With the help of Solair LLC, Roxana Volunteer Fire Company is now Green. Really Green! Solair LLC installed this 73 kilowatt solar array using Motech “Made in Delaware” solar modules. Solair then paired these 312 solar modules with 312 Enphase micro inverters for a system that outperforms traditional solar arrays. Roxana Volunteer Fire Company now [...]
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Vote Solar Institute cites state’s leadership on connecting clean energy
DOVER – The Vote Solar Institute has moved Delaware to “the head of the class” when it comes to connecting renewable resources to the grid in the 2011 edition of its report, “Freeing the Grid”. Delaware was one of three states to earn an “A” grade for both net metering and interconnection policies that support renewable resources such as wind and solar energy, with the report ranking its policies “among the strongest in the country.”
Under Governor Jack Markell’s leadership, Delaware adopted a progressive net-metering law with strong bipartisan support in 2010 (Senate Bill 267, sponsored by Senators Harris McDowell and Gary Simpson and Representatives Dennis Williams and Michael Mulrooney) that makes it easier for utility customers to sell excess renewable energy to the grid.
Delaware is adopting leading-edge interconnection policies that allow small renewable resources to connect to the grid without requiring redundant and restrictive review from PJM Interconnection, the regional grid manager. The Vote Solar report praised the state’s collaboration with local electrical utilities along with the efforts of the Public Service Commission to implement model interconnection standards.
The report highlights Delaware’s progress, noting that the state moved from an “F” to an “A” in the category of interconnection policy:
As of mid-2011, Delaware is poised to adopt interconnection procedures that are among the strongest in the country and have received a score of “A” in Freeing the Grid 2011. In addition, the adoption of rules for aggregate metering and community renewables has greatly expanded opportunities for investment in renewable energy among customer groups who previously would have been unable to fully utilize the state’s solid net metering program. Most importantly, Delaware’s renewable energy policies are finally aligned to bring significant investment in renewable energy to the state.
DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara welcomed the news, saying, “Under Governor Markell’s leadership, Delaware is taking significant steps to transition towards cleaner sources of energy. Through the innovative clean energy policies recognized in this report, including virtual net-metering, community aggregation, and interconnection policies, Delaware is emerging as one of the best places in the U.S. for clean energy investments.”
“Integrating more clean energy into the grid puts more people to work, supports capital investment, and promotes a healthier environment,” Gov. Markell said. “Through strong bipartisan support, Delaware has demonstrated repeatedly that we can strengthen our economy and improve our environment at the same time.”
Vote Solar cites Delaware’s progressive polices including simplified interconnection procedures, aggregate net metering that allows customers to link several meters on a farm or college campus, and allowing communities to link multiple home meters to one jointly-owned renewable resource.
The report is available at http://www.newenergychoices.org/uploads/FreeingTheGrid2011.pdf.
Solair installed our panels in June, 2012. We are extremely pleased with the entire process. Each step was handled in a professional manner. Dan Burton and Jeff Burton kept us informed and educated us as we progressed through each stage of the project. We can’t wait to get our electric bills now. Our electric bill for September was less than $21.
-Bob and Steph Godby
I would like to take this opportunity to express how pleased Sherry and I are with the Photovoltaic system that Solair installed at our home in Selbyville. From the initial contact with Dan, the build out with Allen and the construction team, to the final steps with you in setting up the SREC account, the process has been flawless.
We have seen an incredible reduction in our monthly Delmarva Power bills since the solar array came online. The fact that Solair utilizes Enphase Energy’s microinverter technology versus a single inverter is a big plus in achieving the desired results. With each panel operating individually, the shading from a couple of our trees only affects the shaded panel rather than the string of panels or the entire array. Had we elected to go with a contractor using single inverter technology I am certain our energy production would be greatly reduced.
I would like to thank all of the Solair team for a job well done; it was a pleasure doing business with Solair.
Question: What if you live in a community that doesn’t allow solar, but you still want the financial benefits of your own solar array?
Question: What if you already have as much solar on your home as your power company says you can, but love the return on your investment and you still want more?
Question: What if you knew how you could own your own mini power plants, with little to no moving parts that would last in excess of 25 years?
Answer: Solair LLC can show you how you can own your small power plant.
Answer: Solair LLC can show you how you can take advantage of big tax credits to put solar on someone else’s home or business.
Answer: We pair you the investor with credit worthy individuals and companies that have the desire to also benefit from solar, but may not have the upfront cash to get it done.
Answer: Solair’s solar equipment has 25 year manufacturer’s warranties. When combined with Solair’s workmanship guarantee, being your own Power Purchase Investor is easier than you think.
Call Solair LLC now to find out more and get on Solair’s investor’s list.
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1:39 p.m., April 12, 2012–Stephen Mulligan, a University of Delaware senior studying mechanical engineering, has co-authored a paper explaining the effects of gas flow on newly developed solar cells. The paper, entitled “Hybrid Effect of Gas Flow and Light Excitation in Carbon/Silicon Schottky Solar Cells,” appeared recently in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.
Written during Mulligan’s two-month student exchange trip to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, last summer, the paper investigates the behavior of carbon/silicon solar cells and how the presence of gas flow results in enhanced cell efficiency. These cells could then act as improved gas flow sensors.
Other co-authors include Guifeng Fan, a doctoral student at Tsinghua University; Hongwei Zhu, Mulligan’s adviser abroad and laboratory supervisor; and Bingqing Wei, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mulligan’s UD adviser.
Using a solar simulator, Mulligan and his team shined artificial sunlight on a series of solar cells to obtain a source of power, or voltage. They then blew gas, such as nitrogen, over the solar cells and noticed that their temperature lowered. This lower temperature, in turn, increased the solar cell’s efficiency by 5-10 percent, which is “quite the jump,” according to Mulligan.
At Tsinghua, Mulligan had the opportunity to assemble the solar cells used in tests, an important aspect to the research’s results and success.
“We were specifically working with carbon/silicon cells,” says Mulligan. “I would assemble graphene, a flat, single-layer of carbon atoms, onto a silicon wafer. The cells’ flat membrane acted as the ideal structure for the tests we were running.”
First produced in 2004, interest in graphene use has exploded in recent years. Mulligan takes pride in working with such young, up and coming science.
“Graphene and nanotubes aren’t commonly used today but will increase capability and efficiency years down the road in the industry,” says Mulligan. “It was like experimenting with new technology.”
Challenges in the lab were not Mulligan’s only obstacles. He had to adjust to working in a foreign environment where the culture was new and communication was difficult.
“The summer was definitely a culture shock. The East and West are amazingly different,” remarks Mulligan. “We sometimes got lost in translation, but it all worked out in the end.”
However, Mulligan is no stranger to international travel. Last Winter Session, he studied economics in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of his minor, but also has dual citizenship in Ireland where he spent his childhood.
“Stephen was selected as one of three, very qualified mechanical engineering students to implement into the Undergraduate Student Exchange Program in Beijing last summer,” notes Wei. “He is an avid world traveler and truly enjoys exploring and surrounding himself in new cultural environments.”
With graduation approaching in May, Mulligan plans on starting a career as soon as possible, preferably in manufacturing. He still retains interest in returning to China and is currently learning Chinese in his spare time. A return for Mulligan this summer may include additional research on nanomaterials, university enrollment, and further exploration of the Chinese language.
Article by Zac Anderson
Photo by Ambre Alexander
Markell and Municipalities Sign Agreement to Reduce Municipal Electric Rates to Attract New Jobs May 10, 2012
DOVER – Municipal electric rates in Delaware should start to go down by at least 10 percent under an agreement signed today. Gov. Jack Markell joined Patrick McCullar, President and CEO of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (“DEMEC”), and the Mayors or town officials of Newark, New Castle, Middletown, Clayton, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes and Seaford to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) that underscores their shared commitment toward making municipal energy rates more competitive in order to spur job creation, while preserving the core functions and services provided to residents and businesses in the municipal service territories.
“Over the last three months, DEMEC and the towns rolled up their sleeves and worked diligently with us to find a way to lower electric utility rates without shifting the cost to the other essential and valuable services the towns provide, “ said Governor Markell. “This memorandum of understanding strikes that balance. It sends a clear signal to businesses that Delaware and our towns and municipalities are ready to compete for jobs.”
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the nine DEMEC municipalities have agreed to lower retail electric rates by at least 10% in the next three years, starting this year. In addition, to the extent they have not done so already, each municipality will authorize an “economic development rate” for the purpose of incentivizing job creation in the DEMEC municipalities and attracting new employers to locate in Delaware municipalities. Finally, each municipality has agreed to cap for the next five years at FY ’12 amounts the revenue that they transfer from their electrical utility to their general fund budget. In return, as long as the DEMEC municipalities abide by the MOU, the Governor has agreed to oppose any legislation that would allow third-party supply in the municipal electric territories.
”DEMEC and its member communities share Governor Markell’s goal of making Delaware one of the most attractive and competitive locals in the world,” said Patrick McCullar, CEO of DEMEC. “We recognize how important lower energy costs are to Delaware and appreciate the opportunity to work closely with the Governor toward our common goals.”
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Governor and Mr. McCullar, who is authorized to sign on behalf of the DEMEC municipalities via a resolution enacted in each DEMEC municipality. A copy of the final MOU is below.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN
THE HONORABLE JACK MARKELL, GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE
THE DELAWARE MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC CORPORATION ON
BEHALF OF ITS NINE MUNICIPAL MEMBERS
This Memorandum of Understanding between the Honorable Jack Markell, Governor of the State of Delaware (“Governor”), and the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, a body corporate and politic formed pursuant to Title 26, Delaware Code, for itself and on behalf of the nine duly chartered municipalities comprising its membership, being New Castle, Newark, Middletown, Smyrna, Clayton, Dover, Milford, Lewes and Seaford (collectively, “DEMEC”, or the “DEMEC Municipalities”).
WHEREAS, the Governor and the DEMEC Municipalities are fully committed to and engaged in the task of attracting new businesses to Delaware and expanding existing Delaware businesses in order to provide job opportunities for all Delawareans; and
WHEREAS, DEMEC and the DEMEC Municipalities are potential beneficiaries of the Governor’s job creation initiatives and accordingly, are fully committed to aiding and supporting such initiatives consistent with the responsibilities vested in them by their charters; and
WHEREAS, the Governor has identified the commercial and industrial electric rates charged by certain of the DEMEC Municipalities-owned electric utilities as a potential disincentive for the recruitment of new businesses to, and the expansion of existing businesses in Delaware; and
WHEREAS, historically, the DEMEC Municipalities have used varying percentages of their return on investment in their municipal electric utilities to supplement general fund revenues in order to assure adequate funding for various essential and valuable municipal services provided to all of their residential, commercial and industrial customers, including sewer, water, public safety and street maintenance; and
WHEREAS, the Governor recognizes and appreciates both the critical importance to each of the DEMEC Municipalities of the supplemental revenues provided by their electric utilities to the provision of cost-effective funding for the full complement of municipal services, as well as the sovereign right of each of the municipalities pursuant to their home rule charters to control their respective budgetary processes and their exclusive right to provide electric power to their residential, commercial and industrial citizens; and
WHEREAS, the Governor and DEMEC find and determine that it is in the best interests of their respective constituencies to advance the shared goal of creating economic opportunity for all Delawareans without unduly encroaching upon the home rule authority of the DEMEC Municipalities.
NOW, THEREFORE, DO THE GOVERNOR AND DEMEC AGREE AS FOLLOWS:
- Each of the DEMEC Municipalities will, prior to the conclusion of the three (3) year period commencing January 1, 2012 , reduce their retail electric rates by not less than an average of ten percent (10%);
- Each of the DEMEC Municipalities shall, by appropriate action of its governing body, if not previously accomplished, authorize an economic development rate, or a process for permitting the negotiation of an economic development rate, to be fixed and determined in the sole discretion of each such municipality. The primary purpose of such economic development rate shall be to incentivize job creation in the DEMEC municipalities by providing for a discounted electric rate;
- Each of the DEMEC Municipalities shall to the extent possible within the constraint of the needs of the municipalities to maintain efficient and reliable utilities and services, including coverage of capital costs and related debt service costs of providing those services, by appropriate action of its governing body, agree to maintain for a five year period commencing with their 2012 fiscal year a limit on the transfer of revenues from its electric utility into its general fund which limit shall for each municipality be equal to the actual dollar amount of such transfer in Fiscal year 2012; provided, however, that, prior to the start of its 2015 fiscal year, and for each of the two fiscal years that follow, each municipality shall, upon a determination by its governing body of a compelling and unanticipated municipal financial need, notice of which shall be provided to the Governor, have the right to transfer revenues from its electric utility in excess of the amount of revenue transferred by such municipality during the 2012 fiscal year into its general fund as it deems necessary to meet such need.
- For as long as the DEMEC Municipalities are in compliance with paragraphs 1 through 3 of this MOU , the Governor will actively oppose any effort to interfere with the exclusive right of the DEMEC Municipalities to provide electric power to all residential, commercial and industrial customers within their respective service territories. Specifically but without limitation, the Governor shall actively oppose any legislative initiative which would grant to any such customer the right to freely choose an alternate source of electric power.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, AND INTENDING TO BE MORALLY BOUND HEREBY, the Governor and DEMEC have respectively executed and caused this Memorandum of Understanding to be executed this 9th day of May, 2012.
Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware
Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation
On behalf of its members
Patrick E. McCullar