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A beautiful sunny afternoon on June 9 made for a great day at Meadowview Magnet Middle School in Mt Airy, NC, when students, staff, and members of the community gathered to celebrate their school's new solar installation. The first in NC GreenPower's Solar Schools Pilot to be installed, this impressive top-of-pole 5 kW photovoltaic system stands tall as an educational demonstration of the energy readily available to us from the sun.
NC GreenPower, a nonprofit operating with the mission to " improve the quality of the environment in North Carolina through a statewide program that connects consumers with green energy and carbon offset providers" has been greatly instrumental in establishing solar energy in NC by offering incentives to clean energy generators. A vast majority of Sundance's early solar electric systems were NC GreenPower participants, as were we when we installed our first 10 kW system on our office building in 2008. With the launch of the Solar Schools pilot, funds can now be allocated to support solar installations at schools.
The funding mechanism behind this pilot includes 50% of the project's cost (up to $10,000) to provided by NC GreenPower, with schools fundraising for the additional monies. In addition, the State Employees Credit Union Foundation provides a matching challenge grant of $10,000, allowing for larger installations. Meadowview Magnet's success in their campaign resulted in funding for a 5.2 kilowatt solar electric system that will be integrated into the curriculum as a learning tool as it generates electricity for their use.
As high visibility of the array was a requirement of the program, a ground- mounted DPW top- of -pole system was designed for the installation. In total, twelve high efficiency 435 watt SunPower modules make up the impressive array, which is tilted at 30 degrees for maximum yearly production and sits 10 feet above grade to avoid wire tampering (View a time-lapse video clip of the installation here!) The system is net-metered to the utility, and system monitoring is available to the staff and students for educational purposes. A weather station is also included so the effects of weather on the system's production can be analyzed as part of the curriculum.
In a news article in Mt. Airy News, Jeff Edwards, the Coordinator of the Science Institute and Surry County Schools, says there is so much that kids can learn about solar energy, and he is excited that the raw data will be available for analysis. One potential activity he is planning for will be to compare data from Meadowview's system with the other 3 other schools in the initial pilot once their systems are online.
NC GreenPower recently announced the selection of five additional schools for the next round of the pilot program and anticipate another application cycle in early 2017. To support this program, or to learn more, visit NCGreenPower.org.
Energy Current: Recent Coal Ash & Fracking Movements in NC
This month’s Energy Current is a rerun of a recent article by Nicholas Elmes, posted on June 9, 2016 to The Stokes News. One of the reasons for running this piece is to alert folks to the fact that what is really is going on here is the reactivating of the Mining Commission. Please visit our action you can take section to take action against fracking in NC.
Gov. Pat McCrory has vetoed a bill which would alter the language of the Coal Ash Management Act, citing damages the bill could do the state’s environment and constitutional worries.
“This legislation is not good for the environment or for the rule of law in North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory in a press release issued Monday night. “This bill lacks a firm deadline to connect well owners to alternate water suppliers.”He said his administration would ask a court to require Duke Energy to meet an accelerated timeline for connecting alternate water supplies and seek a court order to ensure that dam repairs are completed and coal ash is reused in an environmentally-sound way. The governor argues that Senate Bill 71, which passed both houses of the General Assembly by a wide margin, disregards a recent and decisive 6-1 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling which declared the three commissions at issue in the bill unconstitutional.
|Community Connections: NABCEP|
We are thrilled to share that Sundance recently had 5 members of our staff become NABCEP Certified Pv Installation Professionals! Congratulations to Matt Dufon, Field Manager, Chris McGrath, Project Manager, and Crew Leaders Nick Tucci and Riley Stephenson of our Field Operations, as well as Harry Smith, our Design/Estimate Coordinator. They join our Operations Manager Matt Bennett, who was previously certified, in this professional status, making Sundance a leader with 6 certified team members.
NABCEP stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and was founded in 2002 as a non-profit corporation with a mission “to support, and work with, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, professionals, and stakeholders to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners.” Professionals who choose to become certified demonstrate their competence in the field and their commitment to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practice. The first NABCEP Solar PV installer certification exam (now called PV Installation Professional) was administered in 2003. The Solar Heating Installer certification was first administered in 2006 and the PV Technical Sales Professional was launched in 2011. NABCEP has been running Entry Level examinations since 2006 and the Company Accreditation Program started in 2012.
NABCEP is committed to providing a certification program of quality and integrity for the professionals and the consumers/public it is designed to serve. NABCEP’s programs are administered to the highest standards for certifications and testing. The NABCEP PV Installation Professional and Solar Heating Installer Certifications are accredited to the ISO/IEC 17024 standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). NABCEP understands the importance of impartiality in carrying out its certification activities. NABCEP treats all applicants, candidates, and certificants fairly and impartially by following the policies and procedures outlined in their Certification Handbook. The organization maintains policies and procedures designed to manage conflict of interests and ensure objectivity throughout the certification process.
NABCEP’s goal is to develop voluntary national certification programs that will:
-promote renewable energy
-provide value to Solar Installation and Sales Professionals
-promote worker safety and skill
-promote consumer confidence
To learn more about NABCEP and their work, visit them at www.nabcep.org.
|Employee Spotlight: Katherine Muller|
This month’s spotlight shines on Katherine Muller, our Renewable Energy Consultant based in Greenville, SC. Katherine is, as she puts it, a 4th generation native, born and bred, of Greenville. Katherine had an idyllic childhood; her father was a cardiologist, with his practice in Greenville, and happily married to Katherine’s mother, Lucy. Katherine has a brother as well. The family placed a high premium on education, travel, and civic involvement, giving back to the community in one way or another, with church and Sunday school featuring prominently in each week. Katherine lost her beloved father within weeks of her high school graduation. Her mother went on to remarry years later and Katherine’s family continues to be happy and close knit, with family in Greenville, Charlotte, and Asheville.
Katherine studied international economics and political science at Vanderbilt University with a big focus on Spanish as well. She spent a summer studying in Madrid and one in London as well. This paid off when she was selected to be Student Director for Vanderbilt’s International-International-Studies-in-London Program. Graduating from University of South Carolina with a Masters of International Business Studies, fluent in Spanish, Katherine headed into an internship study of macadamia nuts for an agricultural export bank in Costa Rica. Here she was able to mingle with both the local aristocracy as well as small farmers. The passion for all things international and seeing the world has never stopped. From trekking to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal, to scuba diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to a month long 300 km transverse of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the desire is nourished as often as possible.
The love of the natural world began for Katherine on nature walks with her grandmother. This love has blossomed into a passionate desire to protect the environment and as well, to address climate change, the great moral issue of our time. Katherine’s understanding of the climate crisis deepened significantly during her time working for the Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower America Campaign, now called Climate Reality Project. It was here that Katherine came to understand how energy- its derivation and use- is at the nexus of so many problems and opportunities. Solar energy is, of course, a big part of the solution to climate change. Katherine has chosen to work for a sustainable planet and for climate action. With the change in law regarding solar energy in South Carolina in 2014, there are now robust financial incentives to encourage people to invest in solar. By working with Sundance, Katherine feels that her professional life is in tandem with her values and that each solar system installed is a “vote” for a sustainable planet. Katherine sees the potential for great change, a solution to climate change, with action. Participating in the public activities of the UN’s COP21 Climate Talks this past December, in Paris, gave Katherine great hope for our future.
Katherine is newer to Sundance, joining the team in February, but you can see what an extraordinary woman she is and what a great team we will make! Let’s see what Katherine has to say to our standard list:
Three words that best describe you: Passionate, persistent, and adventuresome
Listening to: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Up From Below
Reading right now: Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
Favorite scent: Don’t really have one, but something like fresh cut grass or maybe gardenias
Favorite pastime or hobby: Hiking, exploring outdoors and traveling. It’s wonderful not to know what’s around the next corner, or a bend in the road. Photography, movies and, yes, Facebook as a way to keep up with far-flung friends.
Favorite meal: “Mile High Nachos” from Chicora Alley in Greenville, or anything from The Purple Onion in Saluda, NC
Favorite word: Brilliant, in the British sense of the word
Least Favorite word: Fracking
Last movie: The Man Who Knew Infinity
Person or philosophy most admired: The person I would most like to meet is Elon Musk, followed by Dr. Paul Farmer, Founder- Partners in Health, Haiti
Favorite quote: “Think Globally, Act Locally” is one of them
Inspiration to share: The greatest capital is human capital. It’s your friends who make your world. Ideally, I strive to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am, who inspire or bring out the best in me, or who make me laugh. Not always possible, but life is too short to be around mean or petty people if you can help it. Oh, yes- and, practice gratitude as there is so much to be thankful for.
|Contact us at:|
11 Salem Hill Road
Weaverville, NC 28787
1200 Woodruff Road, Suite A3
Greenville, SC 29607
Be sure to check out our website for more information and resources~
Stay Connected with Sundance
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Friday, June 8
5:30 - 10:00 PM
Come on out and enjoy a great evening on the banks of the French Broad River and support RiverLink's continued revitalization of Asheville's waterway and vibrant community.
As always, the stage will be lit with solar-power from our mobile array. Local beer, Hop ice cream, and food trucks will be available. Admission and parking are free for all to enjoy.
SC Clean Energy Summit
Thursday, June 16
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
The South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance is hosting the fifth annual Clean Energy Summit at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
For information on the agenda and summit registration visit here.
The State of Modern Architecture in WNC
Thursday, June 16
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Presented by AIA Asheville in collaboration with Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, this panel discussion will explore the influences of Black Mountain College on modern architecture and the region. A reception will follow.
Details and rsvp information found here.
Monday, June 20
June's solstice brings the official start of summer and the longest day of the year. With the sun's zenith at its furthest point from the equator, it reaches its northernmost point in the sky. The Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.4 degrees.
Clean Energy in the Mountains
Thursday, July 28
5:30 - 9:00 pm
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) invites you to join them for a snapshot of clean energy in the region. Enjoy networking, appetizers, and hearing about the current challenges and opportunities for clean energy in WNC.
Agenda and details coming soon.
Reach out to your legislators- drop them a note encouraging them to stand strong against fracking. Send your letters or direct your calls to:
NC General Assembly,
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
You can also write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and share this information with your community. For fact sheets and reports on fracking- follow this link.
|Sierra Nevada takes LEED Platinum!|
A great big "Cheers!" goes out to Sierra Nevada for achieving Platinum LEED certification at their Mills River brewery. With all of their efforts to sustainability, we couldn't imagine they'd get anything less.
Sundance is proud to have installed nearly 2,200 pv panels for onsite solar electric generation, which certainly played a big factor in the certification.
From energy and water management to resource recovery and site reclamation, the Mills River brewery models some of the highest standards anywhere. We are so fortunate to have Sierra Nevada in our community.
Read more about LEED certification and this achievement here.
See the project profile on the solar energy systems here.
Earlier this month, Matt Dufon, Sundance's Field Manager, hosted the WNC Section of the IEEE for a presentation focusing on current photovoltaic technology for residential applications, as well as policies and economics that affect the industry.
IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, describes itself as world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow through its highly-cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing and technology information around the globe.
We were pleased to share our work bringing clean energy solutions forward with this great group of professionals in our community.