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Greene Tech


Corbin Solar

A passion for quality work and love of the job drives the small two-man business that specializes in a wide range of solar, wind and hydro projects.

Jersey Solar

This New Jersey-based solar company is considered one of the top solar installers on the east coast.



In the Dark on Lightbulbs?

From incandescent to CFLs

Fall 2010 $24.95 USD $26.30 CAN

In just one year the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007’s mandate on banning incandescents will take hold, but not everyone is thrilled. Dr. Edwin Feulner, president of The Heritage Foundation, discusses the switch and the “green jobs” conspiracy.

Smith Tank

90 years strong For close to a century this company has prided itself on quality craftsmanship and continues to develop new products for industrial and commercial industries.


Representing clients within the renewable energy and clean technology industries BIOFUELS BIOFUEL CELLS BIOMASS C OGENERAT ION GEO THERMAL WIND

Robert B. Reeser III, Energy Practice Leader 800.243.5070 /



Colorado Geothermal | 86 Geothermal drilling in the rockies Dan Rau and his team at Colorado Geothermal have had great success in the geothermal industry, specifically in vertical loop installations. Working on primarily residential projects, Rau helps Colorado residents stay warm through the winter.

in this issue



Editor-in-Chief Todd Weaver Editor Diana Doyle Executive Editor Jonathan Mack Assistant Editor Joseph Orange Creative Director Emily Detoro Art Director Stephanie Hess Director of Advertising Julian Vu Production Coordinator Jason Rone Assistant Production Coordinator Elizabeth Macks Photography Editor Ian Palmer Video Director Susan Maybach Editorial Director Kate Darling Editorial Production Rachel Goldberg Copy Editor William Finch Assistant Copy Editor Amy Roberts Content Directors Brandon McBride (W), Aaron McGaskey (SW), Juan Orellana (Int’l), Steve Peters (Nation), Mike Rodgers (Nation), Juan Stewart (NE) Vendor Relations Director Diana Stephens Vendor Relations Eric Miller, Dov Teta Advertising Sales Coordinator Patricia O’Brien Advertising Sales Director Peter Jostens Advertising Sales Moe Kazemi, David Levi, Steve Stone Publisher Steve Reed oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1100 H Street NW, Suite M Washington D.C. 20005 Energy Leaders Today is a quarterly B2B trade journal that services the energy industry in geothermal, hydroelectric, gas, solar, wind, fuel cell and new tecnhologies. ELT has a readership of 100,000 C-Level executives within the energy industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however an abbreviated version is available on our website.

Editor’s Note

06 Editor’s Note Todd Weaver dishes on what makes this quarter exciting, not only for Energy Leaders Today, but also for the energy industry as a whole. From Siemens’ Smart Grid Tour to what’s hot in the marketplace, D.C. is buzzing with energy.

09 Editorials Dr. Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, discusses the switch from incandescent to CFL lightbulbs and its impact on the economy.

10 Hot 10 List We scoured the marketplace and selected our favorite new products line your projects inside and out. There’s sure to be one for you!

news spotlights

32 Maldives President LG Electronics announced in early October that its donated solar modules were installed on the Mulee Aage Palace ,the official residence of the Maldives president, as part of the 10/10/10 Project a major global effort to fight climate change.

66 China US Energy Partnership China and U.S. partnerships to develop more advanced and sustainable electricity generation and distribution will speed technology development, promote economic growth, and drive local job creation in both countries, reducing their carbon footprints by 2030.


14 Vela Solaris Vela Solaris, a Swiss company started in 2007, has developed a solar simulation and design software that helps run a solar system in the most optimum manner and shows what solar thermal technologies are needed to meet client demands.

20 Greene Tech Renewable A passion for quality work and love of the jobdrives the small twoman business of Greene Tech Renewable Energy, a Tenneseebased company that specializes in a wide range of solar, wind and hydro projects.

4 Energy Leaders Today

25 Geo Connections The four-person business of Geo Connections, Inc. wrote the book on geothermal loop systems and today has installed over 10,000 tons worth of ground source heat pump systems for a wide range of clients.

30 Conservice With 10 years of experience in a variety of market types, Conservice is a leader in the utility management and billing industry and can help you maximize the performance of your utility management program.


34 SOLARHOT Jeanette and Dan Gretsch always dreamed of ownign their own business. Today, their North Carolina-based company of SOLARHOT makes one of the most efficient solar water heater system in the U.S., as certified by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation.

39 Blueline Power Pushing the envelope in technology with techniques like energy mapping and satellite data, Blueline Power creates efficient renewable energy systems for wind, geothermal, biofuels and more.

44 Energy Solar Products Specializing in water heaters but also offering an array of other solar products, the international firm of Energy Solar Products can meet any projects solar needs.

48 Oasis Montana As a child she focused on saving energy, today Chris Daum is president of Oasis Montana, one of the largest suppliers, installers and educators for solar systems in the state of Montana.

54 Vanguard Energy Partners


68 Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning Joe Collier and Ken Diekhoff hit the ground running when they started their Indiana-based business of Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning in 1987. Today they can boast 98 percent customer satisfaction, amazing growth and a wide repertoire of skills.

76 Yoder Drilling Founded in 1962, Yoder Drilling & Geothermal was an early contributor to the development of geothermal as an alternative energy power source.

84 Mills Bit Service With 27 years of experience under their belt, Mills Bit Service provides not only the ultimate drill bit for geothermal drilling but outstanding customer service as well and operate on the motto “quality come before quantity.”

86 Colorado Geothermal Experience, dedication and ingenuity have led company owner Dan Rau and his team at Colorado Geothermal to great success in the geothermal industry, specifically in vertical loop installations. Working on primarily residentail projects, Rau helps keep Colorado residents stay warm through the winter.

power generation

94 Fedco Electronics One of the nation’s largest value-added battery distributors, Fedco Electronics Inc. specializes in the production of ENERGY+ and also distributes 13 highly respected brands.

With a background in Finance, Pincipal Tom Buono has led Vanguard Energy Partners into a huge amount of sucess in the solar industry in just a few years time, helping provide creative alternatives to conventional energy systems.

gas & electric

60 Corbin Solar Solutions

100 Smith Tank & Equipment

By maintaining a close relationship with clients through personal involvement in each installation project and by offering cost-effective financing solutions, the growing company of Corbin Solar Solutions, LLC is convincing consumers daily why solar is the way to go.

Going into their 9th decade, Smith Tank & Equipment Co has been through highs and lows but one thing has always remained constant: high quality. Today the company markets in the industrial and commercial areas and continue to develop new products.

Fall 2010 5

editor’s note


jane caffrey

Jane Caffrey earned a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota. Currently in her Master’s program at New York University, Jane’s work has been published in both the U.S. and Europe.

With over 30 years of business writing experience for titles such as Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business Journal, Rob brings an insightful perspective to issues in the construction, energy and education industries.

Joan’s experiences as a writer have taken her places that wouldn’t have been possible in other careers. Her success is evident in the awards and recognitions her writing has received.

joel cornell

powered stepping stones. My staff is sure there’s something that will fit your needs or spark some inspiration, regardless of what sector you’re in. And last, but not least, we’ve added a very special person to the staff… my first newborn son. Born on July 7th with a pudgy, cherubic face, weighing in at 9.5 pounds, it’s easy to underestimate the authority this three-month-old holds at the offices of Construction Leaders Today. As a matter of fact, I’d classify his role as somewhat of an executive; or perhaps an advocate for employee satisfaction. You see, ‘Little Man,’ as we call him, reminds us all to stop for nourishment or hydration every 2 hours, he encourages physical activity by way of frequent walks around the block, and when we’re stressed and on deadline, he provides us with plenty of laughter and entertainment. Of course, when introducing new roles into any type of company, it’s not unusual for some inconvenient “restructuring” to occur. Take the coffee table in my office, for example. It’s now a changing table. Or the standard 12-1 lunch break? It’s now a power-“strolling” session. But as long as Little Man continues to contribute, we’re open to the change. We hope you enjoy this issue. As always, we encourage your comments and letters.

rob janis

For anyone who has spent an hour in Washington, it’s almost impossible to ignore that the district is a Mecca for conferences and events of industries and causes that run the gamut. And this year, energy dominates. As I write this, the Green Festival and GridWeek is just winding down, the Offshore Wind Power Summit is just getting started, and Siemens’ Smart Grid Tour staffers are leaving DC on their way to the tour’s next stop, Dallas. Since our main office is only a five-minute walk from the convention center, it’s no surprise that there are equally exciting things going on over here. First, there’s a new kid in town—our new sister magazine, Architecture Leaders Today. We launched this mag in order to ensure that Construction Leaders Today can focus all of its energy on the heavy construction sectors such as mechanical and engineering contracting, steel erection and post tensioning. For more design oriented features, you may now turn to www. Second, we’ve added a new feature to our editorial planning— the “Hot Ten.” This list will spotlight some of each quarter’s hottest products from eco-friendly insulation to solar-

joan tupponce



rebecca rodriguez

With a background in technical writing, Joel excels at translating complex jargon into vivid narratives. Past works include projects with the Department of State, Department of Defense, World Bank, and other retail giants.

Rebecca enjoys a career of writing about critical issues and prominent business leaders of our time. Her work has been recognized both locally and nationally.

6 Energy Leaders Today


Reecting the Future. Concentrating on Success. With our key competences in bending and coating we put your vision in perspective. For more information about the highly efficient solar mirrors for all CSP Applications visit:

FLABEG Solar U.S. Corporation 2201 Sweeney Drive, Clinton, PA 1502


Letters to the Editor

Industry Leaders Today is continuously working to improve the editorial experience through insightful content and impeccable customer service. Here’s what other industry leaders are saying... corporate profile | electric

electric | corporate profile

A Full Menu at FPU by Rebecca Rodriguez

Fayetteville Public Utility’s (FPU) breadth of services has made them a high-tech, one-stop-shop for customers. In addition to electric and natural gas, this public utility in South-Central Tennessee offers water, waste water, cable and Internet. Last July, voice over IP was offered for the first time. The popularity of the utility’s telecommunications services is taking off. The department was added in 1999 and is now serving about 3,000 customers. “We see our company as being one of the leaders in new technology,” said Britt Dye, CEO and general manager. There are not many municipal utilities in the nation offering telecommunication services, he added. The telecommunications department is growing its customer base by about 2 percent per year. Dye is pleased with the growth rate but would like to see it increase even further. He is also looking to soon expand into rural areas, explaining that he is pursuing more grant and federal stimulus money. “We are looking into all avenues to get funds to build that infrastructure,” he said. Growing the telecommunications department into such a strong 30 Energy Leaders Today Spring 2010

Energy Leaders Today Spring 2010 31

You did a great job with the Fayetteville Public Utilities story. We are very proud of the article and would like all our employees and board members to have a copy to keep. Britt Dye Fayetteville Public Utilities Spring 2010

corporate profile | wind

wind | corporate profile

Northern Green specializes in alternative energy soultions that help make the world greener, cleaner and safer for generations to come.

Everything Under the Sun

We received the article and everything is just great! You guys did a nice job and really wrote

by Johanna Gretschel

Most alternative energy companies specialize in one type of energy, or offer a limited range of products and services, Northern Green LLC, retails everything from custom portable solar packages to wind turbines, and LED lighting to educational models and kits. They also offer a complete line of composting toilets, garden composters and other accessories. Their best-selling and most comprehensive educational kit is the Renewable Energy Education Set (REES). This miniature renewable energy system includes a wind turbine, solar panel, electrolyzer, PEM fuel cell and a hydrogen storage system combined to create the world’s smallest green zone. However, even this super science kit

an informative publication. Everyone in our office is extremely satisfied with the end product you produced. I thank you for your time and efforts and congratulations on a very well done article! I hope the experience was similar for you and your staff.

Steve Sorell Emerald Coast Utility Authority Summer 2010

44 Energy Leaders Today

pales in comparison to the 10kW wind turbine that will be installed at a high school in Falmouth, Mass. Northern Green has partnered with Waterline Industries to complete this project. “There is a strong emphasis on education and the importance of teaching our youth about alternative energy options.” marketing director Stephanie Creech said. “Because of this mindset, there is increased demand for the models and kits that demonstrate these technologies.” The turbine is only one part of a variety of on-site renewable energy generation systems commissioned by the town. “This is a working 10kW wind turbine. The other systems include a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array of

approximately 13.5 kW and several wallmounted solar PV arrays,” said Creech. “Hybrid systems offer more efficient use of technology and guarantees more consistent power. It’s all very smart.” Aside from education in schools, Northern Green also educates adults about the choices they can make to incorporate alternative energy sources into their daily lives. “The Northern Green portable solar packages give everyone an opportunity to dabble in the concept of alternative energy without jumping in with both feet,” Creech said. “ It is a place to test the waters with little financial commitment.” For just under $30 you can have a solar mobile charger that provides a charging source for travelers, students Summer 2010 45

We are very happy with the article. It looks great and reads well.  Please express our thanks to all involved. Stephanie Creech Northern Green Summer 2010

The Light Bulb Switchover: In the Dark So, are you ready to comply with the federal government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs? Me neither. Starting in January 2012, a little over a year from now, the phase-out begins. Simple, inexpensive lighting will become a time-capsule item. Compactfluorescent lights, or CFLs -- the bulbs that look like a twisted ice-cream cone (and won’t fit in many light fixtures where space is tight) -- will become the new norm. Anyone who has priced CFLs knows they’re not cheap. Supposedly they’re worth the extra money because they’ll last longer. That’s cold comfort, though, given the dull, unnatural glow that these bulbs throw off. Worse, CFLs are full of mercury. If one breaks -- and who hasn’t dropped a light bulb now and then? -- you have an elaborate clean-up process ahead of you. It’s on the EPA’s website, and it involves evacuating the area of all people and pets, and using duct tape and damp paper towels to get everything up. And no vacuuming or you may disperse the mercury – which, after all, is a toxic substance. So why are we making the switch? It was mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The theory, of course, is that we’ll consume less energy. It’s all part of the green agenda. The same agenda that the president insists will produce scads of high-paying, earth-friendly “green jobs.” Tell that to the 200 workers in Winchester, Va., who are losing their jobs as General Electric closes

its incandescent-bulb factory there. Or to the Americans who work in other plants that have been shuttered. Yes, some jobs will be created, thanks to the ban. Unfortunately, those jobs won’t be here in the U.S. -- they’ll be in China, where CFLs can be made cheaper. Half of all the compact florescent bulbs sold in the U.S. come from just one Chinese manufacturer. “This is not an anomaly,” notes Heritage energy expert David Kreutzer. “Solar panel production is moving to China, as is windmill production.” Dr. Edwin Feulner, President, Perhaps what President Obama means by The Heritage Foundation. “green jobs” is that we’ll be moving lots of American greenbacks overseas to create jobs elsewhere. But at least we’ll be saving energy, right? Not according to a recent study sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It found that energy use under newer “efficient” lighting will actually go up rather than down. Visit www. to read the full story. Fall 2010 9

hot 10 list

we scoured the market and selected our favorite new products to line your projects - inside and out.

1 2 3 4

Big Ass Fans

These low energy fans have a lot more going for them than just their interesting name. With ten blades ranging from six to 24 feet long, these babies can move up to 337,000 cubic feet of air per minute over 20,000 sq. ft. That’s some serious wind power.

green fiber Cellulose Insulation Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newsprint and other paper sources which would normally end up in landfills. If all the paper currently being put into landfills were converted to cellulose insulation, it would save approximately eight million tons of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of taking every car off the road in New Mexico and Nevada. So pump that recycled installation in your walls and warm your house while cooling your planet.

staff pick! $66/pair

SMART Solar Stepping Stones Illuminate garden paths and walkways with our solar-powered stepping stones made from natural slate stabilized with a resin base. These garden path lights are powered by an integral solar panel, that auto-charges to provide up to eight hours of LED light. No wiring; simple installation; rechargeable battery pack included.

10 Energy Leaders Today

Cyber rain Weather Detecting Sprinklers No more over-grown lawns or dry, crunchy grasses for you. Cyber Rain, probably the most technologically advanced sprinkler system out there, uses your internet to get real-time weather updates and seasonal conditions to decide when to water your lawn, so you can save double the green in cash and grass.

5 6

hot 10 list

ikea Sunnan solar lamps These solar powered work lamps come in a variety of colors that are bound to brighten your day. Each lamp includes three solar rechargeable batteries. While the lamp is for indoor use, you simply remove the solar panel package and charge it outside in maximum sunlight.

Benjamin Moore Natura Paint This zero VOC, virtually odorless formula doesn’t compromise on performance. It dries fast, has excellent adhesion and provides a durable finish with an unlimited color selection. Natura features their Green Promise designation, so you can breathe easy knowing that you’ve used the very best for your environmentally sensitive projects.

modern eco homes Earth Friendly Furniture

This vertical grain bamboo table is “eco chic” and lets your guests know that you are both hip and environmentally savvy. Stronger than oak, bamboo is considered the most durable hardwood and when laminated, it’s nearly as strong as soft steel. Farmed bamboo stabilizes the earth with its roots, preventing erosion and produces 35 percent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.

Mitticool clay fridge

7 8 9 10

This fridge might not be the most techy or shiny, but it does its job with no electricity required – which makes it one of the most savvy fridges out there. Developed in 1997 in Gujarat, India, this clay fridge, with it’s terracotta exterior, would be perfect energy-saver for your deck or patio. Plus, the glass door ensures you’ll never run out of beer on a hot day.

sun mar Composting toilettes At first thought, the idea of composting your own waste is kind of... gross. But this self-contained toilet is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, who found this ecopotty to be clean and odorless. It produces safe composting material, so you can line your garden with the most ecofriendly, affordable manure out there.

Moby Rain Barrel This huge 65 gallon capacity rain barrel is a fantastic and easy to use method for cutting the cost of your water bill. The green and black Moby barrels featured here are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and produced in North Carolina. The top of the barrel has a large catchment area so it’s easy to divert water from your downspout into it. It has a brass spigot at the base.

Fall 2010 11



corporate profile | technology


Harnessing the Vela Solaris uses complex software, presented in an easy-touse format, to provide clients with the latest energy information to help keep customers on the cutting edge of energy efficiency.


1. A Vela Solaris employee designs a heat pump system for a client. Photo courtesy of Vela Solaris. 14 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

by Joel Cornell

The global movement towards solar energy has been dynamic and swift, especially in the past few decades. Through the introduction of their solar simulation and design software Polysun, the Switzerland-based Vela Solaris has been meeting the need for solar energy data and modeling around the world since 2007. Although alternative sources of energy have been utilized for many years now, only recently has the idea of maintain one’s own home purely on solar energy become a reality. As we begin to learn more about and gain more access to sustainable and energy efficient technologies, the need to obtain such technology and training is becoming a very mainstream market for corporations, universities and individuals alike. Polysun, a line of software services that provides data for anyone seeking to optimize their current photovoltaic systems, or simply wanting to discover exactly what solar thermal technologies they would need to implement

in order meet the demands of their clients. Their product range includes all the tools their clients need to design, optimize and simulate their systems in the field. Their software covers an increasing amount of diversity, including heat pumps, solar thermal, solar cooling, photovoltaic systems and many complex hybrids in between. A Hybrid system could be the combination of photovoltaic and solar thermal, called PVT, or a combination of heat pumps and solar energy. “Our main customer base ranges from architects looking to open up their designs to better solar optimization to construction firms and solar panel developers looking to easily create optimal sales and quotes to suit any customer,” said Vela Solaris’ Director of Marketing, Simon Geisshuesler. “We do, of course, sell to any individual interested, but the market of those who design, build and manage their own personal solar array is not as big as it should be.” Formerly a mechanical engineer working on Polysun before it was adopted and marketed

by Vela Solaris, Simon has been working with Polysun and programs like it for many years. Polysun was first introduced in the market in 1992, originally to be used as a tool to predict the output of solar hot water and heating systems. Initially developed by Swiss governmental institution Solartechnik Prüfung Forschung in Switzerland, Polysun has evolved into the software to use when working to optimize renewable energy sources in any scope or environment. Thermal, electrical and now wind models are presented graphically all in one tool. Polysun offers a user-friendly and accurate prediction of the economical and ecological performance of such systems. The graphical user interface, as well as the internal software structure, is based on a modular system approach, allowing the combination and parameterization of different solar thermal heating systems. The end goal is finding the optimal size for the main components for a solar thermal system where particular attention is given to the optimization framework. Fall 2010 15

corporate profile | technology

step one:

step two:

Selecting worldwide weather data

Choose your template

Selecting worldwide weather data • Reliable yield forecasts thanks to our global weather database, which includes over 8,000 weather stations worldwide • Calculation of weather data for user-defined locations • During the simulation the sun’s position is updated every four minutes • Accurate location selection helps build customer confidence

“This is the tricky part,” says Simon. “So many factors can influence the actual output of a solar energy system; it can be difficult to account for all of those while still leaving the program intuitive and easy to use.” By integrating statistical weather data as a basis for the simulation, Polysun is able to predict the solar energy production as well as the heating demand of the building and the sanitary hot water. The weather data generator Meteonorm is included as an integral part of Polysun. Meteonorm produces a typical weather profile for a user-defined location interpolating between weather stations and satellite weather data. While solar radiation, ambient temperature and humidity can be accurate enough for the prediction of solar systems (heating and photovoltaic), it is not directly suitable for the prediction of energy produced by wind generators. This is because so many minor local effects play a major role in daily wind distribution. Vela Solaris is currently designing their software to allow the user to upload wind measurement profiles in Polysun to enhance the accuracy for the yield prediction. Despite the high amount of technical data that goes in and out of Polysun, the program 16 Energy Leaders Today

Polysun provides users with the world’s largest and most comprehensive template selection. Polysun offers countless ready-made templates for the following systems: • Domestic hot water • Space heating • Swimming pool • Space cooling • Heat pumps • Photovoltaics • and more! Or create your own hydronic template, have a template designed by your Polysun team • Predefined schemes make system design easier and save time

is incredibly user friendly. Installation and set up is as easy any other computer program and the user interface is familiar, intuitive and simple. Those already familiar with the more detailed aspects of renewable energy sources will be able to hit the ground running. Vela Solaris also offers multiple personalized training sessions via the web several times each week, at times convenient for user in the U.S., Switzerland or further abroad. Vela Solaris’ key design engineers will walk the trainee through directly and answer any and all questions concerning the software. Polysun’s line of software is also used as an educational tool, within a diverse range of university courses, as well as training for professional HVAC engineers. “Because of the rise in the demand for solar energy systems, there is a great need to teach this kind of technology to well established HVAC engineers,” said Simon. “Polysun can be especially instructive here because the engineers already know the details about the dimensioning of pumps and heat exchangers and how to setup controllers, etc.” Teaching solar energy topics with the use of Polysun is done in several universities in Europe, the U.S. and Asia with different levels

of intensity. Within this are two core markets: one focusing specifically on simulation tools and comparing the different tools available on the market, sometimes including in-house and non-commercial simulation software. The second market consists of teaching general solar thermal topics, using Polysun as a simulation tool without going into the details of the simulation itself. The general Polysun software can be broken down or aimed specifically at certain simulations as desired. Unique versions exist for the user for solar thermal, photovoltaic, heat pump and cooling systems. Additional products can be customized for the prospective customer that combine any or all of these versions. Within this, four different versions of Polysun exist: Standalone, Customized, Inside and Online. Polysun Standalone is the most essential or basic version. “One client we recently sold several licenses of the Standalone version to is an installer and planner of solar and geothermal systems,” said Simon. “Polysun helps him optimize solar yield and print system performance reports and eventually help in achieving better sales. They will maintain an

technology | corporate profile

step three:

step four:

Definte your customers

Dimensioning the system

• Enter daily hot water consumption or yearly demand • Select the building characteristics from an extensive catalogue or you can define the heating demand or the oil/gas consumption • Accurate simulations even when little detailed information is available

• Polysun provides you with a comprehensive database of commercially available products. Our database is constantly updated and promptly made available to all users. • Certified data guarantee the reliability of simulation and yield values generated.

step five: Dimensioning the system

• Automatic display of simulation results • Clear and detailed evaluations with PDF-reports instill confidence and trust in customers and support any subsidy applications. • Displaying economic results (such as payback period, incentives, energy balance) is proof of your professionalism.

• Monthly and hourly results for all components make it possible to monitor energy flows. • All results can be graphically displayed. • Customer-specific reports build customer confidence and increase your sales opportunities Fall 2010 17

corporate profile | technology

up-to-date advantage over the competition in selling their products by showing a landlord or client a professional Polysun sales report rather than somewhat more arbitrary results calculated with a spreadsheet.� Polysun Customized provides the same end result as the Standalone version, but allows the customer to work directly with Vela Solaris engineers to tailor the software to their exact specifications or desires. Recent Vela Solaris customer Heliodyne is a provider of readymade solar thermal systems. They are using a version of Polysun Customized that is somewhat simplified, and has a personalized database set to include only their products. Hydraulic schemes, catalogue databases and appearance are individually adapted to fit their needs. This gives Heliodyne’s dealers a useful tool and that competitive edge amongst other dealers. Polysun Inside is the offspring of a successful partnership with Data Design System (DDS), in industry leader in CAD solutions. Polysun Inside works within DDS-CAD directly to provide instant data regarding the output of the digitally proposed solar system as the user designs the structures. This version is particularly useful for professional engineers and designers, who need instant data that can keep up with the many changes they make to their designs. It can take into account the planning needed for electrical installations, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation to provide even more specific results. Polysun Online is a particularly useful asset that a company or firm can provide to their clients. All interaction with the program takes place online in a web browser, and can be easily incorporated into the structure of existing websites. Vela Solaris not only handles tailoring the program to the customer’s specific needs, but also integrates the software directly into the site for the client. To streamline the software for the end-user, who will usually lack training or familiarity with Polysun, most extemporaneous details are filtered out to provide an easier and faster experience. Many utility companies are becoming obligated to provide a certain amount of renewable energy in their offerings. This could easily be achieved by giving their customers access to Polysun so that they can find out if renewable energy is the right choice to meet their energy needs. This would help widen the customer base of any utility company and also help spread the availability and use of renewable energies. Polysun software is a tool that is both versatile and precise, two qualities that the burgeoning industry of renewable energy needs most. The tools and services that Vela Solaris provides are important factor in the global effort to help reduce CO2 emissions and introduce renewable and sustainable sources of energy into the mainstream market. ELT

18 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

Fall 2010 19

corporate profile | technology

20 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

A Greener Tennessee At Greene Tech Renewable Energy a passion for exemplary work drives the two-man business to perfect the renewable energy industry. by Joel Cornell

Ian Huddleston of Greene Tech Renewable Energy seems to have something of a difficult time settling on his official title within the company. “It’s tough,” said Huddleston, “because I’m the owner and CEO and president or what have you. But also I’m the main designer, the engineer, the maintenance guy, head of HR and accounting, the lead technician/ installer and also the receptionist. All in all, our entire operation is just two dudes who love doing quality work in renewable energy installations and maintenance. It’s just me and my buddy, my master electrician Glenn Rice.” Huddleston and native Tennessean Rice founded Greene Tech Renewable Energy in 2008 after moving to Greeneville, Tenn. Huddleston came from a background of extensive training and experience in the field of HVAC installations, having owned and managed his own business in Florida for many years. “We used to vacation in Tennessee when we were living in Florida,” Huddleston said. “I have some family up here, and honestly Tennessee has some of the most beautiful country in the whole nation. Fortunately, we got out of Florida at just the right time; 2007 was about the time that all the markets started to crash and go nuts. “At first, I decided to move up here to Greeneville and thought I’d just continue in the HVAC business. But I’ve always had a great interest in renewable energy in general, and one morning we got together and decided to go in that direction instead.” Today, Greene Tech Renewable Energy is still just Huddleston and Rice doing what they love. Their range of work is considerable, as well; they specialize in all sizes and scales of systems, including solar, wind and hydro. They have dealerships and a myriad of equipment available from some of the best companies in the industry like SunWize Energy Solutions, Aerostar Wind Turbines and PowerSpout Micro-Hydro, to name a few. From stand-alone photovoltaic systems for a remote barn to a solar and wind hybrid system for a business or large plant, the guys who pick up the phone when you call to order your renewable energy system will arrange it, design it, help you finance it, install it and come to maintain it if and when the need arises. “We occasionally have a couple of helpers who we can contract out to aid us on the bigger projects that come our way,” said Huddleston, “but we don’t just sit back in a fancy office somewhere and watch them do the work for us. When we’re hired, we’re there on site making sure the job is getting done right simply by doing it ourselves. This means we can’t handle 25 projects at one time, but we honestly just feel much better giving one customer our full attention at a time. We’re not trying to work towards some office on the 30th floor or a posh vacation home. We both just really like what we do; it always feels like it’s too much fun to be just a job.”

OPPOSITE PAGE: Southwest Windpower Whisper 200 wind turbine in Roan Mountain, Tenn. ABOVE: Tazewell Job. Ian Huddleston, owner of Greene Tech Renewable Energy, installing Sanyo HIT Power N 210W solar modules in Tazewell, Tenn.

Rice has a background of over 20 years as a master electrician, while Huddleston has specialized as an HVAC professional and also in home automation systems. He is also certified and highly trained in a wide variety of systems for solar, wind and hydro. Tennessee is also a great place for renewable energy. This is largely due to the wide variations in terrain: mountains in the east, hills in the central region of the state, and more open flat land in the west. This means that the wind power available in the region is extremely useful, with an average of up to 15 mph winds in the mountains Fall 2010 21

corporate profile | technology

22 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

and foothills. The elevation and average sun hours also provides a benefit for any solar PV or solar thermal system. There are a considerable amount of lakes, rivers and streams in the state as well, which makes access to hydroelectricity more widely available than in most landlocked states. The incentives for making the switch to renewable sources of energy in Tennessee are certainly available, though they aren’t quite as large as in some states. The Tennessee Valley Authority offers a $1,000 rebate for any customer who ties a renewable energy system into the grid. There is no feed-in tariff for customers as of yet, but companies like Greene Tech Renewable Energy get a return of 3 cents per kWh for wind and micro-hydro and 12 cents per kWh on solar on top of whatever the going rate is at the time for any residential system they install. It’s a little more for commercial systems. Recently, the majority of the business that Greene Tech Renewable Energy does is for single family residential systems. Due to the economy as of late, much of their work in the commercial sector has dried up. “People always want to switch to clean, renewable energy systems,” Huddleston said. “But for businesses, sometimes it doesn’t quite make perfect sense to put up the money up front for a system that will leave them cash flow positive in a few years. It’s more reasonable for them to stick to traditional sources of energy and worry about that when the economy is more stable and their business isn’t at risk nearly as much. Greene Tech Renewable Energy’s biggest commercial client in recent years has been the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. “Now, there is a recession-proof industry for you,” Huddleston said. “They have to pump and aerate their water in the distillery, so OPPOSITE PAGE: Tazewell Job. 4.2kW grid tied installation in Tazewell, Tenn. using Sanyo HIT Power N 210W solar modules, SMA Sunny Boy inverter and Unirac Solarmount I Clicksys racking. ABOVE: The grid tied with battery back up system with Outback Power Inverter/Charger that powers a Grundfos SQFlex well pump that accompanies the Southwest Windpower Whisper 200 wind turbine in Roan Mountain, Tenn.

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corporate profile | technology

they hired us to harness the energy they were wasting with a hydroelectric installation at their main distillery. We are installing some solar equipment for them as well.” Due to the mountainous terrain in Greene County in eastern Tennessee, where Greene Tech Renewable Energy is located, they have come to specialize in designing custom systems. The wide variations in terrain make for several small pockets of unique little ecosystems that can be difficult to adapt to. However, their extensive knowledge of the area and of the small nuances involved make Greene Tech Renewable Energy an ideal choice for any kind of system. “Just about every job we do is different from the last in some major way,” Huddleston said. “That’s given us a great resource to learn from, which will be invaluable when we begin to expand with the right people some time down the road. However, we’re not going to expand too far, because we never want to get to the point where we stop overseeing the jobs ourselves.” Huddleston is currently working on turning his small business into the subject of a cable television or internet show. “People are really interested in how this stuff works. My job would make a cool show: the challenges of working in the mountains, the variety of interesting customers. If you wanted to watch a TV show about renewable energy, what would you want to see, some soft installer in California at a cookie-cutter home with a cookie-cutter family or me battling the mountain elements in a four wheel drive with real folks in east Tennessee? All we’re looking for is a producer and we’ll do it in no time.” “As much as we want to keep doing our work and letting something we love to do keep a roof over our heads, it’s really important to the both of us that we educate people on renewable energy,” Huddleston said. “We’re trying to do good by showing how affordable these systems are and how well they work. We are also building a positive image for the technology and the industry. I fear that people will start companies and rip people off or sell and install garbage systems and give us all a black eye. Once the markets start to catch up with the technology, renewable energy companies are going to be just as common as plumbers or roofers. “Someday soon, houses would sooner come without indoor plumbing than they would without some kind of invaluable renewable energy source.” ELT RIGHT: Aerostar Wind Turbine Going Up. American made in Westport Point, Mass. Aerostar six meter 10kW grid tied turbine. Photos courtesy of Greene Tech Renewable.

EcoInnovation EcoInnovation manufactures and globally distributes the PowerSpout range of hydro product solutions. They are typically used in both on- and off-grid domestic applications. Industrial applications include control power at remote city water storage reservoirs and at larger hydroelectric dams. The product can stack up to 10kW and is commonly employed in 200-3000 W applications. 24 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

Small Business Speaking Volumes by Joel Cornell

The four-person business of Geo Connections, Inc. wrote the book on geothermal loop systems and has Designed over 10,000 tons of ground source heat pump systems.


hen relying on a company to manage the design of your geothermal system, it’s always nice to have a company who has read every book on the subject. When dealing with the design, education and software firm of Geo Connections, Inc., every client benefits from the company and professionals who have quite literally written the book on geothermal ground loop design services. The small, yet talented team at Geo Connections, Inc has designed nearly 10,000 tons of ground source heat pump systems throughout the United States and Canada since 2006. Comprised of only four employees, Geo Connections, Inc. encompasses a wide range of services for the geothermal industry with a total combined experience of over 50 years. “Initially, we began by focusing on the need within the industry for installation contractors,” said engineer and co-principal Ryan Carda. “While we were fairly successful in that first year, we found that our experience as engineers and designers could be put much better use behind the scenes, rather than in the field digging trenches. We were really successful at physically doing the installations, but we saw some saturation beginning to take place in that market, so we decided to go where there was more of a need for our unique skill set.” It was at this point that Geo Connections, Inc. began to transition into what is now their incredibly successful current business model. One major focus of their operations is in designing custom plans for contractors and geothermal loop installers. Using their many years of experience, they are able to consistently and reliably provide quality geothermal design solutions, all across the country. “Our philosophy is to encourage all contractors to do what they do best,” said engineer and co-principal Jared Horn. “They can specialize in working with their clients in their specific geographic market and in the nuances of installation in their area, while we use our expertise to provide the ground loop and GSHP system designs.” “A client or installer using Geo Connections, Inc. for their geothermal design services is somewhat like buying a company insurance policy,” Carda said. “Our customers can approach any project with the confidence and knowledge that the system will work, guaranteed, as long as our specifications are followed.” Geo Connections, Inc. offers a wide variety of geothermal design services specifically tailored to meet any needs that a client may have. They offer basic design services, for ductwork, geothermal loops and heating systems alike. Additionally, they offer commercial and light commercial LEFT: Ryan Carda and Jared Horn discussing LoopLink Projects.

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corporate profile | technology

26 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

ground heat exchanger design services. All of their design packages include specific services; from heat pump scheduling and duct design to interior piping design, head loss calculations and circulating pump selection. Should a client have specific needs that need to be met, Geo Connections, Inc. can alter any of their standard sets of services to include specific additional services as required. The many years of experience that the four man team at Geo Connections, Inc. can offer goes much further than design. Quite literally, Geo Connections, Inc. has written the book on geothermal design and installation of ground source heat pumps. Their 560 page manual is the official Residential and Light Commercial Design and Installation Manual for the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association. This manual now serves as an industry standard, and covers heating and cooling design load calculations, piping materials, properties and flow characteristics, how to configure and layout closed loop ground heat exchangers, flushing and purging GSHP systems and a massive troubleshooting guide to help fix and repair a wide variety of issues. Training via guides or manuals is only a small part of the contributions that Geo Connections, Inc. makes to accrediting and training in the geothermal industry. “The ground source heat pump industry is experiencing rapid growth throughout the United States and Canada, due in large part to increasing energy costs and a heightened environmental awareness,” said Carda. “One of the key limiting factors to this growth is the accessibility of properly trained loop field designers and installation professionals.” Mainly centered on the East Coast, but spanning across the continent, Geo Connections, Inc. provides intensive training sessions for industry professionals and newcomers alike. Their typical classes include a wide variety of industry professionals, from HVAC contractors, drillers and plumbers to architects, engineers and building owners. The starter course covers not only the basics of geothermal design and loop installation, but also the nuances and finer points of the world of geothermal. Carda, Horn and Geo Connections, Inc. President, Dr. Charles Remund, run the courses. Their total experience and knowledge infuses the classes with hard earned experience and a diverse range of expert knowledge. The course topics include economics, marketing and demand reduction; thermal conductivity; selecting, sizing and designing heat pump systems; grouting procedures for GSHP systems; ground heat exchanger installation methods; flushing and purging the systems; and heat pump system start up and checkout. For those who complete the class and pass the final exams, the ultimate goal of IGSHPA Accreditation is achieved. This is beneficial for many reasons: along with declaring this to any prospective clients, many of whom require accreditation to do business, the business of the person taking the class will be added to the official IGSHPA online database. The contributions that Geo Connections, Inc. makes to the geothermal industry do not stop at extensive training and custom design services. They also are the designers and providers of LoopLink, web based software made specifically to optimize residential and light-commercial geothermal systems. The software includes design capabilities, budget forecasting and economic analysis, comprehensive head-to-head comparisons between OPPOSITE PAGE: Jared Horn demonstrating how to read antifreeze concentration. THIS PAGE: Example page layout for LoopLink project summary report.

MIDWEST GEOTHERMAL As the cost of fossil fuels continue to increase, the idea of “going green” has become increasingly popular. Midwest Geothermal installs geothermal loop systems, using the Earth’s natural energy to meet your comfort needs. With extensive experience in all types of loop field designs, Midwest Geothermal has the experience to make your geothermal installation a success. For more information visit Fall 2010 27

corporate profile | technology

GSHP and conventional heating and cooling solutions, and geothermal system efficiency analysis tools. Because the program is entirely webbased and can be run through almost any web browser, it is available from any computer at any time. Also, the engineers at Geo Connections, Inc. are available to work within the program itself with the user to help them obtain solutions and solve problems on the go. Because of the versatility of the software, the user base for LoopLink is quite broad. LoopLink can be used by a homeowner to establish what exactly they would gain and save from using a geothermal system. It’s also a vital tool for any loop installer looking to give this kind of crucial information to their customers before they invest in a geothermal system. Additionally, LoopLink uses a massive database that can compare a GSHP with other methods of obtaining renewable energy from alternative sources. “LoopLink isn’t just the first geothermal software designed around the new IGSHPA standards,” said Carda. “It’s the only software designed by the authors of those standards.” The sheer scope of the services that Geo Connections, Inc. provides with their four engineers speaks volumes for the talent and experience that has led them to be what they are today. ELT ABOVE: Ryan Carda explaining radiant system controls. OPPOSITE PAGE: Ryan Carda and Jared Horn reviewing plan drawings. Photos courtesy of Geo Connections, Inc.

AMERICAN ECOTHERMAL INC. American EcoThermal Inc. (AET) now offers EcoTherm, a patented, capital preserving, cost-fixing way to deliver space conditioning BTU’s to your properties. AET supplies capital and certification resources to install the external geoexchange loop field for a building in exchange for a fixed price per BTU, 15-25 year contract for the use of that loop field that represents up to 10% savings off today’s costs. For more information, visit 28 Energy Leaders Today

technology | corporate profile

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technology | corporate profile

Comprehensive Utility and Energy Management Solutions for Property Owners When you combine the Conservice expertise in utility management and billing with their experience and understanding of various markets, you’ve got a winning combination. The utility experts at Conservice process millions of utility bills each year and specialize in providing accurate and timely utility management and billing throughout the US. Conservice has designed a specialized billing application to accommodate the nuances of the residential, student, military, commercial, and government markets which increases their clients’ bottom line by sending accurate and timely utility bills, providing outstanding customer service, and promoting the conservation of our valuable natural resources. Navigating the ever increasingly complex energy market is a challenging undertaking. The experienced energy management experts at Conservice will help you find the right solutions to fit your unique situation. When negotiating for energy services there is power in numbers. As a result, we leverage our exposure in the industry to bring together clients with similar interests to obtain the bulk discounts allowing the entire group to gain greater savings and ancillary income. Additionally, we’ll stay with you to serve as your advocate in dealing with energy providers. We’ll continually monitor your utility expenses and usage to ensure compliance with negotiated rates. Finally, we’ll provide the information you need to make informed decisions. Our comprehensive reporting tools provide access to valuable data online, anytime. Conservice also offers full-service utility expense management expertise which help take the load off a busy accounting department. Conservice can accurately and efficiently digitize, audit, and pay all utility bills for a customer which frees valuable resources to focus on other areas of business. All expense information is readily available online -- 24/7. In addition, Conservice can also facilitate identifying utility theft which increases the bottom line at a community. The Conservice utility experts will routinely audit a community’s utility bills to ensure our clients are paying the correct and lowest rates possible. The Conservice responsive customer service is second to none. Residents and clients can call toll-free to speak with a knowledgeable representative who can explain billing methodology, take payments, and answer other questions as needed. Comprehensive online services are available 24/7. Conservice offers eBilling and auto-eft payment processing to encourage students to make timely utility payments. Fall 2010 31

spotlight | news

Maldives President Goes Solar With Help from LG LG Electronics (LG) announced in early October that its donated solar modules were installed on the official residence of the president of the Maldives as part of a major global effort to fight climate change. LG’s effort is part of the 10/10/10 Project, a worldwide effort coordinated by an international environmental organization, to reduce greenhouse gases. The panels were installed on the president’s official residence, Mulee Aage Palace, on October 7, the same week U.S. President Barack Obama’s office announced plans to install solar panels on the White House by early next year. “It is a tremendous honor to be part of this campaign to demonstrate how the private and public sectors can work together with NGOs to help raise awareness of the critical issue of global warming,” said Hwan-yong Noh, CEO of LG Air Conditioning Company. “The Republic of Maldives has been at the forefront of the movement for nations to take more responsibility for the environment so it’s a fitting location to demonstrate the role renewable energy can play in our lives.” An established leader in consumer electronics and appliances, LG is also a growing player in total energy solutions, which employs the 32 Energy Leaders Today

latest in energy-saving technologies, such as solar and LED lighting, to make buildings and spaces as eco-friendly as possible. Mulee Aage Palace has been fitted with 48 of LG’s 240W modules, enough to produce 11 kilowatts (kW) of solar power, whereas solar systems in an average household will provide between 3 and 5kW of power. It is expected that the system will save Mulee Aage more than $300,000 over the lifecycle of the solar panels. The Maldives already suffers from water shortages and the erosion of its seashore, two phenomena widely attributed to climate change. Over the last century, sea levels surrounding the island nation have risen about 20 centimeters, threatening the existence of the Maldives, already one of the lowest countries in thee world at only 1.5 meters above sea level. President Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s president and an outspoken environmental campaigner, has long urged world leaders to adopt stronger measures against climate change, and holds the title for hosting the first underwater cabinet meeting in the world to draw attention to the dangers of global warming.


INSIDE: SOLARHOT, Blueline Power, Energy Solar Products, Oasis Montana, Vanguard Energy Partners, Corbin Solar Solutions

corporate profile | solar

34 Energy Leaders Today

solar | corporate profile

by Joel Cornell

Acting solely as a manufacturer has allowed SOLARHOT, a North Carolina based solar thermal system designer and manufacturer, to truly excel in their field. Indeed, SOLARHOT manufactures the most efficient solar water heater system in the U.S., as rated by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. Jeanette Gretsch earned a degree in chemistry during her university years, before becoming a home school teacher and stay at home mom. After 16 years, she and her husband Dan decided to start actualizing their dreams of owning their own business. Currently, Jeanette serves as President of SOLARHOT. “My husband and I have always held a deep passion for our environment,” Gretsch said. “Dan was a manufacturing engineer for a Fortune 500 company for many years, and provided in house consulting to facilities around the world. He traveled frequently back and forth from Brazil, and noticed in particular how the solar industry was really taking off in a way that it had yet to here in the U.S. Many people who weren’t exactly in the higher or middle income brackets were still regularly investing in their own solar thermal systems, and that intrigued us.” From here, Jeanette and Dan began to turn their idea for a small business in the direction of solar energy. They first started manufacturing solar by themselves in their garage. In 2006, they moved into their own production facility and officially established SOLARHOT. As of 2009, they have expanded exponentially and moved into a much larger warehouse space. “Because of the way the economy and the market for solar energy was in the early 2000s, there wasn’t really one standard for solar thermal manufacturers in the U.S.,” Gretsch said. “We started off right before tax credits from the government for renewable energy became a reality. As those came along, more and more people started to become interested in solar thermal systems. But, due to the lack of standards, there was a very high learning curve that made it difficult for people to adapt to solar on a large scale. Our goal was to market a product OPPOSITE PAGE: A SOLARHOT employee works on CNC precision machining.

America’s Most Efficient Solar Heating System This small, North Carolina-based manufacturer is producing big-time efficiency around the world. Fall 2010 35

corporate profile | solar

We want our solar collectors to not only be of the highest quality and efficiency, but we also strive to make them durable, reliable and aesthetically pleasing. that was pre-engineered, self contained and easy to learn.” Today, SOLARHOT focuses on a complete line of solar water heating systems, components and engineering services for a wide range of projects, stock system packages and custom design work alike. Part of what has allowed their small business to become a large part of the market has been the simplicity of their designs. Their systems can be integrated into virtually any kind of water heating system, and the standard package includes the necessary features such as heat exchanger pumps and control mechanisms. SOLARHOT manufactures their standard systems to only require four connections that need to be installed, which further simplifies the process for HVAC professionals and installers. In order to focus their work and concentrate on manufacturing the most efficient product possible, SOLARHOT only deals through distribution companies. Because of the simplicity of the installation process for their systems, they can sell to a much wider market than those who manufacture systems that require much more training and knowledge. Their systems are sold to distributors nationwide and internationally, mainly in the Canadian and Caribbean markets. SOLARHOT doesn’t solely manufacture the collectors, mounts and system packages. They 36 Energy Leaders Today

also distribute components and several different lines of tanks for those who are installing an entirely new heating system. From solar storage tanks and large commercial tanks to drainback tanks and expansion tanks, the very same quality that goes into their incredibly efficient solar panel arrays is also in their wide variety of tanks. “What we aim for,” Gretsch said, “is primarily a total system package. We want our solar collectors to not only be of the highest quality and efficiency, but we also strive to make them durable, reliable and aesthetically pleasing. Our system packages will work with any kind of water heater, in any climate, in any size range, with any number of tanks, whether they are drainback systems or pressurized glycol systems. All these different arrangements have different benefits for different people, and being able to offer every option to every distributor, both large and small, has been a vital part of our success.” Despite their wide array of products, SOLARHOT has been aiming their design work at producing a more standardized system for themselves and the industry at large. “Custom systems can be very expensive,” Gretsch said, “and with so many different kinds of systems available within the industry, it can be difficult for an average consumer to know which choice is best for them. We run a con-

tinuous improvement facility and have been trying to produce a system that would drive down the overall price for the consumer. As the simplicity of a system increases, the price for us to manufacture it goes down, the price for an installer to buy it goes down, and the price for the consumer to install it goes down. Once our potential consumer base sees the prices sink, the demand can skyrocket and solar energy ABOVE: When working on absorber production, individual attention is given to each joint on the collector absorber. Afterwards multiple hydrostatic pressure checks verify the quality of the brazes. OPPOSITE PAGE: Solvelox Production - SolVelox is buffed and polished after it is assembled.

RE-ALIGN TECHNOLOGY RE-Align Technology believes that premier solar heating and hot water systems are built upon the foundations of design and installation. REAlign provides its installers with solar thermal solutions emphasizing design and advanced product packaging by SOLARHOT-. RE-Align Technology has partner installers in Coastal North Carolina, Colorado, and Wyoming. Offices are located in North Carolina and Colorado. For more information on RE-Align products and designs, visit

solar | corporate profile

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corporate profile | solar

can become a prevalent choice over standard, non-renewable energy sources. “The recession has taught people to appreciate the ability to own their own sources of energy and the downsides of having to rely on renting energy like most people have been accustomed to,� Gretsch said. Training for solar energy systems is also a main focus for SOLARHOT. Dan Gretsch leads monthly one-day training sessions across the country for consumers, HVAC professionals, plumbers and interested parties alike. This gives people the background and essentials they need to install and maintain these systems. SOLARHOT

38 Energy Leaders Today

can also hold training sessions specifically for clients who want their employees to gain the valuable knowledge of how to install one of the most efficient solar systems on the market. Currently, despite their success and growth, the staff at SOLARHOT stands at just eight. Their personal touch on the systems they manufacture is quite evident. But equally important to them is the individual service they can provide to each and every customer, across the nation and around the world. ELT ABOVE: Hotels use a lot of hot water and solar provides great cost and energy savings. Park Place Hotel, Md. Photos courtesy of SOLARHOT.

BECKETT CORP The Beckett SolarH 2Ot advantage allows homeowners to easily convert any new or existing water heater into a solar water heating system with the Beckett SolarHot package. By taking advantage of federal and state tax credits you can increase the value of your home, receive 30-50 percent of your installation cost back on your next tax return and enjoy 50-80 percent lower hot water energy bills each year. To contact the R.W. Beckett Corporation, call: 800-OIL-BURN (800-6452876) or visit

solar | corporate profile

Preparing for the Energy Paradigm Blueline Power promotes clean energy, helping its’ customers go blue while saving green by Robert Janis

Blueline Power, based in Hollister and Marina, Calif., is pushing the envelope in the use of the latest technologies to create efficient energy systems for home and business. A true full service sustainable energy provider, the company offers renewable energy systems that are based on solar, fuel cells, wind, geothermal, biofuels and more. And they use such state-of-the art techniques as energy mapping, satellite data and Geographic information systems (GIS), and the Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) to select the proper energy systems to use and provide the tools to assist the client to use those systems as efficiently as possible. High tech is nothing new to the president and founder of Blueline. Ed Bless spent two decades learning about high tech working for Silicon Valley companies like Xerox, Apple, Phillips and Nortel. He actually made it to the position of COO of a high tech firm before deciding that he was ready to go off on his own and start H2 Solutions in 2001. It is there that he tackled the difficult task of developing a hydrogen fuel cell. However, he soon discovered that it was solar that was becoming

the well established means to distribute electrical generated energy and in 2003 started Blueline Power. “We start off with a site survey of a target location and figure out the best type of renewable and/or clean energy that is available from the site. Then we look at the energy requirements and design the most economical system,” Bless said. The company has a total of seven employees, but it has ties to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and uses the union to scale up their staff to the size requirements of each project. Blueline Power uses energy mapping to determine the most efficient energy source for a particular site. “Energy mapping is an efficient way to understand what is available on a given site,” Bless said. “Then the company adapts a system to fit.” In one project, the company used energy mapping to find geothermal content it could use in a system. But after gathering the data and doing BOTTOM: Ariel photo of the Pinnacle Organic Ranch, San Juan Bautista, Calif.

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corporate profile | solar

40 Energy Leaders Today

solar | corporate profile

“We start off with a site survey of a target location and figure out the best type of renewable energy that is available. Then we look at the energy requirements and design the most economical system.” analysis it was determined that an energy system based on wind would be more appropriate. “Energy mapping of a location takes into account the wind, geothermal, running water, solar irradiation and others,” Bless said. “We then take the data we get from the energy mapping and translate that into the creation of an energy system that best uses what the site offers.” The firm also does technology business model demonstration projects. One project, known as AAraya, is an example of how Blueline seeks to combine different elements of the energy paradigm to create an efficient, sustainable system. AAraya is designed to provide a sustainable energy source for businesses or municipalities that use a fleet of vehicles. Blueline has the capability to provide the energy, the electric vehicles and the software that enables the fleet manager to manage those vehicles on the web or any smart phone. “AAraya is a combination of three technologies – solar electric, electric vehicles and software that enables the management of the system,” Bless said. AAraya features a canopy of solar panels that cover a parking area. The panels generate electricity which is supplied to and credited by the local utility. The electrons generated OPPOSITE PAGE TOP TO BOTTOM: York School, Monterey Calif. Two angles of the solar panel installations. Photo courtesy of Blueline Power; Chartwell School, Seaside Calif. Solar panel installations. Photo by Quinn Allard; Chartwell School, Seaside Calif. Solar panel installations. Photo by Elliot Mirassou; Aerial photo of the Chartwell School, Seaside Calif. This project at the Chartwell School made it the first complete LEED Platinum campus in the world.The 31kw laminate solar system provided by Blueline Power added points to the school’s LEED rating helping them achieve their Platinum rating. Photo courtesy of Blueline Power. THIS PAGE: Chartwell School, Seaside, Calif. 6th Grade student Isabel Chavez and her teacher Kris Hill pose in front of the newly installed solar panels. Photo by Sarah Austin.

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corporate profile | solar

“We import 11 million barrels of crude oil a day for a cost of $7.5 trillion a year. If we can fuel cars with solar energy then we don’t have to depend on foreign oil.” SCHLETTER Schletter Solar Mounting Systems offers innovative product design and delivery to fulfilling its customers requirements. This is accomplished by transferring over 40 years of design, engineering and fabrication knowledge to each project. Known as a leading solar mounting system manufacturer in Europe, Schletter is also the industry’s technology innovator. Schletter offers solutions for roof or ground mounted systems—small scale up to utility power plants—while supporting nearly every photovoltaic module manufacturer. The majority of Schletter systems are up to 70 percent preassembled in the Tucson, Ariz. factory. The result is a repeatable product with reduced cost, expedited delivery after purchase, and decreased installation time in the field. Call +1-520-289-8700 or visit

by the station are either used by the vehicles parked in a lot under the canopy or credited to the station by the utility. Bless noted that without any incentives, the cost of the canopy is less than five years worth of gasoline used in the average American vehicle. Also, nearly 80% of American driving is less than 40 miles per day. See www.MySolarFuel. com for more specs and information. “We import 11 million barrels of crude oil a day for a cost of $7.5 trillion over a 10 year period,” Bless said. “If we can fuel more cars with solar energy then we don’t have to depend on foreign oil. Moreover, the largest congregation of vehicles in the U.S. are fleets. What if we create fleets that use plug-in electric vehicles fueled by solar energy instead? That is what AAraya does.” The inclusion of the software assures further savings of energy because fleet managers receive a vast array of data about the vehicles including the charge of the battery, the route the driver is traveling, the speed of the vehicle, the time the vehicle arrives at a location, the maintenance needs of the vehicle, the proximity of a charging station to the location of the vehicle. This allows the fleet manager to make decisions that result in abundant savings. Blueline uses an array of technologies to assure that the data is gathered for the fleet manager’s analysis. This technology includes GPS and GSM systems. “If you can measure it, then you can make it better,” Bless said. “A fleet that relies solely on gasoline or petroleum fuel could cut its fuel use by as much as 30 percent. Solar electric systems are increasing in number and can gather fuel at any reasonable location where there is sunlight. Moreover, electric vehicles are increasing in numbers as well and will change the petroleum fuel paradigm,” Bless said. Blueline also provides solar services to schools; agricultural related business, such as wineries and organic farms; local governments and non-profit groups. Signature solar projects that Blueline has completed include the Chartwell School, Pinnacle Organic Ranch, York School, Monterey County Weekly Newspaper and the Eagle Oak Ranch. The project at the Chartwell School made it the first LEED Platinum campus in the world. The EPA and Flex Your Power have recognized the building for its ecologically friendly design. Pinnacle Organic Ranch, which grows 100 percent organic produce, is powered by multiple photovoltaic systems featuring five arrays installed by Blueline. York School, a private college preparatory school in Monterey, Calif., features a similar, fully integrated Blueline system. Monterey County Weekly, located in Seaside, Calif., is the first newspaper to be fully powered by solar energy in the U.S. and features a photovoltaic system utilizing just three solar arrays. Before Blueline installed a solar energy system at Eagle Oak Ranch, they were using four V8 engines running on propane to irrigate pasture land. Blueline provided solar energy to all of the ranch’s power electric pumps. It is quite apparent that Blueline Power is a leader in developing cutting edge answers to complex energy problems. ELT OPPOSITE PAGE: A solar array showing an installation without the use of a concrete foundation.

BREATHE CALIFORNIA As the coordinator of Silicon Valley Clean Cities Coalition, Breathe California of the Bay Area has appreciated Ed’s service on the coalition’s board and his dedication to the Clean Cities mission. Ed has a passion for reducing US dependence on petroleum through renewable energy that is inspiring. For more information on Breathe California’s work, visit 42 Energy Leaders Today

solar | corporate profile

corporate profile | solar

Globally Solar From Puerto Rico to the Panhandle and beyond Energy Solar Products offers an array of solar equipment that will meet any projects needs. by Joel Cornell

Rene Ruisanchez began his career in public water management systems in Puerto Rico in 1966. Today, his family owned and operated company Energy Solar Products, Inc. is one of the largest providers, manufacturers and designers of solar collectors and equipment in Puerto Rico. Energy Solar Products, Inc. has maintained a long history of quality and progress within Puerto Rico’s solar industry. Ruisanchez founded the company in 1981 based on the clear signs that Puerto Rico was to be a rich port for the solar industry in the years ahead. In 1996, his son, Rene Ruisanchez Jr. joined the company, eventually working his way through the ranks to become General Manager. Though covering a wide range of solar design and manufacturing capabilities, Energy Solar Products, Inc. has come to specialize in solar water heaters. With research and development facilities, manufacturing warehouses and their business and sales offices located together, Energy Solar Products, Inc. is perfectly poised to provide their services to the entire island. In 1999, while working on a solar assisted air conditioner research project in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico with the University of Puerto Rico, Ruisanchez met engineer Mario Colon-Bergollo, who joined the company in 2002 as the plant and purchasing manager, and is now a key person in the design, research and development of Energy Solar Product, Inc. systems. In the past few years, their business has also begun to expand into the continental United States, specifically Florida and other Southeastern states. Additionally, Energy Solar Products, Inc. has begun to expand to several other island countries located nearby in the Caribbean, such as the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. John’s, St. Martin’s, Netherlands Antilles and more. “Being located in Puerto Rico is ideal for being in the solar industry,” said Ruisanchez, who is currently serving as the company’s President. Because of its proximity to the equator, compared to the rest of the continental United States, Puerto Rico’s rate of insolation is much higher. 44 Energy Leaders Today

The approximate rate of solar irradiation in Puerto Rico is around 95% of what it would be on the equator, given perfectly sunny conditions with low levels of air pollution and abundant atmospheric clarity. With those same ideal conditions in a more Northerly location like Maine, total solar irradiation would drop considerably to somewhere around 70 percent of what would be achieved at the equator. Because of the increased capacity for solar power and sustainability in Puerto Rico and other nations in the Caribbean, many more houses per capita are beginning to power themselves completely using solar technology. According to the most recent statistics, Energy Solar Products, Inc. has manufactured the majority of solar panels for contractors, installers and construction companies in Puerto Rico. Of all buildings within Puerto Rico, approximately 30 percent either sustain themselves partially or contribute their excess solar-generated electricity back to the existing utility grid system for credit. The utility system for Puerto Rico is entirely consolidated under the government agency called the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Energy Solar Products, Inc. specializes mainly in developing, designing and manufacturing solar panels and solar water heaters. However, they also put their expertise to good use in repairing their own and other companies’ solar equipment, usually on site. Also, they still maintain a business doing installations and rather large scale projects for the commercial and residential sectors alike. Recently, Energy Solar Products, Inc. recently completed an incredibly large solar array for a hospital in the Manatí principality in Puerto Rico. “This project was particularly challenging and complex,” said Ruisanchez Jr., “because we had to keep full power to the hospital at all times. We integrated our own unique solar arrays into the hospital’s power grid, ABOVE: A rooftop solar panel installation at a hospital in Manati, Puerto Rico. Right: Rene Ruisanchez Jr. holding a selective coated thermal fintube.

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while also keeping their diesel fire boilers up and also keep a large amount of their current power grid available for any time that solar power would not be enough. The controllers and balance for the entire grid were quite a challenge, but it was great to do some work for a hospital.” Because of the increased amount of solar irradiation in Puerto Rico, the region has many more possibilities for new and extensive uses. “One particularly interesting method we have been pursuing,” said Ruisanchez Jr., “is the idea of generating steam through solar power. Not just for the steam itself, of course, but generating that steam in such an efficient way that the end result would output much more electricity than if the solar energy were simply converted directly into electricity. “It’s not something that we can put into use right away, but our very talented research and development team has made some really exciting progress with it.” Not just content with providing efficient and cheap solar power to the citizen of Puerto Rico, Energy Solar Products, Inc. has also taken steps to reduce their own consumption of electricity, as well as the amount of waste they produce in the manufacturing of their solar products. In October of 2010, Energy Solar Products, Inc. made the switch from plasma welders to new, custom made, top-of-the-line ultrasonic welders. “The entire welding process is now far more efficient,” said Ruisanchez Sr. “Our plasma welders were much slower in comparison. The new ultrasonic welders use about a third of the energy, they are much simpler to maintain and produce much less copper scrap than we had to deal with in manufacturing before.” With a staff of 25 highly trained employees, with many decades of combined experience, Energy Solar Products, Inc. is among the premier solar panel manufacturers and installers in Puerto Rico. They manufacture an average of about 3,000 solar panels every year, three times what most other manufacturers in Puerto Rico can produce. This gives them a severe edge over their competition, and allows them to lead the solar market in Puerto Rico and the many surrounding markets. ELT LEFT: thermometer reading on a cloudy day. All photos courtesy of Energy Solar Products.

corporate profile | solar

Oasis Montana

48 Energy Leaders Today

by Joel Cornell

solar | corporate profile

ince her early childhood, Chris Daum has always lived on the lowest possible amount of energy that she could manage. “I remember when I was a teenager,” she said, “I had received a hairdryer as a gift, and I was surprised when I realized how much electricity it used. It was really unnecessary, and I’ve never used a hairdryer since.” Currently serving as President of Oasis Montana Inc, one of the suppliers, installers and educators for sustainable solar systems in Montana, Daum still practices that same childhood philosophy. “So many people use electricity in ways that they don’t actually need to. As much as we concentrate on installing quality solar electric and water pumping systems, we also focus on educating both our clients and the general public in the importance of energy efficiency,” she said. “In these days of rising energy

costs, the cheapest way to save is to become more efficient.” Having worked in the renewable energy field since 1989, Daum has a wide range of experience in everything from sales, marketing and shipping to system design and servicing. “Over several decades, I never cease to be surprised at how people tend to overlook exactly how much electricity they’re using on a daily basis,” she said. “I’ve seen people go to bed with the lights on, keep their computers on overnight, teenagers will spend ten minutes staring longingly into the fridge and never pull anything out, etc.” The core of the wide array of services that Oasis Montana provides is installing grid-tied and remote power photovoltaic systems for residential use, as well as larger commercial systems. But, as she explained, “We don’t just get a call, go install and leave it at that. Before we even sell them our products or services, we help them figure out how much power they’re using now. Our initial

goal is to try to reduce their loads to a point where they won’t have to pay for a 6KW system when a 2KW system will allow them to sustain their home entirely on solar through practicing efficient or ‘green’ thinking.” Once Oasis and their customers can establish what their residence or business will need, both now and in the future, to become self-sustaining, the well rounded and highly trained staff of four, including Daum, install the photovoltaic system on site. “For bigger projects, we have a larger crew that we can rely on, but for the most part, our smaller staff handles all our own installations,” Daum said. “I really like that we know exactly who is doing the installation and how, because when a system like ours is installed corOPPOSITE PAGE: Solar array at the Smoke Jumper Center, Missoula, Mont. For more information, visit BOTTOM: Chris Daum and the office kitty sell solar at the Oasis Montana office. For more information visit

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rectly, there’s little need for repair unless something like severe hail storms or accidental damage happens. This type of personal service means a much higher level of customization and versatility so that the customer can always end up having the right system for their situation. While we offer installations locally, we sell systems everywhere, and often work with a customer’s contractor or electrician, providing detailed wiring diagrams and tech support.” One of the most self-reflexive benefits to a grid-tied system, like the systems in which Oasis specializes, is not simply the ability to entirely negate your utility bills, but to actually start earning off of your system. Because their entire system is tied to the local utility grid using a relatively new breed of inverters, any excess electricity that is generated by your system can be sold back to the local utility company. “Because the utility companies sell at retail prices and generally buy from individuals at wholesale prices,” she said, “there’s not a ton of money to be made. The utilities really aren’t going for that. But, you can build up more than enough credit with the utility company so that you’ll never end up paying another utility

bill again if you are efficient enough in your electrical usage.” Recently, Oasis Montana completed the largest grid-tied photovoltaic system in the state of Montana. The 54KW system was built for the Missoula Technology & Development Center, and consists of 243 American-made Schott 220 watt solar modules. The system requires no batteries, and outputs DC power which is converted on site into grid-palatable AC power. This system is located at the Smokejumper Center, near the Missoula Airport. Because of the seasonal low-light conditions that can plague those who are dependent on solar energy, Oasis Montana also augments some of their systems with wind generators, including Chinook wind turbines. “We offer what you might call ‘entry-level’ wind turbines,” Daum said. “These are a perfect fit for the majority of our customers with modest power requirements who live in some fairly windy regions of the country. They can stand alone, but work best as the perfect complement to a solar array to help OPPOSITE PAGE: Brad Stevens, Oasis Montana system designer, builds the mounting rack for solar modules. BOTTOM: Energy from the sun is as American as apple pie! Two killawatt pole mount solar array.

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keep the batteries fat during the cloudier or darker times of the year.” The small Chinooks will help ascertain if there really is a decent enough wind resource; Oasis Montana also offers Bergey Windpower’s one kilowatt units, the XL.1. e’ve had these in operation as far back as 2001, with few problems. Their slogan is ‘they’re built tornado tough’ – and they really are!” Across the wide open expanses of Montana, many homeowners find themselves quite a long distance from their local utility grid. “Rather than pay the utility company thousands upon thousands of dollars to extend themselves out your way just so you can start paying them monthly, it makes sense to simply work with a company like Oasis who can evaluate the size and requirements of the home and install a power system that would never require any outside electricity or specialized repairs,” Daum said. “We can design reliable, turnkey systems to meet any requirements a customer could imagine. And, if your budget won’t allow the entire cost now, you can add to many of these systems incrementally.”

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In addition to the grid-tied solar and wind power-generating systems, Oasis Montana also specializes in the sale of solar waterpumping systems for remote locations. With a vast amount of farms, ranches and the like in the western U.S. needing water where it might not be easily accessible, Oasis can offer different styles of pumps, depending on the source and destination of the water. Whether it’s a high volume, shallow creek that needs to be used, but not depleted; or a fast-moving nearby river or a low output well 650 ft. deep, Oasis has the wide range of experience and pump designs that can cover the needs of any customer. Oasis Montana has maintained a high level of quality in their work in Montana since 1999. Recently, they have begun to take their expertise not just across the country, but internationally as well. “We have several self-sustaining solar water pumps in Kenya, and several in South America and the Caribbean that have been doing very well with the good solar resource that is available around the equator,” Daum said. “We even have a system for a wildlife conservation service in Ireland.” “The green movement has been around for years,” she said. “But only recently have we begun to see a true paradigm shift in our culture, both locally and overall. People

have stopped thinking about solar energy as something that’s exclusive, complicated or impossible. We’ve been striving since 1999 to bring solar energy as a mainstream source of energy to the forefront of the American consciousness, and slowly but surely, we’re making real, meaningful progress. “People are beginning to realize the expensive externalities of fossil fuel electricity (in terms of mountain-top removal, fouled salmon runs, mercury and other toxic elements in our air and spills in our water, etc.) and are looking for more cost-effective and cleaner options for power.” Daum said. “In the future, we honestly plan to change very little about what we do here at Oasis. We want to create efficient and more affordable energy systems, turn a profit and have some fun doing it, and educate people as to the benefits of becoming more efficient: the same thing we’re doing right now. “You know, enough energy from the sun falls on the planet in just one hour that could meet the electrical needs of the earth for one year! We just need to figure out how to use it.” ELT BOTTOM: Two killawatt roof mounted array, Hamilton, Mont. OPPOSITE PAGE: Setting the solar rack for pole installation. All photos courtesy of Oasis Montana.

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anguard Energy Partners

by Joel Cornell

54 Energy Leaders Today

solar | corporate profile

providing creative alternatives to conventional energy systems New Jersey-based Vanguard Energy Partners, LLC is not like most construction companies. They are leaders in the rapidly growing solar energy industry. Vanguard helps their clients meet economic goals while reducing their carbon footprint. While the company is a leader in the solar energy industry, it is first and foremost a true blue construction company and design firm. Similarly, Principal Tom Buono is not like most people in the solar industry. He entered the field with 18 years of management, retail and wholesale financial advisory, and banking experience. Buono contributes that corporate business mentality that has given Vanguard huge amounts of success domestically and around the world. Vanguard was established in 2008 when Ferreira Construction Co., Inc., an accomplished heavy construction company, partnered with New Jersey Solar Solutions, one of the state’s first photovoltaic integrators. This partnership combined decades of experience and knowledge in multiple construction disciplines including roofing,

electrical, site work, engineering and solar technology. Buono came into Vanguard at its founding from the side of Ferreira Construction. To date, Vanguard has designed and installed more than 150 solar photovoltaic systems servicing the commercial, industrial, government and education sectors. They have installed over 12 MW of DC rated capacity, with over 14 MW under construction. Committed to creative solutions, quality workmanship and high performance solar electric systems, they provide maximum return on investments while benefiting the environment. The company’s most notable project is one of the largest rooftop mounted solar installations in North America. The 3.2 MW system provides power to three state-of-the-art food storage warehouses in central New Jersey. The estimated production of the system is over THIS PAGE: New Jersey American Water, N.J. The New Jersey American Water Millstone Water Treatment Plant in Raritan, N.J. is a 99.2 kW system consisting of ground-mounted arrays. Photo by Anita Melograna.

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3510 MWh -- equivalent to over 5.5 million lbs. of avoided Carbon Dioxide emissions. Despite the economy, Vanguard has managed to grow tremendously in just a few short years. “We’ve taken the staff to an all-time high of 37, bringing in 20 new employees this year alone,” Buono said. “We bring many disciplines to our projects and clients including construction, technology, finance, and business management.” When it comes to expansion outside their current geographical footprint, Buono said it can sometimes be difficult to market in certain parts of the U.S. “Here in the U.S., there has yet to be a national mandate for renewable and solar energies. The oil and coal industries and their lobbyists still have a huge hold over the energy market. In 2010, there was a mandate on Capitol Hill for solar energy and other renewable sources of power, but the bill was quite firmly squashed. Fortunately for us, New Jersey happens to be one of the best markets for solar energy. Payback for a commercial solar photovoltaic project is less than 5 years. We will go anywhere there’s a state mandate, and anywhere that the market is at all viable, whether that’s in other states or in other countries.” Vanguard’s core business is in their home state of New Jersey, but they operate all over the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Florida. Additionally, they’re making great strides to extend their reach into the Caribbean. “The Caribbean is an ideal place to expand solar technology,” said Buono. “Many states average more sunlight than New Jersey, but New Jersey is the leader in the U.S. as far as incentives and rebates go. However, the environmental conditions in the Caribbean are ideal for the production of solar energy. The infrastructure there isn’t necessarily as receptive to solar technology yet, and the frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms pose a problem, but it is still a great and promising market to work in.” Though Vanguard runs like a construction company in their day-to-day operations,

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they receive much more support from their head office than your average construction company. A total of four offices support their business ventures. “We recently completed a 334 kW project at the Northwest Bergen County Utilities Authority that challenged us with nearly no available roof/ground space.” Buono said. “We overcame this by constructing the system over the treatment facility’s aeration tanks. Most other solar construction companies don’t design their own architecture and custom arrays, and thus could never have completed a project like that without the need for outsourcing.” And Vanguard’s services don’t stop after project development and construction completion. The company also operates a turn-key services/ maintenance department in their New Jersey headquarters, which is capable of maintaining the systems throughout their lifespan. “As long as there is some support, especially from the utilities, the industry will continue to grow exponentially,” Buono said. “The only people who really don’t want to see solar energy thrive are those who are still making money from the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources. Here in New CENTER: Federal Correctional Institute, Fairton, N.J. The 402.48 kW ground-mounted system at the Federal Correctional Institution had some unique challenges. Security on the job site was a concern, and Vanguard used Unicor panels, which are made by inmates. Some of the inmates from FCI also aided in the construction of this project. Photo by Imagic Digital Photography. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: High Point Solutions, N.J. The solar array at High Point Solutions is a 173.42 kW roof-mounted system. Photo by Imagic Digital Photography; Pitman High School, N.J. The solar array at Pitman High School is a 301.74 kW roof-mounted system. Photo by Imagic Digital Photography; Pegasus Products, N.J. The 101 kW system at Pegasus Products created a NetZero electric building. Photo by DSL Photography; Morristown Wastewater Treatment Plant, N.J. The 578 kW system consists of three components: a 480 kW ground mount, a 69 kW roof mount and a 30 kW canopy structure over the filtration tank. Photo by Anita Melograna; Gill St. Bernard School, N.J. The solar array at Gill St. Bernard is a 146.016 kW roof-mounted system. Photo by Imagic Digital Photography; Hall’s 501 refrigerated warehouse, N.J. The installations at Hall’s are currently one of the largest rooftop mounted solar installations in the U.S. The system size for Hall’s 330, 501 and 601 Warehouses is 3.163 MW. Photo by Anita Melograna.

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Jersey, the renewable energy market has progressed far enough that there are penalties in place for utility companies. However, in some states there are absolutely no incentives in place to get people moving where they want to go: into solar and renewable energy sources.” Although Vanguard’s client base is equally split between the public and private sectors, the company is particularly excited about one recently awarded government contract. In mid October, the company was awarded one of New Jersey’s largest public solar projects, which is expected to save the taxpayers of one county $18 million over the term of the 15 year power purchase agreement. Vanguard arranged a savvy

58 Energy Leaders Today

financing model which freed the county of any capital investment. By selling SRECs back to the county at affordable rates and partnering with Citi Group’s Municipal Securities Division, Vanguard is playing a pivotal role in helping the taxpayers, economy, and environment. On every front, Vanguard Energy Partners is rapidly expanding, and they maintain the talent and dedication that has brought them to be one of today’s leaders in the solar energy industry. ELT THIS PAGE: Black River Farm, N.J. The 163.92 kW at Black River Farm has two different array types. 84.12 kW is a roof mounted array, and 79.8 kW are ground-mounted arrays. Photo by Anita Melograna.

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Solar Solutions Brighten up the Northeast Prided on their high-quality and cost-effective solutions for customers, Corbin Solar works at the forefront of the Solar industry throughout New Jersey. edited by Robert Janis

Corbin Solar Solutions, LLC may not be the only solar-energy company under the sun—but it’s one of the most unique. Its counterpart, Corbin Electrical Services, had 30 years’ experience in the electrical field before branching into this bright new realm. The expansion made sense: solar energy and electricity are inextricably linked. Plus, with the growing demand for planet-friendly energy, the timing was perfect. Founded in 1978, Corbin Electrical Services was the brainchild of electrical engineer Steve Corbin, who also has a master’s degree in business management. His industry knowledge, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, led to tremendous growth and a stellar reputation. Today, this once-small, local company has blossomed into a 35-member firm that serves all of New Jersey. Helping with this expansion is Steve’s son, Adam, who brought his electrical experience to the family business 10 years ago when he joined the team as Commercial Project Manager and Chief Estimator. Adam earned a bachelor of science degree in building construction from the University of Florida, and he presently sits on the National Electrical Fall 2010 61

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solar | corporate profile

Code (NEC) code-making panel number 3. He also holds electrical licenses in New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire. Four years ago, Rick Sehein, now Director of Operations, approached Steve about expanding into solar energy. It was a natural fit. Corbin Solar Solutions was launched in 2006 and is currently licensed in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. “Corbin Electrical Services has always been forward-thinking,” said Steve. “We decided to take that plunge, and it didn’t take long for us to realize that this was a viable enterprise.” For Sehein, an F-16 aircraft electrician who served two short tours in the Middle East with the U.S. Air Force, the need for renewable energy was something of a personal crusade. “It bothers me that we’re so dependent on unstable countries for oil, and that many of our government’s decisions are based on this ‘addiction,’” Sehein said. “Solar is our path to self-reliance. It’s a clean,

renewable energy source; I want to be part of bringing it into people’s lives, one house at a time.” And that’s exactly what Corbin Solar is doing. Their clients—ranging from homeowners to commercial businesses—trust the Corbin team, which is known for both its electrical expertise and its solar-installation prowess. President Steve Corbin sits on the board of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and Vice President Adam Corbin is a certified NABCEP solar installer. Sehein is entry-level NABCEP certified. NABCEP was created to raise industry standards for solar installers, providing training and certification so consumers can be more confident when choosing solar professionals. Membership is optional. THIS PAGE: Before and After of a Commercial installation for South Jersey Eye Care. This commercial installation project utilizes an aesthetically pleasing design to incorporate solar panels onto the roof of a pre-existing building.

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“It’s what sets apart those who go through the qualification process to prove their knowledge in solar PV,” said Adam. “In New Jersey, anyone with an electrical license can do a solar PV installation. But that doesn’t mean he is well-versed in the design and installation of solar PV technology.” Through its mandatory continuing-education courses, NABCEP keeps members on top of the latest technologies and design techniques. Though solar installations are essentially electrically based, they represent a highly specialized field that requires specific knowledge and training. While Corbin has a solid foundation in electrical services, the company works to stay at the forefront of solar technology. Corbin Solar’s staff is trained to deal with every aspect of solar installations, making the experience turnkey for clients. In-house engineers perform a detailed site analysis before designing the installation with CAD (computer-aided design) technology. Meanwhile, the administrative team handles all the paperwork for permits and rebate applications. Installation takes just three to five days, and once the client goes solar, Corbin follows up with a six-month “checkup.” In addition, no job is ever subcontracted out. “We believe that in order to maintain the highest level of quality, it’s best to do everything under our roof,” Sehein explained. Corbin emphasizes superior-quality work and fastidious attention to detail. Staff members work diligently to find the most cost-effective solutions for their customers’ solar installations. When designing a system, they consider the unique concerns of each client. In one case, a homeowner lacked sufficient roof space for the solar panels. So Corbin got creative and constructed a solar awning, giving the client the benefit of both sun and shade on his patio. Corbin also completed work on a 25,000-kilowatt system for a medical center, creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of solar panels that also met the energy needs of a corporate office park. The clients were so pleased, they’ve engaged Corbin for other projects. Corbin’s smart business relationships have also given them leadership status in the solar market. In fact, The Home Depot named Corbin top solar installer on the east coast. Because the upfront costs associated with solar installations can be financially challenging, Corbin is aligned with financial partners that offer financing options, including leasing programs that allow for solar-system installations with no money down. Aside from cost, there are other obstacles to overcome in the solar-energy industry. A fear of the unknown may cause potential users to hesitate. Without knowing the benefits of solar energy, people may be skeptical of the seemingly too-good-to-be-true claims made by solar sales representatives. Over time, Corbin’s systems pay for themselves. Adam said he has not paid an electric bill since he installed his own system several years ago. “I can attest to the fact that you save money, you help the environment, and at the end of the day, you feel good about yourself knowing you are helping the future of the planet,” he said. “Once we can get that message out to more Americans, I think the tidal wave of people signing up for solar installation will come.” New Jersey’s solar rebate program allows those who install solar panels to save on energy costs and even get money back for their energy contribution. As other states follow New Jersey’s example, Corbin plans to expand into new markets, including Massachusetts, Florida, and Maryland. ELT TOP LEFT: Residential Solar Awning installation in central New Jersey. The roof of this family home could not accommodate 50 solar panels, so Corbin Solar designed a solar awning over the patio, giving the residents use of both sun and shade. TOP RIGHT: Residential installation in northern Delaware – 8 Kw PV system, ground mounted, grid tied. BOTTOM LEFT: From left to right: Rick Sehein, Adam Corbin and Steven Corbin. BOTTOM RIGHT: Residential installation in central New Jersey – 7.8 Kw PV system, roof mounted, grid tied. All photos courtesy of Corbin Solar Solutions.

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U.S.-China Energy Partnership Can Create Jobs in Both Countries China partnerships to develop more advanced and sustainable electricity generation and distribution will speed technology development, promote economic growth, and drive local job creation in both countries. U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, Duke Energy CEO, Jim Rogers, and Chinabased ENN USA President, Sun Yunquan will be discussing the benefits of such a partnership during a panel discussion in early October called, “A Roadmap for Growth: U.S.-China Private Sector Cooperation in the Power Sector,” to be held in the Woodrow Wilson Center. It is part of the China Environment Forum’s “Cooperative Competitors” series. The basis for the discussion is a Garten Rothkopf study of four power technologies: solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing and installation; smart grid development; coal integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and with carbon capture; and clean coal technology. “The common misconception is that U.S.China partnerships can result in U.S. jobs 66 Energy Leaders Today

going overseas,” said Rogers. “This study demonstrates that for the power sector, new and high paying jobs will be created in both countries – wherever new infrastructure is built, no matter where the technology is developed.” The study found shared benefits across all four technologies. From research and development to manufacturing, construction and installation, and operations and maintenance, tens of thousands of direct and in-direct jobs can be created in each country. Approximately 73 percent of those direct jobs created as a result of power sector development will stay at home. This is true even in those cases where the capital equipment was imported. These employment projections were developed after more than 30 interviews with power project and technology company executives and academics, and were based on actual budgeted estimates, according to the report. The United States and China account for 42 percent of global energy demand and

both will spend trillions of dollars by 2030 to upgrade their infrastructure to meet increased demand while reducing coal dependency and reducing their carbon footprint. The Rothkopf study found the U.S. and Chinese energy firms taking advantage of opportunities in solar PV, wind, and battery production are benefiting from U.S. and Chinese incentives to grow their operations, create new jobs, and establish global supply chains that reduce costs. “This report only confirms what we’ve been saying -- we need to further the development of the ladder of cooperation between government and business leaders in these two great countries,” Rogers said. “It is the key to developing the technologies we need to meet our energy needs in an environmentally responsible way, while bolstering our economy through job creation.” To learn more and contribute to the discussion about the energy issues of today and the possibilities of tomorrow see http://

geother mal

INSIDE: Collier’s Heating & AC, Yoder Drilling, Mills Bit Service, Colorado Geothermal

corporate profile | geothermal

Northern Indiana’s Expert in Comfortable Environments by Joel Cornell

From HVAC to fireplaces, into geothermal and beyond Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning began in 1987 when Joe Collier and Ken Diekhoff purchased an existing Lennox heating and air conditioning company located in the northern town of Warsaw, Ind. Originally, the existing Lennox HVAC company simply did what they did best as a small family business. Collier and Diekhoff had other plans in mind. “We already had an extensive amount of training when it came to heating, ventilation and air condition work at the commercial level,” said Diekhoff, the company’s president, “so taking over the Lennox residential operation was certainly a change of pace for us. In addition to the installation work, we also started with a 40-year customer service base. This was a very important asset to us as the new owners.” Once Collier and Diekhoff purchased the company and settled in, they hit the ground running towards becoming an incredibly successful HVAC contractor, expanding the range of projects and work of the company they had 68 Energy Leaders Today

initially bought. As the company continued to grow, so did their wide array of services. “The growth we experienced during those first few years after purchasing the dealership was too fast. We had a tough time keeping up with our training of new employees.” said Collier, who is currently serving as the company’s Vice President. “Our vision was to expand beyond Warsaw. But, we didn’t want to grow just for the sake of growth, nor did we want to grow beyond the solid foundation of 100 percent customer satisfaction and assurance.” Truly, the Collier team has met that goal for growth. Today, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition enjoys a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating from their client reviews, as well as the Better Business Bureau. In addition to their heating and air condition installation and maintenance services, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition also maintains and active training program at their Warsaw location for all of their employees.

“Whether for a complex residential multizone system or large scale commercial projects, we tailor our design/build services so that we are able to ensure that no client is stuck with a ‘plug and play’ system if they have special requirements that need to be met,” said Collier. As their steady growth continued, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition expanded outside of their initial geographic footprint in Warsaw. In 1998, the company added a third partner, long time friend Todd Zeplin. Zeplin was employed with Waterfurnace in their research and development department and he now manages Collier’s second branch in Ossian/ Fort Wayne, Ind. As of today, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition services many communities across Indiana, from Bluffton and Columbia City to Huntington and North Manchester, OPPOSITE PAGE: Ken Diekhoff (front center), Todd Zeplin (left back), and Joe Collier (right) have overseen Collier’s Heating and Air Conditioning operations since 1987. Photo courtesy of Collier Heating.

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“Whether for a complex residential multi-zone system or large-scale commercial projects, we tailor our design/build services so that we are able to ensure that no client is stuck with a ‘plug and play’ system if they have certain special requirements that need to be met.” 70 Energy Leaders Today

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Lennox Collier’s Heating and Air Conditioning, a Lennox dealer for over 24 years, has consistently earned the distinction of being a “Lennox Premier Dealer”. By performing high quality HVAC installations and service that homeowners trust, and achieving a 97 percent customer satisfaction rating in the process, Lennox awarded Collier’s the Centurion Award for Outstanding Dealer Performance. As owner Joe Collier recently stated, when it comes to Collier’s, “Honesty is not a question”. Not only does Colliers keep its customers happy, they are on the cutting edge of new innovations to the HVAC marketplace. Having recently completed solar energy installation training, they are well suited and qualified to offer Lennox’s innovative and eco-friendly “Sun Source” solar energy HVAC products. These solar powered products can provide a home with enough electricity to operate an air conditioning system completely off the sun’s energy. Collier’s has a high qualified staff to help homeowner’s make the right decision for their heating and cooling needs as well as highly skilled technicians to make sure it’s maintained properly and operating at peak performance. If you’re looking for a premier dealer offering premier products, look no further than Collier’s Heating and Air Conditioning and Lennox. For more information on Lennox, visit www.

South to Wabash, and across all of Northeast Indiana. “We don’t really have the desire to expand regionally outside of Indiana,” said Zeplin. “Our deep knowledge of the area and our customers allows us to truly specialize our services and keep our focus on the quality of our work rather than the quantity.” Alongside simply installing a heating and air condition system, the company’s in house consultants make sure that the high quality systems they install are utilized at their maximum efficiency. Their goal here is to remedy the spacial inequalities of a home or business to minimize any unusually cold or drafty areas using corrective measures like adding registers, balancing dampers, making ductwork modifications or adding additional equipment. They also ensure that the quality of the air matches the quality of their systems through duct sealing and cleaning services, fresh air ventilation additions and high quality purification and filtration systems. They have found this to be the biggest problem in HVAC systems today – “undersized return air ducts!” In venturing outside of the traditional range of services offered by an HVAC company, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition has long been offering new and expanding services

out of their Warsaw branch. Collier’s Fireplace Shoppe runs installation services across the northern part of the state, with a large showroom in Warsaw. They offer a plethora of brands to suite any style or taste, including traditional wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces and pellet burning fireplaces, as well as wood stoves and wood burning home heating systems. It was only a few years ago that Collier’s Heating & Air Condition became the largest water furnace dealer in the state. Their partnership with WaterFurnace International, also located in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been a key factor in the success of Collier’s expansive business. Fittingly enough, Collier’s has continued to expand their range of services even further. In recent years, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition has expanded into more alternative and renewable sources of energy. They have PREVIOUS PAGE: Todd and Kari Zeplin dig in at the groundbreaking ceremony for an all-geothermal subdivision. Photo courtesy of Collier Heating. OPPOSITE PAGE: Collier’s Heating and Air Conditioning installing a commercial unit in Warsaw, Ind. Photo courtesy of Collier Heating. BOTTOM: Ken Deikoff and Joe Collier attending a Lennox SunSource training session in the summer of 2010. Photo courtesy of Collier Heating.

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“We’ve always strived to ensure that each and every customer is satisfied at the end of a project.” developed EarthLink Geothermal, a DBA led by Zeplin that has an extensive program for installing geothermal loop systems, for residential and commercial projects of Collier’s, as well as other contractors throughout Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Michigan and Ohio. Though still in the initial planning phase, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition is also currently expanding their business into the solar energy market. With Lennox’s expansion into the solar energy market, Collier’s is now offering Lennox SunSource products. This is a great partnering for the Collier’s team. The owners are now engaged in training and certification for that division of business. A high amount of community involvement and activity is also important for Collier’s 74 Energy Leaders Today

Heating & Air Conditioning. Recently, the company held a contest to find the oldest working air conditioner in Northeast Indiana. After months of searching through the communities and neighborhoods that they work in so frequently, they found a working LuxAire unit that had been installed in a single family residence back in 1966. The contest winner received the same service that every Collier’s customer benefits from, albeit free of charge: their expert employees analyzed the needs of the home, diagnosed current duct issues preventing full efficiency, and installed a brand new Lennox system with a five year warranty. Though only working with a staff of 40 employees, Collier’s Heating & Air Condition still manages to meet their customers’ high expectations for service and quality. Their

increasingly wide range of services allows them to maintain a name that people can trust, for multiple generations on multiple projects. “We’ve always strive to ensure that each and every customer is satisfied at the end of a project,” said Collier. “We will be happy to provide any HVAC work throughout Northern Indiana for any customer. Fortunately, we’ve maintained a talented and hard working team of designers, engineers and business people, along with excellent group vendors, all of whom have that same dedication to high quality work and total customer satisfaction.” ELT ABOVE: Todd Zeplin with Secretary of Energy, Stephen Shue, and Waterfurnace Executive VP, Jphn Gralick. Photo courtesy of Collier Heating.

corporate profile | geothermal

oder Drilling

& Geothermal. by Joel Cornell

76 Energy Leaders Today

When oil prices skyrocket, natural gas becomes depleted and solar power fluctuates, it’s only natural that customers begin to turn to a source of energy that is 100 percent reliable and efficient: geothermal. This source has been the focus and driving force behind the success of Ohio’s Yoder Drilling & Geothermal. Christian Yoder and son Daniel founded their company in 1962 with three employees, focusing on drilling for coal mines and rock quarries using overburden drilling and blasting techniques. Due to the wide array of geology in Ohio, the business had to specialize in being a highly adaptable drilling service. In 1989, with Daniel’s son Tim now leading the charge, the Yoders were approached to serve as drillers for a geothermal project, back when geothermal was first being developed into a viable form of sustainable energy used in small scale commercial and residential markets. “The rigs that we designed and built were very adaptable to different kinds of formation drilling in residential areas,” Tim said. “The coal mining market in Ohio was slowing down, and we realized the broad range of opportunities that would become available by diversifying our company into geothermal

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Project spotlight: A typical residential geothermal loop piping installation at an existing home. The entire area used for the system requires a small footprint when installed vertically. A series of holes are required to transfer energy to and from the ground, providing the heating and cooling for the home. Yoder Drilling & Geothermal, Inc. specializes in residential installations for homes like this, minimizing damage to existing lawn. Bryan Gerber operates this drill rig, which was custom designed and built by Yoder Drilling & Geothermal, Inc. specifically for geothermal loop installations in residential neighborhoods.

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enterprises. Our existing rigs and extensive knowledge of drilling made us perfect for that pursuit.” Since then, Yoder’s Drilling & Geothermal has continued to specialize in drilling and installing geothermal loops. They leave the work of installing heat transfer and delivery systems to HVAC contractors, allowing Yoder to focus on the loop installation. “In the early ‘90s, due to the economical nature of geothermal systems, utility companies were giving homeowners rebates and HVAC installers were eager to work with us. This allowed us to focus on our specialty and help move residential geothermal technology forward,” Tim said, “just as the desire for sustainable geothermal energy systems drove our company forward.” Currently serving as the company’s President, Tim Yoder manages general oversight of both the technical and engineering aspects of day-to-day company operation. He spends time reviewing each project as it comes in, and also helps to dictate everything from pricing to company vision. In keeping with the family tradition, his brother-in-law Greg Beach serves as Vice President, managing various behind-the-scenes operations. Though still doing business in the mining industry with their experience in overburden drilling, this only accounts for a small amount of Yoders’ work. The crew at YD&G specializes in field and mineral exploration, specifically for coal, limestone and clay. However, due to the adaptability of their drilling rigs, most of the company’s work exists in the residential geothermal sector. Specializing in the geothermal industry as a loop contractor, YD&G works with HVAC installers and homeowners as the subcontractor. “Our partnerships with furnace installers and other contractors have given us a broad base of clients. The goal is to take our knowledge of drilling and loop installation and use it to remove the uncertainty that contractors and customers may experience when installing geothermal systems,” Tim said. “We let them install furnaces and ventilation, while we complete the work that the HVAC dealers aren’t always 100 percent familiar with. This keeps everyone doing what they do best.” The northern third of the Ohio region is glaciated till, meaning there is an unpredictable mix of gravel, sand, clay and river bottom that overlays the bedrock from 10-200 feet. Thus, the reverse circulation air rotary rigs that Yoder designed and built are very adaptable and invaluable to their work in the often diverse terrain involved in residential installations. Building on their reputation for quality and flexibility, Yoder maintains the entire range of skills necessary to complete geothermal system installations. They drill and install the underground loop, excavate and install piping to the interior furnace, and finish by flushing and filling the entire geothermal system with an environmentally friendly 20 percent methanol and water solution. Their specialization in the niche of residential and small commercial geothermal system installation means Yoders has the capacity to install over 430 systems every year. In past years, geothermal technology was relatively new to the residential market. Around 80 percent of YD&G’s work was on new home construction. However, because of the recent downturn in housing construction, new home installations have decreased to around 20 percent of their workload. Today existing home installations make up 80 percent of their geothermal business, mainly from homeowners wanting to upgrade from their costly gas and fuel systems. “In these instances,” Tim explained, “the biggest hurdle was and still is sharing with the homeowner the actual process of drilling and excavating to install a geothermal loop system in an already landscaped yard. We have to be very agile and adept at doing our work fast and doing it right, all the while causing the least damage possible to existing gardens, lawns, trees, sheds, etc. Drilling is not always a clean process.” YD&G is always quite careful not to damage the aesthetic properties of their client’s site, but even more precautions Fall 2010 79

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“The future of geothermal energy has unlimited potential.” are taken in not damaging the ground water and subterranean aquifers. “We always take extra safety measures in guarding such things. Gardens and lawns can come back, but that’s not the same story for our ground water.” In the mid 1990s, Tim worked with the National Ground Water Association to put together that board’s first set of recommended practices concerning geothermal systems. He is also on a board that gives similar advice and standard practice suggestions to the Ohio Health Department and EPA. “I love the idea of making use of untapped sources of energy in a 100 percent efficient way, letting our geothermal systems simply be a part of what’s already in the ground. Our main focus is, not to disturb or destroy,” Tim said. In addition to reducing their carbon footprint on their own, Yoders’ geothermal systems also sell themselves. “They give home owners a geothermal loop field that reduces both their consumption of energy and their utility cost,” Tim said. “The future of geothermal energy has unlimited potential.” Due to its cleanliness and efficiency, geothermal systems are no longer “alternative” supplies of energy. As opposed to solar or wind energy, geothermal energy from the ground is constantly available year round.

“Simply, the sun just doesn’t shine all the time in Ohio, especially in the winter. It’s the same with wind energy, especially with terrain like we have,” Tim said. “That consistency is vital when you’re supplying energy to a family’s home. “We use high density polyethylene loops heat fusing all connections. This piping has a standard 50-year warranty, but honestly we OPPOSITE PAGE: Bryan Gerber operates this drill rig, which was custom designed and built by Yoder Drilling & Geothermal, Inc. specifically for geothermal loop installations in residential neighborhoods. ABOVE: Evan Gerber drills through a basement wall with a 2” core drill to install supply and return piping for the geothermal furnace that carries fluid to and from the vertical bore holes. Photo courtesy of Yoder Drilling & Geothermal, Inc.

GEO-HYDRO SUPPLY Geo-Hydro Supply Ltd draws from over 20 years of geothermal loop installation experience to provide the finest products and quality customer service. Their vision is to be a one-stop shop for geothermal loop installers like Yoder Drilling & Geothermal. Geo-Hydro Supply doesn’t just offer a line of geothermal products, they specialize in them! For more information, visit Fall 2010 81

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don’t really know how long it would take for the piping system to deteriorate; it could be much longer than 50 years. Geothermal heat-pump furnaces have been shown to last longer than their gas equivalents and even if the furnace eventually fails you can easily have it replaced, and then reflush and refill the loop system. Once the loop is installed properly, it is a permanent asset. It’s a onetime investment that increases the value of the homeowner’s property.” One forward thinking developer working with Yoder Drilling & Geothermal is purchasing geothermal loop field installations for each and every empty lot in his new development. “We are predrilling and installing geothermal loop piping for each future residence,” he said. He gets a discount for bulk installations, and the future residents have the attractive incentive of a clean, inexpensive, reliable geothermal heating and cooling system with the loop already installed. Additionally, YD&G is doing commercial work, including a new animal shelter in Jefferson County, Ohio and a fire station in Northeast Ohio. Yoder Drilling & Geothermal has over 30 employees, many with more than 20 years with the company. Altogether, they have installed more than 6,000 geothermal closed loop systems for customers in their region. Their service area extends through the eastern half of Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. Their work force includes 10 drilling rigs, six specially adapted for geothermal drilling and two excavating and hook-up crews. For more information, you can find them online at ELT OPPOSITE PAGE: Steve Limbacher and Evan Gerber heat fusing polyethylene pipe fittings to create a manifold that will distribute fluid to each vertical bore hole piping from the supply and return lines. Photo courtesy of Yoder Drilling & Geothermal, Inc. ABOVE: Steve Limbacher installs sleeves that will hold the supply and return piping for the geothermal system. Photo courtesy of Yoder Drilling & Geothermal, Inc.

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Mills Bit Service

The ultimate drill bit for geothermal drilling

Product Spotlight by Joel Cornell

Do you want customer service that you can always count on? Well, that is the main goal for the folks over at Mills Bit Service, Inc. Quality comes before quantity for this family owned business, which is why they work so hard to get your respect and keep it long term. Customer satisfaction is high on their priority list; they know keeping their customers happy is the key to keeping them. They take pride in that. In fact, Mills Bit Service, Inc. still does regular business with customers, who they have been doing business with since they first began twentyseven years ago. Being a family owned business certainly has its advantages for the customer. When you call, you are not treated as a number on a list; you become part of their customer family. The pride and confidence that they have for their products always shows in their persistency and their can-do attitude towards satisfying their customers fully. Until last year, Mills Bit Service, Inc. used no ads, catchy slogans or commercials; the company simply relied upon word of mouth to keep business coming in steadily. Although their advertizing methods have advanced, they still use the same down to earth ideals, which they believe in and have confidence towards. Treating their customers honestly from the very first phone call, they guarantee your satisfaction because it is important to them. Count on them, because that is what they take pride in. Now that you know what to expect from Mills Bit Service, Inc’s customer service, time to specify what they have to offer for you!

Firstly, they have a product, which they discovered several years ago and made their premier brand: Life Force PDC drill bits. They also offer repair services for them, as well as the repair of all other brands of PDC bits. Secondly, they offer tri-cone bits and TCI button bits – new and used. Lastly, they provide Mills Slick Drill Sticks. These sticks are condensate-dispersive; water-soluble sticks containing a combination of surfactants and perform in the presence of salt water and fresh water systems alike. To be clear though, Mills Bit Service, Inc. is up to any challenge. If you have any special need, they would be glad to assist you in any way they can, just let them know. You will love the combination of their honest customer service and quality products. They don’t even have to personally convince you– though they most certainly will– because their customers speak for them. “We must be doing something right!” is what they always say when they receive countless call-backs from satisfied customers. Their regulars especially appreciate Mills Bit Service, Inc’s promptness. In most cases, they get a call for a product and then send it out the same day, which definitely saves you time and ultimately money. So give them a call, and remember, count on them because that is what they take pride in! ELT Fall 2010 85

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Geothermal Drilling in the Rockies by Rebecca Rodriguez

With experience, dedication, and much ingenuity, Colorado Geothermal Drilling is perched as one of the top geothermal drillers across the state. Its owner, Dan Rau, devised a small, 10 customized drill that enables workers to get into a lot of tight spaces. In densely populated areas where there’s 1/8 to 1/6 of an acre, the rig is able to get in because it’s so much smaller than a typical loop drilling rig. This generates much business for the company since many houses in Colorado sit on a small amount of land about ¼ to ½ of an acre in some communities. “It (rig) gets into tight areas. Not many guys have equipment to get in there like we do,” Rau said. Colorado Geothermal specializes in vertical loop fields. Many homes have nowhere to put a loop field except in the back yard. For many geothermal drilling

companies the area is too small to work in or they can’t get their equipment into it. What sets Rau’s company apart from others is the 10 years of experience they have and the innovative equipment they run. The company’s work is primarily residential with only 10 percent commercial jobs. The economy has had an impact on the types of jobs the company completes. Three to four years ago, 90 percent of the jobs were new construction and 10 percent was retrofitting existing houses. Now those numbers have flip flopped with about 80 percent retrofit jobs and 20 percent new construction. THIS PAGE: Trenches for geothermal system, 8 loops drilled 300ft deep tied together in trenches and extended back to house.

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“We work mostly within a fifty to seventy mile radius so our guys can come home at night and have a family life and not be on the road weeks at a time.” “Things have shifted. With the economy, people are staying in their homes rather than buying new ones,” he said. When doing new construction, Rau noted, there’s no tearing up of landscaping and no sod that needs to be replaced. When putting a vertical loop in an existing home, the utilities, water, sewer, gas, and electricity are worked around by Rau’s smaller rig. A new construction project in Evergreen presented a challenge of drilling through solid granite due to the mountainous region. It took twice as long to get the job done, but Rau was successful. If a propane heating system were put into the home, it would have cost the owners about $800 or $900 per month. But with a geothermal heating system, the bill comes out to be about $300 a month, Rau said. The 8,000 ft spec home required ten 230’ loops installed under the driveway. 88 Energy Leaders Today

The home was featured in the 2009 Denver Luxury Home Tour. Rau doesn’t discriminate between which jobs to take. He has completed projects for houses as small as 1,500 sq. ft. all the way up to 40,000 sq. ft., which required 8,400’ of drilling and twenty-four 300’ loops. The average size home the company works on is about 4,000 sq. ft. The Imagine House in Boulder was one of the commercial projects the company has tackled. The house was a residence for those with special needs. It was a small site on a tight lot situated off a four lane road running through town. The company installed ten 280’ loops under the parking lot. The projected savings over the life of the system is $560,000. The company works throughout Colorado, sometimes working at elevations of 9,000’. “We work mostly within a 50 to 70 mile radius so

our guys can come home at night and have a family life and not be on the road weeks at a time,” Rau said. For advertising, Rau is a board member of the Colorado Association for Geothermal Heat Pump Systems where he works to get the word out about geothermal. The company’s website also gets a lot of attention and the company has been featured a few times on the Discovery Channel with shows such as Planet Green and Renovation Nation. The show Renovation Nation filmed Rau’s company as they drilled for the Imagine House in Boulder. “The (shows) drum up interest and make people aware,” he said, adding that he might have gotten a few jobs after the shows aired. ABOVE: Installing geothermal loops in small residential subdivision. 4 loops at 200 feet for a 2,200 sq. ft. ranch retrofit.

corporate profile | geothermal

“The economy has affected us some. People are hesitant on spending the money. There’s an uncertainty of what happens next. We’re fortunate we’ve stayed busy.” The company also gets jobs by word of mouth, he said. The market has been growing steadily for the company. Rau has five employees. “The economy has affected us some. People are hesitant on spending the money. There’s an uncertainty of what happens next. We’re fortunate we’ve stayed busy,” Rau said. New construction has picked up this fall and even with the recession going, Rau said he is pushing on and finding work. Rau has some heavy hitters in the competition arena that do a lot of the commercial work. “But if we’re still doing residential I can’t complain. We’re doing more work and being more efficient. We pride ourselves on designs and installation and doing a good job. It puts ourselves above the competition. And we’ll put it in more efficiently,” Rau said. Rau has created a unique rig for his company and has placed himself on a high peak in the Colorado arena of geothermal installers. As his company runs strong so does his will to grow and expand as word spreads about geothermal. ELT THIS PAGE: Trenches for geothermal system, 18 loops at 200 feet for 8,000 sq. ft. home, 5,000 sq. ft. outbuilding, pool and spa. OPPOSITE PAGE: (Top) Geothermal pipe in trench tying all the loops together to bring into the home. (Bottom) Drill installing loop in front yard of home in Carter Lake, Colo.

VIBRANT SOLAR The experts at Vibrant Solar help you get the most out of your solar photovoltaic system. Their engineers design and monitor your system to maximize your production. Their installers have won awards for their quality workmanship and customer service. Their finance team helps you find the greatest return on your investment. Call Vibrant Solar today at 303-604-6696 for a free consultation. 90 Energy Leaders Today

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“On a nationwide basis only 1 to 2 percent of homes are geothermal. A lot of people could have geothermal and I think it’s coming along fairly well. But geothermal heating and cooling systems aren’t the norm in the country.”

FLOW CENTER PRODUCTS, INC. Flow C ent er Products, Inc. ( F C P) i s a n assembling facility and distributor of loop pump modules and controls. Roy Klaty, the found er and president of Flow Center Products, has over 21 years of experience with geothermal systems. Flow Center Products, Inc. constructs flowcenters for closed loop heating and cooling systems. Flowcenter loop pump modules are available for both residential and commercial ground loop heating and cooling systems. Our flowcenters are compatible with Bell & Gossett, Grundfos and Wilo pumps and can be configured with multiple

pump units to match different load requirements. This allows our customers to have many options. FCP offer Cabinet Models in Black or White, Without Cabinet Models, Isolation Unit Models and Commercial Models. In addition, they offer a complete line of parts, fittings and

PE fusion tools that are available for installation and maintenance of flowcenters and closed loop geothermal systems. Geothermal closed loop fittings in brass or polyethylene are also available. For more information on Flow Center Products, please visit

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Battery Power+++ Fedco Electronics recharges the energy industry one battery at a time by Johanna Gretschel

As one of the nation’s largest value-added battery distributor serving the information technology industry, Fedco Electronics Inc. specializes in the production of its own replacement power line, ENERGY+ as well as the distribution of 13 highly respected brands, including including Panasonic, Saft and Sanyo. Replacement power products include batteries, battery packs, AC adapters and DC power adapters. “Our mission is to achieve customer satisfaction through the quality of our prod-

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ucts and the service provided,” said Fedco Electronics President Andy Victor. Established in 1975 in Fond du Lac, Wis., Fedco Electronics is a widely respected battery entity throughout the United States as it is deeply involved with replacement power product groups. The company is a charter member of the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) and its president is a BELOW: Fedco production operators work on battery assemblies. OPPOSITE PAGE: Fedco Inventory specialist doing audit of retail packaged ENERGY+ retail packaged battery packs.

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member of the PRBA Board of Directors. Fedco Electronics is also a licensee of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), which established and continues to run a national program for recycling small rechargeable batteries. One of Fedco Electronics’ specialties is its custom battery pack assembly. Fedco Electronics has a wide variety of products, allowing the company to support all battery chemistries, including lithium ion, lithium primary, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride and sealed lead acid. An in-house engineering department is staffed by four graduate electrical engineers, two of whom are Registered Professional Engineers in Wisconsin. “Our capabilities include the implementation of charge electronics, injection molded plastic cases, custom stamped contacts, smart battery electronics and fuel gauge circuits,” said Victor. All of Fedco Electronics’ home-grown ENERGY+ brand batteries include a full 12-month warranty. Fedco first began producing their own battery packs for laptops in 1987 and the ENERGY+ brand was introduced in 1994. Since then, Fedco has continued RIGHT: Fedco production operator using computer controlled sonic welder used for sealing plastic encased battery assemblies. BOTTOM: Fedco ENERGY+ laptop and notebook battery packs with retail packaging.

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to tweak and develop the design to produce the best battery possible. “It is always a challenge when developing new products, entering new markets and working with new battery cell chemistries,” Victor said about Fedco’s development of the ENERGY+ brand battery line. “However, our management, engineering, quality control and production teams have over 20 years of experience which increasingly helps drive the learning curve down.” Their website outlines the production cycle of these high-quality batteries. The process begins by tabbing together battery cells and using computer controlled resistance welders to form core packs. Next, safety fuses, thermal breakers, circuit breakers and thermistors are added to core packs. This addition insures the safety and reliability of the battery. The core packs are then placed into injection molded plastic cases fitted with the same mating connector in the OEM battery. Fuel gauge circuits are then added to the battery; charge electronics are added to smart battery packs. Battery packs are then inspected and pack assemblies are made ready for closure by placing case covers on them. A process of sonic welding then permanently seals the battery packs. The next stop for the batteries is the quality control department. During this final stage, batteries are tested for form, fit, function and electricity. ABOVE: FEDCO design engineer checks assembly drawings for OEM/ODM battery pack.

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After testing, the results are documented and the battery packs are labeled. All items are then packaged for resale. Fedco Electronics has an online store, but only does business online with other businesses in the battery industry, like dealers, resellers, service centers and other qualified, authorized direct customers. The general public can purchase ENERGY+ brand batteries and accessories from local computer stores, service centers, mail order, select national retailers and websites. Due to non-disclosure agreements with clients, Victor cannot go into detail about the company’s current project developments. However, he was able to say that the projects involve “working on several new Lithium Polymer and Lithium Ion battery pack designs for several portable equipment manufacturers.” In other exciting news, Fedco Electronics has recently won several awards from Panasonic, Sanyo and Varta, all of which are cell suppliers to Fedco. ELT RIGHT: Fedco production operator uses computer controlled high frequency welder to assemble battery cell packs. BOTTOM: Chart shows make up of typical advanced battery pack for notebook computer. All photos courtesy of Fedco Electronics, Inc.

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ABSOLUTE ELECTRONICS Absolute Electronics is a printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer that specializes in surface mount assembly, thru-hole assembly, RoHS compliant manufacturing and leaded manufacturing, prototypes, quick-turns, production assembly, and final assembly. Nearing 15 years in operation, Absolute Electronics is an ESD compliant facility, and nearing completion of ISO 9001 certification. AEI brings a total quality management approach to PCB contract manufacturing.

gas & electric INSIDE: Smith Tank & Equipment

corporate profile | gas & electric

90 Years Strong by Robert Janis


mith Tank & Equipment Co. was started in late 1929 by Mr. Curtis Smith as a result of the discovery of a large underground oil reserve in North East Texas. The company’s first product was steel storage tanks for the new oil fields. Later on it also began building bobtail truck tanks for transporting the oil and, after refining, transporting gasoline. This was a relatively new industry in those days, so equipment and tools to make the tanks had to be invented. Trees were actually used to bend the steel around in order to make a round tank. Later on, of course, steel rolls were developed so a more consistent round tank could be manufactured. Smith Tank prospered in those early days because there was very little competition in the manufacturer of oil storage tanks. In the late 1940’s, Smith Tank developed steel tank products for the chemical industry which were much more sophisticated than were required in the oil drilling industry. This gave the company a much broader market base plus the tanks had to be of a significantly higher quality. In the late 1970’s the company, together with the A.E. Staley Company of Decatur, Ill., developed a corn syrup tank for storing and dispensing corn syrup into food manufacturing plants. The name of this tank was called a Staport and it was built like a large skid tank except it was heated, insulated and jacked with a heated pump room on one end. THIS PAGE: 6,000 gallon chemical tanks for Gulf Coast Chemical Co., La. Photo courtesy of Smith Tank & Equipment Co.

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Corn Syrup is quite viscous at 80 degrees Fahrenheit so it must be kept at about 105 degrees in order to be pumped. The Staport was developed because the food industry was changing from the use of granulated sugar as a sweetener to corn syrup to reduce sweetener costs and greatly improve sanitation and productivity. The late 1970s and early 1980s were boom years for Smith Tank because so many of the large Food Manufacturers were changing over to corn syrup for their sweetener needs. Rather than using more costly granulated sugar in 100 pound sacks which had to be manhandled, they were able, with corn syrup, to have it delivered in bulk by tanker truck or railroad tank car, pumped into a Staport and then pump directly into their plant. The syrup, pumped through the piping, would then be metered into each of their recipes throughout the plant. No human hands needed to touch the sweetener. Smith Tank & Equipment Co. was purchased, in April of 1985, by James W. Blair, Jr. from the sons of the founder. “After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in mechanical engineering, I went to work for General Electric on their three year Manufacturing Training Program,” Blair said. “I worked for them a total of 14 years and then left to become a Group Vice President of Handy & Harman where I managed 15 different manufacturing subsidiaries before I decided to own my own company.” The company was at a low point in sales because of the poor economy at that time plus the fact the oil boom in Texas had crashed. The company was attractive to the Blair family because of its long quality reputation

and that its major business, at that time, was in food sweeteners and not oil drilling tanks. The company produces tanks in sizes from 550 gallons up to 90,000 gallons in both stainless and carbon steels. It has the ability of lining tanks with an FDA approved epoxy lining as well as insulating, heating and jacketing tanks. Mr. James W. Blair, III currently serves as President and is son of the purchasing Blair family. He is the day to day operations Manager and his wife, Tammy Blair, is the company Controller. “Because there are only a few companies in the U.S. that can manufacture FDA approved food tanks with our level of quality,” said Blair Jr., “we’re able to market across the country and into Mexico as well. OPPOSITE PAGE: An 8,000 gallon chemical tank for Luminant Mining Co. in Texas. ABOVE: An arial view of Smith Tank & Equipment Co. plant in Texas.

Bosworth & Associates Bosworth & Associates is one of the oldest insurance companies in East Texas. Founded in 1939, this independent, second-generation firm is led by Michael J. Bosworth, AAI, CIC. B&A help clients research the market to provide the best possible coverage at the best possible price. Two generations of clients have looked to B&A for progressive, knowledgeable and trustworthy guidance. Whether it’s personal or commercial insurance coverage, you can trust Bosworth & Associates to carry on the tradition of service that’s uniquely their own. Fall 2010 103

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However, with the cost of transporting chemical tanks, we mainly market around Texas, into Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana.� The company markets in the industrial and commercial areas, while they continue to develop new products. One of its developments is a tank which replaces the old 55 gallon drum and is called a portable stack tank. It is safer, more easily handled, can be stacked four high, has plumbing for material removal and can be handled by a fork lift truck from all four directions. Another tank developed is a double wall tank which can have a sensing device between the two walls to sense leakage into the interstitial space between walls or it has a glass eye installed at the shells lowest point for visual inspection. This allows the tank to be situated outside of a containment dike because the second wall meets a dike’s requirements for containment. RIGHT: A fire truck tank for the city of Arp, Texas.

104 Energy Leaders Today

gas & electric | corporate profile

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5 106 Energy Leaders Today

gas & electric | corporate profile

Another tank which has been developed with Smith Tank & Equipment’s customer, Thedford Systems now General Electric Water Division, is a water purification tank. It is usually in the 20,000 to 40,000 gallon range and is a horizontal tank with several baffles. It is used to normally purify sewer water for buildings which cannot connect to a sewer system. These tanks are normally carbon steel with a very high quality chemical resistant epoxy lining. Smith Tank has also developed, to a customer’s requirement, a 50,000 gallon tank called a digester. It is a tank which is insulated and slowly rotates in the horizontal position and produces compost. It is used to dispose of waste from different sources and through its output produces a saleable compost product. “We currently have 40 employees, each one of them maintaining a high level of training that is ultimately supervised by our quality control experts,” said Blair, Jr. “We have all of our employees undergo certification, as well training sessions year round.” The company operates in a 94,000 sq. ft. bay building with offices attached. It uses AutoCAD in its tank designs so that drawings can be emailed to customers quickly for approval. Structural, and if required, seismic calculations are performed on each tank design to determine structural integrity. “We’ve had some stumbles with this economy,” said Blair, Jr., “and though our growth has stopped a bit, our level of professionalism and quality has never been higher.” ELT THIS PAGE: 6,000 gallon fuel skid tanks for Unitec Solvents Co. in Hawaii. All photos courtesy of Smith Tank & Equipment Co.

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Lawyers who know that being green takes more than recycling old ideas.

Nixon Peabody is a leader in energy project finance and development. We understand this business and work every day advising developers, lenders, equity investors, and municipalities on their traditional and renewable energy projects. Learn more at Nixon Peabody LLP 路 437 Madison Avenue 路 New York, NY 10022 | 17 offices worldwide.

Energy Leaders Today Fall 2010  

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