Larry Hagman Stars at Intersolar

Day one of Intersolar kicked off for me with a press conference with SolarWorld.  The company announced that it was donating 100kW to the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF).  Bob Freling, executive director of the organization graciously accepted the donation and explained that it would be used to power at least 5 health care centers in Haiti.

In addition, SolarWorld announced its new spokesperson.  Former oil tycoon Larry Hagman (at least he played one on TV) who used to play “JR” on the TV show Dallas is now actively promoting the company, which has a new commercial and a print ad featuring the star.  Hagman not only supports the company as a spokesperson, but he also walks the talk. He has a 100+ kW system on his residence in California that is reportedly the largest residential system in the country. 

Hagman said that now is the time for Americans to go solar because it’s clean, has no moving parts and is totally reliable.  He said that he turned to solar after the enormous power outage that happened back in 2003.  Originating in Ohio, the outage caused half of the eastern seaboard to lose power for as many as 3 days.  Hagman went solar after that event, reducing his utility bill from more than $37,000 a year to $13.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Hagman and Freling to talk about their work in solar.  The video is below.

I also sat down with Gal Moyal founder of solar thermal company Free Hot Water.  Moyal discussed certification of solar panels and why it’s important to the industry.  Moyal also said that he thinks it’s likely that legislation or some kind of incentive structure will soon require a certain percentage of solar thermal components be “made in the USA.”  FreeHotWater is currently looking to set up a manufacturing plant for its parts in Sacramento, California.

As usual at renewable energy industry events, the floor is buzzing with activity and excitement.  With 2 more days to go and a lot more interviews to conduct and publish, stay tuned to for updates.

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Update:  the Solar Electric Light Fund just released a song by Steel Pulse to raise money for its work in Haiti.  Check it out at this link.

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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