SmartPress

Sep 30

Solarize Salisbury-Rowan Launches October 2nd

Community Celebration Kicks Off “Solar Community Market” for Rowan Businesses and Homes

Salisbury, NC: An innovative solar program designed to help individuals and businesses save on electricity costs will be available to residents of Salisbury, Rowan County and the surrounding area beginning October 2 until the end of the year.

A community celebration to launch Solarize Salisbury-Rowan will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, October 2, at the Lee Street Theatre. Refreshments and live music by Life Size will be the highlight of the event, where local and national organizers will outline the Solarize program. All interested homeowners and business owners are welcome to attend.

Solarize Salisbury-Rowan is a community initiative designed to inform residents of the advantages of solar power for their homes and businesses and to reduce costs through competitive bids by pre-approved installers, thereby streamlining the process. It is a partnership between SmartPower, a national non-profit organization focusing on clean energy, and the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.

Expectations of success are high for Solarize Salisbury-Rowan since North Carolina boasts a 35 percent state tax incentive in addition to the 30 percent federal tax credit — making solar a smart investment and a proven way to lower energy bills. However, the tax incentives will soon expire so officials counsel residents who are interested in installing a solar power system to act soon.

Over the next 25 years an average resident can be expected to pay about $36,000 in electricity bills. With solar costing only around $9,000, this investment would save a homeowner about $25,000 on electricity bills during that period. A no-money down loan affords residents and business owners the opportunity to purchase solar with no upfront costs, but will still save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the solar energy system.

When customers go onto the Solarize Salisbury-Rowan website, they will be linked to an on-line “solar marketplace” that has pre-screened and qualified local installers to

participate in the program. By visiting the site they can learn how much their home or businesses will save by going solar. From there, they can decide if they want quotes from participating North Carolina installers. When they are satisfied with the quote, they may ask installers to make on-site assessments, which will provide a more precise solar system recommendation.

“If you’ve ever thought about looking into solar power, this is the time to do it,” says Brian F. Keane, President of SmartPower, the non-profit organization that is running Solarize Salisbury-Rowan. “Through our award-winning, on-the-ground outreach, combined with our on-line ‘solar marketplace, we think Solarize Salisbury-Rowan will break new records and become a new leader in residential solar adoption.”

Dr. John Wear, Center for the Environment executive director, notes that the campaign provides numerous benefits to the community and its residents. “We’re creating a solar community market for area citizens and business owners, much like a farmers’ market,” he says. “It’s a community service that will save people money and help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels at the same time.”

Solarize Salisbury-Rowan is available to all Rowan County residents, as well as others who live in the region, beginning October 2 through December 31. “Time is running out because the tax incentives will soon expire,” says Lane Wallace, Solarize Salisbury-Rowan’s community outreach manager. “Now is the time to act.”

Residents and businesses interested in learning more about Solarize Salisbury-Rowan can contact Lane Wallace at lwallace@smartpower.org or call (704) 637-4727 or visit www. SolarizeSalisbury-Rowan.com.

Sep 16

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island named energy champion - Providence Business News -

Sep 02

West Hartford’s Bernie Pelletier Joins SmartPower

Signs on to help expand “Solarize Connecticut” Program

Washington, DC – SmartPower, the nation’s leading non-profit marketing organization dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy today announced the hire of Bernie Pelletier as a new Community Outreach Manager in Connecticut.

Pelletier is an active member of the West Hartford Clean Energy Task Force and, along with others on that committee, led the successful Solarize West Hartford campaign in 2013/2014. Since he has retired from his actuarial career he has devoted himself to the mission of Sustainability – which encompasses Environmental, Economic, and Social elements.

As Community Outreach Manager, Mr. Pelletier will be working closely with the entire SmartPower team to implement all aspects of the Solarize Connecticut program.  Solarize Connecticut is a partnership between SmartPower, the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and The John Merck Fund.

“We are indeed fortunate to have someone of Bernie’s stature joining our team,” said SmartPower President, Brian F. Keane. “Bernie is a known quantity throughout Connecticut and to our Solarize Campaigns. We’re excited that now he’ll officially be a part of the SmartPower Team.”

The “Solarize” Campaign is a community “group-buy” for solar that creates solid deadlines and builds trust  — both of which have been barriers to solar consumers. And with several financing options available to Connecticut residents, solar can often be installed on homes with no money down.

The program has dramatically reduced the costs of solar – dropping the soft costs of solar by 20%.  And perhaps even more exciting, a full 20% of those who participated had never considered purchasing solar before, proving we can now break through to the mainstream consumer.

We have now completed three phases of Solarize Connecticut  — and the results have been extraordinary.  Indeed in just 20 months we have contracted for over 8.2 MW of residential solar power. That represents 1,100 homes and means in just 20 months we will reduce more than 14,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

Further, 8.2 MW of installed solar power represents:

As we conclude Phase 4 and begin Phase 5 of Solarize we are excited to have Bernie’s expertise and drive to help us continue to achieve strong measurable goals.

Bernie brings a strong background to the Solarize campaigns.  Prior to joining SmartPower Bernie was an Actuary for Travelers Insurance where he was the Chief Actuary for the International Department.  He retired from this position in 2012.

He graduated from Manhattan College in 1975 with degrees in Mathematics and Peace Studies.  His actuarial career made full use of both skill sets – and he continued to develop both disciplines. In 2007 he received a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Trinity College in Hartford.  He is working towards a Masters at RPI Hartford in the Environmental and Energy Engineering cohort.

For more information visit SmartPower at www.smartpower.org.

Jul 10

120 Households Go Solar through Solarize Upper Valley

Spring Program a Sunny Success; Recruiting for Fall Program Begins

July 10, 2014 – White River Junction, Vt. – One hundred twenty homeowners across the Upper Valley are going solar this season thanks to Solarize Upper Valley, an initiative led by Vital Communities to increase the rate of solar adoption in the region. These homeowners in Thetford and Strafford, Vt., and Cornish, Plainfield, and Lyme, N.H., are adding 638 new kilowatts of renewable energy capacity to the region – resulting in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 116 cars off the road. While the population of these five towns may be small, with only 9,406 residents combined, together they convinced 11 percent of households to get a solar site visit and three percent of households to go solar in just 15 weeks.

“The results of the first round of Solarize Upper Valley surpassed our expectations – not only in the number of households going solar, but also in the commitment of the community volunteers who made the program a success,” said Vital Communities Energy Program Manager Sarah Simonds. “We’re now recruiting communities to participate in new Solarize campaigns for the fall and are excited to help them achieve similar results.”

Solarize Upper Valley teams up community volunteers with competitively selected solar photovoltaic (PV) installers for 15 weeks of outreach around small-scale solar energy, offering competitive prices, accessible resources, and a simplified process for solar PV installations. “I know solar would have remained a ‘someday’ for us without all the work provided by [Solarize Upper Valley],” said one Solarize Cornish-Plainfield customer. “You made it possible for our someday to be today.”

Vital Communities is currently recruiting for the fall round of the Solarize Upper Valley program. Interested communities can find more information at vitalcommunities.org/solarize. The deadline to apply is July 21.

With support from the John Merck Fund and an individual donor to Vital Communities, Solarize Upper Valley is part of a larger network of Solarize programs aimed at catalyzing a very public and lasting wave of new residential solar installations across New England and beyond. Solarize programs have been successful in Massachusetts and Connecticut and are now taking root in other parts of the country.

“The exciting results from Vital Communities’ Solarize campaign continue to prove that the ‘Solarize’ community model is perhaps the most effective approach for expanding residential solar,” said Brian F. Keane, president of SmartPower, a leading partner in the broader effort to expand and share the Solarize model. “This model works – whether in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or anywhere across the nation.”

Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work, and play. Learn more at vitalcommunities.org.

Solarize Upper Valley Proves Effectiveness of Residential Solar Campaign in Rural New England

Vermont and New Hampshire Program a Sunny Success with 120 New Solar Homeowners

July 10, 2014 – White River Junction, Vt. – One hundred twenty homeowners across the rural Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire are going solar this season thanks to Solarize Upper Valley, an initiative led by local nonprofit organization Vital Communities to increase the rate of residential solar adoption in the Upper Valley. These results help prove the effectiveness of the Solarize model, which has been successfully deployed in Massachusetts and Connecticut in recent years.

Homeowners in Thetford and Strafford, Vt., and Cornish, Plainfield, and Lyme, N.H., are adding 638 new kilowatts of renewable energy capacity to the region – resulting in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 116 cars off the road. These five towns may be small, with only 9,406 residents combined, but together they convinced 11 percent of households to get a solar site visit and three percent of households to go solar in just 15 weeks.

“The exciting results from Vital Communities’ Solarize campaign continue to prove that the ‘Solarize’ community model is perhaps the most effective approach for expanding residential solar,” said Brian F. Keane, president of SmartPower, a leading organization in the broader effort to expand and share the Solarize model in New England and beyond. “This model works – whether in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or anywhere across the nation.”

With generous funding support from the John Merck Fund and an individual donor to Vital Communities, Solarize Upper Valley teams up community volunteers with competitively selected solar photovoltaic (PV) installers for 15 weeks of outreach around small-scale solar energy, offering competitive prices, accessible resources, and a simplified process for solar PV installations. “I know solar would have remained a ‘someday’ for us without all the work provided by [Solarize Upper Valley],” said one Solarize Cornish-Plainfield customer. “You made it possible for our someday to be today.”

“The results of the first round of Solarize Upper Valley surpassed our expectations – not only in the number of households going solar, but also in the commitment of the community volunteers who made the program a success,” said Vital Communities Energy Program Manager Sarah Simonds. “We’re now recruiting communities to participate in new Solarize campaigns for the fall and are excited to help them achieve similar results.”

Vital Communities, a nonprofit organization based in White River Junction, Vt., brings together citizens, organizations, and municipalities to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work, and play. Learn more at vitalcommunities.org.

Apr 01

SmartPower And ReNewable Now Launch Media Partnership

image

Announce the Creation of “Food Network” for ReNewable Energy

April 1, 2014, Washington DC/Providence RI: SmartPower and ReNewable Now today announced a strategic media partnership that will leverage the new media channels offered through ReNewableNow.Biz with the clean energy and energy efficiency expertise of SmartPower. That partnership was in evidence at http://renewablenow.biz/smart-power.html.

ReNewable Now and SmartPower share a common mission of increasing the use of clean energy and energy efficiency and reducing the impact of fossil fuels. SmartPower President Brian F. Keane and ReNewable Now President Peter Arpin were on hand to cement the media partnership.

image

“The partnership between our two organizations is a natural,” stated Peter Arpin. President of ReNewable Now.  “We are both in the business of broadcasting the benefits of clean energy. Together we’ll be able amplify our efforts in presenting the business side of green.”

“What our industry needs is it’s own network
– just like the Food Network,” said SmartPower President Brian F. Keane.  “And indeed, Renewable Now is the network best positioned to become just that. We’re excited
 
about this partnership and look forward to making clean energy and energy efficiency as accessible as Rachel Ray’s 30 minutes meals!“

SmartPower, a non-­‐profit organization based in Washington, D.C. develops and implements innovative community-based campaigns that save energy and promote renewable energy that lead to long-term energy behavior changes. Using a political campaign-style approach, SmartPower mobilizes people to take actions as part of a “community” rather than acting alone. SmartPower’s energy campaigns are based on over a decade of consumer research and boots on the ground expertise.

SmartPower literally “wrote the book” on clean energy and energy efficiency marketing and outreach with the publication of Keane’s book Green is Good: Save Money, Make Money and Help Your Community Profit From Clean Energy (Lyons Press, 2012). The book highlights lessons from SmartPower’s more than a decade of clean energy fieldwork.

ReNewable Now will be utilizing SmartPower’s expertise to enhance its content across multiple channels. As a multi-media channel that promotes innovation and actions in clean energy, the network is committed to the business of clean energy. SmartPower will be supporting ReNewable Now’s mission with a regular monthly segment called “Keane on Green” featuring SmartPower President Brian F. Keane. During these segments, Keane will share insights on new trends, activities and updates in the world of clean energy, as well as share findings from SmartPower’s on-the-ground campaigns.

As Keane says, “We’re interested in helping regular people make smart energy choices, and we do that by connecting them to local trusted resources that make a difference. By helping people access clean energy information and easy actions they can take, ReNewable Now helps us deliver on our mission.“ Keane sites as an example of the new partnership ReNewable Now’s recent coverage of a SmartPower event at which elected officials were highlighted for their commitment to clean energy and for their participation in SmartPower’ Rhode Island Energy Challenge. “Renewable Now’s coverage of our event helped get the message out about the importance of homeowners taking simple actions to reduce their energy use.”

By raising the volume on important breaking news and exciting business advances happening every day in the clean energy sector the two organizations hope to engage the public and change the way they think and use energy.

About SmartPower

SmartPower is a national non-­‐profit organization that creates community campaigns for energy efficiency and clean energy through engaging local partners from the municipal, business, and non-­‐profit sectors to promote behavior change and measurable energy actions. SmartPower’s COR approach using Community outreach, On-­‐line tools, and Rewards and Incentives is a tested formula that promotes engagement and delivers results on behalf utilities, state clean energy funds and the Department of Energy.  www.smartpower.org

About ReNewable Now

ReNewable Now is the one network that is totally dedicated to the business side of green. The creation of the network was on May 1, 2012 when professionals from the business community and educational community came together with professionals in television, cable, radio, and new media technologies to focus on what they believe to be the next economy, the Green Economy. www.renewablenow.biz

Mar 25

[video]

The Key To Residential Solar Power Is Now Marketing

A pivotal transition has taken place for residential solar power: its growth is now driven by middle-income homeowners concerned about keeping energy costs in check. That’s a landmark transition that opens the door to exponential growth. Now the key to success is marketing – not simply promoting a message but orchestrating on-the-ground campaigns community by community that literally bring the “solar store” into each neighborhood. The good news is that a proven method is already available.

This pivotal transition is due in part to falling prices. For the third year in a row, solar prices dropped. The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2012 and the first half of 2013, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Installed prices for PV systems in 2012 fell by a range of roughly $0.30 per Watt (W) to $0.90/W, or 6 to 14 percent, from the prior year, depending on the size of the system – adding to the continuous string of significant, annual, price reductions for PV systems.

Read SmartPower President Brian F. Keane’s entire article on The Alternative Energy eMagazine.

Advancing Community Solar in the US

Presentations about solar energy have a definite rhythm. Initially, the audience is curious about renewable energy and midway through as they receive more information, the feeling turns to palpable excitement. But inevitably, by evening’s end, some of the excitement has dimmed. About 75% of people who want solar can’t get it, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. They live in multi-unit buildings, rent, or own homes surrounded by shade trees. They’re still enthusiastic about solar power, but are left wondering how they can benefit from it. Increasingly, states are utilizing community solar to solve this dilemma.

Through community solar, residents invest in a remote photovoltaic array the utility company installs, usually within their geographic region. The excess power the system generates is then credited on the utility bills of investors, a process known as virtual net metering. The investor saves money, and uses a clean and renewable energy source. Everyone wins.

Read SmartPower President Brian F. Keane’s entire column on Solar Novus Today.

Mar 19

National Grid Names North Smithfield Rhode Island’s “Energy Champion”

Warwick Steps Up Next To Take The RI Energy Challenge! 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - National Grid today named the town of North Smithfield “Rhode Island’s Energy Champion” after they became the first community to successfully complete the Rhode Island Energy Challenge: Find Your Four campaign, by getting the equivalent of 5% of households to sign onto the Challenge.  In addition to the designation as an “Energy Champion”, North Smithfield received a check for $7500 from National Grid to help the community invest in further energy savings.  .

“On behalf of North Smithfield, I am pleased to receive this honor and to accept this check from National Grid,” said Town Administration, Paulette Hamilton.  “I’m so proud of the residents of North Smithfield, who signed up for the Challenge, and took actions in their home to start saving energy.  We always knew we were Champions – and it’s really nice to have National Grid recognize our efforts.”

As a permanent recognition of their efforts, North Smithfield was presented with three street signs that proclaim them Rhode Island Energy Champions. The signs will be posted around the town on key roads heading into North Smithfield.

“Congratulations to the Town of North Smithfield for making this commitment to energy efficiency,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. “Their success is an example that we hope all Rhode Island communities will follow.”

In May 2013, National Grid, working with the non-profit organization SmartPower (www.smartpower.org), created the high visibility, community-based, on-the-ground campaign to increase energy efficiency. The Rhode Island Energy Challenge: Find Your Four! campaign is a dynamic program that has already engaged thousands of Rhode Islanders across the state and encouraged them to change their energy use behaviors by taking four energy actions in their homes.

National Grid Names North Smithfield Rhode Island’s “Energy Champion” /2

SmartPower has partnered with local municipalities, faith-based organizations, businesses and non-profit groups who committed to getting 5% -10% of their respective communities to participate, including North Smithfield, Cranston, Newport, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of RI, Citizens Bank, Arpin Group, People’s Power & Light, and RI Interfaith Power and Light.

Next up to engage in the Challenge is the City of Warwick.  On Tuesday, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian announced that Warwick will ask its residents to commit to The Rhode Island Energy Challenge.

“We are completely committed to reducing energy across our city,” stated Mayor Avedisian.  “Wasting energy is not only bad for our economy, but it is hurting our environment.  There are simple steps that every resident can do to reduce their energy and the Rhode Island Energy Challenge: Find Your Four is the perfect way for Warwick to become true energy leaders.”

Also taking the Challenge on Tuesday was the Boys and Girls Club of Warwick.  Not only did the Boys and Girls Club host Tuesday announcement ceremony but also about a dozen boys and girls from the Club helped identify quick and easy energy saving steps that each of us can take right now. 

Residents interested in participating in the Rhode Island Energy Challenge can sign up at  www.FindYourFour.com.