IdleAir seeks sustainable growth where solar can help

IdleAir is exploring the possibility of ‘”brownfield parking.” This involves finding brownfield sites in cities where truck drivers can reserve parking to get their mandated breaks. Because of traffic congestion, truck drivers often park far outside of cities like New York, then “make a sniper shot in to their destination,” CEO Ethan Garber said. This tends to waste a lot of time, he said.

Brownfield parking is a great idea especially if it provides for solar shaded parking which could be an excellent community solar project. The shaded parking will generate power during daylight hours and then in the evening serve the truck parking with the IdleAir convenience. The result would be a win-win for truck parking as well as cleaner air. Food for thought.

For more information on community solar and its benefits, go to: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy11osti/49930.pdf

The original story can be found here

Solar garden grows green in Brewster, MA

A verdant glowing green, according to the proprietors of the Brewster Community Solar Garden, constructed in 2012 off Freeman’s Way in Brewster.
The garden was conceived and built under the eye of MyGeneration Energy of Brewster. Shares (SunRights) were sold to investors in the cooperative for $5,000 with an expected return of $6,400 worth of electricity over five years.
The garden of 1440 Tennessee-built Sharp solar panels sits next to the water department adjacent to Route 6 and opposite the Captains Course driving range.
“It’s something of a source of pride for Brewster,” Hinkle declared. “In the summer wildflowers bloom and last year we put in bluebird houses.”
“You feel you’re part of something doing good; saving the planet,” co-op member Cal Mutti reflected. “I think it’s a signal of the future and I’m so proud of Brewster to be at the starting gate of a new way to generate electricity that’s not harming the environment. We live in the forest and there’s no way I could have panels at my house.”
The electricity produced by the panels, about 460 megawatts a year (above the original 410 megawatt target) is net-metered every month by utility Eversource and the voltage produced is credited back to the co-op and parceled out to the members. Each member has the equivalent of 28 panels of production.
“The co-op doesn’t own the facility; what you’ve got is a consumer cooperative,” Hinkle told the members. “You have purchased electricity in the form of net-metering credits at a discount. Your organization can go on forever.”
Last year (February to February) produced $69,411.05 worth of credits to the bills and 459,972 kilowatt-hours of power.
It’s tax-free because it’s not income. It only shows up on your electric bill as credits against your consumption. Excess credits are rolled over for future bills.

Read the article here.

KUB Planning a Community Solar Farm


While businesses and organizations are installing solar panels to meet power needs, the costs of such installations are still beyond the means of most homeowners, Bolas said. KUB is looking for a location on one of its properties where it can place solar panels, which people can buy and earn credit on their electricity bills for the power that panel produces, he said.
The project is still in the planning stage, Bolas told the board. TSEA commends KUB in its consideration of launching a community solar farm

Huge solar farm ribbon-cutting on April 8th + New projects to be built

Photo by Bob Fowler

Photo by Bob Fowler

In Oak Ridge, the second one-megawatt solar farm in East Tennessee has been dedicated in ceremonies Thursday morning.

The project is called Powerhouse Six, and it’s slightly more than five acres of former Department of Energy land next to the former K-25 site where uranium was enriched.

That property is now under the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, a nonprofit economic development group, and CROET will lease the land.

“We’re turning a brown field into a bright field,” said Gil Hough, renewable-energy manager for Restoration Services Inc. RSI is an employee-owned company involved in the cleanup of DOE sites and development of solar farms on former DOE lands.

Powerhouse Six is named after the nearby powerhouse that provided electricity to K-25. The solar array consists of 3,268 solar panels. It is located on property unsuitable for other uses because now-abandoned conduit pipes for power lines to K-25 are buried there.

It is expected to produce enough electricity to run 133 typical homes for a year. It will offset greenhouse has emitted by 203 vehicles annually. It will flow into TVA’s power grid, and TVA will reimburse the solar array’s owners for it. It will cost just under $2 million to build.

The firm also built a 200-kw solar farm dubbed Brightfield One just off Tennessee 58.

Similar sized projects to Powerhouse Six are being built at Eastbridge Business Park in Knox County and at the Plateau Partnership Park in Cumberland County. In June, construction will begin for both places. Negotiations are also underway for two other sites in Loudon County and the Cookeville area and will hopefully be under construction in the fall.

Read the entire article here.

Information also from “More solar farms to shine in ET” by Bob Fowler

April 30th Deadline for REAP grant submission

solar farming2The April 30th deadline for the REAP program is fast approaching. If you have projects you are working on, please get our Specialist involved as early as possible to ensure the environmental review is started early. We have received a lot of applications, but there is a lot of money in the program this year. We still need some smaller projects, especially, in the $20,000 or less grant category. The program is not just for renewable projects. We can assist with energy efficiency improvement to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. Some examples include:
Lighting, HVAC, insulation, windows, fans, grain dryers, irrigation, coolers, equipment replacement, etc. The list goes on and on.

If you have any questions in regard to this or the program, or need additional information, please let me know or contact your local office.
Best regards,

Pamela N. Crozier
Energy Coordinator/State Specialist
Rural Development, USDA
3322 West End Avenue, Ste 300
Nashville, TN 37203
615-783-1367 direct
855-776-7059 fax
www.rd.usda.gov/tn