Archive for November, 2011
Freeport Fire Department Announces Completion of 51.7 Kilowatt Solar System
On Monday (November 29, 2011) the Village of Freeport, NY and Freeport Electric held a press conference to announce the completion of a 51.7 kilowatt (kW) solar electric system, which was engineered and installed by EmPower Solar at the Freeport Fire Department Headquarters. The design includes168 SunPower 308 Watt modules, and a SatCon 50 kW inverter.
Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick said “There are many ways a municipality can go green and Freeport has instituted several steps to reduce its carbon footprint.” Along with the solar power system at the Firehouse, the Village of Freeport has purchased several hybrid cars, a hybrid bucket truck, and replaced 340 street lights with an energy efficient alternative. EmPower has also installed a number of solar residential and commercial systems in the Village of Freeport.
EmPower engineer Emily Hwang, served as the project engineer, and was recognized by Freeport Electric’s Superintendent, Anthony Fiore, for her high quality work and dedication. All the EmPower team members, including engineers and installers, deserve recognition for their seamless execution of this complicated project. Cameron Engineering was also instrumental to the structural engineering design.
In his remarks, EmPower CEO David G. Schieren said “The Village of Freeport and Freeport Electric should be commended for its vision and leadership in making this solar project a reality. Municipalities have a critical role to play in advancing renewable energy, and the importance of their leadership can’t be overstated.”
EmPower is especially grateful to Freeport Electric’s Superintendent Anthony Fiore and Supervisor of Electric Service Les Endo Jr. for their impressive commitment to this project. Their support and technical understanding are making solar energy a reality in the Village.
Many large installations like this one are done on flat roofs and are not visible to the public. This installation is unique because it is on a pitched roof and directly across the street from the Freeport LIRR Train Station.
See the official press release here.
Vision Long Island’s 10th Anuual Smart Growth Summit
EmPower Solar was excited to participate in Vision Long Island’s 10th Annual Smart Growth Summit on Friday November 18th, an event focused on promoting Smart Growth opportunities in the Long Island area.
“The issue’s we are dealing with today are similar to a man walking blindfolded toward the edge of a cliff”, says Senator Schumer during the event’s luncheon, “if we don’t stop and change our path soon, we will fall fast”. The Senator shares a similar concern with many of the stakeholders in the Long Island area. In tough economic times, many wonder about the most effective ways to revitalize their communities.
Vision Long Island is a not-for-profit organization working to build economically and environmentally sustainable communities through so called “Smart Growth” initiatives. EmPower Solar has supported and sponsored Vision Long Island for 3 years.
Smart growth means building urban, suburban and rural communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools. This approach supports local economies and protects the environment. Keynote speaker, John Norquist (former Mayor of Milwaukee, WI) spoke passionately about the importance of New Urbanism which focuses on the restoration of urban community. He says there is a demand for compact neighborhoods with mixed use buildings that are sustainable and convenient. If people can work where they live this will cut down on commuting expenses and improve quality of life.
A recurring theme throughout the event was the general idea of innovation, or establishing change in the community. Many believe that we must first understand the root of the problems we face today in order to generate real change.
EmPower CEO, David Schieren, spoke on the Energy & Smart Growth panel. This panel was moderated by Richie Kessel (former President of NYPA and Chairman of LIPA Board of Trustees). The discussion focused on introducing innovative alternative energy and energy efficiency solutions to communities.
EmPower Solar’s commitment to more innovative and sustainable means of energy is an important piece to this bigger picture. We share many of the same goals and philosophies as Vision Long Island and see solar energy as part of the solution to a better future in New York and around the world.
FREE presents award at 34th Annual Celebration of Life Gala
David G. Schieren, CEO of EmPower Solar, was honored to receive an award from FREE at the 34th Annual Celebration of life Gala held earlier this month. Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, a not-for-profit that provides community living for disabled people in Nassau and Suffolk counties, presented the award in recognition of David’s instrumental role in helping the organization implement the 800 kW solar project that is estimated to provide over $5.2 Million in savings over 25 years.
David was honored to share the award with the following co-honorees: Bob Catell – Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) at New York State University at Stony Brook. Kevin Law – President and Chief Executive Officer, Long Island Association. Michael Hervey – Chief Operating Officer, Long Island Power Authority. Yakov Shamesh – Vice President for Economic Development, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Stony Brook University.
The FREE solar project, one of the largest investments in renewable energy on Long Island to date, converted 44 sites over to solar power, helping reduce annual utility expenses by 27 percent. The savings will allow FREE to focus its resources on increasing the quality of life for more than 3,000 people on Long Island through crucial “life services” and related social and educational programs.
“Reach high, achieve more. The Family Residences and Essential Enterprises credo resonates with EmPower. FREE is a remarkable and inspiring organization that provides vital services to our region. It demonstrates how organizations can play a key leadership role in cleaning the air and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, while making smart financial investments. They’ve inspired us to reach high and achieve more. Of course I accepted this award on behalf of my business partner and our COO Greg Sachs, and the entire EmPower team that took this project on with such gusto, determination and precision. Moving Forward”– David G. Schieren
Solar Increases Home Value
There are many reasons to add a solar energy system to your home. The reduction or elimination of your electric bill is certainly compelling. Of course, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the environment are extremely important as well. While each of these reasons drives thousands of people in our area to go solar each year, there is another equally important reason to go solar; it increases your home’s value.
In the past, this has been very difficult to quantify. Real estate brokers and appraisers had little information to go on, and lenders were often skeptical about any increases in market value attributed to solar energy systems.
That has changed in a big way. There are several recent studies that illustrate the value that a solar energy system can add to your home. Two in particular, performed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The National Bureau of Economic Research, have shown that homes with solar energy systems can command a 3 – 4% premium over homes without solar energy systems. On a $400,000 house for example, that equals $12,000 – $16,000! Not bad considering, that the average “net” cost of a 10 KW solar energy system after rebates and tax credits is around $17,000.
Now, the Appraisal Institute, the largest real estate appraisal organization in America has taken the next step. They have developed the “Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum” that appraisers can use to document and analyze a home’s energy efficient items, including solar energy systems. This is an extremely important development, because it allows appraisers to compile and analyze data needed to support adjustments for solar energy systems.
Soon, in areas with high utility rates (like Long Island); appraisers will be able to capitalize the documented monthly savings on utility bills into a specific value adjustment, much like the income from a rental unit.
What does all this mean to New Yorkers who have solar energy systems? It means that when you sell your home, you will get significantly more money for it than homes without solar energy systems. This is just one more reason to go solar!