Earth Day 2015

Did you know that today is the 45th Earth Day?  What inspired the first Earth Day?  What Earth Day celebrations stand out in your memories?

The concept of Earth Day and environmental awareness precipitated from events of the late 1960’s.  We were at war in Vietnam.  Political activism and war protests were high.  A devastating oil spill affected Santa Barbara, California.    The 1970’s energy crisis was on the horizon.

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson was inspired by these events as well as widespread ignorance and apathy.  He worked to establish a day to bring attention to air and water pollution.  With the support of Congressman Pete McCloskey, the two worked together to coordinate national environmental education events.   The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, was supported by 20 million Americans who engaged in pro-environment rallies, from coast to coast.  Mind you,  at the time, “Air pollution was accepted as the smell of prosperity” (Earth Day Network).

Due to these early efforts and focused activism, results included the creation of United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Earth Day is now celebrated globally.  What will you do as a steward of our environment?  What Earth will your children and future generations inherit?

Not Just for the Environmentally-Friendly

Here’s a great article written by Reem Nasr, featured on CNBC’s website.  More and more, people are choosing solar because it’s the smart choice, party aside.  Region Solar encourages you to be an advocate for solar power in your state.

Ready for action? Floridians, we have the opportunity to reduce restrictions on solar on the 2016 ballot. Learn more by visiting Floridians for Solar Choice.  Registered Florida voters can view and sign the petition.  We urge you to support the addition of this ballot amendment.

Not a Floridian?  Solar always benefits from your support.  Solar Daily, Renewable Energy World, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are great places to start, as well as following Region Solar’s social media channel that offer solar news content.

Champions for Solar

PictureThe Kulkas’ are supporting solar! Participating in National Shout Out for Solar Day (1/16), they proudly displayed their support out front. Taking it two steps further, they contributed to Floridians for Solar Choice, and signed a petition to get solar choice on the 2016 ballot.

Are you hopping aboard the Support Solar Bandwagon? Follow the link to sign the petition. Private message us on Facebook when you signed the petition and or display a support solar sign in your yard.   Congratulate the Kulkas’ with us, and join in.

Proposed Ballot Summary: Limits or prevents government and electric utility imposed barriers to supplying local solar electricity. Local solar electricity supply is the non-utility supply of solar generated electricity from a facility rated up to 2 megawatts to customers at the same or contiguous property as the facility. Barriers include government regulation of local solar electricity suppliers’ rates, service and territory, and unfavorable electric utility rates, charges, or terms of service imposed on local solar electricity customers.

Solar in Florida Manufacturing

1MW Ground Mount in Monticello FL.

Region Solar has completed a 1.004 MW solar photovoltaic ground-mounted system at VizCo’s 26,000 sqft. manufacturing facility in Monticello, Florida. Comprised of 3,280 solar panels, this solar system is projected to produce 1,450,000 kWh of electricity annually, and will be net-metered by Duke Energy.  Notably, this array was completed in less than three months, from contract signing to placing the system in service.

VizCo, The Visionary Company, produces plastic injection-molded drip pans, alarms and pipe grips for water heaters. Increased production, efficiency, and reducing operational costs drove business owner Chris Cantolino to choose solar photovoltaic to power his manufacturing facility.  Seeking a clean and steady delivery of power thru solar, Cantolino looked to combat small energy fluctuations in electrical current which created significant losses in the production process of his injection molded plastics machinery.

Region Solar built the system using forty-five (45) Solar Edge 20k string inverters and one thousand six hundred forty (1,640) Solar Edge P700 optimizers to increase the system’s production.  Further reducing costs, the landscape where the array is located will be maintained by grazing sheep.

Region Solar owner Andrew Tanner said, “To our knowledge, VizCo is the only manufacturing facility in Florida completely powered by solar, through net metering.  Solar is a savvy choice for Florida manufacturers!”  Cantolino is passionate about American manufacturing and being a Florida manufacturer.  “Solar photovoltaic is a smart business choice.  Reducing and controlling operational costs increases a business’s competitive edge.”  Just last month, Region Solar completed a 150.3 kW rooftop and carport solar photovoltaic system at SimGar, the Simple Garden, in Bradenton, Florida; Cantolino’s second business.

Top 5 Reasons Going Solar at Your Business Makes Sense

Simgar

5. Support Sustainable Energy 
Making the switch to clean solar is supporting one of the four types of renewable energy.  We’re not running out of the sun, anytime soon!  We don’t have to ship, transport or source solar from other countries. Consider this from the Department of Energy’s article The Top 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Solar Energy. “Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth – 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.”

4. Stand Out as An Innovator
You keep your products and services up-to-date to remain competitive.  What about your facility? What business wants to be seen as a laggard?  Smart choices set businesses apart.  Peter Drucker, author and management consultant says this about innovation, “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”  Here are two quotes from Forbes Magazine Article Innovation, It’s Not the Idea, It’s What You Do With It. “Innovation is enabled by and depends upon the connection of strategy, process, structure, and capability. Execution is the multiplier of innovation — meaning that an organization that can execute well on a few good innovations is more powerful than one that has lots of great ideas with no way to execute.”

3. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Making a choice that is good for you, good for others and good for future generations.  According to the American Lung Association’s State of Clean Air Report 2014, “More than 147.6 million people—47 percent of the nation—live where pollution levels are too often dangerous to breathe, an increase from last year’s report”.

2. Lower Your Operational Expenses
You pay careful attention to your operational costs.  You buy energy efficient products.  You ask your staff to turn lights off in unused rooms.  The overhead lights aren’t energy hogging T12’s. Air conditioning isn’t icebox cold when the business is closed overnight.  What more can you do?  Trim more fat!  Cut that energy bill.  Keep more of your profit in your business.

1. Secure Your Energy Costs for Years to Come
Although the cost of energy is anticipated to rise, you can keep a handle on yours.  Business owner Chris Cantolino of VizCO and SimGar chose solar for his two businesses and residences, citing that “if you create all your energy with solar, then you’re lowering your operational costs, and it just makes good business sense.”

Cutting Carbon Emissions 30 Percent by 2030

What an exciting week it has been.  The EPA submitted the Clean Power Plan, to cut carbon pollution emitted by power plants by 30% by 2030.  Currently, there are no limits on the carbon pollution power plants emit.  Power plants contribute up to one-third of emitted greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

 

EPA Chart

 

Why Worry About Carbon Pollution?

To understand more about coal-fired power plants and why carbon pollution is so detrimental to public health and the climate, view this short video from #BeyondCoal. 

Cutting the carbon pollution power plants emit will make positive impacts on public health and the climate, benefiting future generations.  The proposed Clean Power Plan will cut hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution and hundreds of thousands of tons of harmful particle pollution, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. You can view the EPA’s video of the Clean Power Plan here. 

Next Steps?

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids.”

The EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 120 days after publication in the Federal Register and will hold four public hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan during the week of July 28 in the following cities: Denver, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh. The proposed rule, information about how to comment and supporting technical information are available online at: http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan .

Support Solar at the Polls this Fall

Regions Solar respects the personal and political views of all. Regardless of party, we hope you will let the candidate you support know that you care about clean energy, solar energy, clean air and access to rebate programs for residential and business solar, if it is your view.

Recap of 2014 Legislative Session

Susan Glickman, Florida Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy spoke at Sarasota County Government’s Sustainable Sarasota Community Partners July monthly meeting. She shared highlights from this past legislative session in Tallahassee that will concern solar and clean energy supporters.

HM 281 Keystone XL Pipeline; Urges the President of the United States to issue final approval for construction & completion of Keystone XL pipeline.

CS/SM 1174 Carbon Dioxide Emissions Guidelines; Urging Congress to direct the United States Environmental Protection Agency to use specified criteria in developing guidelines for regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fueled electric generating units, etc.

CS/HM 7147  Building Construction Policies; Requiring the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to include in its annual report recommendations for energy efficiency; authorizing an employer to present certain documents electronically or physically in order to show proof and certify to the permit issuer that it has secured compensation for its employees; authorizing an agency or local government to require rooftop equipment to be installed in compliance with the Florida Building Code if the equipment is being replaced or removed during reroofing and is not in compliance with the Florida Building Code’s roof-mounted mechanical units requirements, etc.

Solar and Renewable Energy Needs Your Support

Glickman stressed the importance of Floridians showing up at the polls for this fall’s gubernatorial race and knowing their candidates stance on carbon emissions, clean energy and renewable energy.  This link underscores why people passionate about solar and renewable energy should be concerned Florida’s Energy Overview.

Ponder this:

Florida is the fourth most populous state in the nation, and our large population and above average temperatures create demand for a significant amount of energy.  We don’t have oil refineries in the State, so fossil fuels, petroleum and natural gas, are brought in by pipeline, tanker or barge.  This leaves Florida vulnerable to disruption in energy supply.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewable energy accounted for only 2.1 percent of Florida’s net electrical generation in 2012. -SACE

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund (SACE Action Fund), the political arm of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), is a non-partisan, non-profit (c4) organization striving to make clean energy solutions to climate change a top priority for our region’s elected leaders. SACE Action Fund engages in public education, legislative action and electoral accountability here in the Southeast.

Again, regardless of party, we hope you will let the candidate you support know that you care about clean energy, solar energy, clean air and access to rebate programs for residential and business solar, if it is your view.

Keep Cool as Summer Heats Up

As the mercury rises, follow these measures to comfortably enjoy your home. First things first. Call your AC company to schedule your system’s checkup. Living in Florida, we all know it’s better to have the AC system checked at the beginning of the season. Who wants to be stuck without air conditioning on the hottest of days, when a checkup in the beginning of the season might have spotted and corrected a problem waiting to happen?

Air Conditioning Annual Checkup
The AC technician will check a variety of things. They’ll check the amount of refrigerant and test for refrigerant leaks. They will look for and seal duct leakage in central systems. Airflow flowing through the evaporator coil will be measured. Electrical controls, electric terminals and connections will be checked and cleaned, as well as oil motors and check belts. Next they will check the accuracy of the thermostat. You’re not done, yet. As a homeowner, you should change your filters regularly and use the energy efficient filters; the kind air easily passes through. Clogged or dirty filters also reduce a system’s efficiency. In fact,
switching from a dirty, clogged filter to a clean one can increase your unit’s efficiency 5% – 15%. Don’t forget to check the condensation drain, you know, that line that runs the collected water outside. You can run a wire through that line regularly to make sure the line doesn’t get backed up with debris. The line is important, as humidity is removed from the air and converted to water.

Check for Areas of Heat Gain
Now that you’ve checked air conditioning maintenance off the list consider what you can do inside the home to help your AC not have to work as hard to keep you cool. Stand beside one of your eastern exposure windows in the late morning or western exposure windows in the afternoon. Hot? Consider window coverings, thermal lined curtains, window film, awnings or trees and shrubbery to shade those windows. The hotter it is inside, the harder your AC is working and the more you’re paying to stay
cool.

Ah, the Wind Chill Effect
Ceiling fans make you feel up to 4⁰F cooler. Remember they don’t actually lower temperature, so conserve energy by turning them off when you leave the room. Remember simple things make a difference. Running the exhaust fan during a shower helps reduce humidity in the home. Consider air drying dishes after running the dishwasher. Skip using the oven on the hottest days. Wait until the temperature has gone down in the evening to run the clothes dryer. These tips will make it easier on your air conditioning, your wallet and you’ll keep your cool!