Archive for March 30, 2013

You Want to Know More In-Depth Information About Solar, Then Join the Solar MOOC Academy

Here is a website for all of our readers that want to enter the solar PV field but lack the funds to take formal courses. The Solar Academy is free and very intensive for the avid learner. Go to the following website and sign up. There are many topics covered, all important to the knowledge you will need to become a solar PV professional. That is not to say that this is the only pathway to learning the trade, because there are many training programs that will lead to NABCEP certification. But I am saying that the solar academy will give you a exposure to help solidify your interest in becoming a solar professional.

The sign up page is here

Go to the following website to learn more about the free solar training

Notice of Funding Availability for the Rural Energy for America Program

The Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant & Guaranteed Loan Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published this morning. The program sets up an April 30, 2013 deadline for submission of REAP Grants and July 15, 2013 deadline for submission of REAP Guaranteed Loan.

Complete applications should be submitted to the Business Programs Specialist in the Area Office serving the County in which the project is located. A map of our Area Offices and their respective areas can be found at the following link, click on the map of Tennessee to find the applicable office:

Application material may be found online at the following link:

The NOFA is attached in this email and indicates that the program will have $10.4 Million available Nationally for REAP Grants and $43.4 Million for REAP Guaranteed Loans. At this time we do not know what Tennessee’s allocation level will be.

Competition will be very intense with limited funds this year. Please contact the Business Programs Specialist in the applicable Area Office for further information. Please share this
e-mail with any interested parties.

Best Regards,
Will Dodson | Energy Coordinator
Business & Energy Programs
Rural Development – Tennessee State Office
U.S. Department of Agriculture
3322 West End Avenue, Ste. 300 | Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-783-1350 | Fax: 615-783-1395

City to Require Solar in New Construction

Every new housing development must average 1 kilowatt per house. Not here, but in California. California is a light-year ahead of Tennessee and most of the country when it comes to solar acceptance.

The Lancaster, California City Council unanimously approved changes to the city’s zoning code that require housing developers to install solar with every new home they build.
This is the latest piece in what Republican Mayor R. Rex Parris described at the City Council meeting as a plan to make Lancaster “the solar capital of the universe.”
Lancaster’s now official Residential Zones Update specifies, along with a range of green building provisions, that new single family homes meet minimum solar system requirements in the same way that they must meet minimum parking space requirements.
“The purpose of the solar energy system standards,” it reads, “is to encourage investment in solar energy on all parcels in the city, while providing guidelines for the installation of those systems that are consistent with the architectural and building standards of the City.” It is further intended “to provide standards and procedures for builders of new homes to install solar energy systems in an effort to achieve greater usage of alternative energy.”
Residential homes on lots of 7,000 square feet or more must have a solar system of 1.0 kilowatts to 1.5 kilowatts. Rural residential homes of up to 100,000 square feet must have a system of at least 1.5 kilowatts.

Nominate an expert to the TVA board — Are you kidding?

personal note: I would have never guessed that our U.S. Senators would oppose the nomination of one of this country’s most outstanding expert in the area of money saving energy efficiency. Why?? I ask each of our readers to let their two senators hear their opinion as the Brown nomination

Our Tennessee senators don’t like whom our president is trying to reappoint to the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors: an expert on energy issues. Dr. Marilyn Brown, a Georgia Tech professor and former research administrator at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a long list of work and research mostly ending in “energy efficiency,” has been re-nominated by President Obama to a term on the TVA board after she’d been vetoed here at home back in January.

The nomination, sent to Capitol Hill Thursday night, comes more than two months after Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker used Senate procedures to block Obama’s previous attempt to appoint her to a six-year term.

Brown, who came to the board in 2010 to fill out the a vacated term and served through the end of 2012, is widely recognized for her expertise in energy efficiency and other “sustainable” energy policies. She teaches in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy after formerly working for the Department of Energy at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“This is another example of the Obama White House not listening,” Alexander said in a statement Friday.

“I told the White House in advance that the TVA board needs a nominee with a better understanding of the relationship between low electricity rates and better jobs in the Tennessee Valley. The Senate now has the responsibility to exercise its constitutional role of advice and consent on the nominee.”

Corker was even more critical.

“TVA needs leaders who enthusiastically support the mission of producing economical electricity and have an abiding appreciation of its important economic development role and impact on the well-being of Valley residents,” he said.

“Unfortunately, during my discussions with Dr. Brown, it was clear she does not share that point of view.”

original article here and Sundog Blog

story about solar starting to break into the mainstream

Home Depot expands its solar service offerings to the East Coast by partnering with two other fast-growing providers, Sunrun and Clean Power Finance.
The experience of Roof Diagnostics Solar — a leading contractor partnering with Sunrun, Clean Power Finance, and Home Depot on the East Coast — offers a window into how these arrangements are boosting solar sales.
A year and a half ago, Roof Diagnostics participated in a Home Depot pilot program with one other company in fourteen New Jersey stores. It set out a kiosk with a laptop, 40-inch television, and a solar specialist who could do a simple assessment of a home from the store.
The immediate reaction was “explosive,” said Pegler Jr., with 68 sales coming in the first 60 days. A couple weeks later, they were given twenty-one stores. And the company will be offering solar in 100 locations by the end of the year in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts — with most of those kiosks located in the first aisle of the stores.

Four out of every ten people who visit the Home Depot kiosk sign up for a solar lease or power purchase agreement with Roof Diagnostics. Pegler Jr. believes it’s a sign that the Northeastern solar market is maturing. Because states like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts have strong solar programs, consumers generally know about the opportunity. But seeing a kiosk in a Home Depot store can be the difference between someone thinking about solar and actually taking action.

original article

LETTER: Elected officials must promote clean energy laws

Judging by the recent layoffs at Hemlock, it would seem that the Chinese clean energy industry is an unstoppable juggernaut.
However, a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that US companies held a $1.6 billion dollar surplus in clean energy trade with China in 2011.
While the layoffs are disheartening, statistics show America’s clean energy market is stronger than ever. In fact, Tennessee is at the forefront of the clean energy economy in the United States.
Examples in Tennessee range from electric vehicle manufacturing at Nissan North America Headquarters to the recent launch of a solar farm at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
As more companies tap in to the clean energy economy, it is vital that our elected officials promote laws to help America stay in the lead.

Investments in research and innovation, encouraging domestic demand and supporting overseas sales are all vital to success. Now, more than ever, it is up to Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander to lead to promote clean energy measures for our state and our nation.
America cannot afford to come in second place.


Clarksville, 37044

originally published by Leaf Chronicle

Larisa Brass: State’s solar strategists’ hopes not dimmed for industry

Tennessee’s solar industry appeared ready to shine when two of the world’s largest companies involved in the manufacture of photovoltaic panels announced plans to invest billions in the state.

Four years later, global economics and local policy have raised questions about the brightness of the alternative energy’s future.

Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie have both delayed their production for the polysilicon used to make solar panels. Hemlock laid off 300 employees at its $1.2 billion plant in Clarksville, Tenn. before production began, while Wacker Chemie has slowed construction of its Cleveland, Tenn., plant with an eye towards postponing its opening until 2015.

In Georgia, following a state-mandated, 50-megawatt pilot project, the utility has chosen to develop 260 additional megawatts of solar power, which will be purchased at no additional cost to customers and reflects the energy source’s increasing affordability.
Volkswagen invested in solar energy because of its environmental commitment, not to save money right away, says Guenther Scherelis, the company’s Chattanooga spokesman.

The 33-acre installation helped Volkswagen become the first automotive plant in the world to achieve the U.S. Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification.

“Sustainability is one of our core values of the group,” Scherelis says. “We assume that in the long-term, energy prices will go up.”

Matt Kisber says changes in state incentives, a potential property tax increase for solar installations and cutbacks in TVA programs promoting renewable energy have made solar development in Tennessee more difficult. “My sense is companies want to locate and do business in states and communities where they feel appreciated and wanted,” he says. “The state needs to have policies that support their activities. … Georgia has taken our place (in developing solar as a power source). And they’re doing it for economic development objectives. There are a number of other Southeastern states that are actively recruiting (solar manufacturers).”

original article

Peak Solar completes a 100Kw Solar Energy Kit in Knoxville Tennessee is proud to announce the completion of two 50KKw solar energy system in Knoxville Tennessee. These solar kits will provide enough green power to the two office buildings that are housed on them. Payback for the systems will be 5~7 year due to TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) incentive programs and 30% tax benefit from the federal government. is a regional expert in solar development and engineering as well as a leading supplier of Photovoltaic components and solar kits. Providing turnkey PV systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Peak Solar has developed systems from the home consumer to corporate energy development parks.
website for PeakSolar

Solar Workshop at the New Spectrum Solar Exhibit

Saturday, March 23 at 10:00AM and 1:00PM


Join ARiES Energy for a workshop to learn how to lower your energy bill, improve the environment, and increase the value and marketability of your home. Topics include the fundamentals of solar power, installation, warranties, maintenance, and economics.
ARiES is working with local banks to make a solar investment more feasible for you by providing financing options so you can lower your bills right away, with little to no money down.


For more information about the Spectrum exhibit:

The exhibit is located on the second floor of the Knoxville Center mall near the JC Penney entrance and giant Power T.  Knoxville Center mall is located near I-640 Exit 8 at 3001 Knoxville Center Drive.

Latest Prices from Energy Trend

This is the latest estimated pricing for solar material dated March 2013.