2012 Solar Congress Workshop Summaries

By Emily Steiver on October 12, 2012

On Thursday, October 11th 2012, DC SUN held a community-wide meeting about solar in the District. 2012 is the year of the Solar Flare. We discussed exciting developments with solar in DC and how you can get involved.

Meeting Notes

Going Solar 101 (Solar Electric)

  • Corey Ramsden and Mike Barrette explained the process of going solar for residential homeowners. Their excellent presentation is available here.

Going Solar 101 (Solar Thermal)

  • Matt Carlson with Sunnovations gave an excellent overview of solar water heating technology and how you can take advantage of the DC rebate for solar water heating systems in your home or apartment building.
  • Information from his talk is available here.

Solar for Nonprofits, Small Businesses, Congregations, and Organizations

  • Emily explained DC SUN’s solar bulk purchase program for nonprofits, businesses, and other organizations. The bulk purchase helps organizations go solar and save money by purchasing system in bulk. If your organization is interested in going solar they can contact Emily at emilystiever@gmail.com for more information on how to get involved.
  • Handouts about the bulk purchase are availablehere.
  • A great guide to help congregations go solar is also available here.

Apartments, Condos, and Multi-Unit Buildings: How Community Solar Legislation Will Make Going Solar Possible

  • Nicole and Steve discussed how apartments, condos, and multi-unit building owners can currently use solar to provide power for common areas in a building, such as the lobby, hallways, or elevator system. Or how you can use solar thermal if your building shares a single hot water heater in the basement.
  • They also explained how the proposed community solar legislation will make it possible for anyone to purchase a share in a solar system installed in DC (i.e. you don’t have to have panels installed on your roof). Community Solar will also be a big break through for multi-unit buildings as it will allow a single roof-top installation “virtually net meter” to multiple units in the building.
  • You can support this legislation by signing DC SUN’s letter of support for the policy. To volunteer in this effort contact steve.seuser@gmail.com.

How to Start or Grow a Solar Coop: Tools and Techniques

  • Anya discussed the history of DC SUN and how coops play a critical role in helping educate people about solar energy, help them through the process of going solar, and building political support for solar in the council.
  • Her handout from the workshop is available here.

Solar Inverters–Solar Reliability–What Happens When the Power Goes Out?

  • Jeff Maynard from Green Brilliance presented on the difference between micro and macro inverters and how these technologies can be used with solar backup systems. He also discussed why solar systems don’t work when the power grid goes down, as well as why there are limited options for using grid-tied solar as a backup power source. He discussed potential new developments that would make it easier to use solar as a back up power source during black outs.
  • Jeff’s handouts are available here and here.