| clean air regulation advances
Ozone Day Massacre
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are the heart of the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is
charged with setting them. NAAQS are supposed to represent the level of air pollution in our outside air that EPA
deems safe for people, plants and animals, and for recreational and economic activities. Once EPA sets a NAAQS
for a particular pollutant, it is generally up to state air pollution agencies to devise a plan to reduce and maintain emissions so that air pollution does not exceed the NAAQS.
EPA set the original ozone NAAQS in 1979. The Clean
Air Act requires that EPA review NAAQS every five years
to determine if current science continues to support the
NAAQS or if they need to be changed. Unfortunately, EPA
habitually misses legally mandated deadlines under the Clean
Air Act. Thus, EPA did not get around to revising the ozone
NAAQS until 1997, at which time EPA lowered it to 85 parts
per billion (ppb).
In 2008, under the Bush administration, EPA again
lowered the NAAQS to 75 ppb. However, EPA’s own independent expert
scientific panel said it needed to be lower — between 60 and 70 ppb — in
order to protect innocent people from getting sick. The Bush EPA simply
ignored its own scientists.
Soon after the Obama administration’s EPA head Lisa Jackson came
into office, she said that the 75 ppb standard was legally and scientifically
indefensible, and set about reviewing it. The review proceeded slowly.
EPA promised to complete the review on several occasions but then
missed its own deadlines. Administrator Jackson finally issued a proposed
standard of somewhere between 60 and 70 ppb, and took public comment
on the proposal.
by ROBERT UKEiLEY
People in the renewable energy
and energy-efficiency business
should let President Obama know
that jobs in polluting industries
are not more important than
jobs in clean energy industries.
Tragically, on Sept. 2, before EPA could finally issue the
more protective ozone NAAQS, President Barack Obama
publically instructed Administrator Jackson not to revise
the 75 ppb standard. Failure to revise the standard will
result in innocent people becoming sick and in some cases
even dying from ozone pollution.
President Obama based his cold-hearted decision on
the false premise that revising the ozone NAAQS would
hurt the economy. However, the opposite is true. At a minimum, the
stricter standard would have required dirty fossil fuel power plants to
install pollution controls, and those pollution controls would be installed
by workers in the United States. In addition, in many cases the cost of
installing those pollution controls on old, inefficient fossil fuel plants could
not be justified, opening the door for increased installation and utilization
of renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures.
People in the renewable energy and energy-efficiency business should
let President Obama know that jobs in polluting industries are not more
important than jobs in clean energy industries. President Obama should not
sacrifice innocent people’s health in a pathetic attempt to gain a few votes.
robert ukeiley (rukeiley
@ igc.org) is a lawyer
who represents environmental nonprofits in
clean air act litigation
affecting energy issues.
Jumbo Modules Can Reduce installation Cost
One way to reduce installation costs is to produce more power from fewer modules. that means fewer racking parts, fewer electrical connections and possibly shorter cable runs.
even without a conversion-efficiency breakthrough, more power can be achieved simply by mak-
ing modules bigger. that, in turn, depends on making them from lighter, stronger laminates.
a number of factories are headed in that direction. established silicon-module factories are
bumping the size of production modules to 96 cells (from an industry-standard 72 cells). for
instance, segment leader sunPower offers a 96-cell 300-watt module measuring 1.7 square
meters, compared to its 230-watt module with industry-standard dimensions of 1.25 m2. Weight
increases 20 percent to 18. 6 kg ( 41 lb) from 15 kg ( 33 lb).
meanwhile, solaria is shipping a jumbo 1.9-m2 module rated at 270 watts. the frameless
panel weighs 33 kg (74 lb). its unique ribbed-front glass focuses light onto about 235 thin strips
of crystalline silicon, so it’s not strictly kosher to compare the number of “cells.”
another approach comes from tuliPPs b.v. in the netherlands. the company has prototyped
a 500-watt module with 120 silicon cells. by using a 2-millimeter front glass and automotive-
grade composite backing structure, the company claims the new module weighs no more than
a conventional 72-cell unit. it’s of standard height, so should rack in a normal roof-array footprint,
but it is 60 percent wider.
120-cell, 500-watt module
12 January/February 2012 SOLAR TODAY solartoday.org
Copyright © 2012 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.