37 episodes

Probably True Solar Stories tells fictional stories about solar tech, solar workers, and solar homeowners. From "Solar Noir" stories to "Winnie-the-Pooh" to Solar Punk, solar is part of our pop culture lives, and this anthology solar podcast shows how.  Probably True Solar Stories is written and hosted by Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza, a solar pro since 2009 and a former Hollywood screen and television writer (Stargate SG-1, Dharma & Greg, The Dead Zone, and other screenplays locked in the development hell vaults of Hollywood studios.) New seasons launch every few months, including new episodes of the ongoing mini-series, "The Solar Heist, or How I Got Into the Solar Business."

Probably True Solar Stories Tor "Solar Fred" Valenza

    • Fiction
    • 5.0 • 23 Ratings

Probably True Solar Stories tells fictional stories about solar tech, solar workers, and solar homeowners. From "Solar Noir" stories to "Winnie-the-Pooh" to Solar Punk, solar is part of our pop culture lives, and this anthology solar podcast shows how.  Probably True Solar Stories is written and hosted by Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza, a solar pro since 2009 and a former Hollywood screen and television writer (Stargate SG-1, Dharma & Greg, The Dead Zone, and other screenplays locked in the development hell vaults of Hollywood studios.) New seasons launch every few months, including new episodes of the ongoing mini-series, "The Solar Heist, or How I Got Into the Solar Business."

    Let's Get Married at RE+ in Vegas (Live from Las Vegas)

    Let's Get Married at RE+ in Vegas (Live from Las Vegas)

    On the next Probably True Solar Stories, you’ll hear a live storytelling about two solar pros who decide to get married at a solar conference in Las Vegas. But when the wedding gets unexpectedly interrupted, the solar industry comes to the rescue.

    Watch the live video performance here:
    https://youtu.be/YyhWQi1d2ZE

    True Solar Takeaways
    RE+ is the largest annual U.S. solar and renewable energy conference. It's held in various locations every year.Abby Hopper is the head of SEIA, the leading U.S. solar industry advocacy organization, and she was at this live reading and had that line.Solar Power International (SPI) was the old name for RE plus. Dean Solon is the founder and former CEO of Shoals Technology. Every year, Shoals throws a huge party at RE+. As the saying goes, what happens at the Shoals party stays at the Shoals party. BOS. stands for "Balance of Systems"NEC stands for the National Electric CodeVegas has had blackouts, but not during a solar conference. However, air conditioners running on high during a heatwave have caused blackouts.Load flexibility is complicated. Read this. EPC stands for Engineering, Procurement, and Construction. They're basically the solar installers.Solar developers can hire EPCs or sometimes they have their own EPC division.PE stands for Professional Engineer. AHJ stands for Authorities Having Jurisdiction. They're the various local organizations that deal with permitting for solar installations, large and small.KW stands for Kilowatts and kWh stands for Kilowatt-hours. Here's the difference.Interconnection is a difficult process of connecting solar projects to the grid.-----
    Visit ProbablyTrueSolar.com to sign up for the newsletter to learn about new episodes and live solar storytelling events. Support the show by visiting the merch store and buying a tee shirt! Learn how sponsors can be a part of Probably True Solar Stories and tell their own creative stories. Follow @SolarFred and/or @ProbTrueSolar on Twitter to discuss episodes Don't forget to: Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast streaming service Rate Review, and Share!

    • 19 min
    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 11: Rewind

    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 11: Rewind

    On the next Probably True Solar Stories, we conclude our limited series, "The Solar Heist, or How I Got Into the Solar Business." It's about two neighbors who unexpectedly form an odd friendship and work to uncover a solar energy crime syndicate. But arresting the syndicate’s leader turns out to be more complicated than they expected.

    Previous Solar Heist episodes:
    Listen to Part 1 here.
    Listen to Part 2 here.
    Listen to Part 3 here.
    Listen to Part 4 here.
    Listen to Part 5 here.
    Listen to Part 6 here.
    Listen to Part 7 here.
    Listen to Part 8 here.
    Listen to Part 9 here.
    Listen to Part 10 here.

    True Solar Takeaways (Spoilers!)
    Yes, there is a Department of Energy unit called the Office of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence. Look it up.No, the Department of the Interior does not have a DFM--a Defence of Fossil Fuels intelligence agency. As not as far as I know, the DFM is fiction, but... you never know.Solar projects are often built on landfills because solar projects built on landfills, brownfields, and superfund zones get a bonus 10% investment tax credit.Energy is and always will be a part of politics, war, and corruption.  There's a reason that the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet patrols the Arabian Peninsula...Follow the money. The Italian mafia has invested in solar projects in the past, but the existence of a modern solar money laundering syndicate is 100% fiction... as far as I know.-----
    Visit ProbablyTrueSolar.com to sign up for the newsletter to learn about new episodes and live solar storytelling events. Support the show by visiting the merch store and buying a tee shirt! Learn how sponsors can be a part of Probably True Solar Stories and tell their own creative stories. Follow @SolarFred and/or @ProbTrueSolar on Twitter to discuss episodes Don't forget to: Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast streaming service Rate Review, and Share!

    • 35 min
    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 10: Timing

    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 10: Timing

    On the next Probably True Solar Stories, we continue with Part 10 of "The Solar Heist" series. Mrs. Prout returns to Mazz and Charlie’s house to give them a warning. But Mazz and Charlie are already in Chico. Despite her efforts, it’s just bad timing for Sylvia, and really, for everyone...

    If you missed any of the previous Solar Heist episodes:
    Listen to Parts 1-6 here.
    Listen to Part 7 here.
    Listen to Part 8 here.
    Listen to Part 9 here.

    True Solar Takeaways (Careful! Spoilers!)
    Building solar projects on landfills or brownfields can be extra profitable for solar developers and owners. Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), solar projects built on these and other distressed properties will receive a bonus 10% investment tax credit. The standard tax credit is 30%, so the solar project could receive a 40% investment tax credit, plus other bonus tax credits.The U.S. Department of Energy does have a unit called the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. According to its website: "The Office protects vital national security information and technologies, representing intellectual property of incalculable value. Our distinctive contribution to national security is the ability to leverage the Energy Department’s unmatched scientific and technological expertise in support of policymakers as well as national security missions in defense, homeland security, cyber security, intelligence, and energy security."I completely made up The Defence of Fossil Minerals (The "DFM") agency.  At the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if the Department of the Interior had an intelligence agency that protects the interests of fuel and minerals on public lands.-----
    Visit ProbablyTrueSolar.com to sign up for the newsletter to learn about new episodes and live solar storytelling events. Support the show by visiting the merch store and buying a tee shirt! Learn how sponsors can be a part of Probably True Solar Stories and tell their own creative stories. Follow @SolarFred and/or @ProbTrueSolar on Twitter to discuss episodes Don't forget to: Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast streaming service Rate Review, and Share!

    • 35 min
    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 9: Chico

    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 9: Chico

    On the next Probably True Solar Stories, "The Solar Heist" series continues. Charlie goes to Chico, California to hunt for "CATs," --certain awful things--buried at a landfill that’s about to become a new solar farm. Meanwhile, Mazz tries to calmly educate the solar farm’s opponents without doing ... certain awful things.

    To catch up with the previous episodes:
    Listen to  Parts 1-6 here.Listen to Part 7 here.Listen to Part 8 here.True Solar Takeaways
    As part of the solar project development process, solar project developers have to get approvals from authorities having jurisdiction, better known as the AHJs.The AHJs vary from county to county, but it's often the zoning board or planning commission.Zoning boards and planning commissions deliberate about their solar project approvals during public meetings that are often attended by residents who are concerned about the solar projects' effects on the land, agriculture, land value, and public health, as well as the environmental waste after the project's end-of-life.Here are some FAQs dramatized in this episode:Do solar panels or projects cause cancer? No. Read this.Do solar projects decrease land value? Not in Texas, a conservative state. Read this. There was also a recent NREL study that showed that solar projects had a negligible impact. Are mysterious activist groups spreading misinformation about solar?  Yes. Read this article. Are they backed by fossil fuel interests? Seems like it. -----
    Visit ProbablyTrueSolar.com to sign up for the newsletter to learn about new episodes and live solar storytelling events. Support the show by visiting the merch store and buying a tee shirt! Learn how sponsors can be a part of Probably True Solar Stories and tell their own creative stories. Follow @SolarFred and/or @ProbTrueSolar on Twitter to discuss episodes Don't forget to: Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast streaming service Rate Review, and Share!

    • 27 min
    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 8: Mrs. Prout

    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 8: Mrs. Prout

    On the next Probably True Solar Stories, Sylvia Prout, the widow of Richard Prout, visits Mazz and Charlie looking for answers about her husband's apparent murder. After some intense questioning and bourbon Irish coffees, Sylvia asks Mazz and Charlie for a favor that they can't refuse.

    If you missed the earlier episodes with Richard Prout, listen to episodes 3, 4, 5, and 6. 

    True Solar Takeaways
    PTO is a common utility solar acronym for Permission to Operate. It's the final go-ahead from the utility following inspections and approvals, allowing the solar system to legally and safely feed solar electricity back into the grid.Utility solar projects are increasingly facing local opposition, slowing down the development and construction. Often, these concerns are due to misinformation about solar project impacts, as well as concerns about preserving land for agriculture.  This article from NPR highlights these solar project challenges.-----
    Visit ProbablyTrueSolar.com to sign up for the newsletter to learn about new episodes and live solar storytelling events. Support the show by visiting the merch store and buying a tee shirt! Learn how sponsors can be a part of Probably True Solar Stories and tell their own creative stories. Follow @SolarFred and/or @ProbTrueSolar on Twitter to discuss episodes Don't forget to: Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast streaming service Rate Review, and Share!

    • 24 min
    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 7: Monsters

    The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 7: Monsters

    On the next episode of Probably True Solar Stories, we continue with  Part 7 of The Solar Heist, or How I Got Into the Solar Business. When an intruder breaks in and holds a gun to the head of Mazz's wife, Mazz, Charlie, and Beth come to the rescue. But doing so risks blowing Charlie's cover and the entire DOE intelligence operation.

    Listen to the previous episode here: The Solar Heist, Part 6: Trust
    Listen to all six previous chapters in a single episode here: The Solar Heist, Parts 1-6

    True Solar Takeaways
    The Department of Energy has a special intelligence division called the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OIC). Energy is always connected to money and politics.-----
    Visit ProbablyTrueSolar.com to sign up for the newsletter to learn about new episodes and live solar storytelling events. Support the show by visiting the merch store and buying a tee shirt! Learn how sponsors can be a part of Probably True Solar Stories and tell their own creative stories. Follow @SolarFred and/or @ProbTrueSolar on Twitter to discuss episodes Don't forget to: Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast streaming service Rate Review, and Share!

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

kngkhghgkbjbkhgkyjf ,

Solar-coaster stories that are informative and a FUN RIDE!

I’m not in the solar industry, but I’ve wanted solar (too many trees to make it worthwhile in my hood), and I actually learned in these stories how I can ask my energy provider if that’s even an option!
The stories are captivating, imaginative, heartwarming and informative. Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza writes and reads these with enthusiasm and in persona voices - great job! Sometimes I think I can hear him smiling as he reads! Well worth listening to fun stories while learning about solar! The future is bright (in our lifetimes anyway), so keep radiating this edutainment 🌞 and the La-La music is fun 🎶

Podcaster lover ,

One of my favorite podcasts!

This is one of those delightful surprises where you can’t imagine how a podcast about solar energy and related subjects could possibly be entertaining and educational.
But in this case, after listening to the two seasons so far, I can say that it’s surpassed my expectations, and I am hooked.
Each story is so creative, funny, and Tor Valenza tells each one with affable charm that captivates and draws you in
Of course, some stories are more successful in that realm than others but overall, it’s an engaging and educational, solar, exploration, wrapped in great writing, and memorable characters
Definitely makes me want to install solar panels,
Which I’m not looking into.
And given how timely the subject matter is this podcast should be reaching millions of ears.
Well done!

audsak ,

Fun way to learn!!

The first season of Probably True Solar Stories was original and a great introduction to the solar industry in an entertaining way for a senior. This second season has been even more creative and this episode , Rufus, the Solar Guard Dog was especially delightful but suspenseful at the same time! As an octogenarian, reading facts and figures in a book can put one to sleep but listening to this podcast is such a fun way to learn!
I appreciate the take aways he has at the end of each episode.
Molly

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