Energy Equity Alliance

In many ways, the U.S. energy system is a modern marvel. Over the past century, electricity has become universal, reliable and relatively affordable, providing households of every kind with equal opportunity to benefit from this basic service. But over the last few decades, policymakers have sought to modernize the regulatory framework that led to these achievements. Many of these policy efforts have succeeded in achieving their stated purpose, but others have failed to generate anticipated gains. Common across all reform efforts, though, has been a distinct lack of focus on how new policies or new business models or new technologies in the energy space might impact the most vulnerable among us. In particular, there has been little regard at all for whether reforms might actually address the compelling needs of low-income consumers, a user group that has long struggled to afford this utility service. The following provides a brief accounting.The Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) was one of the earliest attempts to reform the energy sector. Among many other things, it sought to make the energy market more competitive by eliminating or otherwise reforming the policies that were long used to protect energy monopolies. Similar reforms were sought in the 1990s via the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which provided the basis for pursuing “open access” of certain components of electricity service, yet another effort to introduce competition into a sector that had long been dominated by monopoly providers.

Around the same time, individual states began to deregulate their energy markets, again in the hope of fostering competition in the provision of electricity services and driving down rates for customers. California, for example, deregulated its energy sector in a way that enabled consumers to choose their electricity provider and removed other regulatory protections that manybelieved limited consumers’ exposure to better prices.

More recent reforms have emphasized energy efficiency and fuel diversification by encouraging greater use of renewable energy. To these ends, more than half the states in the nation have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), policies that mandate electric companies to use a certain share of renewable energy resources like wind and solar when producing electricity. States have encouraged greater use of “smart” technologies to increase energy efficiency, bolstering reliability, and provide consumers with more control over how much energy they consume.

Together, these many reform efforts constitute an impressive attempt by policymakers to continue improving electricity throughout the country. Unfortunately, the benefits of these various efforts have been minimal for low-income consumers. Indeed, these reforms oftentimes have had only negative impacts on these customers. For example, monthly electric rates have grown considerably in recent years, but wages have stagnated and job opportunities have grown harder to come by, forcing low-income consumers in particular to allocate larger and larger percentages of their income – be it from a paycheck, unemployment, or some other government program – toward their utility bill. In addition, new services and programs – like “smart” energy and distributed energy systems – that promise cost savings typically come with large price tags, putting them far beyond the reach of many consumers, especially those with low or fixed incomes.

This is a shame because low-income households, which already struggle to make ends meet, should not be burdened with having to choose between keeping the lights on or keeping food on the table. As policymakers contemplate further reforms in this sector, they should focus more on how any new policies or programs might impact lower income constituents. Otherwise, there is a real risk that electricity – that basic, fundamental service that we all take for granted – might become yet another thing beyond the reach of the less well-off. In a country already plagued by significant economic and social divides, we should strive to do better when it comes to something as elemental as electricity.

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Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO)

Joseph James

President, Corporation for Economic Opportunity Purpose Prize Winner 2008

“The Greening of Black AmericA Rural Development Initiative”

 Ensuring that rural African-Americans are included in the green economy.

Watch a video about Joseph James

Green-collar jobs are on everyone’s lips – politicians, economists and those fighting for social justice. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who recognized that freedom has little meaning, without the economic wherewithal to enjoy it, James abandoned his love for science and, in 1970, embarked on a 34-year, economic development career.

Concerned about the economic plight of blacks in South Carolina, he left the State’s Commerce Department in 2004 to create the Corporation for Economic Opportunity. He helped form the South Carolina Biomass Council and a multi-million dollar state biomass incentive and grants program. James realized that participating in the South’s growing “Green” economy was a way to stabilize the ever-decreasing numbers of black farmers and to reduce rural poverty. His Greening of Black America initiative helps black farmers to increase their earnings and reduce “food-miles” by selling produce directly to nearby consumers at farmers markets. And the production of lower-cost bio-diesel fuels reduces their operating costs. He also plans to combine new technologies with efforts to help farmers grow bio-crops, while others harvest forest biomass, to attract bio-refineries – and jobs – to poor rural communities.

Joseph “Joe” James was in college when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. A tall athlete with a penchant for science, James no longer saw himself becoming a chemist.

Instead he opted for a career in economic development, working for government offices in a half-dozen cities, always looking for ways to develop best practices and equity for disadvantaged people and communities.

Over 30-plus years, James built a strong reputation, managing a wide variety of revitalization programs, business attraction and retention programs, and high-tech initiatives. Still, he was nearly always frustrated with the inability of government and the private sector to create big change for the poor, especially those in the African-American community.

In 2003, the South Carolina Commerce Department recruited James, but it quickly became clear to him that state leaders “were primarily looking for big, industrial projects, the kind least likely to be located in rural and, particularly, minority communities.” Although it was unsaid, there was little interest in using biomass and bio-energy to help revitalize poor rural communities, even though James had secured federal funding to begin that process. It was the last straw.

James quit and in 2004 launched a nonprofit, The Corporation for Economic Opportunity. Its flagship idea: to help black farmers share in the profits to be made from new environmental practices. He calls the initiative “The Greening of Black America – A Rural Development Opportunity.”

“For African-Americans here, economic development has been like a rainstorm that hits everywhere else,” says Janie Davis, executive director of the state’s Commission on Minority Affairs. “This is an opportunity to bring prosperity to the communities that have not benefited from mainstream economic growth. Joe made us believe there are opportunities out there. This idea could actually transform South Carolina.”

The Greening of Black America initiative works to create new jobs, revitalize rural communities, help farmers retain their land, and improve nutrition and health in inner-city neighborhoods. A key component is creating opportunities for black farmers from the growing biomass industry, which is based on converting plant materials into energy and fuel.

The initiative galvanizes farmers in the production of oil seed crops (including sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and rapeseed, used to make canola oil) to make biodiesel fuel. Because biomass cannot be transported very far, biofuel businesses will come to these rural communities, creating jobs in the harvest, treatment, and sale of products made from biomass. While some states face challenges in biofuel distribution, South Carolina has more ethanol and biodiesel fuel pumps per capita than any other state.

“South Carolina can produce and consume a lot of renewable energy,” says James. “And we can create a situation where less fuel and food is shipped great distances and more of it is consumed locally, which is better for everyone in terms of climate change.”

During the past four years, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, James has helped create the South Carolina Biomass Council, which has since created a multimillion-dollar state biomass incentives and grants program. Investments stimulated by the Council’s efforts will generate $300 million in the state, in three years’ time. Within five years, James hopes that hundreds of farmers will be growing dedicated bio-crops and dozens of new operators, many African-American, will be processing biomass for sale to biomass processors, electric utilities and other users.

“Having farmers grow non-food biomass is a really good thing, not just for the country but for the individual farmer. They are helping the environment, and it will increase their profit margin,” says Joseph Spells, an organic farmer who operates a small farm in Columbia, S.C. The Greening of Black America will work to level the playing field for rural blacks, after a long history of discrimination. “There has been a tremendous loss of land,” James says, “a denial of fair price, loss of markets, discrimination, and manipulation that helped make black farmers unsuccessful.”

Just a few months ago, the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture on behalf of African American farmers for failing to pay back billions promised as result of discrimination in government loan and subsidy programs. In part due to lack of equal access to USDA loans, the number of farms operated by African Americans declined dramatically over the past 20 years, plummeting from 54,367 in 1982 to just 29,090 in 2002.

“I don’t want my guys scammed anymore,” says Leon Crump a beekeeper and organic farmer who echoes the views of many black farmers in South Carolina who feel they have been taken advantage of both by the government and market opportunities. “We need to find reliable markets. Black farmers’ income per acre is half of what white farmers are making.”

What James and his organization offer is a culturally sensitive and economically relevant solution at the right time.

The solution is broader than biomass. South Carolina is one of the nation’s most food-insecure states, with approximately 20 percent of its population considered hungry, according to the USDA. Connecting farmers with limited market opportunities to inner-city residents who have little access to nutritious, fresh vegetables at affordable prices addresses several needs. It will also reduce the fuel used to transport food from distant places to local markets.

Next spring, the Corporation for Economic Opportunity hopes to launch a farmers’ market at a 6,000-member church in a largely African-American community where farmers within a 75-mile radius can sell their produce. It will be the county’s first farmers market, and the opportunity it provides farmers’ is almost a lifeline.

In the next three years, James projects the number of farmers selling produce at this and similar new markets will grow threefold, and the number of weekly shoppers will triple to 1,500.

Partnerships with the church’s health guild and the state’s Eat Smart, Move More initiative will allow James’ group to create a community garden and provide wellness programs there.

“I am particularly concerned about the health issues that disproportionately affect black people. We have to speak to these needs,” says Pastor Charles Jackson of Brookland Baptist Church, who is one of the initiative’s backers.

James is eager to make this program work, eager to make sure that a rising tide, in the form of new business opportunities and new industries, really will lift all boats this time.

“I want to see people who have been denied opportunity grab the potential this program has and succeed,” James says. “We’re watching a new sector develop, and the time to get in is now. My experience has been that it is very hard for blacks to break into mature industries.”

“But if we can make this happen here and now, we can make it happen anywhere.”

2015 Update: After winning the Purpose Prize in 2008, Joe James used his award to create Agri-Tech Producers, LLC (ATP), whose mission is to make a variety of products from plant and woody biomass via torrefaction, a process that uses heat to convert biomass into a cleaner, renewable alternative to coal, as well as feedstock. He is still affiliated with The Corporation For Economic Opportunity, which now aims to involve poor, rural, black communities in bio-economy along South Carolina’s 1-95 corridor, creating economic activity and much needed local jobs. ATP is now in the process of completing its efforts to raise capital for a $3.6 million pilot torrefaction plant in Allendale, SC.

 

Three signs that the Great Energy Disruption is already here

By on 1 February 2017

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CleanTechnica

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Nearly 10 months ago, Tony Seba, author of the 2014 book Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation, posted a video on YouTube, “CleanDisruption.” In both, he projected that a nearly complete disruption of the energy business would begin in 2020 and be well underway by 2022, the year he projects for distributed solar power with battery backup to fall below the cost of transmitting electricity. It is a point at which centralized power plants, if they are to compete with solar-plus-storage, will have to provide power for free. He believes that all centralized electric power producers will be obsolete by 2030, as will conventional cars and utility companies.

I would suggest that anyone reading the book or watching the video keep in mind that the projections are wrong. Tony Seba gives really compelling reasoning leading to his conclusions. The problem is that the rate of change he expected seems to have been off a bit. It appears that he was much too conservative, and change is going on much faster than he anticipated.

In his March 2016 video, Seba talked about the fact that the cost of electricity from solar power had dropped below 5¢/kWh. Less than a year after that, it dropped below 3¢/kWh in multiple auctions. This is far faster than he anticipated, and would make the disruption happen sooner than 2022.

While the decline in the cost of solar power is clearly very great, however, the decline in the cost of grid storage appears to be taking off. Seba spoke of a decline in cost of 19% per year, but that rate has been exceeded by important technologies.

Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis – Version 2.0 has appeared, showing some important changes from version 1.0. While the Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) for several types of storage have declined at the rates consistent with what Seba suggested, three stand out — one of these is reported by Lazard, and the others appeared in recent news.

First, in the version 1.0 report, the LCOS of compressed air storage was reported at $192/MWh. This is a low figure for natural gas peaking plants. In version 2.0, however, the figure had dropped 33% to $116–140/MWh, well below what those peaking plants normally charge. This shows a technology for storage that is getting competitive with nuclear power generation.

Second, examining the 1.0 and 2.0 versions of the report, we can see a decline of 23% in the costs of lithium-ion batteries. Lazard’s analysts may not have known that Tesla would essentially double the storage capacity of its powerwall batteries with an increase in price that really only covered the addition of new inverters. The Gigafactory has come online, even though it is only about 35% finished, and this will drive the price of lithium-ion batteries down further. These changes point to reductions in the costs of storage on the level of 50%.

A third story that could change the market has come from US battery manufacturer Eos. This company has announced a partnership with Siemens on storage solutions. Eos’ batteries are built on a minimum unit size of 1000 MW & 4000 MWh, at prices ranging from $160 to $200 per kWh. Eos’ website gives the LCOE of energy stored in the battery at 12¢/kWh to 17¢/kWh. The LCOE is well below the minimum cost of that of a gas peaking plant, and at a point where it is starting to get competitive with nuclear power.

Combined with the Lazard LCOE reports for solar and wind, these prices for storage are already getting to the point of being very much disruptive. In Lazard’s latest Levelized Cost of Electricity Analysis (version 10.0), solar power is at an average of 4.6¢/kWh to $6.1¢/kWh and wind power at 3.2¢/kWh to 6.2¢/kWh. The new low-cost storage solutions do not really have to compete with nuclear, coal, or gas. What they need to do is to combine with wind and solar power to compete with baseload power. It looks like that could be happening already.

The Great Energy Disruption may already have begun.

 

Source: CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission.

Episode 43 — Energy Efficiency, R-Values, and Building Passive Houses..

FINE HOMEBUILDING PODCAST
Architect, builder, and designer Steven Baczek talks about juggling mechanical and window package costs, plus how to pick a contractor.
   Mar 17, 2017
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Steve Baczek joins FHB editor Justin Fink and design editor Brian Pontolilo in this podcast episode. The conversation ranges over energy efficiency, solar heat gain from windows, R-values, and constructing to the passive house standard. The guys also tackle a listener question on how a homeowner can pick a good contractor. Plus, Steve’s upcoming events.

The show is driven by our listeners, so please subscribe and rate us on iTunes or Google Play, and if you have any questions you would like us to dig into for a future show, shoot an email our way:fhbpodcast@taunton.com. Also, be sure to follow Justin Fink, Rob Yagid, and Fine Homebuildingon Instagram — and “like” the magazine on Facebook.

The Fine Homebuilding Podcast embodies Fine Homebuilding magazine’s commitment to the preservation of craftsmanship and the advancement of home performance in residential construction. The show is an informal but vigorous conversation about the techniques and principles that allow listeners to master their design and building challenges.

Steven Baczek’s series on building a passive house from the ground up:

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Energy efficiency needs “historic level of public-private cooperation”

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From a banking perspective, energy efficiency is difficult to classify in terms of business opportunities because its benefits are so widely dispersed,  writes Stephen Hibbert, global head of Energy & Carbon Efficiency at ING Wholesale Banking. For this reason, to close the “investment gap” in energy efficiency, “a historic level of public-private cooperation” is needed, according to Hibbert. He sees many signs that this is happening.

Back in 2013, I was approached to join a group convened by the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy: the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG). Their remit was to identify ways to scale up energy efficiency financing so that the potential of this market can finally be unleashed. At ING we like to think we are quite forward thinking in our approach to financing the low-carbon transition, but the EEFIG experience has taught us a lot that we didn’t know.

ING is not a development bank like the European Investment Bank (EIB) or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) so we will only lend when projects are investment-ready

To put some numbers on it, energy efficiency can deliver about a third of the reduction in carbon emissions needed to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, and save costs at the same time. About $1.2 trillion a year needs to be invested, which is triple the current levels, according to the UN SE4All Global Tracking Framework, and most of it will need to come from the private sector. Looking at the investment gap in energy efficiency in Europe’s buildings, for example, only half of the estimated €60 – 100 billion annual investment required to achieve Europe’s 2020 energy efficiency targets in buildings is being met.

From ING’s perspective, while energy efficiency is something all our client groups do, it is not easy to classify it within the organisational structure of a bank in terms of future business opportunities. The range of energy efficiency’s impacts means that it cuts across the activities of traditional sector lending and product teams, affecting areas ranging from buildings, infrastructure, to industry services. However, it is rarely a core business or the main driver of investments for any of them. And precisely because the benefits are so widely dispersed, it can be difficult to build and ring-fence a single, cohesive business case.

Risk of penalties

These, along with other barriers, hinder investments in energy efficiency. To mobilise significant investment at scale, close cooperation between private sector banks, the public development banks and policymakers is essential. It’s an approach that was very successful in financing the reconstruction of central and eastern European countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union, so there is certainly a precedent for it.

Encouragingly, we see that the market and policy makers are now beginning to work in tandem.

In Europe, the main policy drivers include the introduction of the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive in 2012 and the subsequent implementation of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans from 2014, which present both opportunities and risks to a wide range of our clients.

Alongside new business development opportunities, there are the costs of having to make extra investments to comply with the directive and the risk of penalties for not doing so. There’s a massive investment gap that needs to be filled if governments are to achieve their long-term energy and climate commitments, which we at ING regard as a significant market opportunity. However, ING is not a development bank like the European Investment Bank (EIB) or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) so we will only lend when projects are investment-ready.

Public funding has proved to be most effective when it includes technical assistance, also known as project development assistance. This additional funding, which is available from the European Commission, supports project promoters to develop sustainable energy projects to a point where they are investment-ready. The key difference from traditional grant funding is that this is a form of ‘blended finance’, where the public funds are provided on the condition that further investment is leveraged – typically ratios in the range of 1:15 – 1:20 of public grants to private investment.

Nature’s Heat

To give a concrete example of how public-private cooperation in enabling sustainable energy investments is beginning to manifest, a project supported by the European Commission’s JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas) initiative had 70% of its total costs funded by a non-recourse project finance loan from ING.

The project, Nature’s Heat, is a direct use geothermal heat project comprising a 2.5km deep geothermal doublet (production well & injection well) and a heat processing and distribution network, expected to deliver 16MWth heat to be used by its owners, a consortium of glasshouse horticulture businesses near The Hague in the Netherlands.

The growers expect to save 25% or more on heat costs compared with the current alternative supply from gas-fired boilers. Nature’s Heat will avoid the use of some 22 million m3 natural gas per year for at least 30 years, with a corresponding annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40,000 tonnes CO2 and 7,200 tonnes NOx. In addition the resulting competitive advantage and business resilience for the horticulture businesses will support job security and maintain social cohesion in the local community.

The banking sector must gain a much deeper understanding of the full range of issues and what is driving the needs of our clients and policymakers

Alongside the equity investment from its owners and the project finance loan from ING, Nature’s Heat benefits from a subordinated loan from Energy Fund Den Haag (ED). ED is funded 40% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the remaining 60% comes from the Government of the Netherlands, the Province of South Holland and the Municipality of The Hague. The Nature’s Heat project financing is a fine example of public-private cooperation at all levels.

National roundtables

Another example of public-private cooperation is the Investor Confidence Project, originated by the US Environmental Defense Fund and funded by the European Commission to roll out to Europe, to provide a markets-based solution to accelerate investment into energy efficiency by standardising how projects are developed, documented and measured.

I have represented ING on the project’s European steering group since 2014. During this time, I have witnessed increased engagement of the financial sector both in Europe and in North America through the project’s Investor Networks, with assets under management of €1 billion and $3 billion respectively – a clear signal that the standardisation necessary to enable energy efficiency investment is welcomed by the market.

Public-private cooperation is further supported by the Sustainable Energy Investment Forums (SEI Forums). These Forums, initiated in 2016 by the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), aim to boost large-scale investment and facilitate financing for energy efficiency across Europe.

Through a series of public events and national roundtables in the Member States, SEI Forums showcase the insights and experience gained in the past few years from EEFIG, ICP and other projects, to policymakers, project developers, fund managers, and investors. With a new shared understanding and common language, I anticipate that SEI Forums will succeed in creating a multi-stakeholder platform for proposing the necessary changes to policy and regulatory frameworks at national level throughout Europe.

Looking to the future

The role of the corporate world in climate action has become increasingly important in recent years. Many businesses have called on governments, both national and regional, to introduce carbon pricing to place a cost on greenhouse gas emissions high enough to change behaviour and reduce emissions. To meet their targets, governments will have to make other changes, too, introducing new policies and regulations. Meanwhile, companies are stepping up their own ambitions on cutting emissions in their own operations and their supply chains through initiatives such as the We Mean Business coalition and the Science-Based Targets initiative.

The banking sector must gain a much deeper understanding of the full range of issues and what is driving the needs of our clients and policy makers. It must engage more and better explain our own position, as well as our concerns in relation to providing the finance necessary for transition to a low carbon society.

Witnessing the increasing momentum towards mass scale energy efficiency investment, I confidently predict that over the next two to three years, energy efficiency will rise ever higher up the corporate investment agenda and become more of a mainstream financing activity. It’s definitely here to stay.

 

DC mayor to propose green bank for efficiency, renewables investments

BRIEF AUTHOR: 
  • Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser last week announced she is planning to introduce legislation to establish a green bank, in order to fund efficiency upgrades, add renewables, lower emissions and create jobs.
  • Washington would be the first city to establish a green bank, though states like New York and Connecticut already have moved to establish similar financing authorities.
  • The bank, which The Washington Post reports would be funded with $7 million in city dollars, could offer loans, leases, and other financing services to give green energy projects more security.

In its statement, the city said green banks tend to invest in “mature clean energy projects,” like solar energy systems, efficiency upgrades and clean transportation. The bank would look to assist in funding projects by filling in private capital gaps by taking some of the risk off the table and absorbing transaction costs.

Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells said the DC Green Bank will pair private capital with public investment “to more efficiently achieve our ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” in the statement.

Green banks have been gaining traction as ways for governments to keep investments in efficiency flowing. Last year, the New York Green Bank said it wanted to increase its portfolio by two-thirds and invest $200 million in 2017.

E Merge Alliance

An open industry association leading the rapid adoption of safe DC power distribution in commercial buildings through the development of EMerge Alliance standards.

These innovative standards integrate interior infrastructures, power, controls and devices in a common microgrid platform to facilitate the hybrid use of AC and DC power throughout buildings for unprecedented design and space flexibility, greater energy efficiency and improved sustainability.

The Alliance will simplify and accelerate market adoption of EMerge Alliance standards. The Alliance will ensure that its standards deliver:

  • Required solutions based on market requirements and ecosystem approval
  • Buyer assurance with products evaluated against our standards and registered for public view
  • Increased supply choices in the value chain that spans the needs of different commercial int
  • Where is EMerge focused?
    The EMerge Alliance is focused on promoting application of the EMerge Standard in new construction or renovation of the following types of commercial interiors: office, retail, education (particularly higher education), government and healthcare. The Standard and Alliance are focused on applications in the United States and Canada, with plans for expansion to other geographic regions in the future.

    Learn more about the vision of the EMerge Alliance.
    EMerge Alliance Overview:
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The American Association of Blacks in Energy National Conference March 21-24, 2017 Washington DC

Click here to explore our AABE Conferences Facebook page. You’ll find photos from the conference along with updates about the 40th Anniversary AABE National Conference that will occur in 2017.

The purposes of AABE are the following:

  • To serve as a resource for policy discussion of the economic, social and political impact of environmental and energy policies on African Americans and other minorities.
  • To ensure involvement of African Americans in governmental energy policymaking by recommending capable sensitive and informed personnel to appropriate officials.
  • To encourage both the public and private sectors to be responsive to the problems, goals and aspirations of African Americans in energy-related fields.
  • To encourage African American students to pursue careers in energy-related fields and to provide scholarships and other financial aid for such students.

AABE: Energy Knowledge for our Community, our People and our Tomorrow www.aabe.org

 2017 SMSI Scholarship Announcement

The Application Package Consideration will be given only to candidates submitting complete application packages which include: (1) a completed AABE application form (copies are acceptable); (2) an official high school transcript; (3) official proof of ACT or SAT scores; (4) two letters of reference; and (5) a completed checklist. Please redact Social Security Numbers from any documents.   Completed application packages for the SMSI Scholarship must be postmarked no later than April 17, 2017 and submitted to the local chapter. To download the 2017 AABE SMSI Scholarship Application, please click here.

www.aabe.org

 

 

 

 

How the Solar Industry Can Learn From Local Communities to Expand Access and Diversity.

How the Solar Industry Can Learn From Local Communities to Expand Access and Diversity
 

Access to solar energy has historically been limited to those who could afford to pay or easily finance rooftop systems. This access issue has left a void in the solar industry’s market share and constituency that has been used to undermine progressive solar policies time and time again.

With the nation’s largest solar industry gathering happening in Las Vegas this week, in a state whose solar policies faced just such a fate, the industry has an opportunity — and an imperative — to look closely at that void and start developing strategies to address it. In the process, it can rewrite the industry’s narrative around inclusion and equity.

Disadvantaged communities and communities of color must identify and pursue every opportunity to enhance their collective well-being. With the impacts of climate change looming, grassroots action is already starting to connect these communities with solar’s economic and environmental benefits while adding their voices into solar policy debates.

Faith-based groups lead the way

Witness the innovative leadership of faith-based organizations, which are using their collective economic strength to put solar on their community centers and churches. They have become vocal advocates for the technology, both as an economic and an environmental stewardship issue.

Here in Nevada, for example, the REW Ministries faith organizing alliance, a group of 50 churches in the Las Vegas area, is planning two clean energy workshops in October to educate pastors, church leaders, and church members about solar power. In California, Interfaith Power and Light is partnering with GRID Alternatives to spread the word about solar opportunities for low-income families.

Green For All is partnering with Pastor Ambrose Carroll, co-founder of Green The Church, to develop a national network of African-American churches working on the intersection of economic and environmental issues in black communities.

Spreading solar access by engaging diverse advocates

Many other community groups are working on these issues as well. In Nevada, the Las Vegas Urban League and the Uplift Foundation are both working to educate low-income families, senior citizens, and African-American youth about the benefits of clean energy and energy efficiency and train advocates around climate change and related issues.

The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) is also working locally and nationally to engage youth in renewable energy advocacy, facilitating leadership around community solar policies in New York; local and state renewable energy targets in North Carolina and Nevada, emissions reductions in Boston; and community choice aggregation in San Francisco.

This engagement is training the next generation of organizers — the ACE Action Fellowship advocacy training program increased public speaking skills 25 percent and petitioning skills 27 percent among youth of color. I witnessed firsthand the powerful impact two of these young peoples’ testimony had during a recent Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hearing on solar.

And CHISPA, a program of the League of Conservation Voters, is organizing Latinos around climate issues and bringing their voices into the policy arena. The group ran a storefront campaign organizing local and small businesses in support of pro-solar action in Nevada, has organized the Latino community to attend Nevada PUC hearings and the Nevada Governor’s New Energy Industry Task Force committee meetings in support of solar access, and are working on other programs to train grassroots leaders.

Lessons for the solar industry

This kind of grassroots leadership on renewable energy is happening all over the country. Imagine the exponentially greater impact these disparate efforts could have if they were coordinated with industry efforts to accomplish a set of shared goals. Direct collaboration with community leaders can provide America’s solar industry with unique perspectives and opportunities to help it reach new consumers, strengthen its position on regulatory issues, and drive economic growth in all our communities.

At a panel held this week during Solar Power International, solar advocates and organizers from Nevada and across the country highlighted some of these ongoing community-level efforts to show the solar industry how it can better engage and energize diverse and non-traditional groups for policy outcomes. Key takeaways for the industry include:

  1. Tap into existing community organizations, especially non-traditional ones like faith-based organizations, civic associations, and fraternities or sororities. Seek out leaders of diverse organizations on the local level to help you get started.
  2. Provide more education and data about solar’s benefits to lower-income communities. Work with local organizations to educate customers. Show the real risks and benefits for low-income communities and communities of color, with visible examples.
  3. Include diverse voices in decision-making processes. Collaborate with diverse communities when pursuing action in state legislatures, public utility commissions, zoning boards, etc.
  4. Invest in building long-term relationships. Don’t limit your interactions to times of crisis when you need support for an issue. Do real outreach, and come into communities ready to listen and learn.
  5. Work with diverse communities to design and collaborate on energy programs that have a central focus on energy justice and advocacy training.

This approach, based on communication, education, collaboration and investment, will be a win for the solar industry and our communities alike. Everyone deserves a seat at the table and a legitimate opportunity to fully participate in shaping the clean energy future, and when everyone is participating, we will start to make real progress toward realizing that future.

***

Rose McKinney James is managing principal and resident at Energy Works LLC. She served as a commissioner on the Nevada Public Service Commission from 1988 to 1993. She currently serves as board chair for the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and as a member of the board of directors for the Alliance to Save Energy and Energy Foundation. 

President Trump is taking a wrecking ball to American climate protection.

Yesterday, the President announced that he is reopening the review of EPA’s Clean Car Standards—the first step toward weakening these vital standards.

And Trump’s budget proposal, released today, calls for a devastating 31% cut to EPA’s budget. More than 3,000 staff would be laid off and nearly 50 programs—including all funding for the historic Clean Power Plan—would be eliminated if the budget were to pass.

Since 2009, automakers have created 700,000 new good jobs in the automotive industry, all while our nation has been implementing Clean Car standards that will make our air cleaner, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and ultimately save Americans nearly $35 billion at the pump.

And the Clean Power Plan promises not only to slash America’s climate pollution, but to prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths every year, create more than 250,000 new clean energy jobs, and reduce your monthly electric bill by an average of $8 per household.  In less than 24 hours, 43,235 EDF activists and counting have already sent messages to Scott Pruitt to tell him that we will not stand quietly by while they attack common-sense, life-saving environmental regulations.

We’re just getting started. We will fight to oppose any attempt at rolling back our hard-fought climate victories. And we will be calling on you at every step of the way to help us with your calls, letters, and donations to fund our work.

In solidarity,


Sam Parry
Director, Membership

1 Out of 50 New US Jobs Came From the Solar Industry in 2016.

 

There was a record boom in solar jobs last year.

1 Out of 50 New US Jobs Came From the Solar Industry in 2016

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation

 

 

The new figures were issued on Tuesday morning, courtesy of a new report from The Solar Foundation. The report — the seventh annual edition to come from the nonprofit — found that there were 260,077 solar workers as of November 2016, which represents nearly 25 percent growth from the amount of solar jobs recorded the year prior. In comparison, jobs in the overall U.S. economy grew at a rate of 1.45 percent.

Last year’s solar market performance made 2016 the fourth consecutive year that U.S. solar jobs grew by 20 percent or more, the report found. It also made for some eye-popping figures, like how 1 out of every 50 new jobs, or 2 percent of new jobs, created in the U.S. in 2016 came from the solar industry.

The news highlights how the U.S. solar industry is becoming an important economic driver, and creating a substantial amount of jobs for American workers in various sectors like construction, sales, marketing and engineering. The U.S. solar industry now employs more workers than natural gas, more than double the number of workers in the coal industry, and in comparison to other energy sectors, employment in solar trails only the U.S. oil industry.

The latest figures will be important ones for the solar industry to tout in the face of potential policy uncertainty stemming from the election of President Donald Trump.

“The solar industry is an American success story,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation, and these numbers “are proof positive” of that. “Despite partisanship and the election, people really do love solar. Every poll says so. Even conservative Republicans favor solar,” added Luecke.

Despite the bump in utility-scale solar projects, workers that install solar panels on home rooftops made up a large portion of both the new jobs created and current jobs held. While that sector is growing, residential solar work also requires more workers per unit of energy installed compared to building utility-scale solar projects or installing solar panels on the roofs of large corporate buildings.

Forty-one percent of the current solar jobs in the U.S. are in residential solar installations, and workers get paid on average $26 per hour, the report found. In 2017, residential solar jobs are expected to see the biggest growth in comparison to other solar sectors, which will likely continue for years to come.

The Solar Foundation is also bullish on the amount of jobs created by pairing batteries with solar panels, led by companies like Tesla and AES Energy Storage. The nonprofit projects that there will be 27,000 new solar-plus-energy-storage jobs by 2021, which includes 9,000 energy storage jobs and 18,000 solar jobs that wouldn’t be created without combining solar with storage. “Storage is going to be huge,” said Luecke.

Those energy storage jobs are just starting to deliver on major battery projects in states like California. Last week a series of big battery projects was completed for the California power grid and utilities like Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.

With these latest job figures, the solar industry shows how it’s become a mature and important economic force and job creator in the U.S. Job creation is one of the keys to a powerful lobbying force and influence in Washington, D.C., so expect these job numbers to be echoed around clean energy sectors this year. Almost all of the states that voted for Trump saw growth in solar jobs, many of them strong growth.

Many industry watchers don’t expect that the new administration will be able to derail mature industries like solar and wind. The Solar Foundation’s Luecke certainly agrees. At least at this point, “There’s nothing that could happen at the federal level that could shut solar down completely,” she said.

 

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program Internships

This is an announcement of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) Internships for 2017. The MSIPP Internships is a program to promote the education and development of the next generation workforce in critical science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) for full time students currently enrolled at an accredited Minority Serving Institution (MSI). These programs assist current missions of the DOE efforts in environmental management. The MSIPP Internships is designed to provide an enhanced training environment for the next generation scientists and engineers by exposing them to research challenges unique to our mission.

Internships will run for approximately 10 weeks during the summer, and will be performed at one of the DOE national laboratories. Interns will complete research projects aligned with ongoing DOE efforts.  Students will also be involved in enrichment activities provided by the host laboratory.  These activities may include laboratory and site tours, professional development seminars, workshops, lectures, and even social or off-site activities.

Participants will be compensated by either a stipend or salary, commensurate with cost of living at the location of the host laboratory.

To be eligible for the MSIPP Internships, applicants must:

1)  Be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at an accredited MSI,

2)  Be working towards a STEM degree,

3)  Have an undergraduate cumulative minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale,

4)  Be a United States citizen, and

5)  Pass a drug test upon selection to participate in the MSIPP

 

This program is being managed through the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) on behalf of DOE-EM. A complete description of the MSIPP Internships and a link to the application section with position descriptions can be found online at http://www.orise.orau.gov/MSIPP/

 

The online application opens February 18, 2017 and will close March 20, 2017 at 11:59 PM ET. 

 

 

For information about DOE-EM’s MSIPP Internships, contact:

Vivian Cato

MSIPP Program Manager

vivian.cato@srnl.doe.gov

803-725-6522

 

South Union Community Development Corporation

At South Union Community Development Corporation, we are committed to inspiring leadership, creativity and innovation in the city we call home. From time to time, opportunities arise to create something new and exceptional where nothing existed before. A new collaboration with Performance English and the Houston Arts Alliance certainly fits that description: the “Bach 2 Soul” Program.

The program is the brainchild of Mariam Haddad, CEO of Performance English and a group of talented creative change-makers, including Efrem B. Jernigan, Vel Lewis, Francesco Attesti, and Matteo Galli.

Efrem Jernigan is the president of South Union Development Corporation, where he makes it his mission to “sow seeds of success” in youth through exposure to science, technology, engineering and math careers, and in seniors, through fellowship, food, fun and fitness.

Grammy-nominated artist Vel Lewis is a Hammond organist, consultant and the founder of ColorSound, a company that focuses on music composition, publishing, recording, editing, production and artist development. Lewis is currently an artist-in-residence in Houston, on the auspices of the South Union Development Corporation.

Francesco Attesti is an Italian classical concert pianist of international acclaim who is considered a refined and skilled performer of the 19th and 20th Century repertoire. Attesti has performed over 500 concerts in Europe, North and South America and is also an artist-in-residence in Houston, on the auspices of the South Union Development Corporation.

Matteo Galli is an Italian chief organist and artistic supervisor at the St. Maria Presso St. Satiro Basilica in Milan.

Mariam Haddad, CEO of Performance English, is a concert pianist, opera singer, and an entrepreneur who uses her creative skills to help people communicate at a higher level through her work with Performance English. With Bach 2 Soul, Mariam’s goal is to create a conversation across communities that supports creativity and innovation in the sciences by incorporating the arts, while helping children find their self-expression.

The idea for the project arose after Mariam and her son, Bryan, attended a local performance by Francesco Attesti and Matteo Galli. During the event, Bryan became fascinated with the trajectory of sound, as it traveled from the pipe organ located in the front of the church, and out the pipes in the rear section of the church. Because Francesco is a friend, they had an opportunity to discuss this after the performance, and that was followed by a discussion about the speed of sound. Mariam quickly realized that the pipe organ provided a physical means to discuss mechanical engineering with kids in a way that was compelling and beautiful. Knowing that Efrem was looking for a way to better integrate the arts into South Union’s STEM program, she mentioned the idea to him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Back 2 Soul received its first funding this year and the first step, bringing this interdisciplinary curriculum to life, has been realized.

The premier event for Bach 2 Soul is scheduled for Saturday, May 6th at the Houston Community College Auditorium and will feature Attesti and Lewis performing the Bach Goldberg variations on classical with a ‘jazzified’ retake. The event will also include a STEAM component to inspire Houston’s youth.

Maryland Homeowners are Switching to Solar at No Cost. Here’s How…

The solar wave that washed the nation dramatically in recent years continues at full speed. Many US states realize the huge impact of helping their residence go solar.

Top solar states in the US map There are great incentives for people around the U.S. to utilize residential solar energy, such as reducing their energy bill each month and helping the environment, which are key factors in the solar movement. Some states provide more benefit than others and set ambitious goals to use more renewable energy, reduce their dependency in polluted oil, and create more solar jobs that boost their economy.

The best states to go solar in means that these states legislators have put together great green policies, and they have a high RPS (renewable energy portfolio) goal, which mean that they are serious in their intention to use more renewable energy in their respective states. These are clear indications of their intention to enable consumers to make the switch to solar. With solar incentives and attractive rebates and tax breaks, it makes sense for homeowners to hire solar panel installer for their roofs.

One of the best states to go solar in is, without a doubt, California, which leads the way with amazing RPS laws, meaning lawmakers in California are determined to help Californians go solar, while also creating tens of thousands of jobs. With great incentives and tax breaks and many sunny days, it makes a lot of sense to go green, and go Solar Power in California.

Here are the top 20 US States, in alphabetical order, with a short preview of their solar standings as of 2015.

arizonaaaArizona You Can Get Solar Leasing in Arizona

There are few clouds in the desert and plenty of opportunity to soak up solar energy rays, which the Arizona legislature is beginning to take advantage of. In fact, the Environment Arizona Research Policy Center labeled the state as having the highest solar capacity per capita in the nation. That being said, the RPS goal is moderate, at only 15% renewable energy sources by 2025. They also have relatively low electricity prices already, being lower than the national average. The rebates vary by utility company, but most are around $100 per kW, and the state provides 25% of the cost of the system in tax credits, up to $1,000. Systems are also exempt 100% from sales and property taxes. Overall, Arizona is a great place to take advantage of solar energy, with only seven years as the average time for a system to pay for itself.

californiafarmCalifornia You Can Get Solar Leasing in California with 0 Down

California, a huge state full of national parks and beautiful intact nature, is taking great pains to encourage residents to utilize all that sunshine that they get so much of to protect its natural land. They have an incredibly high goal for RPS at 33% renewable energy output by 2022. They also have one of the highest rates of electricity in the nation, well above the national average, prompting residents to turn to solar. The solar power rebates vary by California, a huge state full of national parks and beautiful intact nature, is taking great pains to encourage residents to utilize all that sunshine that they get so much of to protect its natural land. They have an incredibly high goal for RPS at 33% renewable energy output by 2022. They also have one of the highest rates of electricity in the nation, well above the national average, prompting residents to turn to solar. The solar power rebates vary by utility company, with most falling in the $700 to $1,000 range. Though they do not offer tax credits, they provide a 1000% property tax exemption, making California’s average time for a system to pay for itself ten years.

coloradoColorado Colorado allows Solar Leasing

Colorado is another state where the legislature is doing whatever it can to encourage the use of solar power and utilization of all that sunshine. Colorado was the first state to implement a statewide renewable energy portfolio standard and has an incredibly high one at that at a 40% goal by 2020. They have low electricity cost but offer impressive rebates that vary by utility company, some being as high as $15,000. While there are no tax credits, they do offer 100% tax exemptions on installations and properties. Overall, Colorado is a great state to go solar in, with an average time for a system to pay for itself being eight years.

ConnecticutttConnecticut Connecticut Enables Leasing of Solar PV Systems

Connecticut has an abundance of natural and beautiful land to protect and, unlike Alabama, state legislatures have made an effort to make that possible by committing to encouraging the use to solar power and renewable energy. They have a high RPS policy. In fact, it is one of the most aggressive policies in the US, requiring utility companies to derive 27% of their power from renewable energy sources. They have incredibly high electricity prices as well, and offer solar power rebates up to $6,750. While there are no tax credits, Connecticut does offer compete 100% tax exemptions for the solar installation and property tax. All in all, it takes the average resident to pay off an installation in eight years.

DelawareDelaware You Can Get Solar Leasing in Delaware

Full of natural and cultural heritage, Delaware is a strong state to go solar in. State legislatures have implemented an ambitious RPS plan with a goal of deriving 25% of energy from renewable energy sources by 2027. They also have a cost of electricity that is higher than the national average, which further encourages residents to utilize solar power. Rebate incentives vary, with a maximum rebate of $15,000. However, there are no tax credits or tax exemptions implemented so far in the state. Still, Delaware ranks in one of the top solar states with the average time for a solar system installation to pay for itself as nine years.

HawaiiHawaii Hawaii is a great Place to go Solar with Leasing Options

The beautiful and sunny Hawaii is an ideal location to benefit from solar energy usage. However, the lawmakers in the state could be doing quite a bit more than they are to utilize all that beautiful weather and protect the natural settings that sound them. They have a leading high cost of electricity, so despite the other incentives they are lacking in, implementers of solar power will already save an incredible amount of money. They also have a great RPS goal of 40% renewable energy sources by 2030 but do not offer any rebates. Tax credits are suitable, with 35% or $5,000 for a system installation, but only those who live in Honolulu benefit from property tax exemptions. However, due to all the money residents will save on their energy bills, this state has one of the lowest periods of time for a system to pay for itself at an incredible four years!

MarylandMaryland You can go Solar in Maryland with 0 Down

Maryland is another state with a lot of natural environment to protect and maintain, and their legislature has taken efforts to make that happen. In fact, Maryland was one of the first states to implement incentives for using renewable energy. They have established an impressive RPS plan, with the goal for energy companies being 20% energy derived from renewable sources by 2022. The cost of electricity in the state is comparable to the national average and they offer a generous rebate of $1,000 for solar power systems. They have small tax credit offers and also 100% sales and property tax exemptions. We definitely recommend solar power installations in Maryland with the average time for the system to pay for itself resting at ten years.

The cost for the installation to the middle class families: nothing. The homeowner gets solar panels on their roof and a new reduced electric rate. If interested you can sign up at solarvisit.com. Alternative Energy Solar Project predicts that it could save individual families up to $2,400 a year, which they hope could then be spent on other essential bills.

Alternative Energy Solar Project has been made promotional manager over the Solar Affordable Verified Establishment (S.A.V.E.), one of the country’s first dedicated solar repayment system for middle class families allowing them to get a low solar bill and an even lower electric bill. The goal is to install solar arrays to over 32,000 homes by the end of next year. By using training programs, government incentives, money from companies and private investors, they aim to keep the costs to those who provide and install the panels as low as possible.

By ploughing at least 30% of the money from government incentives and using private investors to back the solar installation, the project aims to kill two birds with one stone – saving Middle-Class families money, while also making big fossil fuel polluting companies help to cut energy emissions in the state even further.

Alternative Energy Solar Project invites everyone to find out if they qualify by signing up for a free visit. To increase the ease of finding out if you’re in the middle-class and qualified they specifically created a new website solarvisit.com. They hope that the funding put towards this new site will be well spent, if they can get interested homeowners reaching out to them, they estimate that they’ll be able hit their goal of 32,000 homes by the end of the year 2017.

We’ve been notified that panels are still available for homes, you can see if you qualify for the program by filling out the form below. If  you’d rather call in their phone number is: 1-844-481-2888

 

MasMassachusetts Massachusetts Residents Can Go Solar With Leasing

Massachusetts is a top contender for one of the best states to go solar in. They have recently begun updating their statewide policies to make it easier for homeowners and residents to utilize solar power. They have a great solar incentive program, exemptions, and tax credits that make it one of the easiest states to adopt solar energy. Their RPS goal is 15%, they have Massachusetts is a top contender for one of the best states to go solar in. They have recently begun updating their statewide policies to make it easier for homeowners and residents to utilize solar power. They have a great solar incentive program, exemptions, and tax credits that make it one of the easiest states to adopt solar energy. Their RPS goal is 15%, they have high cost of electricity, solar power rebates up to $4,250, adequate net metering policies, and high tax exemptions and credits. These factors cause Massachusetts to have one of the shortest payback periods, averaging at four years!

MinnesotaMinnesota Minnesota Present Great Savings with Solar

Even though it’s cold much of the year, Minnesota still gets plenty of sunlight, which the state has made strong efforts to utilize. They have implemented utility-backed solar energy rebates, full sales and property tax exemptions, and performance payments. They also have an incredibly high RPS, with a goal of having 31.5% of energy derived from renewable resources by 2020 for its largest electric company, Xcel. The state provides generous rebates that vary depending on utility company, with most around $1,000 to $2,000. These factors combined make Minnesota’s average time for each solar system installation to pay for itself be about thirteen years.

NevadaNevada You Can Finance Your Solar Power System in Nevada

Nevada has a great variety of terrain and combination of rural land and booming cities. While most of their implemented initiatives are geared toward large businesses and companies with industrial size installations, updates to policies are slowly making it more beneficial for individual residents to implement solar power in their lives. They have an aggressive RPS goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025 and offer a generous rebate of $400 per kW up to a 25kW system installation. However, there are no tax credits and the property tax exemptions only apply to commercial and industrial solar installations. In the end, Nevada is a competitive state for solar power, with only nine years for the average system to pay for itself.

NewHampshireNew Hampshire New Hampshire Residents Can Save Big by Switching to Solar

New Hampshire has a decent RPS goal of 24.8% renewable energy sources by 2025. They also have a high electricity cost, well above the national average and a very generous rebate program that offers $1,250 per kW up to $3,750. There are, however, no tax credits, and property tax exemptions are handled on a local level by region. Though policies could be more aggressive, New Hampshire is still a good state to go solar in, with installations paying for themselves on an average of ten years.

NewJerseyNew Jersey Lease, Buy, or go Solar with 0 Down in New Jersey

New Jersey has one of the top solar policy incentive programs in the US. They have plenty of sunshine and state legislatures have designed programs to encourage its use. Their RPS goal is sufficiently adequate and they have implemented generous net metering laws. Their cost of electricity for the state is above the national average, causing even greater incentive for residents to invest in solar power. They do not have solar power rebates or tax credits, but the property and sales tax exemptions are incredibly high. The time for a complete solar panel installation to pay for itself is only eight years in New Jersey.

NewMexicoNew Mexico New Mexico has Leasing options for Solar PV Systems

New Mexico has mountains, lakes, forests, and deserts that all benefit from the states effort to enact solar and renewable energy programs. They have a lofty RPS goal of 30% renewable energy by 2020, with investor owned utilities expected to derive 20% of electricity from renewable sources and rural electric cooperatives expected to derive 10% of electricity from renewable sources. New Mexico also has impressive tax credits, offering 10% up to $9,000 for solar installations. They also offer sales and property tax exemptions, making the average time for a complete solar panel installation to pay for itself be ten years.

newyorksolarpowerNew York Financing and Solar Leasing is Available for New York Residents

New York is one of the leading states in solar power initiatives. The state legislature has made great efforts to increase the state’s solar energy and promote its use through numerous incentives. For one, the New York Public Service Commission have set a hight RPS goal, meaning utility companies have to derive at least 30% of their energy from renewable sources. This causes them to provide high incentives to homeowners to sell them solar energy. In addition, NY’s current energy prices for electricity are well above the national average, making solar energy even more enticing. Combine these factors with hight rebates, tax credits, and beneficial net metering laws, and you are looking at paying back a full system installation in only eight years.

OregonOregon Solar Leasing and Financing is Available in Oregon

Though it is not always known for its sunny skies, Oregon gets adequate sunshine year round to support solar power systems. The state legislature recognizes the importance of renewable energy and have implemented progressive incentive plans to encourage solar power use. Its RPS goal is lofty at requiring utility companies to source 25% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. While the cost of electricity is relatively low, they make up for that by offering an astounding rebate of up to $9,500. They also provide hefty tax credits and exemptions, making the average time for a system to pay for itself be nine years.

PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Pennsylvania Residents Can Get Financing for their PV System

Pennsylvania started out with a great solar power program, but recently funds have began running low for the state rebate program and policies need updates. All Pennsylvania needs is some tweaking to its current laws to bring solar policy up to speed. RPS is currently at a 18.02% goal by 2021, but there are currently no rebates or tax credits offered. They also have a close to average cost of electricity. There is also no sales or property tax exemptions provided, leaving the average time for a solar system to pay for itself at twelve years.

TexasTexas You can Finance Your PV System in the State of Texas

Texas is far behind in renewable energy policies in its legislature. They have a miniature RPS goal at only 3% by 2015, which they exceeded but haven’t yet updated. Rebates vary by utility company, but since utility companies have such a low RPS to meet, they are beginning to let these offers go. They also do not offer tax credits or sales tax exemptions, but do provide 100% property tax exemptions. However, it takes twelve years for a solar energy system to pay for itself in Texas do to its outdated policies. There is a lot more the state legislature could do to encourage solar energy use.

vermontVermont Vermont enables its residents to lease their solar panels

Vermont, though slightly behind states with strong solar power initiatives like New York, is beginning to take steps to implement solar incentives. A progressive state, their discussions about solar and renewable energy are beginning to be firmed into policy. They have a voluntary RPS policy with a goal of 20% renewably derived energy by 2017. However, being voluntary, it does not hold companies accountable for this goal yet. The cost of electricity in Vermont is well above the national average, which encourages solar energy usage, and they offer up to a $250 rebate on solar power. They do not offer tax credits, but they do give 100% system and property tax exemptions, which makes the average time for solar power to pay for itself being ten years.

waWashington Switching to solar in Washington state is on cash basis only

Washington is definitely not known for its sun, but surprisingly the region gets plenty of adequate sunlight to power its solar energy systems, especially in the summer months. The RPS goal for the state is 15% renewable energy production by 2020, though their electricity cost is well below the national average. There are no solar power rebates and since the state already doesn’t have a state tax, there is no need for tax credits. However, they do not offer property tax exemptions on solar power systems. In the end, it takes about six years for solar power systems to pay for themselves in Washington which is remarkable.

wadcWashington D.C. You can get solar leasing in Washington D.C

Washington D.C. operates as it’s own state with it’s own laws regarding solar power usage. D.C.’s RPS goal is respectable at 20% renewable energy sources by 2023, although the state’s electricity rates are low, slightly lower than the national average. They also have an up front rebate for solar panel installations of $500 flat, offered on a yearly basis for the first residents to ask for it until $2 million has been paid. There are no tax credits offered but D.C. gives a 100% property tax exemption when residents install a solar power system. Incredibly, D.C. ranks as one of the shortest periods of time for systems to pay for itself with an average time of five years!

SOLGEN: THE SOLAR HYBRID GENERATOR

COMMERCIAL USE

Solar Panels and DC Generators constantly charge the 30 kW Lithium Ion Battery Brick. The Lithium Ion Battery Brick uses a patented serial and parallel wiring to charge and discharge. By not using the 15,000 charge/discharge life cycles, the batteries will last 20 years plus.  

Solar Panels and Lithium ion Battery Brick

The next generation of energy production is finally here. The Solar Generator is designed to be used as a primary power source in your facility, whether grid supply or behind the meter. 

High Efficiency Speed Control DC Motors

High Efficiency Speed Control DC Motors and DC Blower Motors and controllers for greater durability and reliability. We use electronic controllers to maximize efficiency. Our motors use less than 1/3rd the energy of conventional motors. Recycle back EMF.

Power Q – Quality Control Box

The Power Q regulates power quality output to sync with the grid and maintain proper harmonics. Clean sine waves, stable Hz and harmonics, with no voltage spikes.

Get Renewable Energy 24/7

The Solar Hybrid Generator produces clean, green baseload energy twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty five days a year. 100% green power using no fuel with no emission.

Small Footprint

We create energy in a fraction of the space required by traditional solar. As a comparison, a 1MW capacity solar array encumbers ~5 acres of land. The hybrid generator can match the output in 270 sq ft, producing 525,600 kWh annually in 8’ x 5’ footprint utilizing zero carbon based fuels.

Scalable from 60 kW to 1 TW

The self-sustaining Solar Generator unit can be installed as a single unit or scaled to 1 TW power plants to meet all your energy demands, under any environmental conditions.

Quality we can Guarantee

The Solar Generator comes with a 90% production guarantee, 10-year bumper to bumper, and a 6 month buy back program. The unique array of patented components is what creates the amazing outsize efficiency: Solar, Battery, Wind, and propriety Electric Motors. They all work in harmony to provide the highest quality clean energy – all day, every day – with remote monitoring and only 15 minutes of annual maintenance.

Hybrid Solar Generator

40 HP DC Speed
Control Motor
40 HP DC Speed
Control Motor
30 kW DC
Generator
60 kW DC
Generator
30 kW Lithium Ion
Battery Pack
Power Q
Quality
Control Box
40 HP DC Speed
Control Motor
Power Wind
Turbine

Presidential Executive Order on The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities EXECUTIVE ORDER…

                                       ” THIS ORDER DOES NOT PROVIDE HBCU’s ANY FUNDING “
 The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION AT HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to advance opportunities in higher education, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have made, and continue to make, extraordinary contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of our country.  Established by visionary leaders, America’s HBCUs have, for more than 150 years, produced many of our Nation’s leaders in business, government, academia, and the military, and have helped create a black middle class.  The Nation’s more than 100 HBCUs are located in 20 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and serve more than 300,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.  These institutions are important engines of economic growth and public service, and they are proven ladders of intergenerational advancement.

A White House Initiative on HBCUs would:  advance America’s full human potential; foster more and better opportunities in higher education; strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education; provide equitable opportunities for HBCUs to participate in Federal programs; and increase the number of college-educated Americans who feel empowered and able to advance the common good at home and abroad.

Sec. 2.  White House Initiative on HBCUs.

(a)  Establishment.  There is established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Initiative), housed in the Executive Office of the President and led by an Executive Director designated by the President.

(b)  Mission and Functions.  The Initiative shall work with agencies, private-sector employers, educational associations, philanthropic organizations, and other partners to increase the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to an increasing number of students.  The Initiative shall have two primary missions:

(i)   increasing the private-sector role, including the role of private foundations, in:

(A)  strengthening HBCUs through enhanced institutional planning and development, fiscal stability, and financial management; and

(B)  upgrading institutional infrastructure, including the use of technology, to ensure the long-term viability of these institutions; and

(ii)  enhancing HBCUs’ capabilities to serve our Nation’s young adults by:

(A)  strengthening HBCUs’ ability to equitably participate in Federal programs and exploring new ways of improving the relationship between the Federal Government and HBCUs;

(B)  fostering private-sector initiatives and public-private partnerships while promoting specific areas and centers of academic research and program-based excellence throughout HBCUs;

(C)  improving the availability, dissemination, and quality of information concerning HBCUs in the public policy sphere;

(D)  sharing administrative and programmatic best practices within the HBCU community;

(E)  partnering with elementary and secondary education stakeholders to build a “cradle-to-college” pipeline; and

(F)  convening an annual White House Summit on HBCUs to address, among other topics, matters related to the Initiative’s missions and functions.

(c)  Federal Agency Plans.

(i)    The Secretary of Education (Secretary), in consultation with the Executive Director, shall identify those agencies that regularly interact with HBCUs.

(ii)   Each agency identified by the Secretary under subsection (c)(i) of this section shall prepare an annual plan (Agency Plan) describing its efforts to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to participate in applicable Federal programs and initiatives.  Where appropriate, each Agency Plan shall address, among other things, the agency’s proposed efforts to:

(A)  establish how the agency intends to increase the capacity of HBCUs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements;

(B)  identify Federal programs and initiatives where HBCUs are not well represented, and improve HBCUs’ participation in those programs and initiatives; and

(C)  encourage public-sector, private-sector, and community involvement in improving the overall capacity of HBCUs.

(iii)  The head of each agency identified in subsection (c)(i) of this section shall submit its Agency Plan to the Secretary and the Executive Director no later than 90 days after being so identified, and submit an updated Agency Plan annually thereafter.

(iv)   To help fulfill the objectives of the Agency Plans, the head of each agency identified by the Secretary may provide, as appropriate, technical assistance and information to the Executive Director to enhance communication with HBCUs concerning the agency’s program activities and the preparation of applications or proposals for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.

(v)    Each agency identified by the Secretary shall appoint a senior official to report directly to the agency head on that agency’s progress under this order, and to serve as liaison to the Initiative.

(d)  Interagency Working Group.  There is established an Interagency Working Group, which shall be chaired by the Executive Director and shall consist of one representative from each agency identified by the Secretary pursuant to subsection (c)(i) of this section, to help advance and coordinate the work required by this order.

     Sec. 3.  President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs.

(a)  Establishment.  There is established in the Department of Education the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Board).  The Board shall consist of not more than 25 members appointed by the President.  The Board shall include the Secretary, the Executive Director, representatives of a variety of sectors — such as philanthropy, education, business, finance, entrepreneurship, innovation, and private foundations — and sitting HBCU presidents.  The President shall designate one member of the Board to serve as its Chair, who shall help direct the Board’s work in coordination with the Secretary and in consultation with the Executive Director.  The Chair shall also consult with the Executive Director regarding the time and location of the Board’s meetings, which shall take place at least once every 6 months.

(b)  Mission and Functions.  The Board shall advise the President, through the Initiative, on all matters pertaining to strengthening the educational capacity of HBCUs.  In particular, the Board shall advise the President in the following areas:

(i)    improving the identity, visibility, distinctive capabilities, and overall competitiveness of HBCUs;

(ii)   engaging the philanthropic, business, government, military, homeland-security, and education communities in a national dialogue regarding new HBCU programs and initiatives;

(iii)  improving the ability of HBCUs to remain fiscally secure institutions that can assist the Nation in achieving its educational goals and in advancing the interests of all Americans;

(iv)   elevating the public awareness of, and fostering appreciation of, HBCUs; and

(v)    encouraging public-private investments in HBCUs.

(c)  Administration.  The Department of Education shall provide funding and administrative support for the Board, consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.  Members of the Board shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law.  Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), may apply to the Board, any functions of the President under that Act, except for those of reporting to the Congress, shall be performed by the Chair, in accordance with guidelines issued by the Administrator of General Services.

(d)  Report.  The Board shall report annually to the President on the Board’s progress in carrying out its duties under this section.

Sec. 4.  Revocation of Executive Order.  Executive Order 13532 of February 26, 2010 (Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities), as amended, is revoked.

Sec. 5.  General Provisions.  (a)  For the purposes of this order, “historically black colleges and universities” shall mean those institutions listed in 34 C.F.R. 608.2.

(b)  This order shall apply to executive departments and agencies designated by the Secretary.  Those departments and agencies shall provide timely reports and such information as is required to effectively carry out the objectives of this order.

(c)  The heads of executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide information to the Board, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Board.  Each executive department and agency shall bear its own expenses of participating in the Initiative.

(d)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(e)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(f)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

THE WHITE HOUSE,

February 28, 2017.