The Family Photo Inbox Cluster

With the holidays coming up, I wanted to remind everyone that now is the time to start preparing yourself for 2013 and recall the approach that I gave regarding the preparation for the new year.   Remember, while everyone is focused on figuring out how to please families in different cities, this is your time to develop the game plan for the coming year.  This plan can include developing a list of people you want to meet/interview/help, certifications you want to earn, etc.

If you haven’t found your place in the green industry yet, ease some of the self-inflicted tension by reminding yourself this is a growth process and that the energy you choose to spend is better applied to emotions that move you forward, through recognition of small accomplishments, appreciation of those that have supported you along the way, and excitement about your vision of how great your journey will turn out.   The latter is something that has to get you up in the morning.  If your vision doesn’t get you to share your plans with your network, then your vision sucks.   But if you find yourself eager to share your progress and your goals, then you’ll find that those emotions will support you during the toughest of times.

If you feel that you could use help in the “my-vision-is-going-to-kick-your-vision’s-ass-attitude” category, try to surround yourself by those that inspire you.   Not in their circle?  Then get in.  I agree, not that simple… but no movement towards building out your degree of reach leaves you with nothing to grasp on to.   I titled this post, “The Family Photo Inbox Cluster” because immediately after Thanksgiving, we’re often succumbed by the flood of family photos sent by those you never hear from throughout the year.   As a job seeker, I want you to reach out now to those that have helped you get to where you are today and get ahead of the inbox “jibjab” cluster your contact will most likely experience.   Let them know how you’re doing and most importantly, thank them.   Show them what you’ve learned this year or share your latest profile.   Getting to them before the holidays takes away the impression that you’re simply writing because Santa says so.

~Michael Dela Pena

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Strategies


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Occurring more frequently, the idea of blended industries seems to be the way to go.   Another article showed up in my feeds that described floating solar, this time using thin-film applications (here is the other article).   Still new innovation for the solar industry, I’m finding this type of application more interesting by the minute simple because the idea proves that solar will find its way into multiple industries, thereby creating more opportunities than just with a panel on the roof.   In this case, all things marine will find its way to the floating farms.   Like highways, EV’s and electric charging stations, it paints a nice picture to think that the same thing can happen with electric-powered boats, stopping at the floating charge stations along the coast, eliminating the need to for the insane amount of fuel.

I gloss over the idea of a solar scuba academy, but this seems like a great opportunity for both solar and scuba industries to marry.   As the floating solar farms become complex and cover a larger footprint, the only logical maintenance is through either underwater craft or scuba.   My bet is with the solar-educated scuba diver.

Obviously, this article doesn’t cover in-depth the potential ecological impacts to marine life below as a result of blocking sunlight from reaching the sea floor, but I’m sure like the environmental challenges we see with the desert and utility-scale solar, we’re bound to get some flack from the “sea shepherd” types.

The point of this article is to not only highlight the possibilities of solar, but also remind you that when trying to find your place in the world of renewables, pretty much anything goes.   Sometimes you just have to throw it out there to see what floats.

~Michael Dela Pena

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Innovation, Solar, Strategies


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Either use the Bridge or Swim Across the River..or something like that

A student of mine has a cool hobby of collecting old books, something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never really set out to accomplish nor was the mind’s reward of such a hobby something that I had the opportunity to experience.  At the very moment I picked up the book and read the first few pages, I was immediately inspired and had to put the book down to share what I was doing… yes, this very moment.

#365 of 975, year 1924 reprints

The book is titled Essayes. Religious Meditations.  Places of perswasion and disswasion.  Seen and allowed. by Francis Bacon.    Let me first talk about the beauty of the book.   Originally written in 1597, a series of 975 reprints were made in 1924.  This particular book was #365 of that series!  and look at the condition of the book.  Classic!

Within the very first chapter (as a matter of fact, page 1!) aptly titled “Of Studies“, I ran across the entry that stated the following:

“Reading maketh a full man, conference a readye man, and writing an exacte man.   And therefore if a man write little, he had neede haue a great memorie, if he conferre little, he had neede haue a present wit, and if he reade little, he had neede haue much cunning, to seeme to know that he doth not.”

What a brilliant way to start off readings by pointing out the obvious.  My interpretation? “Either use the bridge or swim across the river.”   This is a great reminder of the importance of seeking knowledge, the value of shaking hands, and the benefits of capturing your thoughts and (in today’s world, digitizing it for as long as the world of computers survive).

Thank you for allowing me to read this book and inspiring me to get out and search for similar treasures.

Let me know your interpretations!


For more on Francis Bacon, you can find a collection in text here.

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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized



Solar Utility Interconnection Process

Here are a few samples of processes and documentation for the interconnection of PV to the utility:


SMUD Interconnection Guidelines

SMUD Interconnection Application

SMUD Interconnection Agreement

Interconnection Information


Steps to Installing Renewable Energy

After the Installation

Net Energy Metering – Standard NEM (NEMS)

Application for Interconnection

City of Roseville


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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Design


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Lesson on Guidance vs Self-Reliance

Making a career change is no easy feat by any means.  Whether it was voluntary or a move under pressure, changing course from the path that you’ve grown accustomed to can leave you grasping for direction.  What if you’re not going through a career change and just happen to be faced with an unknown?  How about a “known” and the details just plain freak you out?  To make  matters worse, you may be bombarded with the constant pressure to “blaze your own trail”, or “make a difference” or “control your destiny”.

I’ve even talked about bringing yourself to the point of discovery here, but what I want to circle back to and acknowledge is that through every step of my life, there was always….and I mean ALWAYS someone who I can turn to (whether I knew it or not) when faced with a challenge.   If you’re like me, you may seem to continuously find yourself up against challenges that seem bigger than the goals beyond them and if those challenges are not kept in the right perspective, you run the chance of not recognizing what may be defining you.

So what makes a person successful?

Some say its the “perseverance”, some…the “endurance”.  Heck, throw in “the sacrifices” and the all the d’s you can think of – drive, determination, desire..and so on.   Perhaps all the above or any combination of them.  No matter what, I think the common denominators are those fate-gifted people who show up when it seems like your life needs it most.

Why this post?

I had an interesting meeting today with a business owner.  Halfway through the exchange of business talk, I caught myself offering advice on challenges that they had put on the table and it was right at that moment that I recognized that I was speaking to someone who is going through the same thing that I once had.   And now, I’m sitting in the seat of the many wise people who offered me advice on how to navigate through challenges of running a business, surviving day-to-day road bumps, and the importance of putting others first.

I can sit here all day and say that I had the (insert “motivational poster quote”) to make things happen, but the reality is that none of this could have ever happened without my willingness to:

  • accept guidance, even when I’m not searching for it
  • be humble when corrected, because others have the experience (and solutions) to share
  • act immediately when given a “key”, because not everyone is focused on creating opportunities
  • to be thankful.   Period

So I’m not taking away from the message of doing what it takes to achieve your goals, nor am I discounting the internet world of “morning inbox quotes”.  I am however, emphasizing the importance of seeking or accepting guidance from those that have already gone down the path you are traveling.

“Facing a challenging climb isn’t always about making your own path.  Sometimes the best guidance comes from those who have walked before you” – Michael Dela Pena (Green-Tern)

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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Perspective


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Free Intro to Sustainability Course

Coursera is offering a free course, Intro to Sustainability

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Sustainability


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Solar M.I.S.T

My Solar Analysis of MIST

Some of you may recall the coinage BRIC, which stood for Brazil, Russia, India and China. This term was created by famous economist Jim O’Neill. Jim’s latest grouping is MIST, which stands for Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey. My goal in this article is to overlay the solar potential with the growth potential of the MIST countries.

Quick overview of the MIST group:

GDP: $1.6 trillion
GDP Growth Rate: 5.4%

GDP: $1.03 trillion
GDP Growth Rate: 6.1%

South Korea
GDP: $1.46 trillion
GDP Growth Rate: 6.2%

GDP: $960.5 billion
GDP Growth Rate: 8.9%

Compared to the California.
GDP: $1.7 trillion
GDP Growth Rate: 2.8% (Q2)

Alright now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk solar!

There’s not much conversation (if any) about relating the solar industry to the MIST group. This is why I find it very interesting as it presents a great opportunity to dive in and see what kind of potential there is, both in the solar industry as a whole and with the “the market”. As a solar professional, my consistent advice to newcomers in the industry is to keep your eyes open with a global perspective. What happens in one country can affect the face of solar in another.

Once I started watching the MIST group, I began to slowly notice interesting happenings within those countries.

Starting with MEXICO

This article goes into the comparison of Mexico to established players like Germany and Spain.   The article goes on to say, “Mexico’s average solar resources for PV (5 kWh/m2/day) are more than 60% higher than the best solar in Germany (5.4 GW of installed PV) and yet, Spain and Germany are the global PV leaders.”

Referencing the irradiation data here, it shows that Mexico 4.8kW/m^2/day with Veracruz having the highest irradiation at 5.72 kW/m^2.  However, the table also notes that the data for Veracruz comes from sources lacking information from instrumentation. Therefore, we can just go with the next highest that uses a pyranometer making Altozomo the best at 5.61 kW/m^2/day. Given some of the dynamics of Mexico’s infrastructure with many pockets of the region considered rural, it’s no wonder that the choice application is off-grid PV. Taking this scenario into account, here’s what I will be watching for:

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) – Utility Scale Solar out of Palo Alto is noted in the article to have already established agreements with Mexico. While CSP is an option, nothing changes the fact
that the Mexican government understands the cost-efficiency of PV. So with that,

Photovoltaics – Earlier this year, First Solar was noted to be stirring dirt to see what kind of semiconductors the company can pull from the Mexican ground. First Solar is a company that is known for the cadmium telluride it uses in its thin-film panels. Well guess what Mexico has. Yes, Tellurium. Although this company has been supported by the government, we nonetheless have to come back to the basis of this article and that’s the potential in the MIST group.

Take a look at FLSR’s chart and note the 200 moving average. Lately analyst have been upgrading this stock, but just keep note of the resistance at 26 and then at 30.

Here’s more on First Solar’s presence in Mexico: First Solar Global Expansion: More Reasons To Buy The Best Positioned Solar Stock – Oct 8, 2012 (Seeking Alpha)


Photovoltaics – Yes, you guessed it. First Solar (again). In another recent article, First Solar aims to “plant” solar farms in India to address their issues with blackouts. The article mentions how “Traditionally, the company has only made solar panels, but it is now looking to branching out into solar farms.” If First Solar is successful with solar farms, this is going to do wonders in the MIST group in its entirety. This opens the door to the question, “Is First Solar taking the MIST approach?”

From the JakartaGlobe – “An estimated 84 million of the country’s 240 million people lack access to electricity with only about 65 percent of the country receiving electricity. Many parts of East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Papua, West Irian Jaya and Southeast Sulawesi are still not connected to the grid.”

Here is a report on Indonesia from the International Trade Administration. A few things from the report:

-“Phase II will likely include a greater emphasis on independent power producers. Unfortunately, without changes to policy and regulation, it is unlikely that Phase II will garner a significant
influx of foreign investment. Many of Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises will continue to dominate the large-scale power generation sector for several years. The U.S. Department of Commerce,
however, expects a significant opportunity for foreign equipment and services suppliers to provide technology or expertise for large renewable energy projects.”

-“After the Crash Program, the government of Indonesia expects a 56 percent increase in overall energy investments by 2014”

-“Indonesia offers significant solar power resources (4.8 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day [kWh/m2/day]), but the country has yet to develop a strong market.”

-“Additional solar power development is hampered by the lack of household buy-in and a dearth of maintenance personnel trained at installing solar cells.” Seems like a terrific opportunity for a solar training and standards organization.

However, “without interconnection standards that allow consumers to sell excess electricity back to PLN, it is unlikely that the Indonesian solar power market will ever rival the markets in other countries in the region”. It doesn’t have to rival the markets, just help contribute to its success.

A snapshot of Indonesia’s solar irradiation


Let’s start with the obvious. With the trade dispute with China, look for other countries in the region to pull the weight in the industry. One thing to keep in mind is that a country can improve economics by establishing presence in another country. In this case, Nexelon and Hanwha are doing just that. see article here.

Remember Solar Monkey?  Well now they’re Hanwha Solar Energy America.

As for their stock, it’s following the current solar trend

As an ingot manufacturer, they play an important role in the movement of solar stocks. Keep an eye on 32500. A break through that point and its game on.

SunPower has a 2.2 megawatt solar power plant in Korea. Here is SunPower’s latest report. In it, they note that they will be working to establish a headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region.  Whether that plays a role in the development of presence in South Korea is up for debate.

SunPower’s stock broke out of a wedge and met resistance at 5, which at significant zone for the stock.

One of the things to remember when watching solar stocks is that you don’t necessarily have to focus on a specific panel maker. As with the case of Cypress Semiconductor corp., where SunPower Corp is a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.

Note Cypress’ stock is in a channel, so wait for it to break from there before acting on it.

Here is S. Korea’s (and Asia for the matter) solar irradiation.

Other news for SK:

Saxony-Anhalt looks to South Korea to save local solar industry:

“23.08.2012: The prime minister of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, has scheduled a three-day trip to South Korea to speak with potential investors there about investment opportunities in Saxony-Anhalt. Accompanied by the state’s Minister of Economy Birgitta Wolff, Haseloff will attempt to find South Korean companies interested in investing in the German solar industry. A spokesman for the government declined to tell PHOTON which companies the politicians will meet with. South Korean conglomerate Hanwha recently made an offer for insolvent Saxony-Anhalt-based solar cell producer Q-Cells SE. So far, however, no official contract has been signed between the two companies. Failed solar company Sovello GmbH was also headquartered in Saxony-Anhalt. … Source: Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Economy; Translation and summary: PHOTON”

Investricity and Hanwha to finance 500 MW solar project in Cameroon

“01.10.2012: Representatives from South Korean business conglomerate Hanwha Group, active in the PV sector through its subsidiary Hanwha SolarOne, and Irish company Investricity Ltd., which invests in and develops renewable energy projects, have been meeting with Cameroonian authorities this month to discuss their participation in an eight-year, 500 MW PV project. According to local news portal, with the help of investments from Hanwha and Investricity, the 530 billion XAF (€1 billion) project has secured 80% of the necessary funding. The remaining funding is expected to be obtained by the end of 2012. The project was first announced in July, when the government of Cameroon and Spanish investment company Fides Gestion signed an initial agreement to develop the project. At the time, they said the project would consist of hundreds of smaller power plants installed in various communities throughout the country. Construction on the first 100 MW phase of the project is scheduled to begin in October, with the first systems due to come online in summer 2013. The first 100 MW will be installed in the South and Littoral Regions in the southwest of the country and in the Far North Region. … Source:, Investir au Cameroun; Translation and summary: PHOTON”

And lastly, TURKEY

The fact that the country is trying to adopt solar is great news. Solar Turkey is  in its fourth year, with SunEdison being one of their gold sponsors.

This article, though dated last year, highlights some of the opportunities. However, the ITA does a great job in summarizingthe potential.

“Energy demand in Turkey is expected to grow 5 to 7 percent per year into 2023, requiring more than $100 billion of investment in power generation, transmission, and distribution. By 2023, Turkey seeks to produce 30 percent of its power needs from renewable resources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass.” The ITA also created a Trade Mission and its interesting to note the participants:

The participating U.S. companies were:

Abound Solar – Loveland, CO
AES – Arlington, VA
Clipper Wind Power LLC – Carpinteria, CA
Combustion Associates, Inc. – Corona, CA
Dow Chemical – Midland, MI
First Solar – Tempe, AZ
General Electric – Fairfield, CT
Ingersoll Rand – North America HQ in Davidson, NC
Johnson Controls, Inc. – Milwaukee, WI
Ko-Tech – Mclean, VA
Kvar Energy Savings, Inc. – Daytona Beach, FL
MEGTEC Systems, Inc. – De Pere, WI
OSISoft LLC – San Leandro, CA
SolarReserve LLC – Santa Monica, CA
Sun Edison LLC – Belmont, CA
World Business Capital – Hartford, CT

Of course, we can exclude Abound solar…

Here’s a look at Turkey’s irradiation.

The country is ranging in the 3-5 kW/m^2.

So there you have it, my “Solar M.I.S.T“.  Let’s watch how the MIST countries perform over the next few years and see if solar can capitalize on the growth.


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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in MIST, Perspective, Solar, SOLAR INDUSTRY


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