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Energy Efficiency

Sponsored by Bedford's Community Affairs Commission
Sustainable Energy Sub-Committee

The ongoing objectives of the Sustainable Energy Sub-Committee of Bedford's Community Affairs Commission is to promote energy efficiency, as well as solar and other sustainable energy options for residential and business use. The sub-committee researches and discusses programs that would benefit the community, forwarding conclusions through recommendations and other feedback to the city council.

Consumer Energy Expo
Already planning for the summer heat of 2013? Energy Smart is a free public event for the Mid-Cities, focusing on residential consumers and local businesses that will provide a first-hand and in-depth opportunity to experience energy-saving options. This is a terrific opportunity to discover basic and practical cost-saving solutions for the home and the road. Presented by the City of Bedford through its Community Affairs Commission, the Expo will host vendors and exhibitors from energy-saving retailers and renewable energy providers, along with natural gas and other alternatives.

Energy Smart in Bedford 2013 addresses questions centered on containing costs for the homeowner through insulation and other efficient uses of heating and cooling. Examine the cost options and discover where to begin!

Location: Old Bedford Library (1805 L. Don Dodson, Bedford, TX 76021)
Date: Saturday, April 20
Time: 1:00PM - 5:00PM

City of Bedford Sustainable Initiatives

  • Select here, to learn more about the City of Bedford’s Environmental Quality initiatives including drinking water reports please.

  • Select here, to learn more about recycling containers and what to recycle.

  • For more information please contact Stephanie Corso, an Environmental Specialist with the City of Bedford’s Public Works Department or 817-952-2258.

Library

  • Adaptive re-use of an existing building (former Food Lion grocery store)
  • Water efficient fixtures and landscaping
  • Natural lighting
  • Cool roof
  • Low-E glass
  • Added building insulation
  • High efficiency lighting
  • Select here, to view a PowerPoint pdf presentation (14 pages) on the new library’s geothermal system (heat pumps).
  • To learn more about the library please see www.bedfordlibrary.org

Bedford Library receives incentive from Take a Load Off Texas Program

BEDFORD, TX - On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, the Bedford City Council accepted a $175,000 incentive from Oncor from the Take a Load Off Texas Solar PV program.  Oncor’s Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Program is designed to help Oncor customers meet a portion of their electric energy needs with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The program assists customers with selecting the best site for a solar PV system, identifies service providers, and provides incentives to help offset the initial cost of installing a solar PV system. 

In March 2010, the City of Bedford received a $1,998,000 grant from the State Energy Conservation Office to install a grid connected solar panel system at the new library.  The solar project for the new library has been completed with the installation of 824 panels and connection to the grid. The new photovoltaic system will produce approximately 345,000 kWh of energy annually.

check council

Understanding Solar Power

Solar power:
Using solar power to produce electricity is not the same as using solar to produce heat. Solar thermal principles are applied to produce hot fluids or air.  Photovoltaic (PV) principles are used to produce electricity.  A solar panel (PV panel) is made of the natural element, silicon, which becomes charged electrically when subjected to sun light.

Solar panels should be angled toward the south in Bedford and the rest of the northern hemisphere and toward the north in the southern hemisphere at an angle dictated by the geographic location and latitude.  Typically, the angle of the solar array is set within a range of between site-latitude (33 degrees north in Bedford) plus 15 degrees and site-latitude minus 15 degrees, depending on whether a slight winter or summer bias is desirable in the system.  Many solar arrays are placed at an angle equal to the site latitude with no bias for seasonal periods.

This electrical charge is consolidated in the PV panel and directed to the output terminals to produce low voltage DC (Direct Current) - usually 6 to 24 volts.  The most common output is intended for a nominal 12 volts, with an effective output usually up to 17 volts.  A 12 volt nominal output is the reference voltage, but the operating voltage can be 17 volts or higher, much like your car alternator charges the 12 volt battery at well over 12 volts.  So there's a difference between the reference voltage and the actual operating voltage.

The intensity of the Sun's radiation changes with the hour of the day, time of the year and weather conditions.  To be able to make calculations in planning a system, the total amount of solar radiation energy is expressed in hours of full sunlight per m², or Peak Sun Hours. This term “Peak Sun Hours” represents the average amount of sun available per day throughout the year.

It is presumed that at "peak sun", 1000 W/m² of power reaches the surface of the earth. One hour of full sun provides 1000 watt-hours per m² = 1 kWh/m²  - representing the solar energy received in one hour on a cloudless summer day on a one-square meter surface directed towards the sun.  To put this in another perspective, the US Department of Energy indicates the amount of solar energy that hits the surface of the earth every +/- hour is greater than the total amount of energy that the entire human population requires in a year.  That roughly translates into 100 square miles of solar panels placed in the southwestern U.S. could power the entire country.

The daily average of Peak Sun Hours, based on either full year statistics, or average worst month of the year statistics, for example, is used for calculation purposes in the design of the system. The average Peak Sun Hours in Bedford and the Fort Worth/Dallas area is 5.43 kilowatt-hours per square meter, per day, with a high of 6.0 kilowatt-hours and a low of 4.8 kilowatt-hours.

The amount of power that a solar panel provides varies, depending on one’s geographic location.   Folks, for instance, in the northeastern US will need more solar panels in their system to produce the same overall power as those living in Arizona.

Components used to provide solar power:
The four primary components for producing electricity using solar power, which provides common 120 volt AC (alternating current) power for daily use are: Solar panels, charge controller, battery and inverter. Solar panels charge the battery, and the charge regulator insures proper charging of the battery. The battery provides DC voltage to the inverter, and the inverter converts the DC voltage to normal household AC voltage.  If 240 volts AC is needed, then either a transformer is added or two identical inverters are series-stacked to produce the 240 volts.


Solar Panel

Diagram of a residential grid-connected PV system.

Solar Panels:
The output of a solar panel is usually stated in watts.  The wattage is determined by multiplying the rated voltage by the rated amperage.  The formula for wattage is VOLTS times AMPS equals WATTS.  For example, a 12 volt 60 watt solar panel measuring about 20 X 44 inches has a rated voltage of 17.1 and a rated 3.5 amperage.


V x A = W
17.1 volts times 3.5 amps equals 60 watts.

If an average of 5.43 hours of peak sun per day is available in Bedford, then a solar panel can produce an average 360-watt-hours per day; 60w times 5.43 hrs = 318 watt-hours. Since the intensity of sunlight on the solar panel varies throughout the day, we use the term "peak sun hours" to smooth out the variations into a daily average.  Early morning and afternoon sunlight produces less power than the midday sun and, of course, cloudy days will produce less power than bright, sunny days.

Solar panels can be wired in series or in parallel to increase voltage or amperage respectively.  They can be wired in series or in parallel to increase both volts and amps.

Series wiring refers to connecting the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of another.  The resulting outer positive and negative terminals will produce voltage of the sum of the two panels, but the amperage stays the same as one panel.  So two 12-volt/3.5-amp panels wired in series produces 24 volts at 3.5 amps.  Four of these wired in series would produce 48 volts at 3.5 amps.

 

SolarPanel
To wire any device in series you must connect the positive terminal of one device to the negative terminal of the next device.

Parallel wiring refers to connecting positive terminals to positive terminals and negative to negative.  The result is that the voltage stays the same, but amperage becomes the sum of the number of panels.  Two 12-volt/3.5-amp panels wired in parallel would produce 12 volts at 7 amps, while four panels would produce 12 volts at 14 amps.

 

Solar Panel
To wire any device in parallel you must connect the positive terminal of the first device to the positive terminal of the next device and negative terminal of the first device to the negative terminal of the next device.

Series/parallel wiring refers to doing both of the above - increasing volts and amps to achieve the desired voltage as in 24 or 48 volt systems. The following diagram reflects this. In addition, the four panels below can then be wired in parallel to another four and so on to make a larger array.

Workshops

Currently there are no workshops planned

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable Energy Sub-Committee Survey

The survey requested input from the residents of Bedford, Texas regarding solar energy. The responses will assist the Community Affairs Commission's Sustainable Energy Subcommittee in determining the level of knowledge and interest in energy efficiencies for the City of Bedford. If you have questions or concerns, please contact volunteer David Franklin, Sustainable Energy Sub-committee Chair at dhfranklin1@gmail.com, or Bill Syblon, Development Director for the City of Bedford at 817-952-2125, Bill.Syblon@bedfordtx.gov.

 

 

 

 

Texas Appliance Mail-in Rebate Program

Texans can save money on Energy Star appliances through this program, which will remain open until all funds are distributed.

The purchase receipt and the postmark on the envelope submitting the rebate application must be dated on or after Dec. 20, 2010.  Rebate forms will be available for consumers to download and print closer to the start date. 

  • Appliance rebates will be available on a first-come, first-served basis through a purchase and mail-in rebate program.

  • Approximately $10 million will be available for this program. The goal of the program is to promote awareness of ENERGY STAR® appliances and decrease energy consumption by encouraging appliance replacement.

  • A list of frequently asked questions and more information is available at www.TexasPowerfulSmart.org.  There is also an email sign-up to be notified of rebate-related updates on that site.

Eligible Energy Star Appliances (rebate amount) are:

  • Air-Source Heat Pumps ($1,000)

  • Central Air Conditioners ($1,000)

  • Certain Clothes Washers ($100)

  • Dishwashers ($85)Certain Refrigerators ($175)

  • Room Air Conditioners ($40)Certain Freezers ($100)

Residential Incentives

Home Energy Saving Tips from Powerful Smart for Texans:

  • In cooler months, open your drapes and blinds during the day to take advantage of free solar heating.  Close them as the sun sets to keep the cold out.  Each degree you lower your thermostat can save up to 8 percent on your energy bills... Service your heating system once a year and replace furnace filters monthly.  It will help the unit run more efficiently, keeping you warm and saving you money.

  • Ceiling fans can help to keep you comfortable in the fall and winter.  Reverse the direction of the blades so warm air is pushed down into the room.  Fans should turn clockwise in the winter.

  • Recycle that extra, old fridge or freezer running day and night in the garage.  It’s costing you about $150 a year just for those few occasions when you need the extra space.

  • A programmable thermostat can save the average household $150 a year when properly used.  Basic models start at around $30.  The only tool you’ll need is a screwdriver.  Follow the step-by-step installation and programming instructions.

  • Dirty filters in your heating and air conditioning system block air flow and reduce efficiency.  Replace filters monthly during high-use seasons to lower energy use and extend the life of your HVAC system.

  • Use smart lighting in your home.  Add a motion sensor or a screw-in photocell to your exterior security light fixtures.  Use task lighting inside where it’s needed. Turn lights off when you leave the room.  Energy-saving CFL bulbs now come in more shapes than just the familiar twist.

  • If you see daylight around your door, cold air is getting in and heated air is getting out.  Small gaps around doors and windows can cause a complete change of inside and outside air every hour.  For just a few dollars, you can caulk and add new weather stripping to keep your hard-earned money from flying out the door.

  • More than 70 percent of the energy used in our homes is for appliances, refrigeration, space heating, cooling and water heating.  Older appliances and systems are energy hogs.  Replacing a clothes washer made before 2000 with a new ENERGY STAR model can save you up to $130 per year.  Replacing a refrigerator made before 1993 with a new ENERGY STAR model can save up to $65 per year.

 See details at:  texaspowerfulsmart.org

Oncor Home Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

These programs help residential consumers, business owners and government and educational facilities help jump-start their energy efficiency efforts at their Take a Load Off Texas website.

Energy Efficient Mortgage Program
FHA's Energy Efficient Mortgage program (EEM) helps homebuyers or homeowners save money on utility bills by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficiency features to new or existing housing as part of their FHA insured home purchase or refinancing mortgage.  Read more…

LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Program
Note: The next application period is scheduled to open in April 2011. Visit the Texas State Energy Conservation Office LoanSTAR web site for additional details.

Through the State Energy Conservation Office, the LoanSTAR Program offers low-interest loans to all public entities, including state, public school, colleges, university, and non-profit hospital facilities for Energy Cost Reduction Measures (ECRMs). Such measures include, but are not limited to: HVAC, lighting, and insulation. Funds can be used for retrofitting existing equipment or, in the case of new construction, to finance the difference between standard and high efficiency equipment. The evaluation of on-site renewable energy options (e.g., solar water heating, photovoltaic panels, small wind turbines) is encouraged in the analysis of potential projects.  Read more…

Renewable Energy Systems Property Tax Exemption
The Texas property tax code allows an exemption of the amount of the appraised property value that arises from the installation or construction of a solar or wind-powered energy device that is primarily for the production and distribution of thermal, mechanical, or electrical energy for on-site use, or devices used to store that energy. "Solar" is broadly defined to include a range of biomass technologies.   Read more…

ENERGY STAR® Homes – This program encourages the construction of ENERGY STAR® Homes  which are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the Texas building code.

ENERGY STAR® Low-Rise Multifamily – This Program is designed for participation by Developers, however, consumers can benefit from this Program by selecting an ENERGY STAR qualified apartment unit for their next home. Developers who participate in the utility-sponsored ENERGY STAR LRMF Program receive on-the-ground Program support from ENERGY STAR account managers to help leverage the national, government-backed brand, including onsite sales training and program resource and information kits for sales staff

High Performance Air Conditioning Installation – This program encourages proper installation of new a/c and heat pump systems for maximum energy efficiency. Look for contractors trained in Oncor's A/C Installer Program.

Home Energy Efficiency – This program encourages installation of energy saving measures such as: Upgrading insulation, Caulking/weather-stripping doors and windows, Sealing leaky A/C ductwork, Installing high-efficiency A/C systems and Upgrading to high-efficiency appliances.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® – This program offers a comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort of homes, while helping to protect the environment.

Low-Income Home Weatherization – This program encourages installation of energy efficiency measures in a consumer's home whose annual household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Residential Energy Audit – This program offers comprehensive Texas Home Energy Audits to owners of existing homes.  Customers can be assured of a standardized system for evaluating opportunities for existing homes to improve energy efficiency, comfort, and durability.

Solar Photovoltaic – The Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Program is designed to help customers meet a portion of their electric energy needs with solar PV systems. The Program assists residential, commercial, and governmental customers with selecting the best site for a solar PV system, identifying a Service Provider (installer) for installation, and with incentives to help offset the initial cost of installing a solar PV system.

Solar Water Heating – Oncor will provide cash incentives for the purchase and installation of solar water heating (SWH) systems in qualifying residential and non-residential buildings. Interested property owners, renters, developers, and builders can participate by working with a SWH installer (Service Provider).

Program Contact Information

Phone: 1.866.728.3674
E-mail:

Commercial Incentives

Oncor Business Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs

Through these programs, Oncor provides incentives to energy efficiency service providers and/or customers who implement the energy-saving projects on their Take a Load Off Texas website.

U.S. Department of Treasury - Renewable Energy Grants - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), enacted in February 2009, created a renewable energy grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. This cash grant may be taken in lieu of the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC). In July 2009 the Department of Treasury issued documents detailing guidelines for the grants, terms and conditions and a sample application. There is an online application process, and applications are currently being accepted. See the US Department of Treasury program web site for more information, including answers to frequently asked questions and program guidance. The Treasury also maintains a list of award recipients on the website. The Department of Treasury has also filed a sample form that recipients of the grant must fill out each year to avoid recapture.

Grants are available to eligible property* placed in service in 2009, 2010 or 2011 or placed in service by the specified credit termination date,** if construction began in 2009, 2010 or 2011. Originally, this program was only available to systems placed in service in 2009 or 2010 or where construction began in 2009 or 2010, but Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), signed in December 2010, extended the program through 2011. The guidelines include a "safe harbor" provision that sets the beginning of construction at the point where the applicant has incurred or paid at least 5% of the total cost of the property, excluding land and certain preliminary planning activities. Generally, construction begins when "physical work of a significant nature" begins.

Commercial Energy Audit – Designed to identify areas of energy efficiency improvement in commercial facilities.  Facilities that enroll and are selected for the Program will receive a detailed energy audit and facility energy assessment. 

LED Lighting – The LED Lighting Program offers incentives for Oncor customers to upgrade parking lots, garages, and government-owned indoor facilities with energy-efficient LED lighting and controls.

Commercial Load Management – The Commercial Load Management Program is designed as an incentive to commercial and industrial customers to curtail their load during peak hours. Program Sponsors that enroll in the Commercial Load Management Program sign a one-year agreement that allows Oncor to request them to curtail their load up to 5 times during that peak season.

Commercial Standard Offer – The Commercial Standard Offer Program is designed to reduce summer peak electrical demand by offering incentives to commercial facilities to install measures that increase their overall energy efficiency.  Commercial customers of all sizes are encouraged to participate in the Program.

Small Commercial – For commercial and governmental facilities with 100 kW or more in energy demand. 

Solar Photovoltaic – The Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Program is designed to help customers meet a portion of their electric energy needs with solar PV systems.  The Program assists residential, commercial, and governmental customers with selecting the best site for a solar PV system, identifying a Service Provider (installer) for installation, and with incentives to help offset the initial cost of installing a solar PV system.

Solar Water Heating – Oncor will provide cash incentives for the purchase and installation of solar water heating (SWH) systems in qualifying residential and non-residential buildings. Interested property owners, renters, developers and builders can participate by working with a SWH installer (Service Provider).

Targeted Industrial  – Assists industrial customers in identifying key areas for energy efficiency improvements and recommends ways to save energy and improve the efficiency of the facility's systems and processes.

Program Contact Information

Phone: 1.866.728.3674
E-mail:

Energy Efficiency Helpful Links

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE); Consumer Resources: Improving the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment, and improve your comfort. Use the links on this page to find out more.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE); Energy Efficiency Policy Database for Texas and other states: Since 1999, Texas law has required electric utilities to meet energy efficiency goals. The Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) recently approved Substantive Rule 25.181, a new Energy Efficiency Rule which increases the goals from 20% of electric demand growth to 25% growth in demand in 2012 and 30% in 2013 and beyond. The rule also establishes customer cost caps to contain costs. An analysis by Good Company Associates finds that the new goals will not significantly impact energy efficiency spending in the near term, and that the cost-caps should not be a serious constraint on most utility efficiency programs, given the relatively modest goals adopted.  Also check information on national, local, residential, transportation and other energy policies.

American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funds solar and other renewable energy projects in Texas.

American Solar Energy Society: Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates.

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2010 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars — all while saving nearly $18 billion on their utility bills.  Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice.

Environmental Design and Construction Magazine (free online green magazine)

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (find certified solar installers)

North Texas Renewable Energy Group (NTREG) was established in 2001 with the primary goal of educating North Texans about the power of renewable energy ("RE").  NTREG Monthly Meetings are held at 10:00am every second Saturday and are open to the public at the Mustang Park Recreation Center, 2223 Kinwest Parkway, Irving, Texas. Mustang Park is South of I-635, west of MacArthur Blvd, and east of Belt Line Road.

Oncor’s Solar PV (photovoltaic) Program (as of Feb., 2009) offers cash incentives to qualified homeowners, businesses and governments to add solar photovoltaic power systems. Oncor expects to install about 1,400 new solar systems through this $16 million, four-year program.  Only homes, businesses and government buildings served by Oncor are eligible for the incentive program.

Take A Load Off Texas (Web site run by Oncor offers several energy efficiency incentive programs for consumers and businesses)

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (environmental agency for the state as it pertains to air, water, and waste)

Texas Solar Energy Society: Texas Solar Energy Society is a non-profit organization with a 30-year history of solar and renewable energy outreach and education.

Texas State Energy Conservation Office (State energy office partners with Texas consumers, businesses, educators and local governments to reduce energy costs and maximize efficiency)

Wind Energy Basics – Wind is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetative cover. This wind flow, or motion energy, when "harvested" by modern wind turbines, can be used to generate electricity.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (independent statistics and analysis)

U.S. Green Building Council (national leading group that certifies buildings and environments to a sustainable standard)

U.S. Green Building Council North Texas Chapter

Terms and Definitions

  • Active Solar Heating (Real Estate Dictionary): A system that uses energy from sunlight to heat a structure and/or provide hot water. Contrasted with passive solar heating by the use of pumps or fans to move the energy- transporting medium through the system. Installation of active solar heating equipment is eligible for certain income tax credits.

  • Alternating Current (AC) (Sci-Tech Encyclopedia): (Alternating Current) The common form of electricity from power plant to home/office. Its direction is reversed 60 times per second in the U.S.; 50 times in Europe.

  • Alternative Energy (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia): Sustainable energy is the provision of energy such that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. A broader interpretation may allow inclusion of fossil fuels as transitional sources while technology develops, as long as new sources are developed for future generations to use. A narrower interpretation includes only energy sources which are not expected to be depleted in a time frame relevant to the human race, which can potentially also include nuclear power if it is utilized differently from the current manner.  Sustainable energy sources are most often regarded as including all renewable sources, such as plant matter, solar power, wind power, wave power, geothermal power and tidal power. It usually also includes technologies that improve energy efficiency. Conventional fission power is sometimes referred to as sustainable, but this is controversial politically due to concerns about peak uranium, radioactive waste disposal and the risks of disaster due to accident, terrorism, or natural disaster.

  • Direct Current (DC) (Sci-Tech Encyclopedia): Electric current which flows in one direction only through a circuit or equipment. The associated direct voltages, in contrast to alternating voltages, are of unchanging polarity. Direct current corresponds to a drift or displacement of electric charge in one unvarying direction around the closed loop or loops of an electric circuit. Direct currents and voltages may be of constant magnitude or may vary with time.  Direct current is used extensively to power adjustable-speed motor drives in industry and in transportation. Very large amounts of power are used in electrochemical processes for the refining and plating of metals and for the production of numerous basic chemicals.

  • Fossil Fuels (Dictionary): A hydrocarbon deposit, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas, derived from living matter of a previous geologic time and used for fuel

  • Inverter (Wikipedia): A Solar inverter or PV inverter is a type of electrical inverter that is made to change the direct current (DC) electricity from a photovoltaic array into alternating current (AC) for use with home appliances and possibly a utility grid.

  • Kilowatt-hour (Modern Science): A unit of energy: the expenditure of one kilowatt of power for one hour. A toaster running for an hour will use about this much energy.

  • Net Metering (Wikipedia): Net metering is an electricity policy for consumers who own (generally small) renewable energy facilities (such as wind, solar power or home fuel cells) or V2G electric vehicles. It uses smart meters. "Net", in this context, is used in the sense of meaning "what remains after deductions" — in this case, the deduction of any energy outflows from metered energy inflows. Under net metering, a system owner receives retail credit for at least a portion of the electricity they generate. Most electricity meters accurately record in both directions, allowing a no-cost method of effectively banking excess electricity production for future credit. However, the rules vary significantly by country and possibly state/province; if net metering is available, if and how long you can keep your banked credits, and how much the credits are worth (retail/wholesale). Most net metering laws involve monthly roll over of kWh credits, a small monthly connection fee, require monthly payment of deficits (i.e. normal electric bill), and annual settlement of any residual credit. Unlike a Feed-in Tariff or time of use metering (TOU), net metering can be implemented solely as an accounting procedure, and requires no special metering, or even any prior arrangement or notification.  Net Metering is generally a consumer-based renewable energy incentive. While it is important to have Net Metering available for any consumer that interconnects their renewable generator to the grid, this form of renewable incentive places the burdens of pioneering renewable energy primarily upon fragmented consumers. Often over-burdened energy agencies are not providing incentives on a consistent basis and it is difficult for individuals to negotiate with large institutions to recover their Net Metering credits and/or rebates for using renewable energy.  In the U.S.A., as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, under Sec. 1251, all public electric utilities are now required to make available upon request net metering to their customers.

  • PACE – Property Assessed Clean Energy District (Wikipedia): In areas with PACE legislation in place municipality governments offer a specific bond to investors and then turn around and loan the money to consumers and businesses to put towards an energy retrofit. The loans are repaid over the assigned term (typically 15 or 20 years) via an annual assessment on their property tax bill. PACE bonds can be issued by municipal financing districts or finance companies and the proceeds can be used to retrofit both commercial and residential properties. One of the most notable characteristics of PACE programs is that the loan is attached to the property rather than an individual.  PACE programs help home and business owners pay for the up front costs of green initiatives, such as solar panels, which the property owner then pays back by increasing property taxes by a set rate over about 20 years. This allows property owners to begin saving on energy costs while they are paying for their solar panels. This usually means that property owners have net gains even with increased property tax.

  • Passive Solar Cooling (Wikipedia): In this type of cooling solar thermal energy is not used directly to create a cold environment or drive any direct cooling processes. Instead, solar building design aims at slowing the rate of heat transfer into a building in the summer, and improving the removal of unwanted heat. It involves a good understanding of the mechanisms of heat transfer: heat conduction, convective heat transfer, and thermal radiation, the latter primarily from the sun.

  • Passive Solar Heating (Real Estate Dictionary): A system of features incorporated into a building's design to use and maximize the effects of the sun's natural heating capability.  Example: Passive solar heating systems use some type of collection and storage element, such as a water-filled partition, which is exposed to the sun during the day and radiates heat to the structure at night. Other features, such as south-facing windows, site orientation roof overhangs, are included to enhance the effects of the sun's heat.

  • Photovoltaic (Electronics Dictionary): Component commonly called a solar cell used to convert light energy into electrical energy.

  • Photovoltaic Cell (Sci-Tech Encyclopedia): A device that detects or measures electromagnetic radiation by generating a current or a voltage, or both, upon absorption of radiant energy. Specially designed photovoltaic cells are used for power generation, as in solar batteries or solar cells, and for sensitive detection of electromagnetic radiation in radiometry, optical communications, spectroscopy, and other applications. An important advantage of the photovoltaic cell in these particular applications is that no separate bias supply is needed—the device generates a signal (voltage or current) simply by the absorption of radiation.  Most photovoltaic cells consist of a semiconductor pn junction or Schottky barrier in which electron-hole pairs produced by absorbed radiation are separated by the internal electric field in the junction to generate a current, a voltage, or both, at the device terminals. Under open-circuit conditions (current I = 0) the terminal voltage increases with increasing light intensity, and under short-circuit conditions (voltage V = 0) the magnitude of the current increases with increasing light intensity. When the current is negative and the voltage is positive, the photovoltaic cell delivers power to the external circuit. In this case, if the source of radiation is the Sun, the photovoltaic cell is referred to as a solar battery or solar cell. When a photovoltaic cell is used as a photographic exposure meter, it produces a current proportional to the light intensity, which is indicated by a low-impedance galvanometer or microammeter.

  • Photovoltaic Pane; (Wikipedia): A solar panel (photovoltaic module or photovoltaic panel) is a packaged interconnected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells. The solar panel is used as a component in a larger photovoltaic system to offer electricity for commercial and residential applications.  Because a single solar panel can only produce a limited amount of power, many installations contain several panels. This is known as a photovoltaic array. A photovoltaic installation typically includes an array of solar panels, an inverter, batteries and interconnection wiring.  Photovoltaic systems are used for either on- or off-grid applications, and for solar panels on spacecraft.

  • Renewable Energy (US History Encyclopedia): Wood, wind, water, and sun power have been used for cooking, heating, milling, and other tasks for millennia. During the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, these forms of renewable energy were replaced by fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum. At various times throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, people believed that fossil fuel reserves would be exhausted and focused their attentions on sources of renewable energy. This led to experiments with solar steam for industry and solid wood, methanol gas, or liquid biofuels for engines. Attention has refocused on renewable energy sources since the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Smart Meter (Wikipedia): A smart meter is an advanced meter (usually an electrical meter) that identifies consumption in more detail than a conventional meter; and optionally, but generally, communicates that information via some network back to the local utility for monitoring and billing purposes (telemetering).

  • Solar Air Conditioning (Wikipedia): Solar air conditioning refers to any air conditioning (cooling) system that uses solar power.  This can be done through passive solar, solar thermal energy conversion and photovoltaic conversion (sun to electricity). The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 created 2008 through 2012 funding for a new solar air conditioning research and development program, which should develop and demonstrate multiple new technology innovations and mass production economies of scale. Solar air conditioning will play an increasing role in zero energy and energy-plus buildings design.

  • Solar Constant (Columbia Encyclopedia): solar constant, the average amount of radiant energy received by the earth's atmosphere from the sun; its value is about 2 calories per min incident on each square centimeter of the upper atmosphere. The actual value of the energy varies with several factors; the most important factor is the earth's distance from the sun, which changes because of the earth's elliptical orbit. For computing the value of the solar constant, the astronomical unit, or average earth-sun distance, is used.

  • Solar Energy (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia / Sci-Tech Encyclopedia): Radiation from the Sun that can produce heat, generate electricity, or cause chemical reactions. Solar collectors collect solar radiation and transfer it as heat to a carrier fluid. It can then be used for heating. Solar cells convert solar radiation directly into electricity by means of the photovoltaic effect. Solar energy is inexhaustible and nonpolluting, but converting solar radiation to electricity is not yet commercially competitive, because of the high cost of producing large-scale solar cell arrays and the inherent inefficiency in converting light to electricity.  The energy transmitted from the Sun. The upper atmosphere of Earth receives about 1.5 × 1021 watt-hours (thermal) of solar radiation annually. This vast amount of energy is more than 23,000 times that used by the human population of this planet, but it is only about one two-billionth of the Sun's massive outpouring—about 3.9 × 1020 MW (megawatts).
    The power density of solar radiation measured just outside Earth's atmosphere and over the entire solar spectrum is called the solar constant. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the most reliable (1981) value for the solar constant is 1370 ± 6 W/m2.  Solar radiation is attenuated before reaching Earth's surface by an atmosphere that removes or alters part of the incident energy by reflection, scattering, and absorption. In particular, nearly all ultraviolet radiation and certain wavelengths in the infrared region are removed. However, the solar radiation striking Earth's surface each year is still more than 10,000 times the world's energy use. Radiation scattered by striking gas molecules, water vapor, or dust particles is known as diffuse radiation. Clouds are a particularly important scattering and reflecting agent, capable of reducing direct radiation by as much as 80 to 90%. The radiation arriving at the ground directly from the Sun is called direct or beam radiation. Global radiation is all solar radiation incident on the surface, including direct and diffuse.

  • Solar Panel (Wikipedia): A device that detects or measures electromagnetic radiation by generating a current or a voltage, or both, upon absorption of radiant energy. Specially designed photovoltaic cells are used for power generation, as in solar batteries or solar cells, and for sensitive detection of electromagnetic radiation in radiometry, optical communications, spectroscopy and other applications. An important advantage of the photovoltaic cell in these particular applications is that no separate bias supply is needed—the device generates a signal (voltage or current) simply by the absorption of radiation.  Most photovoltaic cells consist of a semiconductor pn junction or Schottky barrier in which electron-hole pairs produced by absorbed radiation are separated by the internal electric field in the junction to generate a current, a voltage, or both, at the device terminals. Under open-circuit conditions (current I = 0) the terminal voltage increases with increasing light intensity, and under short-circuit conditions (voltage V = 0) the magnitude of the current increases with increasing light intensity. When the current is negative and the voltage is positive, the photovoltaic cell delivers power to the external circuit. In this case, if the source of radiation is the Sun, the photovoltaic cell is referred to as a solar battery or solar cell. When a photovoltaic cell is used as a photographic exposure meter, it produces a current proportional to the light intensity, which is indicated by a low-impedance galvanometer or microammeter.

  • Solar Radiation (Geography Dictionary): The electromagnetic waves emitted by the sun, varying in wavelength from long-wave radio waves, through infra-red waves and visible light, to ultraviolet waves, X-rays, and gamma radiation. Earth gets only 0.0005% of the sun's radiation. Most solar radiation passes straight through the atmosphere without warming it, but it is received and absorbed by the earth.

  • Solar Thermal Energy (Wikipedia): Solar thermal energy (STE) is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors are defined by the USA Energy Information Administration as low-, medium-, or high-temperature collectors. Low temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat swimming pools. Medium-temperature collectors are also usually flat plates but are used for creating hot water for residential and commercial use. High temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production. STE is different from photovoltaics, which convert solar energy directly into electricity. While only 600 megawatts of solar thermal power is up and running worldwide in October 2009 according to Dr David Mills of Ausra, another 400 megawatts is under construction and there are 14,000 megawatts of the more serious concentrating solar thermal (CST) projects being developed.

  • Solar Water Heating (Wikipedia): A solar water heating system can form part of a solar thermal cooling system, promoting efficient temperature control of buildings or parts thereof. During cool conditions, the same system can provide hot water. Solar heating of buildings in temperate climates has a season-problem: In winter, when most heating is needed, least is available from the sun. This can often be solved by storing solar heat in the ground or in groundwater (Seasonal thermal store).

  • Sustainable Energy (Wikipedia): Sustainable energy is the provision of energy such that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. A broader interpretation may allow inclusion of fossil fuels as transitional sources while technology develops, as long as new sources are developed for future generations to use. A narrower interpretation includes only energy sources which are not expected to be depleted in a time frame relevant to the human race, which can potentially also include nuclear power if it is utilized differently from the current manner.  Sustainable energy sources are most often regarded as including all renewable sources, such as plant matter, solar power, wind power, wave power, geothermal power and tidal power. It usually also includes technologies that improve energy efficiency. Conventional fission power is sometimes referred to as sustainable, but this is controversial politically due to concerns about peak uranium, radioactive waste disposal and the risks of disaster due to accident, terrorism, or natural disaster.

  • Texas Senate Bill SB 545 (Alliance for a Clean Texas): SB 545 was the solar rebate bill that would have pumped up to $500 million into rooftop solar and other “distributed generation” renewable energy. It passed through the Senate and the House Committee on Energy Resources. It failed to be taken up by the full House even though it was placed on the Major State calendar (the high priority calendar). The slow start to the session, significant industry resistance (this time from the Texas Association of Manufacturers) and the five-day stalemate over Voter ID each contributed to SB 545 failure to pass the House.

Contact Information

, Sustainable Energy Sub-committee Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

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