Solar Energy Solutions5

Solarize Installers: Solar Energy Solutions

Solar Energy Solutions5

 

 

 

 

 

From Solar Energy Solutions:

Solar Energy Solutions (SES) is Kentucky’s largest and most experienced solar PV and Solar Hot Water design, engineering and installation company and one that since its formation in 2006 has completed nearly 600 projects ranging in size from 1 kW to 545 KW through its offices in Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati and Evansville. At SES helping people make the move to a renewable energy is a personal mission of the founder Matt Partymiller and his partner and General Manager Steve Ricketts.

SES differentiates itself by its devotion to certification and training in order to provide systems which will still be performing faultlessly in decades time. Our teams, specialized in either residential and commercial areas hold multiple electrical Journeymen and Master qualifications and we in addition have 4 NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals) approved staff, unique solar training which puts our installers at the top level of national performance. We also pride ourselves with having the ability and passion to bring you the latest technology rapidly in a very fast moving and evolving industry.

Installing residential solar is key to our company as we have strong personal beliefs about the right of each individual to own and operate their own costs effective distributed generation. Most of the installs completed by SES in city or rural locations have brought us lifelong relationships with our customers and you can bank on us being with you to start you down the solar road and to support you fully at each and every stage of the journey over the decades ahead.

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Cincinnati Solar Influencer: Jonathan Norris

Solar Influencer: Jonathan Norris

Cincinnati Solar Influencer: Jonathan Norris

“Solar doesn’t only mean good things for our planet; it’s great for the community as well. Those who invest in solar energy will benefit from long-term energy savings, contribute to local job growth, and decrease harmful pollution into our community’s immediate atmosphere by offsetting carbon emissions.

By switching to this source of energy, you’ll invest not only into your future but into a bright and sustainable future for generations to come.”

Jonathan Norris, Green Umbrella Energy Action Team

 

See all of our Solar Influencers

 

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Looking back on 2015. Looking forward to 2016

2015 marked a year of changes in the energy sector. There continued to be a shift away from traditional sources of energy like coal toward natural gas and renewables like solar and wind. The Washington Post identified several factors that made 2015 a transformative year for energy. They include:

• A turn away from coal
• The maturation of wind and solar
• The launch of global and domestic climate policy
• Drastically low oil and natural gas prices

A Mixed Forecast for 2016

Our friends at ACEEE, a national non-profit for energy efficiency, also provided their thoughts on 2015 and what 2016 might hold in store. They see the continued growth of energy efficiency programs at the state and local level as one of the year’s major bright spots. Unfortunately, despite the numerous benefits these programs provide, they continue to face opposition from utilities and political groups.

At the federal level, energy policy is one of the few issues that members on both sides of the aisle can agree. Congress passed some modest energy legislation early in 2015 and an extension of the solar tax credit at the end of the year. Congress will continue to focus on energy issues during 2016 as it works to pass the first comprehensive energy legislation in nearly a decade .

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Press Release: KY-PACE First Project

For immediate release

Covington, KY (December 15, 2015) For the first time in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a local government (City of Covington) has authorized a private property owner (Ivy Knoll Senior Living Community) to use PACE financing for an energy project, according to the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

In March 2015, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear.  The legislation, House Bill 100, authorizes local governments to establish Energy Project Assessment Districts (EPADs), which then allows property owners to use PACE financing to fund energy efficiency upgrades, on-site renewable energy projects and water conservation measures.  Energy projects financed with PACE do not require subsidy or incentive from the local government sponsoring the EPAD.

PACE financing allows private commercial property owners to repay the funds for an eligible energy project via a voluntary special improvement assessment on the property tax bill.  The assessment amount remains fixed for a term of up to 20 years. The special assessment stays with the property when sold or transferred.

The City of Covington worked closely with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance to develop the EPAD which allowed the Ivy Knoll Senior Living Community to take advantage of PACE financing.

“According to the national nonprofit PACENow, this is the fastest that an energy project has been approved for PACE financing once a State has passed enabling legislation,” said City of Covington Mayor Sherry Carran.  “The City of Covington is excited to have partnered with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance which allowed Ivy Knoll to improve such an important property within the City of Covington.”

Ivy Knoll found PACE financing to be a perfect funding solution to make significant building improvements of systems that were outdated or extremely energy inefficient. Through these energy upgrades, Ivy Knoll will be able to improve the comfort and convenience for their senior residents while also reducing the building’s energy footprint. Through PACE financing, the Ivy Knoll owners were able to select improvements that had the highest energy savings but also came with the higher upfront costs for the 7-story, all-electric building.  The $750,000 project, funded by Inland Green Capital LLC, includes the following building improvements:

  • Solar Panels – the largest electricity-generating system that is privately-owned in Northern Kentucky will produce over 64,000 kilowatt hours annually,
  • LED Lighting – estimated electricity savings in excess of $12,000 annually,
  • Elevator Modernization – energy efficient technology by Murphy Elevator Company,
  • Heating & Cooling – high efficiency room units with automated controls that allow the building manager to remotely turn off units in vacant rooms.

“PACE financing allowed us to make many of the energy related improvements that we might have otherwise deferred,” said Ray Schneider, the President/CEO of Ivy Knoll.  “We were able to improve the comfort for our senior residents while reducing the building’s energy footprint by approximately 37%.”

Mark Pikus, Senior Vice President of Inland Green Capital states, “We are excited to be a part of this historic PACE transaction in the state of Kentucky. As PACE financing gains traction throughout the country, we look forward to continue working with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and other PACE administrators to provide capital for properties just like Ivy Knoll”.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is currently working with several local governments to make PACE financing available for more property owners within the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.  Additionally, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance provides education and outreach to contractors and property owners who want to learn more about PACE financing.

“We are excited to bring PACE financing to Northern Kentucky,” said Andy Holzhauser, the CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.  “This is a big step forward in that PACE financing allows property owners to reduce their energy consumption with no down payment and with fixed, long term payments via their property tax bill.”

About Ivy Knoll Retirement Community

Ivy Knoll, located in Covington, offers independent living, personal care, and short-term (respite) stays. They offer the most competitive rates along with the largest one-bedroom apartments available in the area. Each day three home-style meals are served table side to residents. A variety of activity offerings ensures an engaging and healthy social experience for residents that promotes friendships and a higher quality of life.

www.ivyknoll.com; Sam Cunningham

About Inland Green Capital LLC

Inland Green Capital LLC is an environmental finance and investment company. It provides capital for PACE project initiatives throughout the country. In addition to our enthusiasm for PACE from a business perspective, Inland is excited to provide leadership in advancing the energy-efficiency and sustainable movement sweeping the country.

www.inlandgreencapital.com; Mark Pikus

About the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a nonprofit economic development agency that promotes investment in energy efficiency in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities by providing education, project management, and innovative financing solutions like PACE.

www.greatercea.org/commercial/ky-pace; Chris Jones

Contact

Chris Jones, Client Relations Director
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
513.621.4232 x121 | cjones@greatercea.org

 

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Energy Efficiency on and International Scale: Egypt

On October 2nd, we had an opportunity to speak with visitors from Egypt about Greater Cincinnati’s successes with energy efficiency and renewable energy.

This was our second presentation to international visitors as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Leadership Program hosted locally by the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council.

Andy Holzhauser, our CEO, and Chris Meyer, our Energy Program Director, spoke about how energy efficiency and renewable energy can be a tool for transformative economic development. Andy and Chris also presented an overview of the Energy Alliance, our programs, and our impact on the region.

An impromptu tour of the basement

“We got to talking about variable frequency motors and most of them had never seen one before. They have them in their country, but they don’t use them. So I said, we have some in the basement, why don’t we go take a look?”
– Chris Meyer

A basement tour isn’t usually a part of the itinerary for our guests, but the day unexpectedly concluded in the Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s (GCF) basement to look at the energy efficient variable frequency drives on the HVAC equipment.

Older HVAC motors operate at two speeds, either full on or full off. Newer variable frequency drives offer improved efficiency by attaching a computer ‘brain’ to the motor that allows it to vary its output to the amount of torque required. These drives usually pay for themselves through energy savings after just a few years. Since the group consisted mostly of engineers, they were interested to see a variable frequency drive in action.

 

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council and The International Visitor Leadership Program

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC) is an organization whose mission is to be the “leader in preparing the region and its citizens, individually and collectively, to thrive in the 21st century global environment by promoting international understanding, education, engagement, and cooperation.” GCWAC is the local host organization for the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

The IVLP was developed to help “current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.” An overview of its 75-year history is summarized in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOqGE-Hbf3g

 

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In the News: Solarize Cincy Launch at the Cincinnati Zoo

We’ve been in the news lately due to our Solarize Cincy launch event at the Cincinnati Zoo on October 1st. A special thanks to our local news outlets for sharing our story with their viewers.

Our coverage:

  • A nuts-and-bolts report on our Solarize Cincy program by WKRC Local 12’s Scott Dimmich
  • Energy Alliance CEO Andy Holzhauser interviewed on the second half Dan Hurley’s Newsmakers segment
  • Campaign launch coverage from WLWT 5, Fox 19, and Local 12

WKRC Local 12: Solarize Cincy report by Scott Dimmich

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WKRC Local 12: Newsmakers: Andy Holzhauser Interview
(Our Segment starts at 16:44)

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WLWT 5: Solarize Cincy Launch Event Coverage

WKRC 12: Launch Coverage

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FOX 19: Launch Coverage

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Cincinnati’s Greening of the MLS: Increasing the Value of Energy Efficiency Homes

The Cincinnati Multiple Listing Service (MLS) manages housing information for real estate professionals throughout the region. When you search for houses online, all the data about the home, from lot size to number of bedrooms, is tracked by the Cincinnati MLS.

Greening the MLS

The Cincinnati MLS recently announced an important milestone in the enhancement of local green and energy related home buying tools. Homeowners and their agents are now able incorporate a number of new energy features into the MLS systems via an Energy Efficient/Green Features form.

With this form, a homeowner can identify a comprehensive set of enhancements to a home, including specific building rating information such as LEED ® and Home Energy Score ®. The form is then uploaded into the MLS system and available for prospective homebuyers to review. In addition, the presence of the form is searchable, allowing homeowners interested in energy saving homes to quickly and easily identify where those homes exist. In the years ahead, the MLS team hopes to develop further green resources to enhance the value of local real estate.

Why Add Green Features to the MLS?

Home energy costs are typically greater than the combined costs of homeowners insurance and property taxes, yet there is no easy way to report on and compare a home’s energy value. Home sellers can experience similar frustrations. Those homeowners that have made investments in home energy improvements (such as insulation/air sealing upgrades, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and other elements that can significantly reduce a home’s operating costs), are often unable to recoup their investments when selling due to the inability to effectively communicate these benefits. Incorporating this information into the MLS system is thus crucial in creating value.

A Need For Green

National research has identified a growing consumer interest in green [1] and energy efficient homes. Of more than 120 features rated in the National Association of Home Builders 2012 Annual Survey, energy efficiency now ranks among the top two most wanted features, favored by more than 85 percent of respondents.[2] Indeed, home energy costs can make up a sizeable portion of a homeowner’s annual home expenses. Analysis from the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook highlights that home energy costs are typically larger than either property taxes or homeowners insurance.[3] Yet despite the continued interest from homeowners and the significant cost considerations, there is often limited information available for a home buyer to understand a home’s energy or utility profile.

Studies conducted in markets throughout the country have shown that homes with green features have increased value, transact more quickly, and experience lower rates of foreclosure, compared to similar homes without these features. A 2012 study conducted by a pair of UCLA economists found that green labeled homes were selling for a 9% premium compared to non-labeled homes.[4] A 2013 study from the University of North Carolina Center for Community Capital and the Institute for Market Transformation found a 32% lower risk of default for energy-efficient homes.[5]

Where are Green Homes in Greater Cincinnati?

Like much of the country, the Cincinnati region has experienced a rapid growth of green rated homes in recent years, exemplified by significant transformation in the new home market. A recent Smart Market Report from McGraw Hill Construction noted that within five years, half of builders expect more than 60% of their new home projects to be green, nearly double the number of firms that are currently building green. ENERGY STAR® has more than 7,800 certified homes in the Cincinnati region, the Energy Alliance has directly supported more than 1,800 home energy upgrades in recent years, and the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is on pace to continue to rate more than 1,000 regional homes per year. When combined with new market entrants from new home sales, the number of green homes in the regional market is expected to reach a critical mass in the years ahead. Now is a opportune time to take advantage of this growth.

How the MLS Became Green

Back in 2013, the Energy Alliance began a community dialogue about the value of energy efficient homes in the Cincinnati market. Studies from across the country had revealed that homes with energy efficiency or other green features are more valuable than there non-energy efficient counterparts. In addition to savings homeowners money, these homes have been shown to increase value by nearly 10%.

The Energy Alliance suspects that similar value exists in the local market and is committed to helping homeowners who have made these investments gain the most value for their homes. To help grow this dialogue, the Energy Alliance joined together with some of the region’s leading voices for energy efficiency, including the City of Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati’s Green Umbrella network, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Cincinnati Chapter, and Efficiency First Cincinnati.

To test its assumptions and explore options to grow the industry, these partners convened a series of stakeholder discussions that included a diverse array of local real estate agents, appraisers, home builders, planning officials, and mortgage bankers. The purpose of this dialogue was to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with increasing transparency of green and energy efficient homes. Out of these conversations a consensus began to emerge around the potential value of green homes and the group developed a series of recommendations to the Cincinnati MLS to help incorporate more green building information into the local MLS database.

The Energy Alliance is committed to working with the local real estate community in support of their new initiative. The implementation of green fields will require ongoing training and outreach (among agents, appraisers, homebuyers, and even mortgage bankers) to ensure proper understanding and implementation of these new tools.

What’s Next?

The Energy Alliance is committed to working with the Cincinnati MLS and other partners to broadly shre these important new resources and support homeowners seeking to gain value for their homes. The Energy Alliance is in the process of developing a series of training sessions and informational materials to share with homeowners and members of the local real estate community.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact Rob McCracken at the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance: rmccracken@greatercea.org

 

DOWNLOAD THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY/GREEN FEATURES FORM:

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[1] Green homes can include a variety of different features. Most green home certifications focus primarily on a home’s energy usage. Some also include consideration of s home’s indoor air quality, water efficiency, durability, and building materials, among other features.

[2] National Association of Home Builders Annual Survey (2012).

[3] Info provided through the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (2013), the American-Community Survey (2010), and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Annual Homeowner Insurance Report (2010).

[4] The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market (2012). UCLA Environmental Economics Series. Matthew Kahn and Nils Kok. The study included a hedonic pricing analysis of all single-family home sales in California between 2007 and 2012. Study focused on homes labeled with ENERGY STAR, LEED, or Greenpoint Rated, transact for a premium of nine percent relative to otherwise comparable, non-labeled homes.

[5] Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks (2013). Institute for Market Transformation and UNC Center for Community Capital.

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Energy Efficiency on an International Scale

We were very honored to speak with a delegation from Iraq as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Hosted locally by the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council, the delegation toured a variety of local organizations focused on different elements of sustainability. In addition to spending time with the Energy Alliance, other stops included Duke Energy, the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Police Department, the University of Cincinnati, Urban Greens Cincinnati, and Findlay Market.

Andy Holzhauser, our CEO, and Chris Meyer, our Energy Program Director, discussed the big picture of energy efficiency and renewable energy as a tool for transformative economic development. Andy and Chris then presented an overview of the Energy Alliance, our programs, and our impact on the region. The session concluded with a number of questions from the visitors about how to further energy efficiency efforts in their country.

“It’s a profound example of how our work generates a local impact but is part of global market. There isn’t a country in the world that doesn’t want to advance its own energy independence and advancing the investment in clean energy is a critical tool to achieve that outcome.” – Andy Holzhauser

 

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The visiting group from the International Visitor Leadership Program, with Andy Holzhauser (5th from the Left) and Chris Meyer (6th from the Left).

 

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council and The International Visitor Leadership Program

The Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC) is an organization whose mission is to be the “leader in preparing the region and its citizens, individually and collectively, to thrive in the 21st century global environment by promoting international understanding, education, engagement, and cooperation.” GCWAC is the local host organization for the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

The IVLP was developed to help “current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.” An overview of its 75-year history is summarized in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOqGE-Hbf3g

 

 

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EPAD Energy Efficiency Financing Signed Into Law in Kentucky

Last month, Energy Alliance team members Andy Holzhauser and Jeremy Faust were in Frankfort to attend a bill signing for the Energy Project Assessment District Act, or EPAD.

EPAD, also known as PACE nationally, is a unique economic development tool designed to allow commercial and industrial building owners to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewable energy improvements through a voluntary special assessment attached to the property.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed the bill into law noting the energy and water saving potential that EPADs offer Kentucky businesses.

The Energy Alliance is working with partners throughout Kentucky to develop this new tool. If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 513-621-4232 ext. 3.

 

Governor Steve Beshear signing into law the Energy Project Assessment District Act. From left to right: Representative Russ Meyer, bill proponent; Representative James Kay, EPAD bill sponsor; Jeremy Faust, Energy Alliance Strategic Business Development Director; Governor Steve Beshear (seated); Andy Holzhauser, Energy Alliance CEO; Richard Pickren, Harshaw Trane Vice President of Finance; Brooke Parker, Frost Brown Todd.

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Pen presented to the Energy Alliance as one of the 15 used to sign the bill into law.

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