Grupo T-Solar Powers Up Plant in Cali

Spain-based Grupo T-Solar has successfully completed its first photovoltaic solar plant in El Centro, California. The solar plant, located in the municipality of Centro (Imperial Valley, California), occupies 140 acres of land and will produce 55 GWh per year, equal to an energy consumption of more than 12,000 inhabitants. The sale of energy is regulated by a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the company IID (Imperial Irrigation District).

“USA is one of the target markets for the growth of Grupo T-Solar and a key part of our long term business strategy”, said Marta Martinez, CEO of Grupo T-Solar.

Grupo T-Solar Centro Cali project The project in El Centro has an investment of over U.S. $75 million (more than 55 million euros) and has been financed and supported by several international financial institutions including North American Development Bank, as senior lender; Santander Bank NA, a subsidiary of Banco Santander, as Tax Equity Investor; Astris Finance, a financial advisory firm specializing in energy and infrastructure structured finance in the Americas, acted as financial advisor; and CCA Group, a FINRA-registered broker-dealer specializing in renewable energy, acted as advisor for the tax equity component.

“We are very grateful and proud to cooperate with the City of El Centro in a joint effort to preserve and enhance environmental conditions and quality of life for people living in Imperial County”, said Marta Martínez.

The new solar plant is located in an area considered as priority by U.S. and Mexican Governments in its effort to preserve and improve the environmental conditions and the quality of life of the people who live on the border between the two countries.

According to the company strategy in the U.S. market, Grupo T-Solar has just been awarded a MATOC (Multiple Award Task Order Contracts) by the Department of Defense. The program has a budget of $7 Billion with the goal of installing 3,000 MW of renewable energy in the facilities of the U.S. Army until 2025.

DOE Invests $13M in Solar

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced over $13 million for five projects that they say will strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of photovoltaic and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The awards were given under the SunShot Initiative, a program aimed at creating a competitive solar industry in the U.S.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 11.25.56 AM“The strong, continued growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is giving more and more Americans access to affordable clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We have a tremendous opportunity for American manufacturing to lead the global clean energy market and help pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”

According to a new U.S. solar industry report, the U.S. solar market continues to grow – reaching record-breaking levels. In Q3 2013, the United States installed 930 megawatts of photovoltaic, up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and representing the second largest quarter in solar installations in U.S. history. Cumulatively, solar capacity has already surpassed 10 gigawatts and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country.

Matched by over $14 million in private cost share, the DOE’s investment will help companies in California, Colorado, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Oregon develop cost-effective manufacturing processes for photovoltaic and CSP technologies. For example, Colorado-based Abengoa Solar will develop new methods to produce concentrating solar power trough systems, helping to lower overall production costs and support easy and quick on-site assembly. PPG Industries, headquartered in Pennsylvania, will lead a project to cut solar module manufacturing costs in half, while Georgia-based Suniva will develop a low-cost highly efficient silicon photovoltaic cell.

Broadly, the DOE investment announced today will help drive affordable, efficient solar power in the United States and help industry partners meet the SunShot Initiative’s goal to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. These awards also support the Department’s broader Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative to increase the efficiency of the U.S. manufacturing sector and ensure that clean energy technologies continue to be made in America.

GEA Names Winners of GEA Honors 2013

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has announced the winners for the GEA Honors, which recognize companies and individuals that have made significant contributions during the past year to advancing technology, spurring economic  GEA logodevelopment and protecting the environment. The winners were selected in categories including Technological Advancement, Economic Development and Environmental Stewardship. Now in its third year, GEA also provides special recognition of companies and individuals who have made notable advances and achievements for geothermal energy.

“Even in a challenging environment, our GEA Honors winners represent the best in a growing industry. These geothermal leaders are trailblazers and should be praised for the headway they’re achieving for the entire sector,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell.

Technological Advancement – Awarded for developing a new, innovative or pioneering technology to further geothermal development: U.S. Geothermal’s 22 MW Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Power Plant:

Economic Development – Awarded for making a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems: GeothermEx.

Environmental Stewardship – Awarded for fostering outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems. This award is presented in conjunction with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) to  Dale Merrick, Canby Geothermal.

Special Recognition – The Special Recognition Award is presented to individuals or companies for their outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry. GEA wishes to recognize the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and support for geothermal energy during the past year:

  • Katherine Young and her team at NREL for their work on the Geothermal Regulatory Roadmapping effort;
  • Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center in Reno Nevada;
  • Authors Magnus Gehringer and Victor Loksha of the World Bank for the ESMAP Geothermal Handbook; and
  • Cornell Team Erin Riley Camp, Sean Hillson and Jeff Tester for their help on GEA’s analysis efforts, particularly the Geothermal Externalities Paper.

GEA also recognized companies that have worked to bring new geothermal power on-line in the United States this year:

  • Ormat for the expected completion of the new Don A. Campbell (formerly named Wild Rose) geothermal power plant.
  • ENEL Green Power North America and Ormat for completing construction of the new Cove Fort power plant in Utah.
  • Surprise Valley Electric Cooperative for their 3MW power plant in Oregon, which is expected to be on-line in early 2014.
  • Gradient Resources’ Patua Geothermal Project:

DuPont Starts Solar Project on Landfill Site

DuPont has commissioned a 548kw solar installation located on five-acres of former Superfun landfill site in Newport, Delaware. The solar farm will produce enough electricity to power 60 homes and will generate approximately 729,000 kilowatt hours of power per year.

NewportPVSiteAfter successfully completing remediation at the Newport site, and with the support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Delaware Division of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), DuPont collaborated with Tangent Energy Solutions to put develop the solar project. Greenwood Energy owns the project and solar panels were provided by DuPont Apollo.

During a celebration event held at DuPont’s Photovoltaics Application Lab, Delaware Governor Jack Markell said of the new project, “The DuPont Solar Power Project complements Delaware’s commitment toward using clean, renewable energy sources. Generating solar energy benefits the residents of Newport, and positively impacts our state – increasing our competitiveness, reducing air pollution, improving public health and creating jobs.”

Linda Fisher, vice president – DuPont Safety, Health & Environment & Chief Sustainability Officer said to the crowd, “We’re very excited about this project because it is the first time we’ve utilized solar on a former landfill. The project will reduce DuPont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tons a year and reuse a portion of a federal Superfund site that had been considered to be unusable land. This is a great example of what we’re trying to do at DuPont around the world: working collaboratively to help meet the growing demand for energy with renewable fuels.”

This represents the 11th solar installation on DuPont land to date, and the fourth in Delaware.

“Under the RE-Powering America Initiative, EPA encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site,” added Shawn Garvin, regional administrator – EPA Mid-Atlantic Region 3. “When we work together to turn an environmental problem into an opportunity, we create the best of what is possible – here solar energy will serve the families of Newport and inspire others to re-power America with alternative energy solutions.”

PPL Doubles Capacity of Hydroelectric Facility

PPL Holtwood has announced completion of a new, 125-megawatt powerhouse at its Holtwood hydroelectric facility along the Susquehanna River in south-central Pennsylvania. The powerhouse is part of a $440 million expansion project to boost the plant’s generating capacity and improve fish passage over the century-old dam. The integrated improvements to the fish lifts and water flows are expected to better attract fish into the lifts and ease their migration along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

The new powerhouse sits adjacent to the century-old powerhouse and more than doubles the plant’s generating capacity from about 108 megawatts to more than 230 megawatts. The additional capacity is enough to power about 100,000 homes.

PPL GENERATION HOLTWOOD PLANT NEW POWERHOUSE“This project, one of the largest expansions of its kind in the U.S., represents a major investment in clean, reliable, renewable energy,” said Victor Lopiano, senior vice president of Fossil & Hydro Generation for PPL. “I thank everyone who was involved in design and construction of the new powerhouse. This project highlights the potential to upgrade existing hydroelectric facilities and expand capacity without the need to build new dams. The new facility’s two 62.5-megawatt turbines are capable of generating more electricity than the 12 existing turbines, combined.”

Lopiano said the hydroelectric expansion further strengthens the diversity of PPL’s competitive generation fleet within the mid-Atlantic. The fleet includes hydroelectric power, nuclear power, natural gas and coal-fired power plants, along with other forms of renewable energy.

IKEA Plugs In 3 Blink EV Charging Stations

IKEA has plugged-in three Blink® electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Dallas-area store as part of its partnership with Car Charging Group, Inc., the new owner of the Blink Network and Blink charging stations, and the largest provider of EV charging services with more than 13,430 charging points in 35 states and three countries. To charge an EV at IKEA Frisco, drivers pull into a EV_charging_stations_at_IKEA_Frisco_TX_Dallas_USA_designated parking spot, tap their Blink InCard (RFID card) to the reader below the screen, plug the charger into the EV, and then shop and eat at their leisure in the IKEA store while the vehicle is charging.

The new EV charging stations represents the 10th such project for IKEA in the U.S., with installation underway at seven other locations. In total, completion of the units currently planned will bring the total number of Blink charging stations available at IKEA locations to 55. Drivers may call Blink Customer Support (888-998-2546) to be provided with a guest code for the charging session and/or become a Blink member, which provides discounted rates at Blink stations. Information about Blink membership is also available at .

“We are thrilled at how these electric vehicle charging stations further the sustainability of IKEA Frisco, and now are available to the public,” said Robby Wierman, store manager. “We appreciate the support of CarCharging and Oncor – our partners in helping facilitate and promote the use of EVs in North Texas.”

Ecosphere Receives U.S. Patent for Ecos PowerCube

Ecosphere Technologies, Inc. has announced that the United States Patent & Trademark Office has approved U.S. Patent No. 8,593,102 for Ecosphere’s Ecos PowerCube® – a portable, self-contained micro-utility that uses solar power to provide electricity in the most remote, off-grid locations. Designed to meet the growing demand for off-grid energy, with a unique array of stacked solar panels, the Ecos PowerCube maximizes the total amount Ecos PowerCubeof solar power generation possible in 10’, 20’ and 40’ standard ISO shipping container footprints. With power generation capabilities up to 15 KW, the technology can be transported by land, air, or sea and is ideally suited to support off-grid military, disaster relief, humanitarian and mobile communication efforts.

The company says electricity generated by the Ecos PowerCube can be used to power various onboard systems including satellite communications, Internet connectivity, and mobile water treatment systems. The system can also be used to supply military or disaster relief teams with life-sustaining, mobile infrastructure modules, such as hospitals, command centers, sleeping quarters, and temporary schools.

Dennis McGuire, Chairman and CEO of Ecosphere Technologies, said, “We are pleased to finally announce the U.S Patent Office’s decision to grant our Ecos PowerCube patent and the commercial launch of the Ecos PowerCube product line. We believe the Ecos PowerCube addresses significant infrastructure deficiencies in remote field camp installations or when responding to large-scale disasters. Consistent with Ecosphere’s business model, we are seeking to license the Ecos PowerCube to a wide range of entities, including branches of the U.S. and global armed forces, as well as corporations that provide equipment for the military and a wide variety of disaster relief agencies worldwide.”

With the Army embracing renewables to make the business of war safer for soldiers, Ecosphere believes the Ecos PowerCube system is ideal for the military. In May 2013, the Army announced plans to spend $7 billion buying electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal and biomass projects over the next three decades.

“The Army’s target is to install 1 gigawatt of renewable capacity in the U.S. by 2025 and to reduce non-tactical fuel consumption 30 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels,” said Dean Becker, director and intellectual property strategist for Ecosphere. “The Ecos PowerCube is the world’s most powerful mobile solar powered generator that can ship in standard 10 to 40 foot ISO container dimensions. It can be shipped by truck, rail, air, and sea – just like a standard shipping container.”

Becker added, “When you ship and deploy an Ecos PowerCube, there is no assembly required. Press a button and the solar panels deploy, producing power from the sun. It is a revolutionary solar design that the U.S. Patent Office recognized as being unique and patentable. Unlike conventional solar arrays systems that are placed on the ground or on top of containers, Ecosphere’s patented solar arrays can be retracted to protect the panels in the kind of inclement weather that is prevalent in war zones or disaster relief type scenarios.”

Alliant Energy Cuts Energy Efficiency Goals

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today approved Alliant Energy’s plan to scale back energy efficiency goals at the same time the utility is pursuing a new $920 million plant in Marshalltown, Iowa. According to the Environmental Law & Policy Center Alliant is punting on a chance to lead on energy efficiency and ensuring the utility’s Iowa customers will pay higher electric bills for years.

Alliant-Energy“At a time when Iowa is defining its energy future, the IUB could have advanced Iowa’s leadership on energy efficiency, but instead it put that leadership in doubt,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, part of a coalition of environmental groups who intervened in the proceedings. “Energy efficiency creates jobs and is the most cost effective way to meet demand for power, but instead we are taking the expensive path of new power plants.”

The new goals represent less than half the efficiency progress possible through cost-effective means even under the utility’s own analysis, commissioned in 2012. The decision comes at a time when many states in the Midwest and nationally are increasing the amount of energy saved, not reducing those savings.

“It is disappointing that the Board approved savings goals for Alliant Energy that leaves significant amounts of cost-effective energy efficiency on the table,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director at the Iowa Environmental Council. Energy efficiency is most valuable when new generation is needed, and a precursor to approving plans for a newer power plant should be to ensure that we are implementing all of the available cost-effective energy efficiency.”

Under the new goals, Alliant will attempt to save 1.1 percent in retail sales each year over the next five years. This is a sharp reduction from both the utility’s current goal of 1.3 percent or its recent performance of 1.4 percent. Continue reading

Abengoa Announces Sustainable Business Prize

International renewable energy company Abengoa has launched the second edition of the Focus-Abengoa Sustainable Business Prize that seeks to recognize suppliers that have demonstrated their commitment and made a contribution to sustainable development.

abengoa-logoThe company presents this award to highlight outstanding actions by its suppliers. It is open to all companies that have been suppliers to Abengoa, or any of its subsidiaries in any country during the last 24 months, and that are implementing or have completed initiatives in the last two years that have contributed to social development and reducing environmental impact. The prize will be awarded in two categories – one for small and medium size companies with less than 50 employees, and another for large companies with 50 or more employees.

The jury for the Focus-Abengoa Sustainable Business Prize will be comprised of Jose Borrell Fontelles, vice-chairman of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Abengoa’s International Board, and chairman of the jury; Cristina Garcia Orcoyen, managing director of the Entorno Foundation; German Granda, general manager of Foretica; Jose Luis Blasco, managing partner for climate change and sustainability services at KPMG; and Maria Mendiluce, director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The committee is looking for projects or initiatives that promote responsible business management and stand out for their originality, innovative nature, impact and leadership.

Companies that wish to participate should complete the form on the competition website (http://sustainability.abengoa.com) and return it before December 11, 2013 to the e-mail address rsc@abengoa.com. When returning the form, please include in the subject line of the email “2nd edition of the Focus-Abengoa Sustainable Business Prize”.

In the 1st edition of the Prize, the jury chose Novozymes in the large company category for its “Life Cycle Studies (ACV)” project, while in the small and medium sized company category no first prize was awarded, although the jury decided to present a runners-up prize to Aislamientos Desmontables S.L. for its initiative, “Environmental control, quality, health and safety in the workplace”.

Offshore Wind Needs EUR123 Billion to Meet Goals

EWEA offshore wind financial reportAccording to new research, the offshore wind energy sector needs up to EUR123 billion in investment between now and 2020 if it is to meet its target of 40 GW of installed capacity. Equity and debt provides are willing to invest; however, they are holding back due to regulatory instability.

What’s blocking the investment is the uncertainty caused by changing regulatory frameworks, not least in the two largest markets, the UK and Germany, the independent survey of the financial community shows.

“By undermining investment stability, governments are putting green growth, jobs and a world-leading European industry at risk,” said CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), Thomas Becker, at the report launch in Frankfurt at EWEA OFFSHORE 2013. “Stable national frameworks and a binding EU renewable energy target for 2030 will be a green light to investors and ensure the industry continues to flourish.”

The report, ‘Where’s the money coming from? Financing offshore wind farms‘ comes from EWEA with research from Ernst and Young.

Duke Settles Wind Farms Bird Deaths Suit

Duke Energy Renewables has announced it has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the deaths of golden eagles and other migratory birds at two of Duke Energy’s wind generation sites in Wyoming. The DOJ brought misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for 14 golden eagle mortalities within the past three years at Duke Energy’s Top of the World Windpower Project and Campbell Hill Windpower Project near Casper, Wyoming.

Golden_EagleGolden eagles are not listed as threatened or endangered under U.S. law. However, they are protected under the MBTA.

Federal fines and restitution of $1 million will be levied against Duke Energy Renewables. These funds will be dispersed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Conservation Fund.

“Our goal is to provide the benefits of wind energy in the most environmentally responsible way possible,” said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables. “We deeply regret the impacts to golden eagles at two of our wind facilities. We have always self reported all incidents, and from the time we discovered the first fatality, we’ve been working closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service to take proactive steps to correct the problem.”

The company has engaged in several steps to reduce further bird deaths that they believe is a first in the industry. These included:

  • Installing and testing new radar technology to assist in the detection of airborne eagles on or near the site, which was developed from the same technology used in Afghanistan to monitor incoming missiles.
  • Instituting a curtailment program using field biologists, who radio for turbines to be temporarily shut down upon sighting an eagle in the vicinity.
  • Further curtailing turbines during periods of high eagle flight activity.
  • Instituting migratory bird training programs for wind technicians and developing a reporting system to track any findings related to avian populations on the sites.
  • Removing rock and debris piles that attract eagle prey.
  • Continuing to voluntarily report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) all eagle and migratory bird mortalities and meeting with the agency regularly to discuss adaptive management measures to reduce avian mortality. Continue reading

Trinity Solar Completes NJ Military Base Solar Project

Trinity Solar has recently completed a 12.3 megawatt residential solar installation at United Communities LLC, the private manager of the military multifamily community at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, bringing renewable power to the privatized housing community on base occupied by over 2,100 military families. The system represents one of the largest TRINITY SOLAR RIBBON CUTTINGsolar-powered military communities in the country. Generating an estimated 13.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year, the system is projected to account for over 30 percent of the community’s annual energy usage.

“Completing this project, installing over 10,000 solar modules on over 650 roof-tops and connecting them to compile 12.3 Megawatts of solar in just over eight months has been challenging but incredibly rewarding. Working with so many diverse entities to complete a common monumental goal has been a great experience,” said Bill Condit, VP of Operations for Trinity Solar.

The installation will also be able to help the Department of Defense (DOD) – the largest energy consumer in the country – meet major sustainability goals. The electric capacity of this new system will help the DOD reach its goals of deploying three gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations and obtaining 25 percent of its total power requirements from independent renewable sources by 2025.

Jeffrey T. Brown of the installation’s equity provider True Green Capital Management said, “We are proud to provide independently produced clean energy to U.S. military families through our Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst solar system. This is a strategic investment for our firm that reinforces the important role solar energy will play in our domestic energy mix in the coming years. We are grateful for the collaboration among stakeholders that made successful execution of this system possible, including our lender CIT, United Communities, the U.S. Air Force and Trinity Solar.”

The construction of the project employed over 120 engineering, electrical and maintenance workers, and helped add to New Jersey’s solar electric capacity, which currently ranks second in the U.S. According the Environmental Protection Agency. Senior lender CIT Bank and solar crowd funding platform, Mosaic, provided project debt for the installation, while the equity was provided by installation owner True Green Capital Management LLC.

S.C. Opens Largest Wind Energy Testing Facilities

wind_testing_cert-1The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman recently joined with officials from Clemson University to dedicate the nation’s largest and one of the world’s most advanced wind energy testing facilities in North Charleston, S.C. Led by Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, the facility will help test and validate new turbines, particularly for offshore wind – helping to speed deployment of next generation energy technology, reduce costs for manufacturers and boost global competitiveness for American companies.

“Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources is an important part of the Energy Department’s all-of-the-above strategy to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman. “The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry – helping to make sure the best, most efficient wind energy technologies are developed and manufactured in the United States.”

Congressman Jim Clyburn said, “This facility is about job creation, sustainable growth and energy independence, while building the infrastructure to power America’s economic growth and prosperity for years to come. I applaud Clemson University for their leadership in bringing this cutting edge research to South Carolina and North Charleston. Wind energy represented over 40% of new electricity production in the United States in 2012, but there is still tremendous amount of untapped potential for this technology. I look forward to this industry creating jobs while providing clean renewable energy.”

Located at a former Navy warehouse with easy access to rail and water transport, the Clemson facility will test machinery that converts both onshore and offshore wind to electricity and allow engineers to simulate 20 years’ worth of wear and tear on drivetrains in a few months. The facility’s proximity to the coast also makes it ideal for U.S. and international companies to testing larger offshore wind turbines.

Supported by a $47 million Energy Department investment as well as about $60 million in outside funding, the facility is equipped with two testing bays – for up to 7.5-megawatt  and 15-megawatt drivetrains, respectively. The facility will also feature a gridwind_testing_cert-2 simulator that mimics real-world conditions and can help private industry and public researchers better study interactions between wind energy technologies and the U.S. power grid.

Over the past four years, the Energy Department has made significant investments in our nation’s wind turbine testing capabilities, including the Scaled Wind Farm Technology facility in Lubbock, Texas, to help optimize whole wind farms’ performance and power production as well as the United States’ first commercial large-blade test facility in Boston Harbor.

These efforts build off the Department’s National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colo., which has helped drive new wind technology development since 1993. This past week, the Department dedicated a new five-megawatt dynamometer at the center to further strengthen its capabilities and conduct research on stronger, more durable wind drivetrains for land-based wind farms. Connected to a grid simulator as well as operating multi-megawatt turbines at the center, the new installation will also help study grid interactions and test energy storage devices simultaneously.

Schletter Opens North Carolina Headquarters

Schletter, a company focused on solar photovoltaic mounting systems, recently celebrated the company’s new North American headquarters in Shelby, North Carolina with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The North Carolina facility is currently operational and production of solar mounting systems and custom sheet metal fabrication began this past summer.

Located in ClevegI_96151_Ribbon Cutting Cropland County, the Shelby, North Carolina facility is the company’s third North American manufacturing facility since starting business in the United States in 2007. The company’s original facility in Tucson, Arizona will continue to supply products to customers in the western United States while the company’s second facility in Ontario, Canada will continue to serve the Canadian market. In addition to the three manufacturing facilities, the company maintains offices in Connecticut and plans to open a new office in Texas in 2014.

“The addition of the Shelby, North Carolina manufacturing facility gives Schletter the largest manufacturing capacity for solar mounting systems in North America – a benefit we have already begun passing on to our customers. Our manufacturing capacity, combined with a high level of automation, is enabling us to drive down costs for our customers and decrease shipping costs, for the east coast in particular,” said Schletter CEO and President Martin Hausner.

Hausner continued, “Schletter has almost every process in-sourced, enabling us to offer competitive pricing without sacrificing quality. Our focus is our customer and we are committed to our customers’ success – through the protection of their investments in the way of product longevity and sound structural calculations, and streamlining design and ordering with services like the new online tool PV Powerhouse.”

Expansion of the original structure is complete with 140,000 square feet of highly-automated manufacturing space and administrative offices. In Shelby, the company currently employs a staff of 100 and plans to hire 70 more before the end of the year. Schletter employs over 200 individuals In the United States, while globally the company employs more than 1,600.

Nicholas Wiebelhaus, Schletter East Coast General Manager added, “The event was a tremendous success with over 150 participants and an excellent lineup of speakers. We extend our gratitude to all those who helped us celebrate this milestone, including our speakers Shelby Mayor Stanhope Anthony, Representative Tim Moore, and NCCEBA Executive Director Kristen Thornburg.”

2013 CleanTech Open Winners Announced

The Cleantech Open, the world’s largest clean-technology accelerator, has awarded PowWow Energy of Sunnyvale, California the Grand Prize “Cleanie” award for the Top Cleantech Entrepreneur of the year. PowWow Energy has developed technology that PowWow Energyenables farmers and ranchers to quickly detect water leaks that can destroy an entire crop or cause thousands of dollars of damage. Two runners-up were also selected: HJ3 Composite Technologies and Bio-Adhesive Alliance.

The announcements were made in San Jose at the Cleantech Open Global Forum, the “Academy Awards of Cleantech,” which marked the grand finale of this year’s Cleantech Open Accelerator and the culmination of the 2013 Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who has played a key role in promoting the vibrant Silicon Valley cleantech industry and has been a vocal supporter of the Cleantech Open, kicked off the awards ceremony.

“Congratulations to the 2013 winners and finalists, which represent the best in early-stage cleantech innovation and viable solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges,” said Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open. “I would also like to express our huge appreciation of our sponsors, who make the Cleantech Open possible, and to thank the army of volunteers who power the world’s largest cleantech accelerator.”

Other category finalists included:

  • Argriculture-Water-Waste — Polymer Green, which has developed the first available clean solution to process landfill waste plastic.
  • Energy Generation —Helion Energy, which is dedicated to making practical and affordable fusion energy a reality.
  • Green Building — Bio-Adhesive Alliance, which produces low-cost and durable adhesive from swine manure that can be utilized as a substitute to petroleum-based asphalt.
  • Chemicals and Advanced Materials — HJ3 Composite Technologies, which manufactures, engineers, and installs advanced composite systems that have been used on over 10,000 successful applications worldwide.

The National Sustainability Award went to Garden Fresh Farms, which is building a nationwide network of investor-owned, inner-city indoor hydroponic farms. The runner-up in this category was Grannus, has developed the Eureaka Process, a disruptive innovation in the production of nitrogen fertilizer (urea).