Archive for Solar Thermal

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.

SolarTourPic1

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.

SolarTourPicture2

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.

SolarPic4

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

SolarTourPic6

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.

SolarTourPic7

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.

SolarTourPic8

SolarTourPic9

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.

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

 

 

 

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.

Separate Delivery of Electricity from its Generation

distribution_linesThe distribution grids that deliver TVA electricity consist of a network of wires that carry the power around (to consumers). Distributors within the TVA system must agree to carry the power of all comers, at non-discriminatory rates too. And it can charge a fee sufficient to cover the cost of providing a reliable, responsive grid.

“Then you’ve two other parts of the system: those who own the power stations that feed electricity into the grid and those who run marketing organisations to bill for what consumers pull from the grid. And within such a system it’s simple enough to make sure that everyone who has a grid connection is charged for the use (even if that use is only insurance against cloudy days) of the grid in the appropriate manner and amount. Without having to worry about how much electricity they’re actually using.

This really is a real problem with solar power: and that really is the solution. Unbundle the utilities into a pure grid charging all for the use of it and keep that very separate from who is generating power by what means”, suggests Tim Worstall Forbes’ contributing author

Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, here at U.T. Friday, April 25th to Deliver Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy

moniz-240x300Secretary Moniz coming to Tennessee U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will deliver the Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy and the Environment on Friday, April 25 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the UT College of Law, Room 132, located at 1505 W. Cumberland Ave.

As energy secretary, Moniz leads the U.S. Department of Energy in support of President Barack Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security, and protecting the environment.

The event is free and open to the public. Paid public parking will be available in the Volunteer Hall Garage.

The lecture will also be streamed live online. More details are available here.

Getting Your Money’s Worth Out of Energy Efficiency Webinar

You know implementing energy efficiency projects can produce cash flow and grow your business, but did you know these same energy efficiency projects are also eligible for federal tax incentives?

Event: Webinar: Getting Your Money’s Worth Out of Energy Efficiency
Date: September 30, 2013
Time: 1:00–2:00 EDT / 12:00–1:00 CDT
Admission: Free


Please join the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative for a webinar on monetizing energy efficiency projects and taking advantage of tax incentives. This is valuable knowledge for CFOs, financial advisors, and other key decision makers in organizations seeking to improve bottom lines through energy efficiency initiatives.

Here’s what you can expect:
• Monetizing Energy Solutions: The Road to Funding
Christopher Russell, Visiting Fellow, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; Principal, Energy Pathfinder Management Consulting LLC.
• Guide to Tax Incentives for Commercial Business
CJ Aberin, CCSP, shareholder at KBKG, a specialty tax firm focused on securing energy tax incentives, will summarize the benefits of the Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings (179D) federal tax deduction and other related tax strategies, explain the process, and share information about ideal candidates and eligible projects so you know how to get started.

http://tnenergy.org/event/getting-your-moneys-worth-out-of-energy-efficiency/

Do we want to control our energy future, or continue to rent it from other countries?

We will choose, either actively or subjectively

Do we want to control our energy future, or continue to rent it from other countries? This is the overarching question that we, the citizens of these United States, have to answer. It is decision making time. If we do not express our individual feelings about how our country moves forward to meet the energy challenges of today and of tomorrow, then we have only ourselves to blame. This question was raised by Hal Harvey, the chief executive of Energy Innovation, in an article by NY Times Thomas L. Friedman Op-Ed Columnist in a July 2, 2013. As Mr. Friedman so acutely points out. “We also have to ensure that cheap natural gas displaces coal but doesn’t also displace energy efficiency and renewables, like solar or wind, so that natural gas becomes a bridge to a clean energy future, not a ditch. It would be ideal to do this through legislation and not E.P.A. fiat, but Republicans have blocked that route, which is pathetic because the best way to do it is with a Republican idea from the last Bush administration: a national clean energy standard for electricity generation — an idea the G.O.P. only began to oppose when Obama said he favored it.”

Such a standard would say to every utility: “Your power plants can use any fuel and technology you want to generate electricity as long as the total amount of air pollutants and greenhouse gases they emit (in both fuel handling and its electricity conversion) meet steadily increasing standards for cleaner air and fewer greenhouse gases. If you want to meet that standard with natural gas, sequestered coal, biomass, hydro, solar, wind or nuclear, be our guest. Let the most cost-effective clean technology win.”

Is this consistent with the position that Senator Alexander has publicly stated, let the most cost-effective technology win? The one word omitted from the Senator’s message was the word “clean” which I am sure he would agree with having fought these many years for our natural resources such as preserving the environment of our own Smokies. Why not resurrect the Republican idea for a national clean energy standard for electricity generation? You must decide: “Is this in the best interests of our nation?”

Times article

Barack Obama puts solar at forefront of ‘assault’ on climate change

President Barack Obama today put solar at the forefront of a national strategy to cut carbon emissions in the United States as part of a “coordinated assault on a changing climate”.

The US president’s two-step climate action plan, launched at Georgetown University in Washington DC, includes regulatory efforts to curb emissions from fossil fuel power stations and to increase the use of clean energy.
“This plan begins with cutting carbon pollution by changing the way we use energy, using less dirty energy, using more clean energy wasting less energy throughout our economy,” said Obama.
“Today, about 40% of America’s carbon pollution comes from power plants. But there are no federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution those plants can pump into our air… for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe and it needs to stop.”

original article

Why Master Limited Partnerships are a Lousy Policy for Solar, Wind, and Taxpayers

SLevy comment: This post is to present the rationale for not including renewables in the Master Limited Partnership legislation. So we have both pro- and con- arguments on proposed legislation so that you, the reader, can provide your opinion as to whether our federal legislature representatives in both houses should or should not support the MLP parity act. Send in your comments and we will post them on our site.

Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) operate like publicly traded corporations, with publicly traded stock, but don’t pay income taxes. Most folks who’ve touted expanding MLPs to include renewable energy projects see this move as “leveling the playing field.” And it will. It will allow big energy corporations to avoid paying taxes on their renewable energy projects just like they do for pipelines. First, there are many powerful, regulated industries that would love a bite at this apple, like the existing electric and gas utilities. The cost to taxpayers from letting these hogs get to the trough is likely much, much larger than the opportunity for renewable energy. These big industries – with huge lobbying budgets – are not likely to miss the opportunity.

But even more important, the extension of MLPs to renewable energy is likely to reinforce centralized, corporate control of the energy system. Right now, renewable energy – particularly solar – is transforming the energy system. It’s turning energy consumers into producers, re-routing energy dollars back into community economies, and giving cities and towns more control over their energy future. Half or more of new solar power in the U.S. is being put on the rooftops of homes and small businesses. New community solar policies (like one just adopted in Minnesota!) are giving even more Americans a chance to have skin in the energy game and share in the profits of a transition to renewable energy.

The average American isn’t going to be a shareholder of a Master Limited Partnership, but they probably will pay a share of phantom taxes in their electric and gas rates if MLPs are expanded to other energy industries. Even if Congress miraculously limits the MLP expansion to just the renewable energy industry, subsidiaries of most of the large corporations in the energy business (Shell, BP, Exxon) are building wind and solar projects. These subsidiaries would certainly be reorganized as MLPs, giving them a tax advantaged opportunity to crowd out competitors (like community solar or other distributed generation) AND make larger profits off their renewable energy business.

John Farrell authored the original article

Many types of professions install solar systems

There is the belief that solar installations are limited to a few companies that only deal in solar. That is not the case as illustrated by the following article that describes the various occupations involved in solar construction.

The primary industry begins with solar contractors, and then branches out to electrical contractors and plumbing contractors. General contractors and roofing contractors are also involved in solar installations. Because solar PV is electrical and solar hot water is plumbing-related, the industry sees a lot of participation from plumbing and electrical contractors.
Solar contractors operate independently or in conjunction with other contractors, such as roofers. Every project is different, so who is involved depends on the size and scope of a project. A typical solar contractor can handle a small residential system from start to finish. A large utility-scale project may involve coordinating with a roofing manufacturer or general contractor.
Companies in this sector employ many electricians, but also plumbers, roofers and general construction labor. Given that every project has unique characteristics, every project requires a slightly different skill set. For photovoltaic, the main skill set is electrical. For larger scale projects, a need for steel or concrete professionals or roofers may present itself.The first step to any installation project is engineering, followed by permitting and procurement and installation.

the original article

With so many occupations associated with solar installations the job market is wider in scope than most people realize. Tennessee has enough sunlight to warrant adopting solar both for large farms and distributed solar within our communities. With the price for large installations at prices competing with fossil-fueled power generation, with the advantages of no fuel cost and the environmental benefits – what is stopping our national leaders from promoting this technology? That is a question that only they can answer.