Our First Installation with the DC Solar Bulk Purchase Agreement

by Standard Solar on Dec.13, 2013, under Standard Solar

In September we announced that Standard Energy Solutions (SES) was awarded the DC Solar United neighborhoods Ward 1 Solar Bulk purchase agreement. We are happy to update that we recently completed our first installation under the bulk purchase agreement! Early last week, the SES team installed a 3.5kW system on the roof of a home in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. Homeowners Mike Magor & Katherine Lenard were both excited to be the first in the neighborhood to go solar. “We were first introduced to DC SUN when a representative from the Ward 1 bulk purchase agreement group came around the neighborhood and rang our doorbell asking if we would be interested in signing up. We attended the initial meeting at the local library and thought it was something we could afford” said Katherine Lenard.

 The solar bulk purchase agreement was organized by DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN), a coalition of neighborhood solar coops that work with neighborhood representatives to provide technical support, guide the group through the process, and issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) from local installers once at least 20 people have signed up for the bulk purchase. “Going solar as part of a group has the advantage of making the solarization process much easier to navigate because you can rely on the expertise of the group. Plus, the pay back for many of these systems is a little over one year!” said Anya Schoolman, president of the DC SUN.  SES was selected as the single company out of nine local installers to complete all 30 installations in the MT. Pleasant and Ward 1 neighborhoods. “My husband and I were a part of the selection committee, SES was our first pick primarily due to their use of American made panels,” Leonard stated. “We had been thinking about it for years but finally made the big step when presented with the opportunity from DC SUN. Before it seemed too expensive and difficult but doing it through DC SUN took all the work out of it. They are a great source of information and made the process a lot smoother.” By participating in the DC SUN program, it’s estimated that the group of neighbors will save over 30% off the cost of their solar systems.

The installation process took only a few hours and the system passed inspection and became fully operational within the next day. The SES team worked diligently to support the Magor-Lenard family with any questions they had throughout all phases of the process.  “The entire process was well done and handled professionally. Communication was good and the quality of work was great. We are very happy so far with the installation, we get the biggest kick out of going down and taking a look at the meter and watching it roll back. In fact, we a drive a Chevy Volt and our car is now charging off the energy produced by our solar system. We would absolutely would recommend SES to our friends and family,” said Lenard.

“As a DC resident with deep involvement in the DC solar community, I am especially honored that SES has been selected to help make solar energy more accessible to more homeowners within the District,” said Tony Clifford, CEO of Standard Solar and Standard Energy Solutions. “Bulk purchase groups are a cost-effective way to help neighborhoods and communities benefit from solar energy while taking advantage of economies of scale during the installation process.” SES is thrilled to be working with the Ward 1 Solar bulk purchase group. SES currently has half of the participant’s contracts on file is expecting to receive several others before the end of the year. Our team is planning to install an additional two systems this week and looks forward to installing a few more in the upcoming weeks.

 

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Winter Weatherization Tips: How to Reduce Energy Costs This Winter

by Standard Solar on Nov.18, 2013, under Energy Efficiency, Standard Energy Solutions

Homeowners usually experience a peak in electricity bills during the winter months because of the change in temperature. We know it is important to keep your home comfortable during these cold temperature seasons and there are ways to do so while  minimizing the electricity costs. Here are a few tips from our energy experts at Standard Energy Solutions (SES) on maximizing your home’s energy efficiency while staying comfortable during the winter months. 

1.     Check your Home’s Building Envelope

During the summer season we discussed your home’s building envelope which includes the walls, doors, windows and floor of your home. Your building envelope creates a barrier between the air in your home and the air outside. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), hidden air leaks cause some of the largest heat losses, especially in older homes. A tight building envelope ensures that warm air circulates throughout and lessens the need to increase the thermostat’s temperature. In fact, sealing air leakage can reduce costs by up to $90 a year. How do you check your home’s envelope? With a home energy audit, your home’s building envelope will be evaluated by SES experts who provide a thorough and accurate measurement of the air leakage in your home. Our experts use several techniques during their inspection including a blower door test, infrared inspection and a combustion appliance zone test. We will also provide a customized audit report that will include a detailed summary of the recommended retrofits and energy solutions for your home.

Your Home's Building Envelope

Your home's building envelope

2.       Set Your Programmable Thermostat

Once your home’s building envelope is tightly sealed, the next step is to set your desired temperatures. There are two simple rules to follow to be as energy efficient as possible. Firstly, when you are home, set your thermostat at a low yet comfortable temperature. And secondly, when away, turn your thermostat down 10-15 degrees. According to the Department of Energy’s Fall and Winter Energy-Saving Tips, this can reduce costs by about 10 percent annually on your heating bill. Keeping up with constantly changing the thermostat when you’re in and out the house can be a task. SES offers a Smart Home energy solution that includes a programmable thermostat. With the SES Smart Home, you can set the desired temperature scenes based on your daily routine while also having the ability to change the setting remotely from your computer or smartphone! Our Smart Home package also allows you to remotely manage electrical appliances and lighting – which will result in more efficient energy usage and lower electricity costs.

Smart Home Screen Shot

Screenshot of SES Smart Home Thermostat

3.       Make the switch to LEDS

The third tip to maintaining energy efficiency during the winter season is converting your existing compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs to light-emitting diodes bulbs.  LEDs are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. They convert 60% of electricity to light and are fully dimmable – allowing you to create customizable scenes when entertaining company or managing your lighting remotely via your Smart Home. SES offers several different LED options, whether you are interested in pairing our LEDs with your Whole Home package or adding as a DIY project, our SES experts can provide detailed information on the benefits and customizable uses of LED bulbs.

LED- the most environmentally friendly light bulb

During the holiday season, try LED holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home. Did you know that it only costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDS compared to $10 for incandescent lights? In fact, LEDS are much cooler than incandescent lights which make them a lot safer reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers. They also are much more resistant to breakage.

With these three basic tips, your home can be warm and energy efficient this winter season. For information on how SES can help you reduce your energy costs, enhance your home’s comfort and control your energy needs, contact our SES experts at 301-944-5222 or info@standardenergysolutions.com .

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Standard Solar and Partners Celebrate the Completion of the Konterra Solar Microgrid Storage System

by Standard Solar on Oct.21, 2013, under New Technology, Standard Solar

Last week marked a major milestone for the state of Maryland. Standard Solar, with our partners Konterra and Solar Grid Storage, were happy to officially dedicate the Konterra Solar Microgrid Storage system located at Konterra’s headquarters in Laurel, MD. The 402kW solar microgrid system, a grid-interactive energy storage system co-located with a new 1,368 panel photovoltaic (PV) canopy array, is Maryland’s first commercial solar microgrid system and is also recognized as one of the first commercial solar microgrids in the nation.   We were joined by a number of special guests including Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff  both of whom were in attendance to support the celebration of this innovative achievement in technology for the state of Maryland.

The 402kw Konterra Solar Microgrid Storage System

After a week of rain, we enjoyed a great solar day with our guests who were greeted by the large solar canopies as they arrived on site. We had the honor of commencing the ceremony with salutation from Kingdon Gould III, one of Konterra’s top executives, who welcomed our speakers and guests. The program proceeded with SSI CEO Tony Clifford hosting as master of ceremony – thanking the partners, talking about the history of the project and introducing the speakers. Governor O’Malley lead the group of speakers with great comments on the state of Maryland making solar energy a priority and the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) investment in modern and innovative technology that contributes to the rapid increase of solar power on the state’s grid.  “We invested in this project through our MEA Grant Changer Program because in Maryland we know that if we want better results, we have to make better choices. Better choices like making solar energy a priority,” said Governor O’Malley. “Since 2007, we’ve multiplied by 1,500 the amount of solar power on the state’s grid. In the process, we’ve created 2,000 new jobs”. The project also brings Maryland closer to reaching its goal of increasing renewable generation to 20 percent by 2022. Chairman Jon Wellinghoff supported the Governor’s comments stating the importance of distributed storage to the development of new resources to generate energy. “Energy storage not only provides substantial value to the electric grid, it makes the integration of solar PV and other distributed generation systems reliable, efficient and cost-effective as well,” said Chairman Wellinghoff.

Speakers officially cutting the ribbon. (L-R) Kingdon Gould III, Chairman Wellinghoff, Governor O’Malley, Tony Clifford and Tom Leyden

After comments from all our speakers which also included Tony Clifford and Tom Leyden CEO of Solar Grid Storage, the group continued to tour the main components of the system. The tour consisted of three stops: The Solar Carport and Electric Vehicle Charging station, Inverter Enclosures and the Electrical Room and System Monitoring Station.

Tour Stop#1: The Solar Carport and Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Tour Stop#2: Inverter Enclosures

SSI Senior Project Engineer Jobin Michael reviewing the System Monitoring with Governor O’Malley at tour stop #3

The system will offset the generation of about 20 percent of the annual building power for the Konterra headquarters and will also provide electricity for two electric vehicle charging stations and LED parking lot lighting. Producing over 516,000kwh of energy, the power is equivalent to the electrical usage of about 57 American homes for one year, or removing 90 passenger vehicles from the roads per year. The Konterra project is also a part of SSI’s two-pronged commitment presented at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting this year.

Overall, the dedication ceremony was a major success. Thanks to the planning committee team- Konterra, Gould Property, MEA and Solar Grid storage that collaborated to make this event remarkable and memorable.

(L-R) Tom Leyden- SGS CEO, Tony Clifford-SSI CEO, Governor Martin O’Malley, Councilmember Roger Berliner-Montgomery County Council, Abigail Ross Hopper- MEA Director.

The Standard Solar team with the Governor (L-R) -Senior Project Engineer Jobin Michael, President Scott Wiater, Governor Martin O’Malley, CEO Tony Clifford, Marketing Director Marisa Hartmann, Director of Business Development John Finnerty.

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