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|Institutional Spotlight: Frank Residence Hall |
Returning students to Frank Residence Hall at Appalachian State University (ASU) will be coming back to their solar- powered dorm to find that the sun is now providing their electricity rather than heating their water. The solar thermal system has been updated with a 36 kW grid-tied solar electric system on the LEED Gold certified building over the summer. While our crews are wrapping up a few final details, the system is producing power through photovoltaic (PV) technology, just in time for the new semester.
We were awarded this solar thermal to PV system replacement through a competitive bid through project consultants Innovative Design, Inc. Both the original hot water system, which was installed in 2009, and this newest campus solar electric installation, are projects of The Appalachian State Renewable Energy Initiative (REI.) This student-led, student-funded organization seeks to install renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on campus that are carried out with the help of faculty and staff advisors by the REI committee.
REI-driven projects, such as the 6.6 kW pv system we installed in 2012 on the Traffic Circle, offer students learning opportunities while reducing energy costs for the University and helping them meet their Climate Leadership Commitment and work towards carbon neutrality. Jamie Trowbridge, who served as REI’s Public Relations Officer at the time of that project, is now working on our Design team (read more in our Employee Spotlight below.) In reflection upon the experiences being active with REI afforded him he replied “AppState’s Renewable Energy Initiative provides students a powerful opportunity to plan and execute renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, while learning how to interface with a large, public institution. It makes the coursework that much more tangible, and, when everything syncs up, the REI and the university are able to accomplish truly inspiring feats, like the Broyhill Wind Turbine. I am thankful for my time as a student at AppState and as a member of the REI. Now, it’s great to be working with Sundance, another renewable energy pioneer.” (And, while a bit of a side note, at least 3 of our field installation members working on the Frank installation this summer have come out of ASU’s Appropriate Technologies Program.)
Utilizing the latest technology, the Production Report generated through HelioScope for the system calculates 55.51 MWh of clean energy will be produced annually. 108 high efficiency LG NeON 2 Series 335 watt modules, featuring enhanced warranty, durability, performance under real environment, and aesthetic design were selected. It’s double-sided cell structure generates additional power as light from the rear of the module is reabsorbed. The array was mounted to the existing racking after the hot water collectors were carefully removed, at an optimal fixed tilt angle of 35 degrees and an azimuth of 183.6. A 208 v Fronius grid-tie inverter package and three Fronius Symo 3-phase 10 kW inverters bring high system voltage, a wide input voltage range, MPP trackers for increased efficiency and maximum flexibility in system design. Additionally, SMA TS4-R optimization module-technology was used for its complete module-level monitoring and shutdown, and optimization in partial shading. Fronius’ Datamanager sends the PV system values directly to the Fronius online portal, with ambient temperature, module temperature, and irradiation data being recorded through sensors.
While technology is always progressing, this system is set to inspire ASU students for years as they help drive the future towards clean energy. One can only guess at the impact it will have over the course of its lifetime atop Frank Hall, but certainly it has already served a significant purpose for the REI team that had the opportunity to bring yet another renewable energy project to campus.
|Energy Current: Rebate Attracts Solar Companies with Questionable Business Practices|
For this month’s Energy Current, we are sharing the following public statement released on August 15, 2018.
NC Solar Rebate Attracts Out-of-State Companies with Questionable Business Practices
Sundance Power Systems warns of falsehoods being made by Brio Energy
Asheville, NC – Sundance Power Systems, a long- standing renewable energy company based in Weaverville, is making a public statement in response to numerous accounts of misleading information that it has heard from consumers and others. They've heard that Brio Energy has been telling people that they are working with Sundance for their installations. The Utah- based company has been canvassing neighborhoods since the introduction of Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program in North Carolina. In addition, based upon current law, it is very possible that the company is acting outside of the legal requirements to sell solar in NC.
While there are several points of contention to be made, Sundance Power Systems primarily wants it to be known that it has not contracted to install systems for Brio Energy, nor is it engaged in any form of partnership with the company. Additionally, Sundance intends to caution consumers about contracting with the company without doing their due diligence.
After receiving numerous complaints about the questionable sales approach used by Brio Energy over the past months and discerning an appropriate course of action, Sundance’s concerns were substantiated when it was discovered that the City of Austin had ordered a “cease and desist mentioning” against Brio Energy in 2016 (Texas Utility Warns Customers About Recent Solar Scams) for parallel reasons. Furthermore, multiple online reviews by consumers, as well as former employees of Brio, warn against some of their practices, including lack of full disclosure around financing, rebates, and tax incentives.
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, of which Sundance Power Systems has been an active member for years, is in the process of finalizing a Code of Conduct for the industry to address multiple complaints about solar companies that are operating in a manner that falls short of the “ethical standards of advertising, selling, installation, and serviced guided by the principles of honesty and integrity” that the organization upholds for its members. The draft code calls for members to “always act in full compliance with federal, state, and local laws regarding truth in advertising, consumer protection, contract law, and other relevant regulations” in promotion of “the public health, safety, and welfare, and contributes to the advancement of the clean energy industry.”
“Sundance Power Systems, along with several other local solar energy providers, have worked too hard to establish a strong, credible solar industry that serves the interests of the WNC community to witness this potentially damaging behavior,” stated Erika Schneider, Director of Communications for the company. “We are speaking out to protect consumers from potentially fraudulent activity, as well as the solid reputation that Sundance has built over its 23 years of operations. And, we are addressing this situation to prevent solar getting a bad name due to unscrupulous activity.”
|Community Connections: Team Sunergy|
This month we're excited to give a shout out to Team Sunergy of Appalachian State University! Team Sunergy was established in the Fall of 2013 and is made up of graduate and undergraduate students at the University. Students come from a diverse range of departments including Physics, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, Business, Music and Computer Science. With such a unique compilation of skills, Team Sunergy seeks to represent North Carolina and Appalachian State University’s commitment to sustainable energy initiatives at international solar vehicle competitions.
Team Sunergy’s mission, as a multi-disciplinary, student-led, and student-driven research project is to research the most advanced technology and utilize solar-powered car competitions as a platform to advance sustainable transportation technologies. They also educate their local community on the imperatives for finding alternative fuel solutions for transportation, so that a sustainable future can be enjoyed for generations!
Team Sunergy had an amazing and newsworthy summer! The team tied for 2nd place in the American Solar Challenge – a competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country time/distance rally event that competes over a 1,500-2,000 mile course between multiple cities across the country. AND! The team placed third in the Formula Sun Grand Prix – a track event that is held on grand prix style closed courses. This event tests the limits of solar cars in handling curves, braking and acceleration.
These wins were achieved with R.O.S.E (Racing on Solar Energy) – a solar vehicle that was designed and built entirely in-house by student team members. ROSE is a 4-wheeled, 2 passanger vehicle capable of charing batteries from its array as well as by traditional Electric Vehicle charging ports.
To learn more about Team Sunergy or ROSE – visit them online at www.sunergy.appstate.edu or follow them on Instagram at @appstatevt or on Facebook as Appalachian State Solar Vehicle Team.
|Employee Spotlight: Jamie Trowbridge|
This month’s spotlight shines on Jamie Trowbridge, our Sundance Design Assistant! Jamie was born in Hendersonville, NC but grew up mostly in Alexandria, Virginia. Throughout his childhood his parents frequently took the family hiking in the Appalachian Mountains and clearly, the family kept a connection with North Carolina as both Jamie and his younger sister have moved to Asheville as adults. Jamie is currently living in Candler with fun and creative people.
Jamie brings a wealth of education and experience to Sundance, with a BA in German Language & Literature, Minor in Physics, MS in Technology & Environmental Design from Appalachian State University, 3 years in the solar industry out in California, and time with Greenpeace as well!
Inspired to work in the renewable energy field by his understanding that “Fossil fuel extractive industries are, on the whole, dirty and oppressive,” Jamie goes on to say, “I mean no disrespect to people working in those fields, and we all use their products, but there’s a reason why it’s called a ‘resource curse’.” When asked about his vision for the planet, Jamie shared “Oh geez. There are predicted to be 9 billion people living on the planet by 2050 and millions of climate refugees, fisheries are collapsing, California is on fire, and the Swiss government is airlifting drinking water to cows because of extreme drought. We live in interesting times. I think we should start preparing for climate refugees now. To me, this means building local resiliency and developing creative methods of conflict resolution.”
Jamie has been with Sundance for a few months now and we are all looking forward to a long run of inspiring each other and co-creating a more sustainable way of living for all of us, in North Carolina and beyond.
On to the list!
Three words that best describe you: Thoughtful, Playful, Excitable
Listening to: “Champion” by Tina and Her Pony
Reading: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, MD
Favorite scent: Juniper
Favorite pastime or hobby: Sports, Music, Dance, being outside
Favorite meal: I like all the food
Favorite word: Incorrigible
Person or philosophy you most admire: James P. Carse, Finite & Infinite Games, Finite players play by the rules to bring play to an end with a definite winner. Infinite players play with the rules to continue play and bring as many people into play as possible.
|Contact us at:|
Weaverville, NC 28787
Greenville, SC 29607
Be sure to check out our website for more information and resources~
Please "like us" on Facebook where we enjoy sharing updates, photos, and commentary. This is a great way to keep in touch with our friends in between our monthly newsletters.
Nothing is more valuable to us than hearing that we’ve served our customers well.
We would be most grateful if you would take a moment to leave us a Google Review, and help our stars shine even brighter!
Many Thanks to Ryan Harper for his 5-Star review:
"We had a salesperson from a different solar company coming through our neighborhood who told us to check prices on EnergySage to compare quotes. When I did, I found that Sundance had the best price for my area. I set an appointment and met with a designer, and a few months later we had a 6 kWh system installed. They worked with me on the layout of the conduits on the side of the house and inside the garage to meet with my aesthetic ideas. Had a little bit of a delay (one day) during installation, between setting up all the mounts and getting the panels up due to some supply issues, but no other problems. Since installation, we've had a surplus of electricity and having been paying $8 and some change as our "electric bill" (really just the amount charged by Duke to have a connection)."
|Thanks for voting Sundance Asheville’s #1 Solar Company!|
We’re ecstatic, thankful, and proud to be voted the best solar company in Asheville and the surrounding area for the sixth year running by readers in Mountain Xpress’ Best of WNC Poll.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to our incredible team of dedicated employees, our awesome customers, and the greater community that has supported us in our work for a clean energy future.
UNCA Farm to Table Dinner
Tuesday, September 4
5:30 - 8:30 PM
The UNCA community invites the public to join them at the 4th Annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on the Quad. We are excited to bring some solar power to the evening as they gather around the table in the heart of their beautiful campus to honor and celebrate the land that sustains us, the gardens and businesses that feed us, and their collective efforts to insure their wider community is engaged and nourished.
The theme for this year’s dinner is “One Southern Family” with guest Michael Twitty, a culinary historian and creator of Afroculinaria, the first blog devoted to African American foodways and their legacy.
For more information and to get your tickets, visit here.
Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice!
Saturday, September 8
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Join 350 Asheville for a global day of action demanding real climate leadership that puts people and justice before profits.
Organizers are calling for our city leaders to pass a resolution committing to 100% renewable energy and to building a fossil free Asheville.
At the event, you will hear from city and county officials who are leading the call for climate justice. Take part in sign making and be a part of a giant group photo we will send to make our message clear!
For more details visit here.
Drive Electric Car Show
Sunday, September 9
12:00 – 4:00 PM
The 5th Annual Drive Electric Show will showcase several EVs, including the Tesla model 3, the Chevy Bolt, the 2018 Nissan Leaf, the Chrysler Pacifica Plug in Electric Hybrid (PHEV) and the Mini Cooper Countryman PHEV, among others! Owners will be available to answer questions about the EV lifestyle from charging, costs, performance and more. Sundance will be there with our mobile solar array, and can talk about powering your EV with PV (photovoltaics!)
This event will be held at Asheville Outlets and is free and open to the public. For more information visit here.
Green Built Alliance Directory Release Party
Thursday, September 13
5:30 - 8:00 PM
The Green Built Alliance invites you to mingle with green-building and sustainability-focused professionals and learn what they are up to with friends over free food, live music and a cash bar.
This event will also celebrate the release of this year’s edition of their annual Green Building Directory.
This event is free and open to the public. Invite your friends! For more details, visit here.
|Clean Energy Workshops at ASU|
Are you looking for top-notch courses in clean energy? Appalachian Energy Center combines the expertise of Appalachian State University and national experts to bring you the most comprehensive energy-related professional development courses.
All workshops are held in Boone, NC on the campus of ASU. Visit appstate.edu for the more information and to register.
|Refer your Friends & Family!|
Do you have friends and family that are interested in solar? Refer our services to them, and we’ll award you both $200 upon an installation. By reducing our marketing costs, we can pass savings back to you and build a stronger solar community for a clean energy future.
Learn more about our new Customer Referral Program here, and submit contact information for folks in your network that are ready to start saving with solar too. Together, we can make a difference.
And, if you'd like to host a Solarbration like Sherry's (as talked about in her residential spotlight) just call the office to coordinate one for you and your friends.
There is no specific “action you can take” for this month but don’t let that stop you from doing something great! Along those lines – living in the Asheville area is awesome! We have so many great nonprofits and resources available to us. One way to take action is to check out all the ways you can be involved, beyond letter writing and petition signing.
Having the Collider here in Asheville is one way to get a little more focused on all the efforts to catalyze market-driven climate solutions. Maybe you are able to attend one of their upcoming events? To make it easy for you, I’ve provided a link to their calendar - events at the Collider – there are some great offerings and opportunities to make a difference, not only for Asheville but also for our climate, which we all share.