Archive for SPartin

Solar for your Home Workshop with STION

Come to Bearden Beer Market in Knoxville, TN on Wednesday, November 7th for a workshop with STION, solar panel manufacturer located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. At the workshop you will learn more about solar energy and how you can incorporate into your home or building!

This workshop is part of the Bearden Beer Market and ARiES Energy Best  Building Practices campaign to lower their carbon footprint, educate the community and encourage patrons and partners to follow suit.

Every Wednesday: $1 per pint will support BBM’s Best Building Practices! Join us to hear about BBM’s plans to incorporate the best building practices into the beer garden to improve energy efficiency and enhance the experience for beer lovers & BBM partners of Knoxville!

Some of their projects include:

  • Installing a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System!
  • Completing Lighting Retrofits (90% accomplished, let’s make it 100%!)
  • Purchasing Biomass heating and power generation units! (Conveniently charge electronics in the beer garden without plugging into the grid!)
  • Roof Top Garden for Storm Water Collection (vegetation for reducing run-off & carbon emissions, not for eating!)

For more information or to RSVP, Click Here

Obama nominates McWherter, three others to TVA board

President Obama has nominated Mike McWherter, the 2010 Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor, to fill one of five current vacancies on the TVA Board of Directors.

Obama also nominated V. Lynn Evans, a Memphis accountant, and Joe H. Ritch, a Huntsville, Ala., attorney, as new members of the board while proposing to give Marilyn A. Brown, a current board member whose term has expired, a new term on the nine-member panel.

The president in February had nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., to a TVA board seat, but Mahurin’s nomination has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The four nominations announced Friday in a White House news release are also subject to Senate confirmation.

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Bearden Beer Market to Showcase Their Sustainability Efforts

BBM plans to lower our carbon footprint, educate the community and encourage patrons and partners to follow suit by:

In this workshop ARiES Energy will provide:

  • Installing a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System!
  • Completing our Lighting Retrofits (90% accomplished, let’s make it 100%!)
  • Purchasing Biomass heating and power generation units! (Conveniently charge electronics in the beer garden without plugging into the grid!)
  • Roof Top Garden for Storm Water Collection (vegetation for reducing run-off & carbon emissions, not for eating!)
  • Rain Barrels to sustain the roof garden
  • Porous Surface to replace blacktop in beer garden  (reduces runoff, increases water quality, & decreases heat

Bearden Beer Market (BBM) is incorporating best building practices into the beer garden to improve energy efficiency and enhance the experience

It is very important to BBM to demonstrate that “greening” is not simply a novelty. It is a best practice and the way of the future! BBM believes those who support these proactive energy efforts should be championed! To do this BBM, has dedicated an entire wall to showcase the support of BBM’s energy efforts and quality building practices. “Wall of Champions” signage opportunities include:

for beer lovers & BBM partners of Knoxville! To accomplish our goals, WE NEED YOUR HELP!


  • “Rookie-of-the-Year” – 1×1 ft space
  • “All-Star” – 2×2 ft space
  • “Hall-of-Famer” – 3×3 ft space

When: October 17, 2012, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Where: Bearden Beer Market (BBM), 4524 Old Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919:

RSVP: Bearden Beer Market - Matt,, (423) 648-0963


ARiES Energy, LLC - Mary Shaffer Gill,

Recent Customer Experience Develops New Solar Service

The owners of one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Tennessee partnered with ARiES Energy to fix a warranty issue with one of the system’s inverters.  While fixing this problem, the experts at ARiES Energy saw a serious issue with the system’s wiring.  Due to improper wiring, the system was losing 4% of the system’s solar power production.  Our inspection caught this mistake, increasing the company’s revenue by thousands of dollars.

Based on our experience with this customer, ARiES Energy decided to provide a service to guarantee optimal performance for solar PV system owners.

We are proud to announce our new Solar Maintenance Program to ensure your solar system is working at maximum efficiency.  Under the Solar Maintenance Agreement, we will give your solar system a top-down inspection to determine how your system is performing.

We will identify and fix problems that are preventing optimal performance, and take care of warranty claims so you don’t miss a beat while you are taking care of your day-to-day responsibilities.

Monthly Service:

  • Review utility bills/solar system performance benchmarking

Annual Service:

  • Inspect solar panel connections
  • Test output and compare warranty
  • Inspect solar panel’s physical condition
  • Inspect inverter and protection devices
  • Full Performance Assessment 
  • Pressure wash and clean solar panels (200 kW and greater)

Service as Needed:

  • Prepare and submit any warranty claims
  • Repair or replace defective solar panels at a discounted rate

Check out our website at, and view our references at  Interested in learning more? E-mail or call 865-309-4NRG.

TSEA’s Stefan and Carmelo Install Their First Solar System

Carmelo Plugging In

TSEA volunteers, Stefan Partin and Carmelo Mannino, helped ARiES Energy install solar panels at the Pink Pig in Downtown Morristown.  This was the first hands-on solar installation job for both interns, and it was a great success.  ”It is great to get your hands dirty and get experience on the ground installing,” said Stefan, “I talk to many people that have installed panels, and it is good to say that now I have too.”  Carmelo talked about his experience saying, “I’m use to doing solar behind a desk, I found installing the panels to be a great experience.”  ARiES Energy, a business member of TSEA, provides solar and renewable energy services, and was founded on the principal of three “E’s” – Energy Independence, Economic Development and Environmental Stewardship.

Completed Installation

The installation was a 11.73 kW solar photovoltaic installation on a rooftop in Historic Downtown Morristown.  The project used aesthetic and innovative solar technology that was installed within the design requirements of the local Historic Zoning Commission and will add to the historic building’s complete renovation.  ARiES Energy is proud to be the FIRST project finished in the TN Dept. of Environment & Conservation Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program.  ARiES Energy will be holding a ribbon cutting event in Morristown on October 4th, 2012 at 9AM EST.  To view more picture click here. Visit ARiES Energy at

China Probes U.S., South Korea Solar-Grade Polysilicon

China is investigating whether exporters from the U.S. and South Korea sold solar-grade polysilicon below cost, a practice known as dumping, as part of a probe following complaints from four domestic companies.

The world’s biggest supplier of solar panels also started a countervailing duty investigation into the commodity from the U.S., China’s Ministry of Commerce said in two separate statements.

The actions escalate a trade dispute between the world’s biggest economies after the U.S. said in May it will impose duties on Chinese solar cells, which are devices made from polysilicon and assembled into panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

China will examine a tax-exemption program for the “advanced-energy manufacturing industry” promoted by the U.S. federal government and 15 state-government sponsored programs in Michigan, Tennessee, Washington and Idaho, the ministry’s statement on the countervailing duty investigation said.

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TSEA Submits DoE SunShot Grant Concept Paper

At the present time we are working with an interdisciplinary team of academics and consultants on creating a solar program proposal, in the TVA region, to the Department of Energy known as the “Aggregate Utility Solar Program Using Micro-Investments.” Currently the problem with investing into solar for the average Tennessean is that the high up-front costs associated with solar is too large and therefore hindered demand. Since the demand is stifled, the marginal cost of solar production equipment has remained high. We are looking to remedy this issue by creating a platform where micro-investments can be used to provide solar energy to a broad base of citizens who can otherwise not afford it. The model will aggregate the demand from hundreds-of-thousands of individuals who invest small sums of money on a monthly basis to install large solar farms. Each micro-investment will equate to one “share” in a solar farm and will provide an escalating return on investment as the monthly investments continue. The model will analyze the situational requirements to induce micro-investments, the relationships between key variables, the resulting economic impact to the community, and the future cost of electricity to the consumers. Once the analysis is complete, our social scientists can identify any policies needed for a new solar program, and the Tennessee Valley Authority can implement a pilot program based on the model.

The best part of this program is that it does not cost the state anything. The widespread growth would be due to a multitude of private investors rather than state dependency.

We believe the results of this program would be very important for the growth of solar in Tennessee. The wide implementation of solar would drastically reduce carbon emissions in Tennessee, because solar does not emit carbon pollutants. This would create a savings on the carbon emissions quota, which the state could redistribute in creating for carbon emission permits for new manufactures and producers. The biggest impact, however, would be that this program would create a new source for job creation in the energy sector. A study by the University of California-Berkeley found that for every megawatt of panels installed that 20 manufacturing and 13 installation job-years would be created. We believe solar energy is the future and we think a program like this can help get us there.

Below is a link to the concept paper for the utility solar program we are looking to create. It will give you background information and greater insight on the models that we are making use of and developing. Please send us any comments or questions you have about the program so we can use them to help make our full proposal the best it can be. Use the comment section below, or e-mail us at

Link to the Concept Paper

The TSEA Team

UT unveils solar-powered, free-standing charging station

$1.5 Million in Solar Panels Free to Hawkins Co. Schools

by M. Woodward

What if you could find a deal in which your county schools could rent roof space and get l.5 to 2 million dollars worth of solar panels installed on top of 3 of your schools for free? And, the schools would get paid $14,000 per year for the roof rentals? Would you go for a deal like that?

According to William Shedden, Director of Maintenance for Hawkins County Schools, this is exactly the deal that came their way and you bet they went for it. It took long hours of work from the superintendent’s office, members of the school board, administrators, teachers, parents, and private investors for the project to succeed.

The project is complete. Bulls Gap School, Church Hill Intermediate School, and Clinch School are now topped with solar panels valued at approximately 1.5 to 2 million dollars at no cost to the school system thanks to a Morristown company’s financing scheme.

Hawkins County Schools was able to take advantage of the old Green Partner’s program sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority by renting their roof space for the installation of solar panels at the three schools.

Director of Maintenance Bill Shedden says, “The money came from a third party investor. Hannah Solar installed the equipment. So all of this that you see is no money out of the school system’s pocket, whatsoever.

The way the financing works, is a company arranges a deal with a bank, or it could be a for-profit company that needs tax credits to reduce their income tax. The for-profit company provides the up-front financing for the solar system and hires a firm to install the solar panels. The tax credits and depreciation reduce the business taxes and the company making the arrangements, called the third party, gets the income from the sale of the solar power to TVA. The school system does not get a lower energy bill, but does get the rental income. After a set period, the third-party owner will offer to sell the system to the school system at a significantly reduced price. This is a great deal all around.

Currently there are 833 solar panels on top of Church Hill Intermediate School and every day these panels produce enough energy to power 3 or 4 average size households. At that rate the TVA will pay Hawkins County Schools 14 thousand dollars a year and this is a ten year agreement that includes that Hawkins County Schools will pay nothing to install the current and future panels.

But Hawkins County doesn’t want to stop there. They have plans to add solar panels to the roofs of 10-13 other schools in the county.

They have plans to set up a website for the students and for members of the community to use that will show exactly how much energy is produced everyday by the solar panels. They are also asking for everyone to ‘think outside the box” and come forth with creative ideas to help with the continuation of this project.

Stephen Levy, technical director for the Tennessee Solar Energy Association, says that he and recent UT business graduate, Stefan Partin, and Solar Association founder, Jim Hackworth, visited Hawkins County to view the installation of the solar panels and were “blown away with the beauty and resourcefulness”.

“This is what we want to replicate in all school systems across America,” he said. “There is nothing to stop solar energy from becoming the source for energy in our future. We are pleased, very pleased,” he said.

PV Tech Newscast – July 6, 2012