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January 2011
Welcome to the January 2011 editon of  "Sundance Power News."
We hope you will find our monthly newsletter to be informative, useful and fun. We do not use this mailing list for anything else and never share recipients’ addresses. You may officially subscribe, unsubscribe or forward to a friend anytime by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page.  Please help us to spread the word about Sundance Power Systems and renewable energy. We would love to hear your feedback!
New Year's Musings
A New Year brings the opportunity to review the past, and project our greatest hopes and dreams into the future.  In reviewing 2010, Sundance has much to celebrate. Perhaps the most significant way to represent our success in the past year is numerically- with a figure that represents the amount of Carbon Dioxide displaced through our installed solar energy systems.  Protecting the environment by offering clean energy technologies is really what Sundance is all about, after all. 
Ok... so, our best calculations for quantifying this figure gave us a grand total (drumroll, please...) of 1,322,296 pounds of Carbon Dioxide a year displaced from the atmosphere from our clean energy systems.  Wow! That is quite a figure- but what does it really mean???
First, it means we had a very significant impact on protecting our life-sustaining systems and the health of our communities. It means that a mountain in West Virginia did not have to be destroyed for the 348.67 tons that this energy is equivalent to. It means that we worked hard as a team- from Administration, Sales and Marketing to our incredible installation team who worked in all kinds of conditions to make it happen.  At last, but certainly not least, it meant that we had the privilege of empowering nearly 100 partners who trusted us to serve them.  For all of this, we are thankful!
As we begin this New Year, we acknowledge many challenges to the economy and our industry, but see many opportunities.  There are several incentive programs that are available to help make 2011 a great year to go solar. We have developed several financing options for both residential and commercial clients that will help reduce the up- front and out-of-pocket costs.  Progress Energy has introduced their SunSense Residential Rebate Program of $1,000 for every kW of AC photovoltaic modules installed.  For Commercial Clients, the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System allows for 100% bonus depreciation, and the Federal Treasury Grant was extended that will allow a 30% grant in lieu of the Federal Tax Credit. 
So, we are optimistic and are ready for an exciting year. If your New Year’s Resolutions included going solar, then there is no better time to be part of the solution.  We are here to help!
The Home of Marina Raye and Charlie Oakwind
“Being Peace...” Perhaps this was one of your New Year’s resolutions- certainly many people, including myself, began this year with hopes for peace in our selves, community, and world. For Marina Raye, who writes “We can transform our experience of each moment into one of peace,” this concept is embodied in the music on one of her CDs of the same title.   While this set of soulful melodies of Marina’s, who is world-renowned as the "Feminine Voice of the Native Flute", was created especially to evoke peace, indeed all her music is intoned with the mission to “assist others to access peace, compassion and bliss through our soothing, relaxing music and handcrafted flutes.”  The electronically tuned, 5-hole flutes are made in the Native American spirit by Marina’s husband Charlie Oakwind, a partnership which makes for a sweet livelihood for the two on their land in Black Mountain.
A commitment to living gently on the Earth is another passion that bonds Charlie and Marina, and when they built their home here after moving from Southern Colorado in 2005, they built it green and off the grid, in keeping with the expression “The solution comes up every morning.”  The south-facing orientation offers not only an incredible view, but also a great solar exposure which is utilized through multiple systems. Passive solar design elements optimize the sun’s energy for heating and cooling, and the thermal mass provided by the 12-inch thick aerated autoclaved concrete blocks which make up the exterior make it even more efficient and comfortable.  A six collector solar thermal system heats the home’s hot water and supports the radiant floor heating system, which Marina says is perfect in the fall and early spring, and during the coldest parts of winter a wood stove is used as well.  The home’s electricity is generated by a 3.6 kW photovoltaic system, and as lighting and appliances are highly efficient, this is ample power for the couple, even with all the electronics Marina uses in managing her music. The array is configured of 30 Kyocera 120- watt modules which sit gracefully on 3 top-of-pole mounts, located gracefully on the back slope, and looking like plants in a garden.  An Outback Power System and 2 Deka 765 AH industrial batteries are located in the basement and work to ensure that power is available when it is needed. 
These systems have enabled Marina and Charlie to come pretty close to meeting their goal of using as little fossil fuel as possible to run their household and they are pleased that they have it down to using less than 100 gallons of propane a year (used for cooking, back-up water heating,  a small space heater, and back-up propane generator.)   Their interests and impacts are by no means limited to the house’s walls, however, as Charlie is an avid organic gardener, and he and Marina have transformed their grounds into a garden which provide a bounty of fresh fruits, berries and vegetables. Especially fond of raspberries, they have a freezer (highly efficient, of course) full of carefully packaged berries ready for their daily morning smoothie.
Charlie and Marina have created a haven where they live their dreams, and in doing so, inspire and enable others.  To learn more about their home, music, and flutes, visit their website  It shouldn’t surprise you that Marina’s latest CD is called “Beauty Everywhere.”
Commercial Spotlight: The Altamont
The Altamont Theatre was first conceived of in New York City by Brian Lee and Tiffany Hampton, and after searching for the right place in which to manifest their dream for performing arts and to call home, they chose Asheville. Thomas Wolfe is quoted as saying "One belongs to New York instantly; one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”  In a strange twist of fate (how dramatic!!!) Brian and Tiffany have found a similar experience, but in The Altamont, reborn.  (“Altamont” was the stand-in name for Asheville that Thomas Wolfe used in Look Homeward Angel.)
Built in 1895, the historic building on Church Street has been renovated to house Brian and Tiffany’s vision of creating the only professional musical theatre company in downtown Asheville.  Plans for their opening show in the fall of this year are moving ahead and it promises to “touch the hearts of audiences of all ages,” true to their mission. Meanwhile, The Altamont serves as a multi-use facility and the state-of-the-art black-box theatre, which seats approximately 120 people, is available to host a variety of performances and special events, from custom-tailored ceremonies to wedding ceremonies and corporate receptions. In addition, the upper top two floors have been divided into six fully furnished condos that “blend history, the arts and eco-friendliness” according to their website.
Eco-friendliness???  Yes, that is the “icing on the cake” for the Altamont, which is aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.  Features that count towards earning points for this highly recognized green building program include the use of recycled building materials such as the steel framing and sheet rock, and incorporating non VOC- emitting materials.  However, Brian says that inclusion of a solar hot water system was a key element of the overall LEED strategy and was actually one of the easier elements to complete.
The system sits atop the building and can’t be seen from the street.  The angle of the panels was planned to be below the parapet; this ensured that the system would not jeopardize the historic tax credits that were part of the renovation.  Capable of providing up to 224,000 BTUs of clean energy per day, the system is comprised of seven 4’ x 8’ flat plate collectors which feed down to three 120-gallon Vaughn Solar storage tanks in the basement.  (Brian says these are always a hit when he gives people a tour of the building.)
While building to LEED standards was decided upon for its environmental impact, Brian says it gave them an opportunity to contribute something positive to downtown.  He also pointed out another tangible benefit, that of marketing. He has had several guests say that the LEED features were one reason they decided to stay at The Altamont.  “As more and more people become environmentally conscience they want to feel they are contributing to a solution and not adding to the problem.  That even comes out in something as simple as choosing where to stay when they visit Asheville.”
So, Hats Off to Brian and Tiffany for embarking on this grand adventure- In five years time may it be impossible to imagine Asheville without the Altamont at its heart.
More information can be found at
Energy Current
Some good news on the energy front! Last Friday, the EPA announced its decision to protect mountain communities and the health of Appalachian citizens, and really, all of us, by vetoing the largest single mountaintop removal coal mining permit in West Virginia history- the Spruce #1 Mine. Friday’s decision will protect more than six miles of high quality streams from being buried under 110 million cubic yards of toxic coal mining waste. In addition to protecting water quality and the health of local residents, this decision will result in the protection of 2,200 acres of mountains and forestlands in Logan County, WV, that would have been destroyed. Hooray for the EPA!
On another energy front, possible good news continues-  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said this week that he will “fully consider” congressional input as his department decides whether to toughen oversight over the controversial natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing (also called hydro-fracking, or fracking), entails the high pressure pumping of water and chemicals into the ground in order to free up natural gas for extraction. Environmentalists have long been troubled by an exemption in the 2005 Safe Drinking Water Act that allows drilling companies to keep secret the chemicals used in the fracking process. Salazar announced in November that the Interior Department was considering whether to change regulations to compel energy companies to disclose the contents of fracking chemicals. It's a start. The picture above is of a landscape that has undergone hydrofracking.
Let’s hope that these two news items start a trend that continues for 2011.
Employee Spotlight on Trey Scott
We are kicking off the New Year with our spotlight on Sundance’s Field Operations Manager, Trey Scott. Trey was born in the early part of July, in Los Angeles at UCLA. He lives now, with his wife Naomi, in Big Sandy Mush at Mountain Meadows Farm and Nursery – (
Trey grew up in southern California, raised by the beaches and mountains of Santa Monica. Trey’s dad was in the television industry, primarily as a Producer. Both of Trey’s parents were Minnesota transplants so most of his relatives are still in Minnesota. Trey is now an “empty nester” and building a new chapter in his life with Naomi. Naomi is one of the most amazing bodyworkers on the planet (see for yourself!) as well as a lifestyle consultant. You can check out Naomi’s work at
While Trey has degrees in International Policy Studies, Psychology, Comparative Literature and teaching, he feels that one of the more significant “base notes” of his education resides in the journey of raising his two daughters, his marriage with Naomi and Nature (capital “N” intended). Trey spent some time as a teacher both in California and Hawaii and rose through the ranks of teaching to become a High School Principal.
Trey has been with Sundance for one year now and is inspired to work in the renewable energy field because he believes, “simply put, it is our future.” His vision for the planet could be a novel but summarizes with “a place where the universal culture of kindness and respect for everyone, all things and all relations are nurtured, inspired and prevail.” And, from here, on to the list:
Three words that best describe you: Energetic, Thoughtful, Hard-working
Currently listening to: A Celtic variety at home, Kaskade at work and Johnny Depp reading Keith Richards’ autobiography in the car
Reading currently: Deep Economy by Bill McKibben
Favorite scent: many- amber oil on himself, tuber rose on Naomi, fresh pine in the air and fresh basil or lavender up close
Favorite hobby: Too many to name but what they all have in common is they are outdoor adventure-focused and physically challenging
Favorite word: kindness and grace are twin favorites
Least favorite: Hate
Last movie: The King’s Speech
Person most admired: Bill McKibben
Favorite quote: “The proof is in the pudding”
Inspiration to share: “Change is inevitable…growth is optional…and, thoughts become things…choose the good ones!
Community Connections: New Life for Haiti
Earlier this month the New Life Children’s Orphanage and Rescue Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti hosted the sustainable economic development nonprofit, United for a Sustainable America, media Production Company American Green and International Engineering and Design Firm PBS&J to execute a program called New Life for Haiti.
The Orphanage served as a staging ground to test and showcase culturally appropriate sustainable technologies like solar energy, composting toilets, solar food cookers, hand water pumps, and UV water filtration systems.
Nokero Solar Light Bulbs were distributed to Orphans at New Life, families and vendors living in tent cities as well as some with permanent households. There is a plan afoot to return in March to deliver 1000 bulbs to light up a Tent City, as well as distribute 10 solar cookers. As Kurt Mann, from American Green says, “As storytellers, this project is particularly exciting due to its direct impact on the lives of Haitians and Americans alike. To see Americans coming to the aid of their neighbors, even when times are tough for them, is really at the core of the American spirit. We are excited to see that story unfold.”
The devastation in Haiti, caused by the January 2010 earthquake, has only intensified since hurricane Tomas and the ever worsening Cholera outbreak. You can be a part of the solution by donating a single light bulb, or more! To learn more about New Life for Haiti, go to and to learn more about our favorite media company (American Green), the project “City of Lights” as well as “the gift of light” program, go to
In This Issue...

Sundance Power Systems
Please contact us at:
(828) 645-2080
11 Salem Hill Road
Weaverville, NC 28787
Also, be sure to check out our website for more information and resources.
Visit us on Facebook
Fan us on  Facebook where we are having fun posting updates, photos, and commentary.  This is proving to be a great way to keep in touch with our friends in between our monthly newsletters.
Sundance is on Solar!
Our on-site solar electric system is powering much of our operations with free, clean, and renewable energy from the sun.  Check out Sundance's Sunny Portal web-link for performance monitoring and see why we believe in solar!
 Open House Thursdays
We invite you to join us during our weekly Open House which we will hold every Thursday from 3 – 6 pm.  Come with any questions that you may have for our team of Renewable Energy Consultants, learn about our new financing programs and other incentives that can support you in going solar, and see how we operate our own offices with renewable energy systems.

Calendar of Events
~ Educational Opportunities:
Sundance’s own Commercial Project Manager Grayson Newell, along with our Outreach Coordinator, Erika Schneider, will be offering the following introductory courses through AB Tech’s Global Institute for Sustainability Technologies.
Solar Electric Systems
As our society shifts towards clean and renewable energy sources, harnessing the sun's energy to produce electricity is increasingly promising. In addition to developments in photovoltaic technology, this course will explore system design and applications, the benefits of off-grid and grid-tied systems, net-metering and buy all/sell all agreements. (3 hrs)  Course Fee: $20
Thu, Jan 27, 6:00PM-9:00PM
127 Haynes, Enka Site Course #: SEF-7390-272
Thu, Mar 10, 6:00PM-9:00PM
103 Ramsey, Madison Site Course #: SEF-7390-273
Solar Hot Water and Space Heating Systems
Interested in going solar, but not sure where to start? Solar thermal systems offer the most cost-effective applications of active renewable energy technologies and are an increasingly important part of our clean energy future. This course will deliver an overview of system designs for providing hot water, as well as space heat, either through radiant floor and other hydronic heating systems or forced-air systems. (3 hrs) Course Fee: $20
Tue, Feb 15, 6:00PM-9:00PM
127 Haynes, Enka Site Course #: SEF-7389-274
Thu, Mar 31, 6:00PM-9:00PM
103 Ramsey, Madison Site Course #: SEF-7389-283
~ “What’s next for the Clean Energy Revolution?”
Thursday, Jan. 20th
6:00 P.M.
The Center for the Environment at Catawba College is bringing Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, to campus. Author of Earth: the Sequel- The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, Krupp will highlight innovators and risk-takers who are pushing technology to the limit to find the newest, cleanest and most abundant ways to power the planet. 
Click here for more information and to register.
~ Green Monday: Biofuels
Monday, Jan. 24th
3:00- 5:00 P.M.
The Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute will focus its January discussion on biofuels, with a panel of experts exploring hard questions, such as: “How can biofuels improve the sustainability of transportation?  To what extent can any of the biofuel processes be applied in Western North Carolina?  How easily can biofuels production be applied globally?
These forums, held at the Ashville Chamber of Commerce are free and open to the public. More info on BRSI and Green Mondays can be found at
~ Asheville Loves Mountains- Music to End Mountaintop Removal
Sunday, Jan. 30th
6:00 P.M.
Appalachian Voices and Restoring Eden are teaming up to host the first-ever “Asheville Loves Mountains: Music to End Mountaintop Removal” concert, to be held at Pisgah Brewing Company.
The night will be full of regional talent, including Efren, Jonathan Ammons & the Electric Ghost, Dewi Sant, Alex Krug Trio, and Matrimony. Stop by & enjoy the music, enjoy some local brews, and learn about how you can help end the tragedy of mountaintop removal.  Details here.
~ Natural Saints
Monday, Jan. 31st
7:00 - 8:30 P.M.
Mallory McDuff, one of Warren Wilson’s own professors, will present stories from her book, Natural Saints, which features the work of people of faith to form a new environmental movement. 
The presentation is free and open to the public. Check here for more information.

Cool Energy Tip
So, this month our energy tip is short, sweet and simple. January is traditionally a cold and clear month. To maximize your free heat (passive solar heat gain)- be sure and open all blinds and curtains on south facing windows when the sun is shining and close them up again when the sun has moved on. Believe it or not, this one can give you a lot of bang for no bucks.

Action You Can Take Now
This month we have a great opportunity to create real progress for solar energy in North Carolina! Please take a few moments to call or write to your Representative and ask them to strengthen the “solar set asides” in the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (or SB 3). At this juncture in time, the REPS have been fulfilled through 2014. This means that there are no market incentives for large commercial interests that want to go solar. Let your Representative know that they must go beyond the current REPS as well as create additional sustainable energy policies. By doing so, North Carolina is likely to become the Southeast economic leader in the green energy economy and maintain a high quality of life for North Carolina citizens for generations to come.
You can download a free Citizens Guide to The North Carolina Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard at NCSEA’s (North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association) website. Just go to
Sundance Power Systems, Inc • 11 Salem Hill Road • Weaverville • NC • 28787
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