Friday, June 29, 2007

Sun and Wind

I found this picture in an article from Nature about the Spanish province of Navarre, which is trying to become 100% sustainable energy. They have pretty much exhausted locations for windfarms (wee the background of the picture) so now they are putting up solar farms in between the wind turbines.

Way to go!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Sometimes, too much sunshine might be a bad thing, particularly if part of it doesn't bounce back off to space again.

I was just refered to this link with an interesting video about the risks of action of inaction with climate change, and remembered this other report by a group of ex-generals about National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, who also talk about how to evaluate the risks.

Interesting. What do you think?

Poinsettia, June 16

Poinsettia, June 16
Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
This poinsettia keeps growing into the summer. Little green leaves are beginning to appear, but this flower is about a foot across! I guess I hope the movement against climate change will keep growing the same way! (Without the seasonal changes, however!)

I wanted to comment about the blog below about books.
What does it say about our time when a book, Silent Spring, could call to action in the 60's, but it takes a movie, An Inconvenient Truth to do it now.

But that doesn't surprise Al Gore. In his latest book, The Assault On Reason, he tells in the Introduction that one of the main assaults on reason is that most people get most of their "news" from television now, not the written word.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Reading about the sun ... and the rain and a lot of other things

Environmental Defense has just put out its new 2007 Summer Reading List, which includes a lot of oldies back to Silent Spring. They want to know which has been the most influential book on the environment. Use the list as inspiration, and vote in their list.
Certainly The Silent Spring was an enormous jolt in its time. I think now, Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth provided the biggest earthquake recently in environmental awareness.

I was so inspired by last year's reading list that I took it over last summer and added a few more to it. I thank their staffers for their inspiration!

I have a little Squidoo blog heifer/bonsol, which has links to a lot of these books (way at the bottom.) If you happen to buy one through those links, a little contribution is made to Heifer International.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Helping people save money with solar

Bonnie with our 27 FRAs
Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
I've spent a couple of days recently at Home Shows telling people about how they can save on their electric bill (and incidentally also save the world - which is not their greatest interest) using the sun to provide the power for their homes.

The Los Angeles Home and Garden Show was in the Convention Center, next to the Staples Center, where we've seen both the Lakers basketball team and the Dixy Chicks. Unfortunately, it is several blocks from downtown LA, so I had to walk forever to find a "decent" lunch at a Subway, since all the food they had at the Show was hotdogs and hamburgers and coffee from thermos jugs!

At the same time, there were the beginnings of the big Wind Power convention, which started the next day. I would have loved going to that, since I worked for a while for the Danish Vestas Wind Systems, and own stock in the company as well. They are the largest (or have been) wind mill company in the world.

On Sunday I was at the Pomona Home and Backyard Show, which was held in 2 buildings at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds (aka the Fairplex.) The same weekend there were RV, boat and other shows, so there were a lot of people, music and food available.

We would ask people if they would like to save money on their electric renting our solar panels. An amazing number of people actually said they liked paying their bill the way it is. A number of people figured out right away that we were doing solar - no-brainer, actually, when they see our great banners - and said they'd already been talking with someone about it, but it was too expensive. So then we emphasized the work "renting" one more time, and they stopped in their tracks (except for the ones who think renting can't possibly be as good as owning.)

We told them how our CEO decided it was about time there were solar panels on all those wonderful, but empty, south-facing roofs, and tried to figure out how to do it so everyone could afford it. Sort of like cell-phones, or cable - installation is free and you pay monthly for the priviledge of having the panels on your roof.

About 30 people each place thought that as a great idea, and signed up on the spot. Others gave us contact information, and many walked away with flyers and business cards. Unfortunately the latter get stuffed into bags with information about saunas, hot tubs and new windows. But maybe someday they'll pull them out and look at the website!

Our Regional Sales Directors, Jason Rodriguez and Steve Gates, have been in the solar installation business for several years, but they signed up with Citizenre because they were frustrated that home owners couldn't afford their products. Jason arranged the LA Show for us, and Steve the Pomona show, paying for the booth, and providing the great banners, tables, etc. Two or three of us then signed on for each day, where they were there to help us and train the new ones. At the end of the day we pooled our signed Forward Rental Agreements.

Afterwards we enter the new customers' data in our website, and print off pages to send to the corporate office and to the customers. I also had several names to call to follow up, which is also usually a good experience!

It really is a sunny experience helping people get solar!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Cherry Blossoms

I spent the middle weeks of May in Maine, enjoying a northern spring time. It was delightful to see how much the sun makes a difference where you can't always count on it!

Mom and Dad look forward to the days the weather is good, so they can go out on their porch for lunch.