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Larry-Hagman-Motorhome

REMEMBERING LARRY HAGMAN AND HIS LOVE FOR SOLAR POWER

Larry Hagman was a motivated, inspired and proud leader in the Green Energy space.  And we were honored when he entrusted Mobile Solar to outfit his Air-stream motor-coach with solar energy.

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Here are words from Hagman himself, which can be found on his website:

“Now, not everyone can put in the gonzo array I did; however, we can all learn from the mistakes of the past and make positive differences right now and for the future. Compact florescent light bulbs in our homes and businesses make a tremendous difference in the amount of energy we all use. Less energy used equals less pollution generated. Learning more about the foods we eat and the fuels we use to power our economy will lead to better health, economically and physically. You’ll love that feeling you get from driving an electric car. We have the power to make changes every day.The only things any of us truly have in this world are the decisions we make. Take some advice from me: live a life you love and love the life you live. Become knowledgeable about what changes you can make in your daily lives. Our time is short to make these changes, but I’m heartened by the increased interest these last few years have brought.”

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“SOLAR WORKS WELL IN WISCONSIN AND FLORIDA!”

“SOLAR WORKS WELL IN WISCONSIN AND FLORIDA!”

“CSI Sun. “Solar Works Well in Wisconsin and Florida – Highland, WI, Solar Store.” Solar Works Well in Wisconsin and Florida. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2017.”

“Many of our customers believe that Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels only work well where the sun is always shinning and the temperature is always blazing hot. Fortunately for us Mid-westerners, this is not the case. In fact, solar radiation works well for creating solar energy everywhere in the U.S. and even throughout Canada. While the solar radiation in the northern parts of the U.S. is only about 80 percent of what it is in the deserts in the Southwest, the cooler temperatures help make the production more efficient. Therefore, in the end, the actual energy produced is about the same.”

“If you still have some doubt, Germany – the producer of the most solar energy in the world, has about as much sunshine in the entire country as the state of Alaska!”

“This efficiency in Northern climates makes sense when you note that Solar Photovoltaic Systems operate through the absorption of the sunlight rather than the heat. Heat is actually a deterrent for capturing energy because all PV Solar Panels become less efficient in heat. The high temperatures lower the amount of power the system can produce. In fact, many Solar PV panels can produce 110 percent of the power they are rated to be able to produce in cold climates. This is how solar panels in Florida and Wisconsin make about the same amount of energy. While the Florida solar panels will see more sunlight, the heat will lessen the amount of output and in Wisconsin, the opposite will occur — less sunlight will result in more output due to the cooler atmosphere. This is how the solar panels on the Space Station operate efficiently, even in -250 degrees Fahrenheit.”

“In some areas of the country, the amount of solar energy produced may be limited by an abundance of cloudy days. The sun may also be lower in the sky for more of the year in some places. But even with these additional restrictions, a system connected to the grid will still help limit the utility expenses and the panels will still be worth the investment in the long run. Systems that move to change their position to gain the optimal angles to capture the most energy can also be used in these areas to further increase the amount of solar power collected.”

“The trend of only converting solar energy in states similar to California and Florida is decreasing as more and more customers learn about the benefits of solar energy even in cooler climates.”

“By the end of 2011, there were more Solar PV cells installed on commercial buildings in New Jersey than in the state of California.”

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“To optimize the amount of energy collected, Solar PV panels should be positioned on a section of the roof facing south. Another option is to install the panels on a pole  at a slant somewhere between 20 and 60 degrees. These pole mounted panels can also be used with a movable setup to track the sun’s position to collect the most energy possible.”

There are many options available, but our solar experts can help you decide the best configuration of the solar panels on your home or business for your needs. Don’t let cloudy days discourage you, Solar PV panels can pick up solar power from anywhere in the U.S. and free your home or business from the grasp of the electric company once and for all.”

 

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"Are Solar Panels Usable in Snowy Climates?". N.d. Accuweather.com. By Erin Cassidy. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

“HOW DOES WEATHER AFFECT MY SOLAR POWER PRODUCTION? “

Walton, Bill. “How does weather affect my solar power production?” NRG Home Solar. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017. Originally posted by NRG Home Solar ~

Snowy mountains solar panel picture cited from:

“Are Solar Panels Usable in Snowy Climates?”. N.d. Accuweather.com. By Erin Cassidy. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

“Contrary to popular belief, Mother Nature doesn’t play a huge role in solar production. Take a look below at how solar panels work in different weather scenarios.”

“Will solar panels produce energy when it’s cloudy?”

“Photovoltaic solar panels will produce energy on cloudy days and will produce significant energy through the clouds. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, consider that solar panels on a rooftop in foggy San Francisco produce nearly the same as the ones in nearby sunny Sacramento. Consider too that Germany leads the world in residential solar right now, and it is generally an overcast climate.”

“Will solar panels produce energy when it’s rainy?”

“As we just talked about, the cloudiness that comes from a rain shower doesn’t hinder solar production. Furthermore, think of rain as a free wash. Rain actually rinses away dirt that may have accumulated on the solar panels, which allows the solar panels to work more efficiently.”

“Will solar panels produce energy when it’s snowy?”

“Automatically, you may think that if snow covers the panels, you won’t generate energy. The snow’s life cycle on a solar panel is usually very short-lived. The panels’ dark surface will gather sun and actually help melt the snow, causing it to slide off the system’s glass surface.  In an effort to not scratch or damage the panels, it is recommended to not shovel the snow off of your roof.”

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Custom MS-375 Telecom Units

Providing power to Telecom and Data sites in the Los Angeles Area

The model MS-375 solar generator is the largest MS-Series unit manufactured by Mobile Solar, an Atascadero, CA based firm specializing in mobile off-grid, battery-based equipment.

Recently, Mobile Solar designed, engineered and manufactured two heavy duty versions of this behemoth model, and although these units were not sold into the residential market, they would easily power the average American home, and then some.

Boasting rated inverter outputs of 32kW, the units are capable of surging their 240Volt power to 64kW!  Each trailer-based system has a native solar array consisting of 16 x 285-watt mono-crystal photovoltaic modules, equating to 4.56kW DC.  However, each system was designed to accept up to 20kW DC from additional solar arrays, installed on mobile SA-24 platforms – also manufactured by Mobile Solar.  These rolling photovoltaic arrays, plus the 16 modules on the roof of MS-375, required five 80Amp MPPT charge controllers.

But perhaps the most impressive feature of these custom telecom solar power stations is the fact that this massive inverter and charge controller “tower of power” is supported by 80kWh battery banks.  That’s right 1,673 Amp-Hours at 48VDC at the 20-hour discharge rate.

What does that mean?  That means each battery weighed nearly 6,000-pounds.  A serious power generator indeed!

 

 

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The Solar Industry Continues to Heat Up!

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Hello Everyone! We have been extremely busy lately and apologize for our online absence of late. These past couple years have been busier than ever and the last couple months have seen us max out our production capacity. We have always been huge proponents of solar energy but our enthusiasm continues to grow everyday. Here are some of the top stories from the solar industry during the past couple months.

 

Solar and Wind Now Rapidly Catching Up with Fossil Fuels: A German minister in charge of rolling out the country’s massively successful renewable energy program has gone on record saying that solar and wind energy is now less expensive than fossil fuel or nuclear energy. In 2015, investment in renewable energy was double the size of fossil fuel investment. Despite extremely low oil prices, the solar industry nearly doubled for the 8th time in 15 years.

 

Nevada Passes Crippling Anti-Solar Legislation: The Nevada Public Utility Commission recently voted to raise the monthly fee on solar customers by 40% while at the same time lowering the value of excess energy created and sold through net metering. This change also applies to existing systems. Systems with that originally had payback of 5-7 years might not pay themselves off for 8-10 years now. With this legislation, one of the most sun-exposed states has become a dead zone for solar. A class action lawsuit has been filed and awaits a verdict.

 

US Solar Company Now Producing Panels at a Lower Price than China: First Solar is now creating solar panels for nearly 40 cents a watt. This is almost 15 cents cheaper than the next best competitor in China. The new panels are a result of massive $775,000,000 investment the company made in their technology wing.

 

Solar Industry Continues to Create Record Number of Jobs: 35,000 jobs were created by the solar industry in 2015, bringing the grand total to 209,000. Solar employment has gone up 123% since 2010 which is 12 times faster than the national average

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Mobile Solar Disaster Recovery

We are currently facing one of the strongest, if not the strongest, El Ninos in recorded history. Here in California we are seeing things that we have never seen before. Hammerhead sharks, sea snakes and other strange ocean-dwellers have been attracted to the abnormally warm waters off our coast. This warm water and other indicators point to a winter filled with record setting weather. It’s not just California that is feeling the effects of El Nino. Mexico was recently hit by the most intense cyclone the Western Hemisphere has ever seen. The earth is warming and extreme weather events are only going to become more prevalent.

The effects of large storms and other natural disasters can be devastating. Thousands can be left without shelter, food and power. Bringing light to the dark; shelter to the homeless and medicine to the sick is no small task, especially when you consider that conventional power sources may be off-line. In most disaster situations generator and fuel procurement can be very difficult if not impossible. Typical transportation channels may be compromised and there is only so much fuel and generation equipment to go around to begin with. A Mobile Solar Generator is the perfect solution. With no fuel inputs required, our generators will keep the power on even in the most remote or cut-off disaster zones.

When Japan was hit with a massive tidal wave in 2011, Mobile Solar generators were dispatched to help. 7 MS-150s loaded with tools were placed around northern Japan to aid the disaster recovery. Despite arriving weeks after the wave hit (manufacturing and shipping time), our generators were still heavily relied on. Their ability to operate around the clock with no fuel input freed up more time to focus on the mission at hand.

Reliability is paramount in a hectic situation. Solar powered disaster recovery provides the security and resiliency that is necessary in an environment where lives are on the line. Whether it’s our compact solar generators or our powerful solar light towers, we have the rugged, utility-independent products that can make a difference. Is your department ready for the next big one?

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Mobile Solar Construction Solutions

Working on a construction site can be an irritating experience. They are noisy, full of exhaust and potentially dangerous. A significant source of this irritation comes from their generators. They are constantly running, emitting both noise and fumes. Extra noise from these generators can cause workers to raise their voice which only make the problem worse. Communication on a jobsite is crucial so that everyone can work together and stay safe.

Ten years ago, Mobile Solar was born out of an attempt to mitigate these problems. Travis Semmes, the company’s founder, was working for a high-end home builder in Central California. Many of the houses that he worked on were located in very beautiful and remote places. One house was located deep in a valley that seemed to amplify the noise coming from the generator. As the company’s solar expert, Travis went to work on a solution that could quietly generate power and create a better working environment. The first unit, an MS-150, was a huge hit. It was silent and required no fuel inputs and only minimal maintenance, allowing workers to focus more on their tasks.

Travis knew he was on to something after building one of the world’s fist solar generators. Word spread quickly and soon he was flooded with orders. Travis quit building houses and began building solar generators full-time under the a new entity, Mobile Solar. Mobile Solar generators can now be found powering a wide variety of projects all over the world.

Despite Mobile Solar’s growing popularity with various users around the world, we believe our units are under-utilized in the construction industry. Solar generators are not only quiet and environmentally friendly, but cost competitive with fossil fuel powered generators. Our MS-Series can be sized to power anything from a custom residential construction site, to a large commercial project. Office trailers are also perfect candidate for a solar generator. Contact us if you could benefit from a solar generator on a construction site.

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Going Off-grid with Mobile Solar

We recently went over the changing net metering landscape and how it may affect utility rate payers in California. Other states will be next. One way to avoid these changing rate structures is to simply disconnect from the grid entirely. Mobile Solar has been allowing customers to do just that for over 10 years. Our trailers’ solar-plus-energy storage combination gives users the ability to use the sun’s energy 24/7. An appropriately sized solar system working in conjunction with a large enough battery is more than capable taking a home off-grid. Throw an electric car into the mix and total energy independence is a very real possibility.
We know that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to park a solar trailer at homes in urban areas. With that in mind, we recently developed a solution that is designed to provide all of the same benefits of our trailers to homeowners, but within limited space. Our new RB-Series takes the innards of our trailers and condenses it into a package that can easily fit in a garage. The system is also fully capable of operating outdoors if you want to place it near the exterior of your home.
This system is not capable of taking your home off the grid on its own. It needs a power source to charge the battery. We usually recommend solar but wind can be a better option in certain locations. Depending on the size of the battery, our system should be able to keep your home running like normal for well over 24 hours without any energy input. If you do find yourself draining the battery in the middle of the night or after a long period of cloudy days we recommend a gas/diesel generator as backup.

 

Electricity is not going to get cheaper. Utilities aren’t going to get any easier to deal with. Mobile Solar allows you to create your own power and make your own rules. Contact us today and take the first step towards energy independence.

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The unsure future of net metering in California

 

Like it or not, Net Energy Metering 2.0 is coming soon to California and it is bound to shake things up. To understand the potential impacts of NEM 2.0 it important to understand what net metering is and how it currently influences the roof-top solar market.  Net Metering 1.0, the current set of regulations mandated by the state, is largely responsible for California’s thriving solar industry. It gives homeowners the ability to essentially use the grid as a free “battery.” Any extra electricity produced by solar panels during the day can be exported to the grid and “stored” for future use. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity exported to the grid when the sun is out, homeowners are entitled to a free kilowatt-hour when the sun is down. Customers can and often do cut their electricity bill to zero by sizing their solar system to produce equal or more electricity than is consumed daily by their household.

The problem with this current system is that there is a limit to how many solar owners can reap the benefits. Taken to the extreme, what if everyone in California had an electricity bill close to zero? How could utilities afford to maintain the grid? Who would pay for other energy sources such as coal and natural gas when sun went down. Even when a smaller percentage of people rely on NEM 1.0, rate payers without solar are often left to cover the utility’s costs. On the flip side, the generous policy of NEM 1.0 has enabled the solar industry in California to become the largest in the nation. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created and California has become a global leader in combatting climate change.

The California Public Utilities Commission is in charge of weighing the benefits and costs of NEM. They hold proceedings during which stakeholders make their points and from there legislation is created. In 2013 the state passed Assembly Bill No.327, a bill that covers a range of Californian energy policies. Included in the bill was a cap on renewable energy nameplate capacity that could operate under NEM 1.0. Once 5% of a utility’s nameplate capacity is derived from NEM 1.0 projects, NEM 2.0 takes effect. It will kick in mid-2017 regardless. As customers of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric edge rush to take advantage of NEM 1.0 and the ITC, it is unlikely that we will make it to 2017 before NEM 2.0 rears its head.

The details of NEM 2.0 still have not been agreed upon and estimates vary widely as to what it will entail. Pull too hard one way and the utilities will not be able to cover their costs, push too hard the other way and solar industry in California could regress. Here are 3 levers that the CPUC can manipulate in order to make things work:

 

  1. A charge on homes with solar that would help pay for grid maintenance. In theory such a charge is logical but in its limited practice, it hasn’t fared well. A major utility in Arizona, The Salt River Project, recently began charging homeowners with solar $50 a month. This has been met with much controversy and a lawsuit from Solar City, who claimed that such a fee was too high and forced them to transfer employees to new states with regulations more conducive to roof-top solar.

 

  1. Rates based on time of use. The CPUC has ordered PG&E, SCE and SDG&E to begin charging their customers on a time of use scale by 2020. Cheaper electricity during peak sun hours should encourage people use more energy during the day when their panels are firing on all cylinders. Higher electricity costs in the late afternoon after the sun has gone down should deter people from using energy derived from fossil-fuels. For example, lets say 10AM-6PM kilowatt-hours cost 10 cents and 6-9PM kilowatt-hours cost 50 cents. NEM 2.0 systems would have to export 5 kilowatt-hours of energy between 10 and 6 in order to get 1 kilowatt-hour back between 6 and 9.

 

  1. Disproportionate Energy Crediting. NEM 2.0 could simply decrease the value of extra energy exported back to the grid. Instead of one kilowatt-hour in one kilowatt-hour out, utilities may only credit you with a fraction of whatever you put in. This will have a tremendous impact on the economics of a grid-tied system.

 

Any combination of these controls can be enacted and the uncertainty surrounding NEM 2.0 is leaving many unsure as to how to proceed with solar. Whether you buy from us or somebody else, it is our recommendation that you move as quickly as possible so you can take advantage of NEM 1.0 and the 30% tax credit that expires at the end of 2016. Feel free to contact us and we will point you in the right direction.

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Economically viable residential energy storage has arrived!

What if you could use the sun’s energy to power your home even after the sun goes down? How would it feel to be the only house on the block with power when the grid goes down? What if this was not only possible but cost-effective as well. After 10 years of operating in the energy storage industry Mobile Solar is proud to introduce the most affordable energy storage system on the market. On its own this system will add significant value for customers interested in increasing the reliability of their power supply or eliminating peak demand charges. Coupled with solar panels (or any other power source) the RB-35 can provide homeowners with total energy independence. This means that homes can now produce all of the power that they consume. Check it out and join the energy independence revolution!

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