Posts Tagged ‘MN’

30 December

Announcing American Solar Challenge 2014!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)


Please show your support for Renewable Energy by visiting-signing-sharing Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State!


American Solar Challenge 2012, Oregon State University near finish line (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

I can’t wait to let you know about the American Solar Challenge 2014 (ASC/FSGP 2014) scheduled to take place in July of 2014.  The 2014 American Solar Challenge is going to be an 8 day 1700+ mile road course traveling through 7 states from Austin, TX to St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN.  Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP 2014) will be returning to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX!  COTA provided excellent facilities and served as a great host for FSGP 2013.

Just a quick reminder of what happened last time at American Solar Challenge 2012, video of some special moments at ASC2012 (1 of 2) below:

Special Moments of American Solar Challenge 2012 (2 of 2) at:


For photo coverage post on participating universities at American Solar Challenge 2012, click on–> ASC2012 Photos.

Below is the ASC Route and Schedule Overview. Exact locations of stage/checkpoints are still being finalized.

  • Mon, July 21: Start in Austin, TX with a checkpoint in (TBD), TX
  • Tue, July 22: Arrive at stage stop in Norman, OK
  • Wed, July 23: Depart Norman, OK with a checkpoint in Wichita, KS
  • Thu, July 24: Arrive at stage stop in Overland Park, KS
  • Fri, July 25: Depart Overland Park, KS and arrive at stage stop in Omaha, NE
  • Sat, July 26: Depart Omaha, NE with a checkpoint in Ames, IA
  • Sun, July 27: Arrive at stage stop in La Crosse, WI
  • Mon, July 28: Finish in St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN



~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, edited, uploaded by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker & filmed by Michael Nunamaker.
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gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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26 June

Let Community Solar Garden Bloom!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Updates on our Solar-FIT For Sunshine State petition: 167 signatures strong. We need more! Please help us to spread more sunshine by signing this petition and sharing it with others. It is our shared responsibility to move toward the renewable energy age and Sunshine is the cleanest, healthiest, and least war-prone way to go!

Hi, Folks,

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Yes, I’ve been talking about Community Solar Garden to people in my communities. Are you? Think of all the potential sites that may be used as Community Solar Gardens: rooftops and parking lot of Y, schools, apartment complexes, ground of retention areas of each subdivision, etc. Imagine giving 3 kilowatts capacity of a community solar garden as wedding gift to your college room-mate or selling 3 kilowatts capacity on the craiglist. While I conjure up what may be the possible tomorrow, there are more details that need to be addressed today. To  clarify many of these details, I’ve found 2 more videos (red links below)  that will help to increase our understanding of what Community Solar Garden/Farm concept is all about. It is about community garden, growing solar energy, enabling any one who wants to participate (regardless if one is a home owner or apartment dweller, with or without a house that is shaded or optimally oriented for sun exposure…). It is a smart way to invest (tax-free, with guaranteed return, with greater certainty than investing in the stock market) and to save our planet from dramatic climate change. It’s a win-win, No Brainer! Here  are the videos (red links below):

  1. (Leasing Solar Panels Through Garden)
  2. (Community Solar)

    rooftop solar panel array at the Kuppam-i-community office

    rooftop pv panels in Kreuzberg, Berlin

    Westmill Solar Park/Garden (creative commons, GNU Free Documentation License)










I hope this series of presentation on Community Solar Garden/Farm  from June 17-26, 2013 posts of has been helpful to you . For those of you who haven’t viewed the series, below:

June 17, 2013 post

June 18, 2013 post

June 19, 2013 post

June 20, 2013 post

June 21, 2013 post

June 22, 2013 post

June 23, 2013 post

June 26, 2013 post

Thanks to Joy Hughes at Solar Garden Institute of CO, we are now supplied with additional resources pertaining to Community Solar Garden, below:

CALIFORNIA: SB 43 passes Assembly Utilities and Commerce committee / Oppose SB1295Solar gardens give access to green energy to more Coloradans – The Denver Post

Michigan Welcomes Community Solar

Minnesota Community solar gardens: Coming soon to a neighborhood near you | Fresh Energy

New York Paves the Way for More Solar in the Empire State

The Advantages of Developing Solar on Brownfields | Greentech Media

Film explores effects of solar projects on Native American life | LA Times

Solar Gardens Resources


Solar Gardens Website
Solar Gardens Blog
State by State Policy
Solar Gardens Institute Mission and Principles
Solar Gardener Training


Solar Gardens LinkedIn Group

Solar Gardens Facebook Page
Solar Gardens Colorado – Boulder
Solar Gardens Colorado – Denver Metro
Solar Gardens Colorado – San Luis Valley
Solar Gardens California
Solar Gardens Pacific Northwest

Google Groups:
Solar Gardens Google Group
Community Power California
Solar Gardens Midwest
Solar Gardens New York

Happy Gardening!

~have a bright and sunny day~

any questions or comments will be welcomed either below in the comment area or via


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15 September

More Sunshine For Every One-Answered By Paul Spencer of Clean Energy Collective


Greetings, Dear Freinds, Visitors/Readers/Viewers,

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Great News! On the last day of the SPI (Solar Power International) 2012, I actually reached a Eureka moment while interviewing Mr. Paul Spencer, President and Founder of CEC, Clean Energy Collective. Periodically, I’ve received emails from those of you who also want to participate in solar yet may be living in apartment complexes, condos, within strict homeowner association rules,  in a house with more shaded orientations, or uncertain of the future location, your questions will be answered by today’s post/interview.

Through a progression of events, from an electrical engineering background, to building software companies and  an off-grid home,  then expanding into building community home projects (from which Mr. Spencer had the opportunity to work with the CO utility company in dealing with some heavily shaded homes in a net metering community), he came to realize that since only about 15% of electrical customers in U.S. can put solar on their homes directly, the true solution to making a dent in the renewable energy world would require a more pervasive and fractional/part ownership of solar, based on partnership. Below, Mr. Spencer will explain how CEC accomplishes this in the interview:

Eureka! The light bulb went on for me! To truly solve our energy problem, having significant amount of our power coming from renewable energy source, we all need to be in partnership, be it utility companies with individual home owners/renters, be it developed nations with developing nations, be it manufactures  with distributors, interdependent and cooperative partnership is crucial in our transitioning into the renewable energy age. Out of this realization Clean Energy Collective (CEC) was born, started in Carbondale, CO and now in three states (CO, NM, MN) and will continue its expansion.  The CEC set up does not only respond to the concern toward variability from distributed power (small users) by utility companies, but also assists individuals who want to participate in solar (but cannot due to different reasons mentioned in the above paragraph) to overcome much hurdles and  insures that solar panels will continue to be maintained properly by experienced solar professionals .  Furthermore, CEC is the perfect solution that addresses  all concerns/obstacles toward Feed-In-Tariff  incentive policy.  To truly transition into renewable energy age, we need to see far more than just the 15% electrical customers to participate in solar.  We need to cover as many rooftops, as much of the surface areas available, with solar installations. CEC (Clean Energy Collective), partnered with FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) will enable us to spread the sunshine multi-fold!  This would also help consumers to reduce the amount of paperwork or legal maze individual consumers would have to deal with because the collective organizations would handle initial legal agreement with the utility company or later daily maintenance issues.

In an ideal world, with more participation, eventually utility companies will also be able to function as power storage for the solar power that people generate through their collective panels.  FIT (Feed-In-Tariff), implemented properly and effectively, will help to provide consumers with incentive to remain connected to the grid because they will be able to gain/produce/earn/benefit from the connection.  With Sun being part of my name, I have a particular fondness for the solar industry of all renewables, in addition to the fact that it is the cleanest, safest, and least likely to instigate war among nations. The way to insure solar industry’s position in the future is continued drop in cost through massive implementations, requiring incentive.  This would also increase job creations and economic growth.  Another mechanism, PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) is presented at Solar Power International 2012. But FIT is a more inclusive and more effective mechanism than PPA because FIT provides a clearly defined feed-in rate,  applicable to all users (small as well as medium) without need to negotiate for each contract.  As long as there is need to negotiate the rate for each contract, there may be a wide range of variability in rates even within the same district, translating into potential fairness issue or sellers (solar generators) being at the mercy of buyers (utility companies).  So, I was really happy to have learned about CEC (Clean Energy Collective), potentially solving the difficulty in variability FIT may have originally presented to utility companies.  CEC, combined with FIT, does appear to provide the path that will  maximize the possibility of our future expansion in solar energy use. Thank you, Mr. Spencer, for helping to shed the light and providing us with this workable solution, very succinctly presented. With CEC, I will look forward to more sunshine for every one in the future.

*I should qualify that any/all editorial remark(s) regarding Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) in this post were by yours truly, sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker alone. Mr. Spencer only concentrated on presenting Clean Energy Collective. I felt the need to make this clear because I distinctly got the feeling that FIT is a topic that should only be whispered in one’s ear and not a favored subject for discussion during SPI2012. I certainly do not want Mr. Spencer get in trouble on my account. This is all quite perplexing to me, for FIT had been an overwhelmingly accepted incentive policy in many other countries and had proven to be successful in creating jobs and bringing local economic prosperity (for any region that had effectively implemented it). FIT, effectively implemented, may potentially increase the longevity/need of utility companies and vast growth of solar implementations. Then why only whisper FIT? It should be discussed and welcomed! It should be shouted out loud! THIS/(FIT) MAY POTENTIALLY BE THE POLICY THAT WILL INSURE THE VIABILITY/LONGEVITY FOR UTILITY COMPANIES, providing incentive for people to remain connected to the grid.

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


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27 July

You Are Invited To View The New sunisthefuture Youtube Channel!


Dear Fellow Solar Enthusiasts,

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This is a quick note of celebratory invitation

celebratory fireworks (wikipedia/wikimedia)

to invite you all to visit the newly established sunisthefuture Youtube Channel !

Previously I’ve uploaded many of our solar events/interviews at susansunnunamaker’s channel, but for better organization purpose, from this point forward, all videos pertaining to the topic of solar energy will be uploaded at sunisthefuture Youtube Channel.

Below is one of the many video clips at the Finish Line of American Solar Challenge 2012 (near the Capitol Building of St. Paul, MN) that’s been made available by sunisthefuture.  This one is about the arrival of CalSol/University of CA-Berkeley  Solar Vehicle escorted by its team members. More videos will continue to be uploaded. Enjoy!   Your comments, questions, suggestions, concerns are welcomed below or at  .

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

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9 July

Here Comes The American Solar Challenge (Solar Car Race) 2012!


Dear Solar Enthusiasts,

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Remember our coverage on Veolia World Solar Challenge of 2011 between Darwin and Adelaide, Australia? Here, in North America, we will have our very own solar car race soon, the American Solar Challenge, from July 14-21, 2012. The event will take student teams and their solar cars from Rochester, NY, to St. Paul, MN. This is a competition for student teams to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars that will race through 1,650 mile course through multiple cities (in NY-PA-OH-MI-IL-WI-MN) across the United States. All teams (18 teams have registered and 16 teams are planning to compete in both Formula Sun Grand Prix-July 10-12, 2012 and the American Solar Challenge-July 14-21, 2012) have to go through three days (July 7-9, 2012) of careful scrutineering process in Monticello, NY, at the Monticello Raceway, where each and every solar car is inspected from electrical and mechanical engineering adherence (such as body and sizing) to safety regulations and dynamic testing (consisting of a slalom course followed by a breaking test where each driver must demonstrate that he/she can come to a complete and controlled stop, under wet driving conditions, within a time limit) before the solar car will be allowed to enter the track.  This is a very friendly competition, so occasionally some teams are given additional shot at the braking qualifier. The purpose and emphasis of the scrutineering process is in safety and adherence to regulation.  Then Scrutineering will be followed by three days of track racing, the Formula Sun Grand Prix portion of the event. On July 13, 2012, solar car teams will travel to Rochester, NY, to be displayed and to prepare for the start of the cross-country rally, The American Solar Challenge. On July 14, solar car teams will leave on the start of the race at 9:00AM at one minute interval.

Day I       (July 14, 2012): Rochester, NY———>Erie, PA

Day II     (July 15, 2012): Erie, PA—————–>Mansfield, OH

Day III   (July 16, 2012):Mansfield, OH———->Ann Arbor, MI

Day IV    (July 17, 2012):Ann Arbor, MI——–>Kalamazoo, MI

Day V      (July 18, 2012): Kalamazoo, MI——–>Normal, IL

Day VI    (July 19, 2012): Normal, IL————->Verona, WI

Day VII  (July 20, 2012): Verona, WI————>LaCrosse, WI

Day VIII (July 21, 2012): LaCrosse, WI———->St. Paul, MN

The American Solar Challenge race will finish at the Capitol Building of St. Paul, MN, on July 21, 2012.

Below, please allow me to share a clip of ASC 2012 (American Solar Challenge 2012):

Take a look at the team photos of this year’s American Solar Challenge solar race teams (University of MI, University of KY, MIT, IL State University, IA State University, Northwestern University,  MI State University, Western MI University, State University of NY-New Paltz, Principia College, University of MN, Georgia Institute of Technology, Polytechnique Montreal, University of CA-Berkeley, OR State University, University of NM) .  So far,  we’ve received reporting of Missouri University of Science and Technology Solar Car Team has withdrawn from the 2012 American Solar Challenge due to insufficient time in completing the vehicle before the race starts (July 14, 2012) in Rochester, NY. “The team, which consists of a large percentage of new student members, was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project and thus the design and fabrication took longer than anticipated,” says Dr. Roger A. LaBoube, director of S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center. “I’m sure our team will take what we learned during this process in preparation for the next big race.” It is true that experience really matters and we wish Missouri University of Science and Technology Solar Car Team the best next time. Let this also be a lesson for all potential future entering teams: please allot a great deal of safety factor in terms of preparation time because these are complicated designs and it will always take more time than one anticipates.

Here are some links/video clips that may be of interest to you: American Solar Challenge 2012 official site,  past American Solar Challenge 2010, Veolia World Solar Challenge 2011, below:

More coverage of the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) 2012-July 10-12, 2012 and American Solar Challenge (ASC) 2012-July 14-21, 2012 will unfold in future posts.  Until then, I wish all of these teams…..

~bright and sunny days during the complete course of the race~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

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