Archive for July, 2015

31 July

The Unsung Hero of Civilization, UL, Underwriters Laboratories, at Intersolar North America 2015

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UL logo (Underwriters Laboratories)

UL logo (Underwriters Laboratories)

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UL, Underwriters Laboratories, is an American worldwide safety consulting and certification company headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. It maintains offices in 46 countries. UL was established in 1894 and has participated in the safety analysis of many of the last century’s new technologies, most notably the public adoption of electricity and the drafting of safety standards for electrical devices and components. UL provides safety-related certification, validation, testing, inspection, auditing, advising and training services to a wide range of clients, including manufacturers, retailers, policymakers, regulators, service companies, and consumers. UL is one of several companies approved to perform safety testing by the US federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA maintains a list of approved testing laboratories, which are known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. Above is a recording of a short chat with Tony Dorta of UL.

Some historical backgrounds regarding UL, with the help of Wikipedia, below (in Italics):

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. was founded in 1894 by William Henry Merrill. Early in his career as an electrical engineer in Boston, a 25-year-old Merrill was sent to investigate the World Fair’s Palace of Electricity. Upon seeing a growing potential in his field, Merrill stayed in Chicago to found Underwriters Laboratories. Merrill soon went to work developing standards, launching tests, designing equipment and uncovering hazards. Aside from his work at UL, Merrill served as the National Fire Protection Association’s secretary-treasurer (1903–1909) and president (1910–1912) and was an active member of the Chicago Board and Union Committee. In 1916, Merrill became UL’s first president. UL published its first standard, “Tin Clad Fire Doors,” in 1903. The following year, the UL Mark made its debut with the labeling of a fire extinguisher. In 1905, UL established a Label Service for certain product categories that require more frequent inspections. UL inspectors conducted the first factory inspections on labeled products at manufacturers’ facilities—a practice that remains a hallmark of UL’s testing and certification program. UL has expanded into an organization with 64 Laboratories, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 104 countries. It has also evolved from its roots in electrical and fire safety to address broader safety issues, such as hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, performance testing, safety and compliance education and environmental sustainability. In 2012, UL transformed from a non-profit company into a for-profit corporation.
~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, edited, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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30 July

Multi-Tasking R-Volt (Aerovoltaic) of Systovi at Intersolar North America 2015

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Systovi's R-Volt-1 (credit: Systovi.com)

Systovi’s R-Volt-1 (credit: Systovi.com/en)

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The video below is about a multi-tasking solar module system, R-Volt, by a French company SystoviM. Ludovic Baudry explains this clean and conserving solar module system during Intersolar North America 2015, at Moscone Center of San Francisco, CA, in July of 2015. As indicated in the above diagram, there is an extra layer of air gap that would allow forced air through to utilize the heat generated from the solar cells under the sun to heat up the house while boosting the solar cell efficiency by reducing the heat on the solar cells (henceforth, aerovoltaic). This rather smart and efficient design of generating electricity-heating up the house-boosting solar cell efficiency simultaneously would be particularly welcomed in colder climate regions.

 

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, edited, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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29 July

Shaded Carports, Patios, & Greenhouse Roofs of Grid Parity

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GridParity.ag patio shading (credit: GridParity)

GridParity.ag patio shading (credit: GridParity)

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

Above, you’ve seen Dr. Erich Merkle introducing Grid Parity products at the Intersolar North America 2015.

Grid Parity has developed system with the use of ultra-thin (5 mm) glass-glass bifacial modules especially for the applications of carports, patio roofs, or greenhouse roofs.  These glass-glass modules are more aesthetically pleasing and with higher transparency than the conventional modules. The longevity and low maintenance are the factors that lead to extremely low levelized cost of energy ((LCOE) of this product. To find out more about this company and their products, click->GridParity.

In the rooftop module for carports,

GridParity.ag carport shading (credit: GridParity)

GridParity.ag carport shading (credit: GridParity)

the universal aluminum frame system is used with a simple but extremely stable attachment method. Without the need to drill or weld, the installation can be carried out without any technical skills or special tools. The entire structure is made of anodized corrosion resistant aluminum. The connection parts are made of a special stainless steel with a high nickel content. The number of necessary connections is optimized, with 25 screws for the small carports and 50 screws for the large carports.

 

 

 

 

In the rooftop module for greenhouse/gardening or patio, such a module system may help to control the amount of sunlight coming through in addition to being able to help generate energy.

GridParity.ag terrace shading (credit: GridParity)

GridParity.ag terrace shading (credit: GridParity)

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, edited, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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28 July

Helios Solar Works’ BIPV at Intersolar North America 2015

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As I strolled through isles of products being exhibited at Intersolar North America 2015, one BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaics) company, Helios Solar Works caught my attention, above, with the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Helios Solar Works Steven Ostrenga.This BIPV module system is a monocrystalline, 200 watt module system that may sit on top of or be integrated into the rooftop, waterproof, with integrated frame and 25 year warrenty period. This BIPV module system is lighter, easier to maintain, less ventilation or leakage issue, and aesthetically more pleasing than the traditional rooftop PV.

Helios Solar Works-A robot works on crystalline solar cells at Wisconsin-based Helios USA, LLC. (credit: Helios Solar Works LLC)

Helios Solar Works-A robot works on crystalline solar cells at Wisconsin-based Helios USA, LLC. (credit: Helios Solar Works LLC)

As it turned out, Helios Solar Works LLC was Milwaukee’s first solar module manufacturing facility that has helped to create many local full-time and part-time jobs for the local economy. Definitely, automation has also played a significant part behind the success of Helios.The founding of the company was based around some basic tenets: such as solar electricity is essential for nation’s energy security, environment, and economy.  It is currently engaged in research, development, sales and services of solar panels and PV systems, supplying products to more than 60 countries (such as Germany, Spain, Italy, America, Canada, Korea, Japan, China, etc.) and five continents. Their products are used in residential as well as in commercial and industrial solar power systems, PV power stations and many other areas. As the company expands and reorganizes, it is now located in 632 College Drive, McDowell County, North Carolina. As companies expand globally, it becomes even more important for business leaders to appreciate the concept of economic interdependence in order to operate optimally.

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, edited, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

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27 July

Aquion Energy, A Low-Cost, Safe, and Clean Battery System

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I want to make sure that you are all aware of this particular technology before moving on to another topic, for Aquion Energy has a saltwater electrolytes-based technology that provides a low cost and safe way to store large amounts of energy (e.g. for an electricity grid) through thousands of battery cycles and a non-HAZMAT end product. It operates safely and reliably in a wide range of temperatures and environments. It is also the only one that is cradle-to-cradle certifiedAquion Energy is a Pittsburgh-based company that manufactures sodium ion batteries and energy storage systems.

Below, is a bit of history and background about the company (from wikipedia):

The company was founded in 2008 by Professor Jay Whitacre, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and Ted Wiley, setting up research and development offices in Lawrenceville, where it produced pilot-stage batteries. The company claims to have raised funding from Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, Bill Gates, Nick and Jobey Pritzker, Bright Capital, and Advanced Technology Ventures, among others. The company was the corporate winner in the energy category at the 2011 World Technology Awards. In 2015, the company announced that it would supply batteries for a Hawaii microgrid to serve as backup for a 176-kilowatt solar panel array. The system will store 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

Below, I want to share with you a presentation by Professor Jay Whitacre at TEDxCMU2012, to have a better understanding of the make-up behind this energy storage technology ( recommended):


The ambient-temperature battery is designed for storage for wind and solar power. According to the company, it will be 85 percent efficient. The battery uses non-toxic materials. The cathode uses manganese oxide and relies on intercalation reactions. In its earlier days, Aquion used an anode made of carbon which relies mostly on pseudocapacitance to store charge resulting in a low energy-density and a tilted voltage-charge slope. Later, Aquion switched to a titanium phosphate (NaTi2(PO4)3 )  anode which is a true intercalation material with a large specific charge (Ah/kg) and a flat voltage-charge slope. In many ways, titanium phosphate is similar to iron phosphate used in A123 batteries, but with a low (anodic) electrode potential. The electrolyte disclosed in earlier patent applications was an aqueous sodium sulphate solution, in later a more soluble <5M NaClO4 has been used. A synthetic cotton separator was reported. It is worth noting that Aquion targets stationary electric energy storage markets with long runtimes (such as peak shift and renewable energy storage) which requires the use of unusually thick (>2 mm) battery electrode layers, which leads to a trade off in power density. An individual battery stack will store 1.5 kWh, a pallet-sized unit 180 and a shipping-container-size box holds 2.88 MWh. The battery cannot overheat. Aquion has yet to divulge precise functional details.

The company expects its products to last for more than 3,000 charge/discharge cycles while retaining 80% of starting capacity, twice as long as lead-acid batteries but with a lower power density than other technologies. Costs are expected to be about the same as with lead-acid. In October 2013 they announced a memorandum of understanding with Siemens to adopt their power inverter technology. In October 2014 they announced the new generation of their battery that has a 40 percent increase in energy density (whilst staying the same size), a stack of the battery stores 2.4 kWh and a module (several stacks joined together) 25.5 kWh

What I’ve learned from the video above: true cost driver of Aquion battery is the separator; it’s helpful to use a prop (such as a t-shirt) at fundraising demo. Below, is another video on more details of this grid energy storage, beyond batteries, of Aquion Energy, presented at VLAB, examining the technology and economics behind this product (much worthwhile advices), starting from 17:00:


~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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24 July

Sonnenbatterie, Energy Storage Company With the Fully Integrated System & Great Potential

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Sonnenbatterie-Komplettsystem-aus-einer-Hand (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

Sonnenbatterie Complete System (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

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Those of us who have been following the solar industry for quite a few years/decades realize that reliable Energy Storage holds the key to Solar Energy Future. Therefore, it is not surprising that Intersolar North America 2015 placed a great deal of emphasis on the topic of Energy Storage-Battery Technology. The simple fact that the sun does not shine 24/7/365 necessitates reliable energy storage before solar energy can truly become mainstream. Important factors when choosing the energy storage system are: reliability, capacity, durability, and safety. With Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack being in the news much lately, I was curious about the energy storage systems being introduced by Sonnenbatterie,

Sonnenbatterie installation (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

Sonnenbatterie installation (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

a German company that has been a leader for energy storage in Europe for many years.

Sonnenbatterie Manufacturing storage system (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

Sonnenbatterie Manufacturing storage system (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

For the first time, Sonnenbatterie is entering the North American market and is the winner of  Bloomberg Pioneers Award 2015. I had the opportunity to chat with US management/CEO of Sonnenbatterie, Boris Von Bormann, about features that distinguish Sonnenbatterie’s units from Tesla’s Powerwall or Powerpack: Sonnenbatterie has a fully integrated (battery+inverter) system and can be taken apart whereas Tesla’s Powerwall or Powerpack contains only the battery system. In the age of collaboration, it would be great if Sonnenbatterie would also develop an inverter system that will work with Tesla’s battery technology. Sonnenbatterie’s system can also be integrated with the utility so to be more efficiently managed. The intelligent storage solution has a built-in smart meter

Sonnenbatterie touch display (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

Sonnenbatterie touch display (credit: Sonnenbatterie)

that enables the management of local energy production and consumption. By using a mobile app the houseowner decides whether to feed-in or directly consume the homemade electricity. Without further ado, let’s hear what Boris Von Bormann has in store for us, below:

I’d also like to share with you, another video, with Sonnenbatterie’s Christoph Ostermann, at Ecosummit 2013, below.  Sonnenbatterie is a true pioneer for Sonnenbatterie started selling their system prior to the existence of either supply or demand for the market/system. Within two years of its inception, Sonnenbatterie was able to sell 1500 systems. The growth continued, with about 8,000 systems sold in Germany by Spring of 2015 and production running at about 100-150 systems per week. At ECO13, Sonnenbatterie won the Ecosummit Award Jury Bronze medal in recognition of their outstanding business potential.

With the anticipated upcoming Solar Tsunami, it will be well worth the effort for investors and consumers in the solar energy market to keep an eye on Sonnenbatterie, for it has a fully integrated system and it can fill consumers’ order this year.

Recently, Sonnenbatterie has partnered with Outback Power to integrate their smart energy storage solutions with a trusted inverter for residential solar customers across North America. Historically, Outback Power has been a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced power electronics for renewable energy, backup power, and mobile applications. “OutBack Power’s Radian inverter/charger was a natural choice to integrate into Sonnenbatterie’s eco residential smart storage system,” said Boris von Bormann, CEO of Sonnenbatterie USA. “Working with OutBack, we are confident we can provide American home owners with the peace of mind our European customers have come to expect from Sonnenbatterie — that their home energy storage system will operate reliably in any environment and applications.” For a look of Outback Power’s Radian Series, in the video below:


~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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22 July

Exciting Coming Renewable Decade-Opening Ceremony at Intersolar North America 2015

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Allow me to share with you some of the golden nuggets (above) during opening ceremony of Intersolar North America 2015:  It is both heart warming and energizing to hear the opening speech by Prof./Dr. Eicke R. Weber, the Intersolar North America Conference Chairman and Director of Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) at Intersolar North America 2015, in Intercontinental Hotel.  Prof. Weber’s speech is full of good news. Besides mentioning the necessity of renewable energy source, its cost trending downward toward 2-4 cents per kWh and much more improved energy storages becoming commercially available on the market, Prof. Weber also reminds us that PV is currently at its infancy, equivalent to the automotive sector back in 1920’s, with much exciting growth to come in the coming decade. Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Tesla Motors, J.B. Straubel, further supports this view, adding the synergy between PV, renewables, and cars, and achieving sustainability with transportation. In order to achieve this, it is important not just to make electric vehicles but to make sure that these electric vehicles are linked back to renewable energy sources.There is much similarity between the PV and e-vehicle markets, both have dropped in cost and will eventually be dominating its respective markets (PV in the energy market and e-vehicle in transportation market). It is truly exciting to be at the beginning of the cost-decline curve, for PV to be within grasping distance of the goal of being cheaper than fossil energy. Such a tipping point is anticipated to occur within the coming decade. Yes, sensation of excitement is palpable in the room. I felt as though surrounded by a room full of soldiers, rearing to go.

At this point, I’d like to present two charts: 1. Global Annual PV Market Until 2017 (Sourc: EPIA) 2. Global Revenues of PV Energy Storage, in Billion US$ (Source: IHS Inc.), below:

Global Annual PV Market Between 2013-2017 (Source: EPIA) made available by sunisthefuture.net

Global Revenues for PV Energy Storage (Source: IHS Inc.) chart made available by sunisthefuture.net

Continuing on, the Executive Director of CALSEIA (California Solar Energy Industries Association) Bernadette Del Chiaro, points out that the 3 gigawatts of solar installations within the past 3 months in CA is largely responsible for combating the shortfall of hydroelecric output resulting from CA draught (recall 25% of the CA energy/power comes from hydroelectric power, currently down 25-50% due to CA draught). So, definitely applause is in order for the unsung hero of solar PV!  It is terrific to hear the statistics on “every 3 minutes, some one in CA is going Solar“. Director Del Chiaro also reminded the audience the importance of SAVE The ITC (Investmnet Tax Credit) campaign. Then we come to New York Senator Kevin S. Parker, citing more exponential growth data of solar installations and the New York -Sun Initiative, with ambitious goal of 3 gigawatts of solar installations in the coming decade. He further states that he is looking for opportunities of partnerships with various groups for large scale renewables as the state of New York continues to walk toward the Sun. More on Intersolar North America 2015 and storing the sun, below, with Kilian Reichert:

Also, it is important for the world to learn from CA, to encourage the right kind of policy to be instituted so to encourage the growth of solar and renewable energy. During Intersolar North America 2015, we’d like to share some thoughts from the Champion of Change Award winner, former state assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, who was instrumental in introducing the mandate of 33% of the electricity generated from CA to be coming from renewable sources such as solar. She is in support of policy that would encourage renewable sources for both distributed as well as utility scale generation. Our hats off to Nancy Skinner! I believe such mandate would benefit all states of USA. More, below….


~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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20 July

Intersolar North America 2015, In San Francisco, With Intention

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Permanent art installations from Janet Echelman, Kendall Buster, Norie Sato, Charles Sowers, and Walter Kitundu of San Francisco (SFO) international terminal in Terminal 2, formerly known as the "Central Terminal" replaced Rotunda A as SFO's international terminal in 1983. (photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Permanent art installations from Janet Echelman, Kendall Buster, Norie Sato, Charles Sowers, and Walter Kitundu of San Francisco (SFO) international terminal in Terminal 2, formerly known as the “Central Terminal” replaced Rotunda A as SFO’s international terminal in 1983. (photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

Of all the photos I took during the trip to Intersolar North America at San Francisco, CA, I find this one (above) truly reflects the spirit of San Francisco. Take a look at how this piece of sculpture by Janet Echelman is described in wikipedia:

Echelman transforms the terminal with fictional nature that subtly engages viewers with real and imagined natural forces. Her sculpture installation cuts three round skylights into the ceiling, from which descend delicate layers of translucent colored netting to create three voluptuous volumetric forms. A series of shaded outlines below are embedded into the terrazzo floor, reflecting the precise shadows that would occur on the summer solstice if the sun could penetrate through the roof. During the day, sun streams through the skylights to cast real shadows that interplay with the fictional shadows in the floor. At night, the artist’s program of colored lighting makes the sculpture glow from indigo to purple, magenta to red-orange. Computer-programmed mechanized air-flow animates the fluidly-moving sculpture at different intervals throughout the day, as if the wind could magically flow through solid walls.

The artist achieved the sculpture’s physical presence by braiding fibers and knotting twine into sculptural netting suspended from powder-coated steel armatures. Despite their large scale, more than 120 feet in circumference for a single form, her sculpture is experienced as ephemeral and weightless. Visually, the sculpture evokes the contours and colors of cloud formations over the Bay and hints at the silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge. Aesthetically, the sculpture looks both backwards and forwards, drawing its color from the heyday of psychedelic music, the Summer of Love, and San Francisco’s prominence in the beat poetry movement, while also referencing the contemporary bay area as a hub of innovation and interconnectivity for the world of technology.

There is definite intention behind how and why San Francisco is such a hub of innovation and interconnectivity for the world of technology. I have personally observed, on more than one occasion, how San Francisco network had actively gathered/netted in talents from other parts of the USA and good part of the planet earth. On this particular trip, more than ever, I have gained so much information, hope, and optimism for the future of solar industry and technology during Intersolar North America 2015, that I can truly appreciate such netting mechanism radiated from this little area of approximately 46 sq mi. That is why the artist/sculptor Janet Echelman from Tampa, FL , has her sculpture displayed in San Francisco International airport terminal 2 instead of in Tampa, FL.   In the short 3-4 days of Intersolar North America 2015, more than ever before, I can see the future certainty of Solar Tsunami. Coming from a background of mathematics and engineering (civil and mechanical), I’ve gained much of my understanding for the power/energy industry by having an in-house (hubby) technical advisor with electrical engineering background. What seemed to me, intuitively, the natural solution for Energy-Pollution-Economy-Climate Change-International Conflicts during my freshman year in college more than three decades ago, the Solar Energy, will finally be in the main stream!

There will be a series of posts and videos from Intersolar North America 2015 during the remaining of this week and good part of the next week demonstrating how Solar Energy will soon be in the main stream. World wide, we have Germany to be thankful for. USA wide, we have CA and San Francisco to be thankful for.

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

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14 July

Sun Is The Future Update & Sonnen-Batterie Press Release

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Sun Is The Future (www.sunisthefuture.net), advocating for the use of Solar Energy, aiming to spread SunShine throughout planet Earth since 2011

Sun Is The Future (www.sunisthefuture.net), advocating for the use of Solar Energy, aiming to spread SunShine throughout planet Earth since 2011

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

If you are visiting Sun Is The Future for the first time or long-time subscribers, welcome and be prepared for some updates! Sun Is The Future has been advocating for the use of Solar Energy since January of 2011 via information/education (Internet, Youtube Channel, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Instagram,etc.),  helping entrepreneurs to establish small businesses in Solar Energy/Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency/Recycling via micro-finance/crowdfunding (Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva), and online store (Sunshine Online Store). Sun Is The Future is designed to be a self-sustaining organization, without support from any government and without non-profit status. For those of you who have shown interest in helping to support Sun Is The Future, please feel free to visit Sunshine Online Store to select any gift(s) of appreciation and become part of the support group for Sun Is The Future , Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva, and solar/renewable/recycling/energy efficiency projects at Zip.Kiva.org. Thus far, we have reached readers/viewers from 192 countries, with more than 20,000 subscribers, and accumulated 132 videos and 566 posts, and have helped more than 1000 small businesses. We hope you will continue to return and participate in our effort in spreading the SunShine throughout our planet Earth.

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Now, for a recent press release from Sonnen-Batterie ( winner of Bloomberg 2015 New Energy Pioneers Award and is attending Intersolar North America 2015 at booth #8121.), below:

Sonnenbatterie (Solarbattery) Is Now Offering Its Innovative Products in the United States For the first time in the US, Sonnenbatterie is taking orders for residential and commercial smart energy storage products for distribution through certified channel partners, Sonnenbatterie Centers

Los Angeles, Calif. – July 13, 2015 – Sonnenbatterie, market leader for smart energy storage systems with offices in Los Angeles, California and Bavaria, Germany, today announced that US versions of the residential and commercial products that have earned the reputation of market leader in Europe are now available for ordering and shipment in the US for the first time. Demos of the new products and applications for channel partners will be available at Intersolar North America, Booth #8121.

Today’s news comes on the heels of recent announcements regarding the company’s new research and development facility in Atlanta, GA, and a non-exclusive North American distribution deal with Sungevity.

“I’m very happy to announce that Sonnenbatterie is officially open for business in North America!” said Boris von Bormann, CEO of Sonnenbatterie USA. “Over the last five years, the name Sonnenbatterie has become synonymous throughout Europe with high quality, beautiful design, and easy-to-use home and commercial energy solutions. We’re delighted to invite American consumers to enjoy the Sonnenbatterie experience for themselves.”

Sonnenbatterie products are now available in North America exclusively through channel partners called Sonnenbatterie Centers. Sonnenbatterie Centers are very often local solar installers that enjoy a certain level of geographic exclusivity, given they meet certain volume requirements. Interested parties can seek an application at the company’s booth at Intersolar North America (Booth #8121).

Sonnenbatterie is the German market leader for lithium storage systems with corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Wildpoldsried, Germany, 90 minutes from Munich. The company has sold over 8,000 units of its intelligent energy storage system to homeowners and businesses since entering the market in 2011.

Coupled with a solar energy system, Sonnenbatterie systems can supply residential owners with 100 percent of their energy needs, in addition to providing backup power for the home and taking advantage of different tariff structures for off-peak vs. on-peak use. For commercial customers, Sonnenbatterie helps reduce demand spikes that lead to peak load charges.

About Sonnenbatterie

Sonnenbatterie designs and manufactures fully integrated energy storage systems, with US headquarters in Los Angeles, California and corporate headquarters in Bavaria, Germany. The Sonnenbatterie solution integrates battery cells, an inverter, and energy management software in one package that allows for extremely fast and inexpensive installation. The product offers an array of smart functions like peak shaving and remote management, and has an industry leading expected life of 10,000 charge cycles. Sonnenbatterie has doubled sales every year from 2012 to 2014, and the company has raised a total of $13M in venture capital to date from partners including SET Ventures, Munich Venture Partners, and eCAPITAL.

For more information:

Stefanie Kohl

Sonnenbatterie PR

Stefanie.k@sonnen-batterie.com

201-895-1609

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~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

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12 July

Obama Administration Is In Favor of Solar Access For All Americans

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,


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Below is the press release from the White House:

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Administration Announces New Initiative to Increase Solar Access for All Americans

Including Actions to Scale Up Solar Access and Cut Energy Bills in Communities Across America

The Obama Administration is committed to addressing climate change, promoting clean energy, and creating good paying jobs.  That is why the Administration is announcing a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate- income communities, while expanding opportunities to join the solar workforce.

Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.  And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent.  The executive actions and private sector commitments that we are announcing today will help continue to scale up solar for all Americans, including those who are renters, lack the startup capital to invest in solar, or do not have adequate information on how to transition to solar energy.  The key components of the initiative that the Administration is announcing today are:

  • Launching a National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems, including issuing a guide to Support States In Developing Community Solar Programs;
  • Setting a goal to install 300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing and providing technical assistance to make it easier to install solar, including clarifying how to use Federal funding;
  • Housing authorities, rural electric co-ops, power companies, and organizations in more than 20 states across the country are committing to put in place more than 260 solar energy projects, including projects to help low- and moderate- income communities save on their energy bills and further community solar; and
  • More than $520 million in independent commitments from philanthropic and impact investors, states, and cities to advance community solar and scale up solar and energy efficiency for low- and moderate- income households.

To continue enhancing employment opportunities for all Americans in the solar industry, the Administration is announcing the following executive actions and private sector commitments, including:

  • AmeriCorps funding to deploy solar and create jobs in underserved communities;
  • Expanding solar energy education and opportunities for job training; and
  • The solar industry is also setting its own, independent goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S.  energy industry, and a number of companies are announcing that they are taking steps to build a more inclusive solar workforce.

These new actions build on President Obama’s goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020 and the Solar Ready Vets program that will train transitioning military personnel for careers in the solar industry at 10 military bases.

EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO SCALE UP SOLAR AND DECREASE ENERGY BILLS

To continue supporting all American communities in deploying clean energy while creating jobs and reducing carbon pollution, the Administration is announcing the following executive actions:

  • Setting A Goal To Install 300 Megawatts Of Renewable Energy in Federally Subsidized Housing: In the Climate Action Plan, the President set a goal of installing 100 megawatts (MW) of solar and other types of renewable energy in Federally subsidized housing.   The Administration has already surpassed that goal, through commitments to install more than 185 MW of renewable energy.    Today, we are announcing that the Administration is tripling its current goal and setting a new goal to install 300 MW of renewable energy on affordable by 2020, as well as expanding the goal to include community and shared solar installations.
  • Providing Technical Assistance to Make It Easier to Install Solar on Affordable Housing: One of the largest barriers to deploying onsite solar on affordable housing is the lack of knowledge on how to initiate the process.  To overcome this barrier, the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is announcing that it will offer direct technical assistance to affordable housing organizations making a commitment toward the Administration’s new 300 MW goal.  As part of this assistance, HUD is launching a website to provide policy guidance, tools, and other online resources to help advance solar deployment and the installation of other renewable energy in affordable housing.
  • Developing a Toolkit to Increase the Ability of States to Use Federal Funding to Deploy Solar on Affordable Housing: To make it easier to use Section 108 Community Development Block Grant funds for solar energy systems, next month, HUD is releasing a renewable energy toolkit for use by Community Planning and Development (CPD) grantees.  The toolkit will provide program compliance information, tools, and case study examples to help communities integrate renewable energy components such as solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, and cogeneration into the program in an efficient, cost-effective, and impactful way by using CPD funds.  This action builds on an announcement last year during which, HUD’s CPD office affirmed that under current guidelines, Section 108 Community Development Block Grant funding can be used for clean energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • Enhancing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)’s PowerSaver Policy to Make It Easier to Borrow Up To $25,000 For Solar and Energy-Efficient Improvements:  FHA is planning updates to its second-mortgage program that will make it easier for homeowners to borrow up to $25,000 for solar and energy-efficient improvements by cutting red tape and making improvements more affordable.  Key features of the second mortgage program will include: 1) providing flexible underwriting to recognize the reduced cost of utilities for energy efficient homes; 2) allowing homeowners to control the disbursement of loan funds to the contractor; and 3) permitting contributions to lower out-of-pocket expenses and/or reduce borrower interest rates.
  • Clarifying Policy to Pave the Way for Increased FHA Solar and Energy Efficient Financing on Federally Assisted and Insured Housing.   FHA recently clarified its policy on first mortgages to allow flexible financing options and the ability to obtain larger loan amounts for solar systems.   FHA is conducting forums on the updated Single Family Handbook to help increase lender awareness of these financing options, which will be effective September 14, 2015.
  • Launching a National Community Solar Partnership: The U.S.  Department of Energy (DOE) in collaboration with HUD, the U.S.  Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), representatives from solar companies, NGOs, and state and community leaders are launching a National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems.  The partnership will leverage the interest in the public and private sector to expand access to community solar, in particular, for low- and moderate- income communities, while utilizing the technical expertise of DOE and the National Laboratories.
    • BARC Electric Cooperative
    • Black Rock Solar
    • State of California
    • Clean Energy Collective
    • Citi
    • Colorado State Energy Office
    • District of Columbia Department of the Environment
    • First Solar, Inc.
    • Grand Valley Power
    • Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
    • GRID Alternatives
    • Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
    • National League of Cities
    • State of New York
    • RE-volv
    • Solar Energy Industries Association
    • Solar Electric Power Association
    • Spear Point Energy
    • SunShare
    • The Solar Foundation
    • Vermont Public Service Department
    • Vote Solar
  • Issuing A Guide To Support States In Developing Community Solar Programs: The DOE SunShot Initiative and the National Renewable Energy Lab are releasing a new guide, which answers key program design questions collected from states that have implemented shared solar policies and programs around the country.  The guide will also explain how shared solar polices work in conjunction with other polices and provides links to relevant shared solar publications.
  • Launching a Solar Working Group To Save Households on Their Energy Bills: The DOE SunShot Initiative, with assistance from Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is forming a new working group to disseminate information to new homebuilders that want to offer customer-owned solar PV.

STATE AND PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITMENTS INCREASE SOLAR ENERGY AND CUT ENERGY BILLS IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS AMERICA

States, cities, businesses, and organizations from more than 20 states across the country are making their own, independent commitments to put in place more than 260 solar energy projects in low- and moderate- income communities or to further community solar.   These announcements include:

  • 22 additional Public Housing Authorities and affordable housing providers from around the country are committing to install solar and other type of renewable energy on their facilities, to help meet the Administration’s new 300 MW goal.  This include:
    • Allegheny County Housing Authority, PA
    • Asheville Housing Authority, NC
    • Boulder Housing Authority, CO
    • BRIDGE Housing, CA
    • Cambridge Housing Authority, MA
    • Community Housing Partners, VA
    • Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, OH
    • Fresno Housing Authority, CA
    • East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, CA
    • Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, CA
    • King County Housing Authority, WA
    • Knox County Housing Authority, IL
    • Mercy Housing, Washington, D.C.
    • Metro West Housing Authority, CO
    • New York City Housing Authority, NY
    • New Bedford Housing Authority, MA
    • Rural Ulster Preservation Corporation, NY
    • San Antonio Housing Authority, TX
    • Tampa Housing Authority, FL
    • The Core Companies, CA
    • Vistula Management Company, OH
    • York Housing Authority, PA
  • RE-volv, a nonprofit organization, is announcing a goal of financing 200 community-based solar energy projects over the next three years.  As these communities pay RE-volv back through a solar lease, the money is “paid forward,” setting in motion a self-sustaining revolving fund that will finance a new solar project every month.  Already, RE-volv has already crowdfunded $120,000 from people in 38 states and 22 countries to finance 65 kilowatts (kW) of solar on three nonprofits and cooperatives that collectively serve over 1500 families.
  • Private sector companies announcing new projects in low- and moderate- income communities or to further community solar:
    • More than 30 member-owned, not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives in 17 states across the country are committing to install community solar projects by the end of 2016.  This builds on the nearly 20 co-ops nationally that have already brought online community solar projects in the last year.
    • Spear Point Energy, is committing to develop nearly 10-15 solar projects for rural water companies in the next year.  The program will include green bank financing and create jobs in low-income rural communities.
    • Clean Energy Collective is announcing three new community solar projects:
      • The first community solar to be built in Texas, CEC will develop a 900kW project in partnership with Nueces Electric cooperative, which will be located near Corpus Christi, Texas, and serve Nueces’ full customer base across the state of Texas.
      • A 120 kW community solar project located in Pueblo, Colorado with Black Hills Energy.  A significant portion of the array will serve low-income households through a partnership with Posada Pueblo.
      • A new partnership with CPS Energy to develop a 1.2 MW community solar project in the San Antonio area.   The project will be the first for CPS Energy and make CPS the largest municipally-owned utility in the nation with a community solar project.
      • Freetown, MA will soon complete a shared solar installation.  The project – the first to be fully funded and managed by NRG Energy, Inc.  in Massachusetts – will provide one megawatt of clean electricity, enough to power nearly 200 homes.  This project will provide solar power to residents who would typically not have access solar energy, while reducing the overall cost of their utility bill.
  • The Colorado Energy Office is launching a shared solar project for low-income households as part of its strategy to comprehensively reduce their energy burden.  The project complements Colorado’s Weatherization Assistance Program by giving low-income households the ability to reduce electricity costs.   The Office has released a Request for Application for a Community Shared Solar System Demonstration Project consisting of varying size and scale that will cumulatively provide more than 1 MW of solar generation solely for low-income shareholders.
  • Vote Solar is announcing Shared Renewables HQ, a web resource providing state-by-state policy analysis and resources to help communities design programs that work for all income levels.
  • SunEdison and NASCAR are announcing a partnership to promote distributed residential and commercial solar power through “NASCAR Green,” a platform created in 2008 to educate and promote sustainable solutions to fans and stakeholders on initiatives such as biofuel use, recycling programs, and solar energy adoption.   Over the next three years as part of this collaboration, SunEdison and NASCAR will educate the NASCAR fanbase about the benefits of home solar.  Additionally, SunEdison will work with NASCAR partners, race track properties, and race teams to design and propose commercial scale solar solutions.

FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS FROM STATES, CITIES, AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO SCALE UP RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Today, leaders from across the country are also committing to invest more than $520 million to advance community solar or scale up solar and energy efficiency in low- and moderate- income communities.

  • Community Capital Management is committing to investing $100 million in government-assisted rental housing that support environmental and energy efficiency initiatives, including deploying solar energy systems to meet the Administration’s new 300 MW goal, indoor environmental quality, and site remediation in the next year.
  • Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is announcing that it has secured over $400 million in cumulative financial backing to help scale up community solar nationwide.
  • Craft3, a nonprofit community development financial institution, is committing $12 million to expand its on-bill repayment loan program to help homeowners convert from high-carbon oil heat to natural gas and electric heat pumps, including financing oil tank decommissioning, the installation of high-efficiency gas furnaces, heat pumps and weatherization measures.   The program will focus on low to moderate income households that do not qualify for low-income weatherization support where borrowers will repay their loans through their utility bill.  Today’s announcement builds on Craft3’s March commitment to work with MPower, a non-profit company dedicated to provide $4 million in financing for building-wide energy efficiency services to qualified affordable housing facilities.   Since 2009, Craft3 has provided over $40 million in energy efficiency financing to 3,000 Oregon and Washington households.
  • The District of Columbia Department of the Environment is announcing that it will launch a plan to invest up to $6 million in community solar for low-income residents this fall.  Today’s announcement builds on their existing initiative to install 130 solar panels on low-income homes in 250 days by September 30, 2015.
  • California is announcing a new $3 million pilot program for multi-family homes that provides credit support to facilitate energy improvements.  The program will offer multi-family affordable housing credit support for energy efficiency improvements, including solar water heating.  The program is expected to facilitate improvements in 1000 housing units.  This builds on the California Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership, a program that encourages solar on new construction, currently has $3.5 million in reservations for future solar on affordable housing, representing 2.26MW.  To date, the program has provided $23 million in incentives for 883 affordable housing systems, representing 7.69 MW.
  • The State of Hawaii, is committing to open up financing for solar energy systems for renters, through the financing of community-based renewable energy projects, and energy efficiency projects to non-profits and small businesses in the coming months.  Through the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, the State has already committed to financing $150 million of clean energy technologies for underserved Hawaii homeowners, renters, non-profits and small businesses by the end of 2016.   In March 2015, the Authority launched financing for solar PV to underserved non-profits and small businesses, with financing for solar PV to underserved homeowners available by July 2015.
  • The State of Massachusetts is committing to exploring new models to support community solar projects through the Massachusetts Solar Loan Program.  Through the program Massachusetts will work with the solar industry and lenders to provide affordable financing for solar electricity, with specific support for low- and moderate- income residents as well as community solar projects.  MassCEC and DOER will also continue to work collaboratively with the private sector to create pathways towards innovative community solar models and projects that increase access to solar electricity for Massachusetts residents.
  • The Vermont Public Service Department is announcing that it will launch a new statewide program to support customers that want to participate in community solar through an interest rate buy-down fund, with support from the DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge II.  The buy-down program will boost access to group net metering systems, in particular for those that cannot afford their own solar systems, and will enhance the state’s efforts to reduce barriers to going solar.  These include the financial incentives such as the state’s solar adder and regulatory initiatives such as the statewide 10-day registration form for projects under 15 kW.  Today’s announcement builds on the lessons learned through a pilot program in Windham County.  Vermont is also enhancing access to solar for public entities by working with them to create tools such as the recently released Solar Group Net Metering Agreement Template for Vermont’s Municipalities and Schools.
  • Washington State Housing Finance Commission is announcing theEnergySpark Home Loan, a new home-loan program from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.  EnergySpark  gives homebuyers an incentive to buy a home that is constructed to high efficiency standards that are at least 15 percent above code, or to make efficiency improvements to an existing home that cut its energy use by at least 10 percent.  The program offers a quarter-percent off the interest rate, and also allows buyers of older homes to finance the cost of modest improvements, for example, installing renewable energy, adding insulation, replacing windows or upgrading to an efficient furnace, right into the cost of the mortgage at the time of purchase.  When added to the Commission’s downpayment assistance, EnergySpark gives low- and moderate-income homebuyers not only savings on their home purchase, but savings on utilities over the long term.

BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE ENERGY WORKFORCE

The solar industry is adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.   They are good paying jobs that are helping Americans enter into the middle class.  In fact, earlier this year, President Obama announced a new goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020 and a Solar Ready Vets program to train transitioning military personnel for careers in this growing industry at 10 bases.  To continue enhancing employment opportunities for all Americans, including low-income and minority communities, the Administration is announcing the following executive actions and private sector commitments:

  • Announcing Funding through AmeriCorps that will Deploy Solar and Create Jobs in Low-Income Communities: The Corporation for National and Community Service is supporting GRID Alternatives’ SolarCorps program.  Through the program, 40 AmeriCorps members will gain hands-on training and skills to access jobs in the booming solar industry, while providing clean energy to low-income families who need the savings to pay for basic expenses, through service at GRID Alternatives affiliates and offices throughout the country.  At the end of the first program year, the AmeriCorps members will be responsible for helping retrofit 1500 low-income homes with solar power and will help 200 economically disadvantaged individuals gain jobs in the solar industry, while securing jobs for themselves at the end of their years of service.  In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional 4000 volunteers who will be engaged in installing solar for low-income families.
  • Expanding Renewable Energy Education and Job Training: HUD, DOE, and the Department of Education launched “STEM, Energy, and Economic Development” or “SEED.”  SEED is a place-based initiative, currently operating in five cities; DC, Cleveland, Tampa, San Antonio, and Denver.  This project will leverage Federal investments and partnerships to support workforce development and educational opportunities in the energy sector for public housing residents.   Today, we are announcing a key part of this initiative will be focused on the solar industry.
  • Launching a Webinar Series to Provide Information about Job Opportunities: DOE is launching an eight-part webinar series through its Minorities in Energy Initiative to discuss the regional impacts of climate change on minority and Tribal communities and job opportunities in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency sectors to support a growing, next-generation workforce.   In addition, experts will discuss findings from the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) and outline Federal energy policy objectives as they relate to climate resilience, including underserved communities.   Authors of the National Climate Assessment will discuss their findings and the regional applicability to communities who are disproportionally impacted by the effects of climate change.
  • Announcing a New Goal by the Solar Industry to Become the Most Diverse Sector of the U.S.  Energy Industry: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing a new goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S.  energy industry, promoting greater workforce diversity – from gender, nationality, and race to veteran status, sexual orientation and beyond.  According to the to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2014, “the solar workforce is increasingly diverse, with select demographic groups (i.e., Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and African American solar workers, along with women and veterans of the U.S.  Armed Forces) representing a larger percentage of the solar workforce” than was observed in 2013.  The Solar Foundation report indicates the solar industry has already surpassed a number of other energy sectors when it comes to both ethnic and gender diversity.  To ensure that the solar industry can achieve its new goal, the solar industry plans to ramp up its training and recruitment opportunities nationwide.
  • Individual Private Sector Commitments: A number of individual companies are taking steps to build a more inclusive solar workforce.   Their independent commitments include the following:
    • As part of a $5 million philanthropic partnership called the Realizing an Inclusive Solar Economy (RISE) that SunEdison entered into with GRID Alternatives earlier this year, today, GRID Alternatives, in collaboration with Civic Works, is training residents in East Baltimore to enter the solar industry.  RISE aims to train 4,000 applicants from underserved communities to begin solar careers.  GRID Alternatives and SunEdison will work with over 70 job training organizations and community colleges over the next two years and offer recruitment venues, hands-on solar installation training, one-year paid fellowships, webinars, and other opportunities for applicants from underserved communities to begin a solar career.  Training opportunities will be available across the country, including through extensive outreach that drives job applicants to job fairs at major solar industry events like Intersolar in San Francisco in July 2015 and Solar Power International in Anaheim in September 2015.
    • PosiGen, commits to increase the diversity of its workforce and unlock employment opportunities for low-income households, including by hiring 40 percent of their employees from low- and moderate- income communities by the end of 2016.  To realize this goal, PosiGen is also committing to increasing its infrastructure investment in low- and moderate-income communities by more than $100 million by the end of 2016.
    • Nautilus Solar Energy proudly commits to expand solar installations in low-income communities and to continue working towards creating a brighter future for communities everywhere.  Both woman-owned and veteran-owned, with females comprising approximately half of its employees, Nautilus Solar Energy provides businesses, schools and not-for-profit organizations across the United States and Canada with solar power

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Please keep in mind that there is another valuable source at: DSIRE, providing various federal and state incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.  Take advantage of them and join the New Renewable Energy Age!

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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