Archive for Fun

Energy program can aid farmers, small businesses

In Tennessee, solar panels are not as common as silos on farms, but recently they have been becoming more and more popular across the Volunteer State.

Tennessee farmers are beginning to take advantage of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program promoting renewable energy and energy-efficient projects.

It’s smart for farmers and owners of small businesses to invest and participate in the programs to reduce energy costs and potentially make a few extra dollars selling excess power.

The program USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, is providing grants and loans for renewable energy and energy projects to small businesses in rural areas with a population of 50,000 or less. It is growing in Tennessee, with more than $2 million available for projects state wide just this year, compared to $326,000 last year.

Monroe, Knox, and Loudon counties have been home to two-thirds of the projects in East Tennessee for 2006 to 2014.

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Power Provider program, which pays a premium for energy generated by renewable sources has worked hand in hand with the REAP program in the past few years. Unfortunately, TVA is erasing its green power incentives as more money becomes available through REAP for investment in solar and other renewable projects.

Read the article here.

The Carport of The Future

With more than 40 percent of the pavement in an average city tied up in parking areas, it’s safe to say that garages and carports are all around us. Many urban areas are changing the way these concrete blocks are being viewed–one solar panel addition at a time. Solar panel carports have the ability to incredibly impact energy-production all while looking like something straight out of the future.
Certain high-profile corporations and universities have given the special carports a whirl and have since generated an abundance of power. Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, currently houses the largest solar parking canopy project in the U.S. With a 28-acre installation, it is no wonder over 60% of the campus’ annual electricity is provided for by the plant. With such incredible amounts of energy produced at Rutgers University by way of “solar parking”, many are left to wonder why similar additions have yet to be started in their area. The discouraging factor for such projects, as stated by Chase Weir of TruSolar, is money. Weir goes on to say, such projects are “The most expensive type of system to build”. Solar carports may be impressively beneficial and aesthetically awing, however there is no denying they are also incredibly expensive…“So at least for now, the market remains relatively niche.”

Read the article here.

Another Step For Solar

For CEO Brad Mattson and CTO Markus Beck of Siva Power, producing gigawatts’ worth of thin-film solar panels through domestic manufacturing is a real possibility. This San Jose, California solar startup company is newly funded and developing the world’s largest-scale and least-expensive thin-film CIGS production line.

The company has received $10 million in new funding, including $3 million DOE SunShot grant, a $3 million conversion of debt financing from Trident Capital, DBL investors, Medley Partners and Acero Capital, as well as $4 million in new capital form the city of Wuxi, China and existing investors DBL, Medley, and Acero.

After focusing on research and development, experimenting with different photovoltaic materials and production processes, Siva has decided on co-evaporated CIGS on large glass substrates. Mattson called the technology “a gift of physics” offering the highest thin film efficiencies and fastest production process.

Siva is in need of $120 million to $150 million to launch is factory. It would be the “world’s first solar giga factory” built on California soil, helping the state reach its new 50 percent renewable goal.

Read the article here.

By Molly Denson

Knoxville Solar Tour Set for October 18th, 2014

Knoxville Solar Tour 2014

The solar tour will consist of six separate stops throughout Knox county, both within Knoxville city limits as well as outside. A description of each stop will be given to the audience as well as an idea of what to expect at the particular stop. The audience is encouraged to ask questions at any point during the tour except during certain brief presentations.

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Stop #1: Immediately outside of the Knox Area Transit (KAT) transit center is a rooftop solar array consisting of 24 solar panels contained in a mount. This array supplies the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) with the power it produces. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar City report on Knoxville, “The 4.68-kW installation at the newly constructed downtown transit center—Knoxville’s first municipally owned PV system—was fully funded by the TVA through a cost-share agreement.”1 The array was installed by David Bolt, president of Sustainable Futures, LLC.

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SolarTourPic3Stop #2: Across the street from the transit center is the Civic Coliseum Parking Garage. The garage has 24 electric vehicle charging stations along with two companion solar arrays that provide power to the chargers. These solar panels were installed by Efficient Energy of Tennessee, and the charging stations were installed by ECOtality, a San Francisco based electric transportation company.

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Stop #3: The next stop on the tour is the historic Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park near downtown Knoxville. The 57,000 square foot building has a 50 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic solar array installed on it’s roof. This array offsets approximately 47 tons of CO2 annually.2 It was installed by ARiES Energy, a Knoxville based solar energy installer.

Stop #4: Following the Jacob Building is the SPECTRUM solar farm exhibit located in the East Town Mall in east Knoxville. The SPECTRUM exhibit serves to educate the public on “exciting things happening in the Tennessee solar world”3 like the 5 megawatt West Tennessee Solar Farm, one of the biggest solar farms in the southeastern US, located in Stanton, TN. The SPECTRUM exhibit is sponsored by the West Tennessee Solar Farm, the University of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.SolarTourPic5

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Stop #5: Our second to last stop is a private residence owned by Tom Meek. It is an advanced, off-grid solar home system. This is a system with battery back-up as well as a natural gas generator. This allows Mr. Meek to operate independently of the main electrical system for several days.

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Stop #6: Our final stop is at the offices of the Green Earth Solar LLC. Green Earth Solar is a local solar systems installer for both residential and commercial systems. Green Earth was also one of the first solar Installers in the state of Tennessee to receive NABCEP certification for installing solar systems. They have installed systems on a wide range of buildings and facilities including the Knoxville Convention center, Calhoun’s Restaurant in Turkey Creek, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Knoxville Solar Tour 2014

10:10 – Transit Center Array (301 Church Ave., Knoxville, TN 37915)

10:25 - Coliseum Parking Garage

10:30 - Mount on buses

10:55 - Jacobs Building, Chilhowee Park(3301 E Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN 37914)

11:45 - SPECTRUM East Town Shopping Center (3001 Knoxville Center Dr. Knoxville TN)

12:35 - Meek Residence (8208 Nubbins Ridge Road, Knoxville 37919)

1:00 – Green Earth Solar (9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite 120, Knoxville TN)

1:30 – Return to Transit Center

The bus should be located near the solar installation on the parking garage to facilitate loading.

Our special thanks go to Mayor Madeline Rogero, Erin Gill, Director of the Knoxville Office of Sustainability, and Brian Blackmon, Project Manager at the Knoxville Office of Sustainability.

List of Local Solar Installers: Efficient Energy of Tennessee, ARiES Energy, Sustainable Future , Twin Willows Construction, Green Earth Solar

Knoxville Solar Tour 2014

The 2014 Knoxville Solar Tour was brought to you be the City of Knoxville and the Tennessee Solar Energy Association.

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Lunch was generously donated by ARiES Energy and will be provided to participants of the tour free of charge and will be served in-transit between the SPECTRUM exhibit and the Meek Residence. We will be able to collect any trash.

Urban Green Lab works to build sustainability in Nashville

Jennifer Tlumak, executive director of Urban Green Lab, said anyone can relate to three pillars of sustainability on some level.

Urban Green Lab is a nonprofit organization that aims to use sustainability to improve the health and lifestyle of Nashville’s residents through workshops, demonstrations and discussions about how to live a sustainable lifestyle according to its executive director, Jennifer Tlumak.

Tlumak is a homegrown talent. She was valedictorian of her 1997 graduating class at Hillsboro High School before she went on to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recently finished her master’s degree in public health from Emory University.

Now, as executive director, she’s looking to expand the organization into local schools by creating a mobile lab. The project is in the design phase but will be a trailer outfitted with solar panels, green technology and exhibits with which students will be able to interact.

original article

 

TREEDC CONFERENCE AT TENNESSEE TECH UNIVERSITY

The Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council  Conference will be held at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville on October 12 through the 14th this year.  

Registration is OPEN for all exhibitors/sponsors/advertisers as well as conference attendees for the October 12-14 renewable energy conference hosted by Tennessee Tech University and University of Tennessee MTAS. The Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (www.treedc.us) is a statewide organization  which now has 96 Tennessee mayors as members and works with Tennessee and world-wide stakeholders to advance renewable energy for Tennessee communities and businesses.

TREEDC is pleased to announce that our Annual Conference Keynote Speaker will be Neil Petchers, President, Chief Executive Officer of NORESCO. NORESCO  is a unit of United Technologies Corporation. one of the largest energy services companies in the U.S., NORESCO performs energy and maintenance savings and significant infrastructure upgrades to existing facilities.

A preliminary program can be seen here

Early Bird Registration Rates of $89 End September 1, 2014

 

 

 

Illinois Solar Energy Association 2014 Tesla Raffle

 

The Illinois Solar Energy Association is raffling off a Tesla Model S! The Tesla Model S is the world’s first premium electric sedan. Only 2,000 tickets will be sold and the drawing will be held October 4th, 2014. Winner will also receive a Bosch home charger. Net drawing proceeds will fully benefit Illinois Solar Energy Association, a non-profit working to advance solar energy development throughout the State. Tickets are 1 for $100 or 4 for $300. There is no limit on the number of tickets that can be purchased. More information available at this site

ISEA Tesla Raffle

Living Light Solar House moves to Oak Ridge’s Children’s Museum

The Living Light Solar House, designed by more than 200 UTK students, has been donated by the University of Tennessee to the Oak Ridge Children’s Museum. The home is 750 square feet and is a zero-energy structure, providing an example of what energy efficient housing could look like in the future. Originally produced to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, the house will now serve as an educational and inspirational tool for children and visitors to the museum.

More information here and here.

Three Rivers Market Solar Solstice Celebration

20140615_134729Three Rivers Market in Knoxville, TN is going solar!  Help them celebrate the installation of their new 50 kW solar installation on Saturday, June 21st between 12:00 to 3:00.  There will be free Solar Solstice T-Shirts and mini-cupcakes from Magpies Bakery, tours of the installation, and great deals on products made with solar energy!  The install features Stion solar panels (Made in the USA!), Power-One inverters and DPW racking. Thanks to ARiES Energy for making the install happen!  More Details

Carly Rixham Named Executive Director at the American Solar Energy Society

Boulder, Colo., June 2, 2014 — The American Solar Energy Society is pleased to announce the appointment of its new executive director, Carly Rixham. Rixham is a renewable energy professional with a diverse background in solar, biofuels, education and wastewater management.

New Leader of ASES Carly Rixam

Rixham served as a volunteer on several ASES membership and fundraising projects, establishing a close relationship with the staff and executive committee. She is passionate about nonprofit organizational development, and plans to take ASES into the next generation, reaffirming the organizations role as a leader in the renewable energy community.

As solar energy gains success in the market place, Rixham is interested in pushing the solar agenda on a grassroots level. Dedicated to connecting science with the greater community of solar advocates, she is eager to support local chapters to help get real people involved in solar. She envisions a stronger connection with universities, as a way to recruit a new generation of professionals in renewable energy.