Scott Sklar's Comments

February 21, 2015

We Have “Value for Solar,” But Should We Use It?

As electric energy storage becomes more and more of an option, the issue will resolve itself. In my own business, more than 90% of on-site renewable energy is dedicated to batteries which, in turn, are dedicated to critical loads within buildings or along infrastructure. These loads are no longer on the grid. Basically guaranteed load reduction just like screwing in an LED light bulb. For homes and small businesses, that means the solar (small wind, micro-chp, etc) charging a battery bank dedicated to the refrigerator, sump pumps, WIFI/computer, and some lights and sockets -- so these loads are off the grid. The building owners always reduces the costs of these loads on their utility bill and has absolute reliable power with the highest electric power quality (no surges,, sages or transients). As more customers adopt this option, the electric utilities and State Public Utility Commissions will develop regulatory tools to pay for the electricity stored in these battery banks, because it is distributed and less expensive than using peak generators or wheeling electric power across State lines. This will evolve over time, but there is no stopping it. All we are seeing is the push back just as we saw with fax machines (hooking up to the monopoly phone lines) and cellular - the communications industry whined and put up legal and regulatory challenges but the technology overwhelmed them. The same will be true with distributed renewable energy and energy storage. - Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd. & Adjunct Professor, The George Washington University

February 11, 2015

Nuclear: Is It Clean and Green?

This article by DeRosa is 'spot on'. Nuclear has lax regulatory oversight, has had significant cost overruns, has had cyber-security breaches, has liability caps (because it is not safe), cannot be shut down or started-up quickly, uses more water for cooling than any other thermal energy source, and is incompatible with a modern 21st century electric grid. •The Union of Concerned Scientists released February 2011 report about the subsidies for nuclear power. The report, “Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies,” found that more than 30 subsidies have supported every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to long-term waste storage. Added together, these subsidies often have exceeded the average market price of the power produced. The report also examines the subsidies for new reactors.?
•Executive Summary:
•Full Report:
Scott Sklar, Adjunct Professor, GWU & President of The Stella Group, Ltd.

February 26, 2015

Energy Storage Market Outlook 2015

Lithium Ion batteries may be the front runner at the moment, but the article is wrong that it is or will be the "only" play. In my projects over the last 15 years, aside from LIOn, I have used AGM batteries, carbon/lead/supercapacitor batteries, sodium batteries, vanadium batteries, among many others. We are in a material science renaissance and that benefits and enhances battery development and commercialization. The batteries we are seeing in the marketplace today, will be nothing like the batteries in the next decade.

January 27, 2015

The Future of Solar in Wisconsin

David Wilson's comments are absolutely "right on". Consumers should use solar. micro-chp, and small wind to charge battery banks dedicated to sub-circuit breaker panels and take the the electric loads off the grid forever. Frankly, it's just like screwing-in LED light bulbs which reduce lighting loads by 80%. If consumers insulate and buy the most efficient appliances when their own appliance die, install LEDs and solar water heaters, and then bring on small PV systems dedicated to critical circuits (refrigerator, sump pumps, WIFI, computers, etc) - buildings can cut their electric loads by 50% or more. Forget the electric utilities, ignore them and their lobbyists and "owned" politicians - save money, increase energy reliability and electric power quality (no surges, etc), and reduce emissions. - Scott Sklar, Adjunct Prof, The George Washington University and President of The Stella Group, Ltd.

January 14, 2015

What Do Noodles and Oranges Have in Common? Japanese Bioenergy

This is such a great article, and I will utilize it in my university classes. The idea to utilize naturally-occurring wastes and integrate it into electricity, heat, and fuels is where we need to go globally. We are always going to have wastes, whether they are manures and human sewage, building and cannery wastes, contaminated grains and tree slash that cannot naturally be absorbed into the soil -- all which should be used for materials, energy and fertilizers. Scott Sklar, Adjunct Prof. GWU

January 10, 2015

‘Shout Out For Solar’ Can Send Powerful Message to Lawmakers

While over 85% or the public wants a solar future (some polls say over 92%), unless we all rally behind efforts to make it so obvious so even the dumbest politicians (might be the majority of them) just can't ignore us. The squeaky wheel does get the grease and the political system will respond. So SEIA is correct, we must step up our game, get in their face, so much, so noisy, so raucous -- that they go among even though their well-healed utility and fossil and nuclear funders tell them otherwise. - Scott Sklar, Steering Committee Chairman, Sustainable Energy Coalition (Washington, DC)

November 08, 2014

Listen Up: Geothermal Heat Pumps and Rooftop Solar Are a Perfect Match

I utilize geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal, and photovoltaics in many of my projects globally. And my home in Arlington, Virginia has a direct-exhange (no ducts) geothermal heat pump, solar water heater, and a 4.7 kW PV system with a batty bank. The geothermal makes the house a zero energy building because of the energy load reduction, primarily for cooling. These three technologies are economic and work well together. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd.

November 09, 2014

Listen Up: Geothermal Heat Pumps and Rooftop Solar Are a Perfect Match

Geothermal using ponds is much more energy intensive than almost all of the modern closed-loop geothermal systems. I also use in my home a refrigerant-based geothermal heat pump system which cut drilling cost by 75% and has been working great. So overall, geothermal technologies in proven, commercial systems, is cost effective. Scott Sklar, Adjunct Prof, GWU

October 25, 2014

Viable Battery Backup for Rooftop Solar Still Years Away

This article is not accurate. For the last 14 years, my company has been brought on by commercial, industrial, and military clients to blend pv, small wind, micro-CHP, micro-hydropower to charge battery banks for dedicated electric loads. These systems void the need for diesel back-up generators (including the monthly costs for testing, O&M, and 18 month trade-lit of diesel fuel). They also obviate the need for power quality equipment such as surge protectors (which also need replacement due to surges, sags and transients which ruin digital equipment). They also offset uniquely high electricity sub rates expressed as demand charges, peak & seasonal rates, and spot or ratchet rates). When these three costs are voided, batteries are quite cost effective. My home in Arlington VA has a PV battery system, as does my small office which has PV roofing shingles and a small wind turbine. These residential and small business systems are economic in a fourth of the USA with high electricity rates including Hawaii, Long Island (NY), etc. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd. (

September 12, 2014

Preventing Bird Deaths at Solar Power Plants, Part 1

I am sorry, but a few hundred birds from a concentrated solar power plant - we have 15 now and maybe will have 150 - or 4,500 to 45,000. On January 30, 2013 released, "Cats that live in the wild or indoor pets allowed to roam outdoors kill as many 3.7 billion birds in the continental U.S. each year", says a new study published in Nature Communications. The Washington Post published a study's findings on Feb 3, 2014 that up to 988 million birds collide with windows and die. The biggest share comes not from skyscrapers but from crashes into smaller buildings. And on Nov 26, 2011 an NBC News report quoted that "tens of millions of flamingos, storks, pelicans and other migratory birds are being killed each year when they fly into power lines", according to a new international study. Let's focus on the billions, hundred of millions, and tens of millions before singling out a few thousand. Scott Sklar, Adjunct Professor, GWU

September 10, 2014

California Takes Steps Toward a New Policy Structure for Renewable Power

A great article, but readers should know that MIT's geothermal study showed that the US could conservatively meet 10% of our electricity needs from geothermal - a 24 hour zero emissions energy source. Geothermal is an essential tool to get the US electric grid to net-zero emissions, and requires the entire portfolio of high-value energy efficiency and renewable energy options. We have immense geothermal potential in the western US, and the MIT report says the Appalachian region also has a significant resource. Time for federal and State tax policies, environmental and utility regulatory policies, and local permit and land use policies to drive the maximization of our geothermal resource. - Scott Sklar, Adjunct Professor, The George Washington University and Steering Committee Chair, Sustainable Energy Coalition (Washington, DC)

Scott Sklar

Scott Sklar

Scott, founder and president of The Stella Group, Ltd., in Washington, DC, is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation. The...

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