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October 22 2013


DOE Highlights Early Results of US Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development

The potential of US offshore wind energy is huge, says DOE report

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released the special offshore wind edition of its Wind Program Newsletter October 22, highlighting the seminal role federal funding and support is playing in the development of a potentially huge clean and renewable energy resource, one that could go a long way in spurring economic growth and job creation as well as helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change risks.

Stronger, more abundant and more consistent than onshore winds, US offshore wind energy resource potential in US federal and state coastal waters and the Great Lakes has been estimated at more than 4 million megawatts (MW).

Aiming to “speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the time frame for deploying offshore wind energy systems,” the DOE allocated $43 million to help fund 41 offshore wind power research and development (R&D) projects around the nation back in September 2011. The fruits of this labor, such as an online repository for DOE-funded offshore wind project results, are beginning to show.

US offshore wind energy participants gather in Providence

In addition to providing the public with the latest information on its new website, DOE staff will be discussing results of agency-funded offshore wind R&D and demonstration projects at this year’s AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exposition in Providence, Rhode Island, which began today, October 22.

Threatened, as well as offered opportunities, by the rise of distributed solar, wind and other renewable energy generation, offshore wind power development poses the big US power utilities opportunities they should be eager to seize upon.

Spurred onward by federal support, a formative US offshore wind industry is finally coalescing as well. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed the historic first two offshore wind lease sales earlier this year. Deepwater Wind New England LLC won the bidding for two offshore wind energy sites off the Rhode Island and Massachusetts coasts in July. More recently, in September, Dominion Virginia Power won a second competitive offshore wind energy lease.

DOE Advanced Technology Demonstration project partners are also making progress in “developing engineering, design, and permitting plans for their proposed offshore wind demonstration projects,” DOE Wind Program Director Jose Zayas notes in a DOE program update. A total of $168 million over six years was allocated in 2012 to fund seven advanced offshore wind power technology demonstration projects. Most are slated to begin commercial operation by 2017.

Main image credit: Penobscot Bay Pilot
Featured image credit: Stanford University

The post DOE Highlights Early Results of US Offshore Wind Energy Research and Development appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

October 02 2013


Army, Navy & Air Force Tap Mosaic’s Solar Crowdfunding Platform for Joint Base Residential Rooftops

Credit: Mosaic, US DOD

Credit: Mosaic, US DOD

The US Department of Defense (DOD), the single largest consumer of energy in the US, has been at the forefront of federal government efforts to make use of renewable energy resources. In the midst of a $7 billion Renewable Energy and Alternative Energy Power for DOD Installations Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOC) award process, ongoing budget battles in Congress – now compounded by the federal government shutdown – has spurred US Armed Forces leadership to try and make greater use of private sector financing to realize its 2025 goal of deploying 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity, enough clean, emissions-free power for some ¾ of a million homes. That now includes tapping into the crowd funding phenomenon.

Crowdfunding solar for military residential rooftops in NJ

Joining with solar project crowd funding pioneer Mosaic, the US Army, Navy and Air Force aim to fund 12.3 megawatts (MW) of residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) power across 547 homes at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, the first joint Army, Navy and Air Force base in the country.

Installed across all 547 homes, the solar panels will generate enough clean, renewable electricity to meet 30% of residents’ power needs while saving base housing developer United Communities a projected $1.3 million per year in energy costs.

More than three million Americans have invested some $3.8 million in solar energy projects via Mosaic’s online solar investment platform. They’re earning attractive rates of return. So far, 100% of payments have been made on time.

“The US military knows better than anyone the importance of energy independence,” Mosaic presdient Billy Parish was quoted in a company press release. “Mosaic is pleased to offer more Americans the opportunity to tangibly support this by investing in rooftop solar energy for military families. As a father, I’m working everyday to create a secure home, nation, and planet for my children.”

Mosaic is partnering with True Green Capital Management and CIT to finance the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst residential rooftop solar installations. Those investing in the project via Mosaic’s crowd funding platform will be paid through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with United Communities, which has a credit rating of AA- from S&P.

Investing as little as $25, eligible investors stand to earn a healthy variable rate of 1-month LIBOR + 2.25% annually for the first four years of the seven-year investment’s term and LIBOR + 2.5% thereafter.

Tonya Johnson, who lives with her family on the base, commented on Mosaic’s partnership with the US Armed Forces:

“Our nation’s energy sources and our national security go hand in hand. The military is at the forefront of developing and deploying clean energy technologies that support troop readiness and energy independence. I love having solar on my rooftop.”

Credit: Mosaic, US DOD

Credit: Mosaic, US DOD

The post Army, Navy & Air Force Tap Mosaic’s Solar Crowdfunding Platform for Joint Base Residential Rooftops appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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August 07 2012


A Small Business Solar Energy Success Story…in New Jersey

A solar success storyThough it typically has are often long, hot summers, the small, mid-Atlantic state of New Jersey’s not known for year-round sunshine. Nonetheless, technological advances, lower costs and state and federal incentives– along with consumer enthusiasm, has made the Garden State a prime market for solar photovoltaic (PV) power.

The effects are seen in the small business sector, as new solar PV businesses establish themselves and already established ones extend their business lines into the solar PV market, or completely reinvent themselves to capitalize on growing demand for solar power.

An instance of the latter, Freehold, NJ-based Trinity Solar started out life as Trinity Heating & Air. Seeing promise in New Jersey and Mid-Atlantic states’ emerging solar energy market, and able to leverage the knowledge, skills and resources it had acquired, the company reinvented, and renamed, itself in 2004, when the company began focusing on installing solar PV systems for residential and commercial customers.

Reaching the 4,000 Solar PV System Milestone

Yesterday, Trinity Solar announced the installation of its 4,000th solar PV system. Announcement of the milestone comes just some nine months after it had installed its 3,000th solar PV system.

Trinity’s success in developing its own projects and solar PV systems installation has garnered national attention. The company was ranked as one of the fastest growing companies in the country by Inc. Magazine. NJBIZ named it New Jersey’s #1 green energy company, according to a Trinity Solar press release.

“We’re proud of our many accomplishments,” stated company president and CEO Tom Pollock. “Our primary objectives are to deliver high quality products to our customers and to provide a sense of honesty and integrity.”

New Jersey’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) have been key elements underlying Trinity’s success, as well as that of other businesses large and small now active in the state and broader region. Some 16,715 solar PV systems with a total 831.6-MW of generating capacity had been installed in New Jersey homes and businesses as of June 30, according to NJ’s Office of Clean Energy.

Originally enacted in 2002, New Jersey’s RPS requires that 22.5 percent of electricity providers’ retail electricity sales for Energy Year 2021 (end of May) come from qualifying renewable energy sources. A separate solar power “carve-out” requires them to obtain at least 4.1% of their electricity sales from qualifying solar electric generation sources by the end of Energy Year 2028.

The mandate has led state utilities to develop their own solar and renewable energy projects, contract for others, and help finance smaller residential and commercial solar PV installations. Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) is looking to state regulators to approve as much as $883 million of additional investment to extend and expand its solar energy programs. Approval would result in the utility being able to develop some 233-MW more of solar PV generating capacity in New Jersey.

Approval of the additional investment would also create green jobs. Some 300 direct jobs per year would be created over the ensuing five years, PSE&G parent company executive vice president Caroline Dorsa told investors and analysts during a 2Q earnings conference call.

Graphic Credit: Trinity Solar

March 22 2012


A Tally of Green Jobs

In a report that could serve as ammunition for promoters or detractors of a greener economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics fleshes out a sector that has been poorly defined.

February 29 2012


The Green Economy is the Right Solution for our Troubled Times

A Green Economy can lead us out of the troubles we now face both socially, environmentally, and economically The green economy offers a powerful solution to both a warming planet and economic volatility. There are a host of political and economic crises in the world today. The Eurozone crisis is expected to be followed by a European recession. In China we are seeing strong evidence of a slowdown and many are calling for major economic reforms. Finally, the hope and promise of the “Arab Spring’ has given way to a winter of discontent, as the Arab world suffers due to a weak economy and high unemployment.

Amidst all this economic uncertainty, global warming continues unabated. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said all 11 years of the 21st century rank among the 13 warmest. NASA noted 9 of the top 10 warmest years in its record have occurred since 2000. The La Nina effect was the warmest on record in 2011, according to data from NOAA and NASA. The increasing probability of massive flooding caused by melting Greenland and Antarctic icecaps are creating real concerns about the future of the planet.

The string of warm years in the last decade is linked to rapidly increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. In a press release, NASA wrote “Higher temperatures today are largely sustained by increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide.” As the world’s economies get stronger, energy demands will keep increasing and carbon emissions will keep rising.

As reported in a Green Energy Intelligence Report, it is predicted that by 2030, U.S. energy related CO2 emissions will amount to 6.9 billion metric tons (“MT”) under a “business-as-usual” scenario. Worldwide, energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to increase from 28.1 billion MT in 2005 to 42.3 billion MT in 2030. Together with non-energy related CO2 eq emissions (deforestation, industrial production processes, etc.), total CO2 eq emissions are projected to reach 62 giga (billion) tons (“Gt”) by 2030 (McKinsey June 2008).

The IEA’s chief economist has said that governments only have five years to avoid more than 2°C of global mean temperature rise. Extreme weather events add to the data and send an easy to read message that the time has arrived for a new economic framework. According to NOAA, there were 10 massive weather disasters in the U.S. last year, each exceeding a billion dollars. The unprecedented weather extremes include the following estimates of death and damage:

  • Hurricane Irene: 50 deaths and $7 billion
  • Upper Midwest flooding along the Missouri River: $2 billion
  • Mississippi River flooding in spring and summer: $4 billion
  • Drought and heat waves in Texas and Oklahoma: $5 billion
  • Tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast in May: 177 deaths and $7 billion
  • Tornadoes in the Ohio Valley and Southeast in April: 32 deaths and $9 billion
  • Tornadoes in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania in April: $2 billion
  • Tornadoes in the Northeast and Midwest April 8-11: $2.2 billion
  • Tornadoes in central and southern states April 4-5: $2.3 billion
  • Blizzard in January from Chicago to the Northeast: 36 deaths and $2 billion

The costs of extreme weather are astronomical, and it is predicted they will get much worse if we do not address the anthropogenic greenhouse gases that cause climate change. We need a framework to address both the economic and environmental ills that the world is facing. We also need a means of increasing our energy supply without increasing our greenhouse gas emissions. The Green Economy offers the solutions we so desperately need.

According to a July, 2011 report from the Brookings Institution, 2.7 million Americans work at green jobs – more than work in the fossil fuel industry. The US Conference of Mayors estimates that number will almost triple by 2040.

The green jobs study by the Brookings Institute suggests the U.S. should put primary emphasis on new, technology-intensive, energy-related sectors. The study by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program is called “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment”  The chief conclusion they came to is that the driving force behind jobs and the growth of the U.S. clean economy over the last decade has been emerging energy technologies.  This is a conclusion echoed in Google’s energy innovation report.

Green jobs are also quality jobs with median wages 13 percent higher than the average. Investment in clean energy projects yields more than three times as many jobs as investing in fossil fuels. Although the green economy is producing results now, the growth potential is staggering.

The failure of the US Congress to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation has slowed the growth of the green economy, but it is not too late. A good example of what can be done even in the absence of federal government legislation comes from a Los Angeles cleantech business incubator (LACI). The LACI approach identifies local talent, nurtures it, and helps it get to market, resulting in more jobs and a bigger green economy in Los Angeles and beyond.

A UNEP study reveals that investing in the green economy will spur growth. Contrary to conservative belief, the greening of economies is not generally a drag on growth but rather a new engine of growth and a net generator of decent jobs. The Green Economy Report is compiled by UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative. The report, called Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, recommends spending $1.3 trillion a year on the green economy.

Pavan Sukhdev, head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative said, “Governments have a central role in changing laws and policies, and in investing public money in public wealth to make the transition possible. By doing so, they can also unleash the trillions of dollars of private capital in favour of a green economy,”


Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, eco-economics and enviro-politics. He is the owner of THE GREEN MARKET, a leading sustainable business blog and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find The Green Market on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed.

Image credit: Everything’s Cool

August 25 2011


Business Studies Become Environmentally Friendly

A growing number of graduate business programs are offering electives in topics like carbon accounting, corporate social responsibility and lean manufacturing techniques to reduce waste and environmental impacts.

July 14 2011


'Green' Economy Is Real but Needs a Push, Study Suggests

While green initiatives are driving growth and innovation, market and policy challenges are preventing them from reaching their full potential, a new study suggests.

March 25 2011


December 09 2010


September 08 2010


Republican Resistance to Green Jobs

The Republican party - the party of NOWith the celebration of Labor Day earlier this week, and widespread concerns about unemployment, it is fitting that we take a look at green jobs. Polls indicate that unemployment could severely hurt Democrats in the midterm elections and if Republican subterfuge succeeds in November, it will make an already difficult road impassable.

On Labor Day Monday, President Obama traveled to Milwaukee to give a Labor Day speech to the AFL-CIO’s Laborfest. The President tackled the politically critical issue of job creation, promising a broad job creation package and slamming Senate Republicans for blocking legislation designed to help small businesses.

In his speech, Obama said: “Some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time, they’re not always happy with me. They talk about me like a dog. That’s not in my prepared remarks, but it’s true.”

Obama called the GOP the party of “No We Can’t.”  The President pointed out that Republicans have consistently disagreed with everything he says.

If I said the sky is blue, they’d say no,” Obama said. “If I said fish live in the sea, they’d say no….It would be one thing, Milwaukee, if Republicans in Washington had some new ideas, if they said . . . You know, we’ve learned from our mistakes. We’ll do things differently this time. But that’s not what they’re doing.”

Obama accused Senate Republicans of being responsible for a “needless delay” in the passage of legislation designed to increase bank loans to small businesses. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House minority whip said, “The policies being pursued by the White House and Democrat leaders in Washington continue to create uncertainty and fear that is inhibiting productivity, innovation and job creation.”

The truth is that the President’s policies have boosted economic growth and created green jobs. It is the Republican strategy of misinformation and obstructionism that has prevented the passage of legislation that would create more green jobs.

Despite the fact that Jobs are a lagging indicator, under the Democrats almost one million jobs have been created in the US so far this year. The Labor Department’s August report showed private sector job growth for the eighth straight month, following nearly two straight years of job losses. Between January and August 2010, businesses added more than three quarters of a million workers to payrolls.

There is a great deal of evidence to support the contention that focusing on green jobs could significantly reduce the jobless rate. In states like Colorado, more than 20,000 green jobs were created. Currently, green jobs represent 3.8 percent of California’s 13.8 million-person workforce. California’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown released a plan on August 8 which called green jobs the “key to our economic future.” Brown’s plan could create more than half a million green jobs, effectively doubling the number of green jobs in the Golden State.

A total of 28 states now have renewable energy standards in place, yet Republicans have thwarted progress on a national renewable standard that could create large numbers of green jobs.

The new clean energy economy is already providing jobs, but if Americans are to benefit from the full potential and promise of the green economy, Republicans need to stop playing politics and get out of the way of important legislation.

Although millions of green jobs can be created across the nation, these jobs are tied to the fate of Energy and Climate Legislation. Sadly, Americans do not understand the facts about global warming as Republicans and their corporate cohorts have managed to distort the truth and mislead the public on climate change.

The Republican obfuscation of the facts on climate change has managed to skew the American perspective and sidetrack the debate. However, voters may be less forgiving of the Republicans’ apparent indifference to the labor disasters at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine, the BP oil rig, and the Kleen Energy natural gas plant.

Republican opposition does nothing to protect American workers or support the recovering economy. As the US continues to fall behind Europe, China and Japan in clean tech, it is becoming increasingly clear that this is not only a matter of environmental protection, this is also a matter of international competitiveness and job creation.

Republican resistance to green jobs is part of a cynical political strategy that undermines the national interest.


Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, sustainable investor and writer. He is the owner of THE GREEN MARKET, one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. He is also the author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, green investing, enviro-politics and eco-economics.

July 05 2010


EarthTalk: Building the Green Economy

In a recent speech to Congress, President Barack Obama said: "To truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.” Pictured: A wind farm takes shape in Langdon, North Dakota.EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What does it mean when one uses the phrase, “building a green economy?” I’ve heard it repeated a few times lately and would like to have a better understanding of the concept. – Rosie Chang, Islip, NY

The phrase “building a green economy” means different things to different people, but in general it refers to encouraging economic development that prioritizes sustainability—that is, working with nature and not against it in the quest to meet peoples’ needs and wants—instead of disregarding environmental concerns in the process of growing the economy. The primary way governments around the world are trying to “green” their own economies today is by increasing investment in—and, by extension, creating jobs in—industries on the cutting edge of non-polluting renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind power.

President Obama has repeatedly invoked his vision of a green economy as a tool for helping the U.S. lift itself out of recession and position itself as an economic powerhouse in a carbon-constrained future. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the $787.2 billion stimulus package that Congress signed into law in 2009, was chock full of provisions to boost renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental restoration initiatives. Examples include $4.5 billion to convert government buildings into high-performance green buildings, $8.4 billion for investments in public transportation, and tens of billions of dollars more for research into new technologies to amplify existing efforts. ARRA also earmark $11 billion for the implementation of the “smart grid,” a new approach to power distribution that will bring more clean energy sources into the mix and promote energy efficiency.

Infusing such huge amounts of cash into sustainability-oriented projects is one way the Obama administration hopes to “green” the U.S. economy while simultaneously pulling the country out of recession. “To truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy,” Obama told Congress a few months ago.

Of course, Americans aren’t the only ones bent on building a green economy. During the 1980s and 1990s, while the American government was largely asleep at the wheel on environmental issues, countries such as Denmark, Germany, Spain and Japan were already busy investing in wind and solar research and implementation. And while these nations’ ongoing efforts are nothing to sneeze at, economists point out that what is most needed is action on the part of the world’s fastest growing economies—China and India.

A recent report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that China—which surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest generator of greenhouse gases three years ago—has great potential for building a green economy over the coming decades. According to McKinsey, by 2030 China could reduce its oil and coal imports by up to 40 percent and its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by investing upwards of 1.5 trillion yuan ($220 billion in U.S. dollars) per year in both existing and new green technologies. China has begun to see the light with regard to reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency and embracing renewable alternative energy, but it has yet to make significant financial commitments, which will be key to both warding off catastrophic climate change and building a truly global green economy.

McKinsey & Company

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, c/o E – The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; earthtalk@emagazine.com. E is a nonprofit publication. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe; Request a Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial

May 06 2010


New York State, a Recycling Reprobate

Urging a shift in practices, New York State environmental officials have released a proposed plan to get New Yorkers to reduce their waste by 15 percent every two years.

May 04 2010


April 21 2010


Recent Loss Of Life In Coal Mines Potent Reminder That Coal Kills

My heart goes out to the victims and families affected by the rash of recent coal mine disasters around the world. Our top focus must be on the workers who risk life and limb every day, deep beneath the Earth’s surface to bring ancient, fossilized fuel topside. However, even as we grieve, let us remember that coal is an anachronistic source of energy. It belongs in the ground, where the planet placed it millennia ago.

Coal is a known killer. Coal kills many who work to harvest it. Coal kills people who live downwind of the electrical power plants which burn it. Coal kills people and wildlife which drink from streams which mountaintop removal mining has contaminated. How serious is such contamination? Here’s a quote from Dr. Dennis Lemly of the United States Forest Service, speaking with respect to the area which parenthetically has seen some of the most recent coal mining fatalities:

“Before mountaintop removal, cases of severe selenium contamination were mainly limited to coal-fired power plant discharges. Now they’re appearing across Appalachia near mountaintop mines.”

Nothing good but cheap electricity and heat comes from coal. Arguments that coal mining creates economic prosperity are disingenuous at best and perfidious at worst. When the true cost of medical care from people suffering from pulmonary conditions caused or exacerbated by coal dust or smog are included, coal is far costlier than renewable energy. Then, when other side effects of coal are included, such as neurological damage from mercury poisoning, can we truly claim that this black killer has any advantage over renewable energy?

Mountaintop removal mining, mentioned in the quote above from Dr. Lemly, is doubly bad because it inflicts enormous damage aboveground, too.

I could go on and on about how coal kills. However, I trust that I have convinced you. If so, I encourage you to support the work of fine organizations such as Appalachian Voices which strive to raise awareness of the truth about coal, especially mountaintop removal mining. I exhort you to visit their website for additional details:


Fomenting the Triple Bottom Line

Corbett Kroehler

January 19 2010


Republican Candidate Scott Brown's Flip Flopping on Climate a Loser for Clean Energy and Green Jobs

What a difference a year makes for Republican candidate Scott Brown. Just last year Brown voted to support a regional greenhouse gas emissions trading plan and now he saying he's not even sure climate change is a problem.

While uncertainty remains about what a Republican win in Massachusetts means for health care reform, there seems little doubt that it would be bad for the clean energy package making it's way through Congress.

Just over a year ago Brown voted in favor of a regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade initiative in his capacity as a state legislator.


At the time Brown supported the move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts 10% by 2019, saying:

"Reducing carbon dioxide emission in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine."

Flash-forward to this Sunday with Brown now questioning whether climate change is even happening. The Boston Globe quotes Brown saying that:

"It's interesting. I think the globe is always heating and cooling,'' he said. "It's a natural way of ebb and flow. The thing that concerns me lately is some of the information I've heard about potential tampering with some of the information.''

His campaign website echoes this stance:

"I oppose a national cap and trade program because of the higher costs that families and businesses would incur." Brown's blatant flip-flop is obviously a move to garner support from the hard right contingent of the conservative movement.


As ThinkProgress reports, pandering to the hard right has it's advantages, with big donations coming in from tea party front groups like Freedomworks. And with a Brown win dropping the Democrats out of a super-majority in the Senate, it looks like any clean energy/green jobs bill will be.... well, tea-bagged.

November 20 2009


Green Builders' Study Forecasts Job Growth

Building green could add hundreds of billions of dollars to the economy, according to a new report released by the United States Green Building Council.

November 16 2009


Installed! Solar Power System Is Complete

What a great day it was last week when the crew from Solar City called me to come check out the completed installation of our solar power system on our home. The First Solar panels had all gone in, the electrical had all been run, the inverter installed, and everything tested out.

November 13 2009

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