Utility Association Announces Solar Teleconference Seminars

The Solar Electric Power Association, a national non-profit membership organization working to facilitate solutions for the use and integration of solar electric power by utilities and their customers, is pleased to announce the first six of 12 utility solar-focused conference calls in 2008.

WASHINGTON, D.C. January 9, 2007: The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), a national non-profit membership organization working to facilitate solutions for the use and integration of solar electric power by utilities and their customers, is pleased to announce the first six of 12 utility solar-focused conference calls in 2008. Each call features a national solar expert presenting information on topics relevant to both utilities and the solar industry, followed by facilitated dialogue and questions.
The schedule for the first half of 2008:



  • January 10 (2PM - 3PM ET) - "Utility Ownership of the Inverter - Why it makes sense"
    Speaker: Jim White, Chelan County Public Utility District
    Currently, inverter manufacturers and solar customers are building and buying inverters that have the least first-cost, not necessarily the least life-cycle cost, which can limit value-added functionality and lifetime. What about a utility-owned inverter that can internalize these issues and potentially offer a win-win for the customer and the utility? Find out the pros and cons of such an innovative arrangement and the different configurations utilities could choose if it owned the inverter.

  • February 12 (11AM - 12PM ET) - "PV Installations in Germany - Same Technology, Lower Costs"
    Speaker: Barry Cinnamon, Akeena Solar
    According to a 2006 Navigant Consulting report to the U.S. Department of Energy, installed costs in Germany were roughly half of that in the United States. If the basic technology is the same, why is there a difference? Hardware? Labor? Competition? Get some first-hand thoughts from the United States' leading residential installer.

  • March 27 (2PM - 3PM ET) - "Decoupling Utility Profit from Sales - Issues for the Photovoltaic Industry"
    Speaker: Wayne Shirley, Regulatory Assistance Project
    Solar, combined with energy efficiency, can be a holistic approach to customer energy management solutions. However, the reduced sale of electricity creates an inherent problem for electric utilities in maintaining revenue. Decoupling is a policy option that changes the way revenues are recovered, so that the loss of electricity sales is neutralized in the rate structure. While more common in the energy efficiency community, SEPA has teamed with the Regulatory Assistance Project to develop a decoupling white paper and introduce the concept into the solar community. Find out what decoupling is, what different types exist, and how it might work for regulated and non-regulated utilities.

  • April 10 (2PM - 3PM ET) - "2007 Solar Year in Review and Future Trends"
    Speaker: Travis Bradford, Prometheus Institute
    The newly installed grid-connected PV capacity in 2007 is anticipated to be over 200 megawatts, more than double that of 2006. The market is just starting to hit the exponential part of the exponential curve and as markets mature, rapid changes in costs, prices, technologies, and companies are anticipated over the next five years. Hot off the "press", find out what happened last year and get a look into the crystal ball with this exclusive data scoop.

  • May 8 (2PM - 3PM ET) - "Utility Solar Business Models - Final Report"
    Speaker: John Nimmons, Nimmons and Associates (consultant to SEPA)
    Selling less electricity because of solar generation is not a sustainable business model over the long term for electric utilities. Can the solar "threat" but turned into a solar "opportunity"? What if utilities could become part of the value-chain as part of the solar business? SEPA has introducing the concept of utility solar business models into the utility community, and two working groups have been meeting since November to flesh out concepts. Find out what business models might exist today and what new opportunities utilities may have in the future.

  • June 26 (2PM - 3PM ET) - "National PV Incentive Program Survey - What do Solar Customers Think?"
    Speaker: Mike Taylor, Solar Electric Power Association
    Residential and small business customers have taken advantage of solar incentive programs offered by more than 100 state, utility, and non-governmental organizations across the United States. In 2007, SEPA conducted a cross-cutting survey of these customers in partnership with a selection of program implementers. This conference call will bring to light answers to questions regarding why customers chose to go solar, where they got their information prior to selecting an installer, how they felt about the incentive program process, and how they feel about their solar electric system now that it has been installed.

Calls are free for SEPA members and $25 for non-members, and all calls are recorded and archived for future access. Register online at http://www.regonline.com/119722.

About the Solar Electric Power Association
The Solar Electric Power Association is a nonprofit organization with over 275 utility, electric service provider, manufacturer, installer, government, and research members, whose mission is to facilitate solutions for the use and integration of solar electric power by utilities, electric service providers, and their customers. www.SolarElectricPower.org

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