Standard Solar President joins Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley at the Maryland Climate Change Summit
Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley recently held the Climate Change Maryland Summit to address the state of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan (The Plan). Maryland State Government has committed to making the smartest environmental and economic decisions and implementing the most effective climate change strategies that will reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by the year 2020. Standard Solar(SSI) President, Scott Wiater was invited to join the Governor’s panel to discuss the growth in Maryland’s solar industry and the recent developments in Standard Solar’s energy efficiency services. The summit was attended by hundreds of scientists, business leaders, environmental activists and community activists. The Governor discussed the importance of the entire state working together to achieve the goals. “As severe weather events continue to grow in size and impact, and elongated trends of poor air quality continue, the costs of inaction would grow exponentially,” the Governor said in a written statement outlining the plan. “In Maryland, we are moving forward and taking action by creating green jobs and protecting our land, water, air and public health.”
The Plan is a comprehensive, multi-sector, multi-agency approach that incorporates many innovative strategies. The Plan’s 150-plus programs and initiatives , which are already in place, will aid in expanding the State’s economy, including its renewable energy, transportation, green buildings, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors.
During the Summit, Governor O’Malley highlighted five key point programs that will improve the energy infrastructure in Maryland:
- Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS): This establishes a market for new sources of renewable electricity generation by requiring that Maryland power providers supply 18 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, increasing to 20 percent by 2022. With the need for more renewable sources, solar powered energy is an affordable solution for business owners interested in not only cutting their energy costs but also interested in contributing to Maryland’s RPS goals.
- EmPOWER Maryland: This program is designed to reduce both Maryland’s per capita total electricity consumption and peak load demand by 15 percent by 2015. It includes many State- and utility-managed energy efficiency and conservation programs. Business owners, school building facilitators and home owners are encouraged to adopt energy saving measures that are most appropriate. Standard Solar’s residential division, Standard Energy Solutions (SES) offers a wide range of energy management solutions that are recommended by the EmPower program. During the Summit, Wiater highlighted the growth of both SSI and SES with over 1,300 solar installations and the role of our BPI trained auditors in supporting the goals of the Governor’s plan.
- Zero Waste: Maryland is implementing an ambitious strategy that aims to ensure all products in Maryland can be reused, recycled or composted. Waste in landfills is a source of GHG emissions. By reducing the volume of that waste, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by recycling we can reduce the energy needed to make products from raw materials. Waste landfills can also be repurposed and used as host sites for solar arrays, in fact there are over 4,000 waste sites in the US already determined to be economically and technically viable for renewable energy development. The State will also increase the requirements to better utilize or recycle 60 percent of Maryland’s government managed solid waste by 2020. With Maryland’s county recycling rates already average around 45 percent, and the rapidly increasing solutions for renewable energy, the state is quickly attaining the Plan’s goals.
- Maryland Clean Cars Program: This program directly regulates carbon dioxide emissions produced from motor vehicles. These standards became effective for model year 2011 vehicles, significantly reducing a number of emissions from greenhouse gases. During the summit, Wiater also highlight one of SSI’s most recently announce innovative projects- the Konterra Solar Microgrid project- the first commercial solar grid storage system in Maryland. The development of 402.3kW carport system will not only bring revenue and more jobs to the state but also help to place Maryland as one of the top states leading in innovative technology in the solar industry.
- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): This program is a cooperative regional cap-and-trade initiative among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Revenues from the program support energy efficiency programs and augment EmPOWER and RPS. In Maryland, regulations required to implement the lower cap will be publicized this summer.
The implementation of these programs will drive more than 80 percent of Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Current analysis project that the Plan will result in estimated economic benefits of $1.6 billion and support over 37,000 jobs. Standard Solar is proud to contribute to the advancement of Maryland’s Clean Climate initiatives. We encourage you to also play a part in the sustainable further of the beautiful state. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you make an impact by implementing energy solutions for your business.
In the midst of this summer heat wave, we all are relying on our air conditioning. However, turning up the AC in your home can turn up those energy bills to record levels. There are a lot of little things you can do to beat the heat and make sure you aren’t wasting money cooling your home: making sure your HVAC equipment is tuned-up, replacing your air filter regularly, avoiding heat build-up by cooking outdoors on hot days and keeping your shades and blinds closed during the day. But if you’re looking to really maximize your AC this summer, its best to take a good look at the structure of your home as well.
Start with your building envelope
Your home’s building envelope includes the walls, doors, windows and floor of your home. It is what creates a barrier between the air in your home and the air outside. A tight building envelope has few gaps through which conditioned air can leave the home, or unconditioned air can enter the home. When you are cooling your home on hot summer days a tight building envelope ensures cool air, along with the money you are spending to keep it cool, doesn’t blow out the window or cracks in the attic.
How do you determine if your home has a tight building envelope? And what can you do if it is leaking energy? An energy audit is a good place to start. During a home energy audit, an energy expert will evaluate your home’s envelope and suggest ways you can seal that envelope with our home retrofits to keep more conditioned air inside your home.
Consider how you can tighten your building envelope
Improvements like insulation and air sealing are great candidates for filling in cracks and gaps where your home is leaking conditioned air. These are some of the retrofit projects typically recommended in a home energy audit report. There are different ways to go about insulating and air sealingyour home and an energy auditor can recommend the best practices for your home.
It is estimated that every dollar invested in energy efficiency measures, such as air sealing and insulation, produces three dollars of savings. That can quickly add up, allowing you to not feel guilty about lowering the thermostat and allowing you to seek other measures to beat the heat, like a trip to the pool or the ocean!
On June 13-14th, 2013 President Bill Clinton hosted the third Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America meeting in Chicago, IL. CGI America is an initiative of the Clinton Foundation that convenes the nation’s leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Standard Solar (SSI) CEO, Tony Clifford, attended the event to announce SSI’s second commitment and represent the company in various meetings and working sessions. We caught up with Tony after the conference to ask some questions and get some details on his CGI America experience.
What sparked the company’s interest to do a second commitment with CGI America?
We were inspired by the company’s prior CGI America commitment made in 2006, which was to raise at least $5.5 million in additional capital investment to enable more homeowners to more easily and affordably purchase residential solar electric systems – fighting global warming one roof at a time. We were proud to meet that commitment in less than five years. It was important for us to continue the pursuit of expanding the solar industry and adopting new technologies to make solar truly affordable to businesses and residential communities nationwide. Our company was already developing new company goals internally and we thought that CGI’s vision and goals were a good fit with ours.
What was SSI’s commitment?
Standard Solar pledged a two-pronged commitment to address the energy industry’s challenge of fully integrating photovoltaics (PV) with the grid. Firstly we committed to work with innovative companies to develop and demonstrate new products and technologies that enhance markets, reduce costs, and/or promote new revenue streams for solar PV. Secondly, we pledged to continue the Company’s commitment to rapid growth to achieve the scale necessary to compete with grid-supplied power.
How was SSI’s experience working with the CGI America team in preparation for the meeting?
The process went smoothly; we worked closely with CGI staff to ensure our commitment mirrored CGI’s vision while staying true to our own goals. The staff was very helpful and responsive, providing great support and feedback for our team as we prepped for the meeting.
How was the response to the SSI announcement at the meeting?
We received excellent feedback from other attendees at CGI America, especially in regards to our 402kw Konterra project- which is the first project towards our CGI commitment and is one of the first US commercial solar micro-grids. During my Renewable & Distributed Energy working sessions, one of the discussions on innovative and cost effective renewable energy solutions, I presented the idea of micro-grids as an example of an off-grid solution; the group members were intrigued by the financial benefits and storage capabilities that a solar micro-grid could offer and it was a healthy part of our group’s discussion during the conference
Why was it important for SSI to make this commitment?
It is very important for SSI to be a part of CGI America’s commitment to action plan as we not only believe in preserving the environment, but also our nation’s economy. Our commitment represents a diverse solution to one of the issues facing Americans today- high energy costs. It will assist in the overall promotion of economic recovery in the United States through the support of technological innovation and the growth of green business. We are grateful to be a part of the 2013 commitment-makers whose work will impact millions of lives. Our joint commitment contributes to the overall CGI America 2013 total numbers that will directly affect more than 2,000,000 lives, create more than 100,000 jobs and have several other positive impacts on the US economy.
How was your overall experience with attending the CGI America Conference?
I was honored to represent SSI to deliver our second commitment and learned a lot from the event. It is a great opportunity to meet with other leaders from businesses, foundations, and government sectors across the nation to join together for a good cause. I personally had the opportunity to meet so many people- President Clinton, the Secretary of the Treasury and several senior executives from related industries that offered some new perspectives on how businesses like ours can truly have a local and even global impact. My favorite part of these conferences, like CGI America, is the working groups. To not only get to know professionals from around the country but also have the opportunity to discuss relevant issues and exchange ideas and solutions. These events stimulated creative thinking, business growth and innovation. Overall, a great experience and we are excited to report in our work to CGI America over the coming years.