4. CHERP-Locally Grown PowerSM: Novel Solar Panels with a Novel Economic Twist The 501 (c)(3) CHERP-Locally Grown PowerSM is licensed to manufacture a novel advanced solar panel developed by idealPV®. In addition, they have a remarkable additional asset in that the solar panels will be built in the US in small factories located in economically depressed areas. This provides jobs in those communities. This goes against the prevailing concept that solar panels can only be manufactured in giant factories overseas.

This is 
a triple hitter – it builds up our renewable energy network, combats climate change and stimulates the economy.

The Solar Cells Solar cells are typically connected in three strings of 20 or 24 cells. When every cell is producing the same amount of power, everything works perfectly. But when one cell is partially shaded—say owing to a fallen leaf, a bird dropping, a lost frisbee—it sinks power from other connected cells. The solar industry calls these sudden and localized surges in temperature hot-spots. The solar panels CHERP produces are the world’s first to overcome this problem. And they do not require micro-inverters or optimizers.
The solar industry is at something of a crossroads. Everyone wants greater efficiency. But as you produce more power in the same footprint, the power in reverse bias, the condition that causes hot-spots, increases. Lost production owing to hot-spots is now staggering, and safety concerns are growing. Hot-spots were specifically named as a suspected cause in the litigation over the fires at several Walmart facilities. Back-sheets are bubbling and cracking from the heat, and the losses in utility scale fields owing to hotspots have given rise to a vast new industry: aerial surveillance using heat-detecting technology. 

Eliminating Hot spots and Reverse Bias. The current solar panels are built from the bottom up around the threat of hot-spots. That’s why they contain expensive heat-resistant glass, bypass diodes, complex wiring schemes, silver, ineffective reflective coatings and now mostly require the use of vaporized and re-condensed silicon, which consumes massive amounts of energy to produce. Everything has to be built in order to contend with these spikes in temperature. The panels that CHERP will manufacture are the only ones that do not develop hot-spots under any conditions, and they are the world’s only panels to be made without bypass diodes.

Non-profit Model and Micro-factories Rather than selling the patents to the highest bidder, the inventor restricted manufacturing to a non-profit business model of distributed micro-factories. The idea is to build micro-factories in economically disadvantaged communities and deploy the technology for those who have not benefitted from innovations in renewable energy. CHERP is the non-profit that is the licensed incubator of the micro-factories. Commercial solar works for the wealthiest 20% or so of households that can afford it and that use a lot of power. But that will never address the climate crisis. CHERP aims to serve the bulk of the population priced out of the market.
It’s a tall order but so far, the achievements are considerable. They were recently named semi-finalists in a DOE contest and won a sustainability award from the Southern California Association of Governments. The testing went flawlessly, and they are pursuing the sale of a micro-factories in several communities.

Price of the Panels. Are they cheaper than imports? CHERP believes that to answer this question a number of considerations must be taken into account, such as longevity, safety, the levelized cost of energy, and the benefits to the communities where they are produced. Virtually all panels deployed on homes today require 
micro-inverters and optimizersCHERP panels don’t. So that is a huge savings in the cost of the system. Consider the cost of the panels to the city of Pomona, where the pilot factory is located. CHERP is in discussion with the city about solar for municipal buildings and schools. If people purchase the panels from overseas companies, 100% of the capital leaves the community. If they purchase from a micro-factory that employs people in the community, the wages stay local and this increases tax revenue. The cost to the city goes down when this is taken into account. If the panels are deployed for the benefit of the lowest income households, money that went to investor-owned utilities stays in the community and is spent locally. This too stimulates local spending, tax revenue, and economic growth. Even if the panels cost somewhat more, the investment goes far further.
The costs incurred by CHERP are reduced by being a non-profit. So far, their capital expenditures are literally zero. Everything was paid for by donations and a state grant. Their most expensive piece of equipment, the $250,000 laminator, was donated, and the donor received a tax deduction. Their panels are the only ones in the world that can use b- and c-grade cells, because they are not susceptible to hot-spots. Fifty-percent of the cost of a panel is in the cells. So, free donated cells cuts their costs in half. Effectively, CHERP can produce the world’s most advanced solar panels from donated industrial waste.

Features you won’t find anywhere else No Hot-Spots Extinguishes DC Plasma Arc (SAS) Turns off in milliseconds when disconnected (FRSS) Vmp and Voc fixed over temperature Peak power over a dynamic range of voltages Install array from the top down with bottom jbox Mount multiple headings and angles in the same string MPP matches any power idealPV or any other 60 cell module Available in Vmp from 25 to 60V, Voc 35 to 70V and Isc 4 to 10A Shadow and dirt effect minimized by 80/20 horizontal substrings Directly drives standard motor Variable Frequency Drives Directly charge 24 to 48 Volt battery systems Also: Exceeds all safety standards Long production life Ruggedly built in the USA Works with any inverter Installs on standard racking Click here to visit the CHERP website. Some videos are available at: https://youtu.be/-3Q1MxU53S8 https://youtu.be/i6DldsgyQ2Y

Carbon Mitigation
CHERP-Locally Grown Power is the lowest-cost carbon mitigation program of its kind in California:  1,000 MT GHG/year/$Million or $33.00 per Ton/GHG In the past, the making and selling of solar panels has been a venture capital endeavor, with a big portion of the profits going overseas to purchase the technology and much of the rest to national corporations or non-local companies for distribution and installation.  But the use of CLGP technology, which radically simplifies the manufacturing process, allows for the manufacturing of solar panels to be transformed into a non-profit, community-based model. This dramatically lowers the cost of mitigating carbon while boosting the local economy and creating jobs.
Just Phase I of the CLGP initiative would mitigate 26,658 metric tons of carbon per year. - the equivalent of removing 5,700 cars from the road every year over the next 30 years.
Comparing projected CLGP carbon mitigation costs to the California Legislative Analyst's Office Report on Spending and GHG Information, CHERP Locally Grown Power would be 6 to 7 times more cost effective in GHG mitigation than any other program of its kind in California.

Economic Stimulation By locally creating and installing the first 6,000 solar PV systems on Low-Middle Income (LMI) households, CLGP will expand city tax-based income, create jobs, serve both homeowners and renters, and expand the local retail economy (primarily small, local businesses) by 12%.
In the past, many LMI program costs have vastly outweighed the revenues generated. That is to say, money is put in but not circulated out. They are essentially subsidy programs, with no expected return on the investment/subsidy. The CLGP program is proposing a framework that would free up a total of $6,500,000/yr in disposable income for LMI households for the next 25+ years.  An increase in LMI household DPI disproportionately affects the local economy more positively than at the higher income levels because LMI households have a higher Marginal Propensity to Consume (spend) immediately and locally. 

By including LMI households intentionally in the economic equation and by manufacturing and installing solar panels using local labor in a non-profit business model we can capture every penny of savings and circulate it locally. In this way, CHERP is able to create Sustainable Energy AND Sustainable Economics

Environmental Justice Solving environmental justice issues in LMI households is not just the right thing to do, but it turns out that the extra money saved in utility bills by those households tends to be spent locally and immediately and has a much larger stimulating impact on our local economy than households at the higher income levels.
 

Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Economics Using new patented technology and a nonprofit business model, CHERP-LGP will produce and install solar PV systems for LMI households - more cost effectively by 6-7 times than current State programs. 
Fully 25% of the billions of dollars of cap-and-trade revenues are earmarked for Disadvantaged Communities - LGP will leverage and expand those dollars. The median income of a household that has purchased solar panels in California in the last 10 years is approximately $91,000. Taking into account the fact that owning a house is also a prerequisite, the number of households that can afford and are eligible to install solar panels on their residence is limited.
CHERP-LGP addresses these problems head on and seeks to target the lower-and-middle income population to make solar energy an attainable reality. LGP protects renters and LMI households in CalEnviroScreen areas from the myriad negative environmental shocks, frees them from price escalation associated with energy consumption, and creates a more comfortable, durable, reliable, healthier, and safer living space.

Job Creation Phase I of CLGP: create 763 Direct and Indirect Jobs for the next 2.5 yrs
Phase II: replicate the CLGP model of local solar manufacturing in other cities Local workers will be trained and employed to manufacture, install, and service solar panels that are constructed by people from the community. Most solar panel production projects outsource the labor of creating solar panels overseas because they believe that production costs will be reduced outside the United States. While this has been true in the past, by combining new technology that radically simplifies the panel manufacturing process with a powerful non-profit business model that drives down costs even further, we are now able to bring back middle class manufacturing jobs to our communities that contribute to the economy and the environment at the same time.

Current Status CHREP has the license to produce the FOZHS technology preventing hot spots. They believe this is the most valuable intellectual property in solar today.

  1. The technology has been vetted by a team of physicists and engineers at Harvey Mudd College.
  2. This plan is something that appeals across the political spectrum: if there is one thing policy makers agree on, it is the value of revitalizing manufacturing in the US, especially in communities where jobs are needed most.
  3. CHREP has a plan for extending the reach of solar to those who cannot afford the commercial alternative. Just as the solar industry is highly subsidized already, this plan will require public investment. The problem is that in the present scenario, tax dollars benefit only the highest-income households and corporations. We believe we can show that the GHG reductions and economic benefits go far further when applying public funds to solar for low-income households.
  4. CHREP has significant interest from several communities across the country in launching micro-factories.
  5. CHREP has shown that with the careful use of resources, and a lot of determination and science, they have achieved something that no for-profit has been able to do. Even publicly traded companies valued at billions of dollars have failed to solve the problem of hot-spots and this is jeopardizing the future of solar.