.”

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, 1,000 kilowatts of additional rooftop solar generation could be installed at 34 critical units within 10 hospitals in the region at a cost of $4m.

“In addition, the program helps strengthen utility performance by encouraging good payment behavior through the monthly installments,” said Badiei.

“Following the same business model – with additional modifications and streamlining – the World Bank is teaming up with GEDCO and the Palestinian Energy Authority to install 1 megawatt of rooftop solar systems (for example: RENOGY SOLAR SUITCASE )for up to 1,000 consumers.”The pilot project, she said, is designed to be rapidly scalable, with an emphasis on galvanizing the private sector for further growth.
While not a panacea, Badiei said the initiative will offer the most sustainable means of increasing the region’s daily power needs, which by 2030 is forecast to reach 900 megawatts.

“At the same time, it will help ensure lifesaving health treatments, link telecommunication systems, improve water supply, bring adequate sewage treatment, enable business development – and most importantly, ensure consumers remain connected to electricity, even if a subsection of the grid is damaged during armed conflict,” she said.

“Overall, adoption of solar energy should be maximized; not only to improve quality of life, but to put power back into the hands of ordinary Gazans,” she added.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How the Movement to Mobile Will Affect Your Business

More people than ever before are glued to their smartphone.

Between 2011 and 2014, smartphone usage rose by 394 percent, according to comScore. This same study found that 91 percent of all adults now have their smartphone within reach 24 hours a day.

What you may not realize is that slightly more than half of all digital media is now consumed on a mobile device, according to eMarketer, and comScore says 11.3 percent of all web browsing is done solely on a mobile device.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

5 Secrets to Business Branding Success

We know that branding done right can be a powerful catalyst for growth.

But when it comes to branding or rebranding, there’s one thing that can kill the whole process faster than you can say “brand”: Buy-in.

If you don’t have buy-in from your partners, your employees, and your customers, you just went through a whole lot of something for a whole lot of nothing.

So, how do you make sure your internal and external teams are rooting for the new brand that you’re investing in? Follow the tips below to make sure your whole team is on board with the new brand.

How to Format a Business Plan

Your business plan should accomplish certain goals: raise money, guide your team, and set strategies for growth. The format of your business plan will help you achieve these goals, so it’s important to think about the plan’s structure as you build it.
There isn’t one right way to organize your plan, but you do need to make sure that it’s professional, includes the information your audience wants to see, and is formatted correctly. If you’re using your business plan to raise money, then your plan needs to impress. If you’re using your plan just for internal use, then maybe you can focus less on the final presentation.
Either way, getting the formatting right for your business plan is important. Here are my top eight tips to make sure your business plan accomplishes what it needs to do.

A Federal Agency Just Put America's Solar Power Industry in Danger

The future of solar power in the U.S. was thrown into question Friday by a closely watched federal ruling. The International Trade Commiss...