Category: EarthKind® in the News

E2 Mission to Washington, DC

E2 Group in Washington DC |

L to R: Joanna Marvin, E2 New England; Bob Keefe, E2 Executive Director; Berl Hartman, E2 Director, New England; United States Senator Edward Markey; Ron Kamen, E2 Director, New York; Barbara Blumenthal, E2 New Jersey.

In November, I joined a stellar team on the Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) annual mission to Washington, DC. In addition to receiving hands-on advocacy and media training from nationally renowned media experts, we attended high-level briefings with senior government officials on current policy debates, and met with leaders in Congress and the Administration on legislative initiatives including the President’s Clean Power Plan and the extension of the Clean Energy Tax Credits that have fueled wind, solar, and other clean energy development. I met with E2 members from around the country…an inspiring group of entrepreneurs, investors and executives…who work with E2 to advance an environmentally sustainable economy and are moving E2’s strategy forward at the federal
and state levels.

Angel Light Pictures Is On A Green Mission; Joins EarthKind Energy

BWW Movies World reports on a collaboration between Earthkind Energy and Angel Light Pictures. <a href="" title="BWW Movies" target="_blank">Read the article.</a>
I’ve known Antonio Saillant for over 2 decades. It’s an honor and pleasure to work with him again as Angel Light Pictures expands Planet Greenfest to integrate energy & environmental sustainability throughout the entertainment industry.

BWW Movies World reports on a collaboration between Earthkind Energy and Angel Light Pictures. Read the article.

Ron Speaks to the Westchester County Legislature’s Environment and Energy Committee


Clean Energy Visionary |

The Westchester County Legislature is working to pass legislation that would eliminate the use of dirty, polluting #6 and #4 oil. As part of their deliberative process, the Environment and Energy Committee invited Ron to speak about solar hot water as a way for building owners to reduce their costs when they change from dirty oil to other sources. Ron discusses the zero cash outlay, guaranteed savings, and third party maintenance offerings that EarthKind is bringing to New York State in partnership with Skyline Innovations / Nextility.

Ron’s presentation starts at ~36.45.

Happy New Year

This letter was recently published in the New York Solar Energy Industries Association‘s newsletter — something I get to do as the president emeritus. You can browse the entire newsletter here, or read my letter below:

Dear New York Solar Friends & Colleagues,

Happy New Year! I hope you had wonderful holidays, and that 2014 is shaping up to become your best year ever, with lots of sunshine, peace, happiness, good health, and prosperity for all of you and yours.

It’s been a long haul, but my wife Linda had a successful LIVE liver transplant in August (where both the donor’s and recipient’s halves grow back), and she subsequently resolved the remaining issues with a final surgery last month. When I now speak with NYS officials about the new “resiliency” buzzword, I urge them to take lessons from her, as she overcame 14 hospitalizations over the last 14 months (the transplant, as well as winning multiple bouts with pneumonia, sepsis, peritonitis, gastritis, colitis, and C-Diff…).

While I took most of this last year for family medical issues, I’ve also finished a 500KW PV project on Staten Island and a MW Solar Wall Air Heating project at Stewart AFB, and we merged Starphire’s renewable energy marketing & public policy consulting practice with EarthKind’s solar, CHP, and efficiency project development business.

It is heartening to see the NY Solar Industry’s progress since passing the torch to Sean, Mary, Alfredo and the new NYSEIA Board, and humbling to be reminded that transitions of leadership often create things that are even better than before. In this last week, with support & direction from the Governor & PSC, we’ve seen NYSERDA request:

  • $960,556,000 of new funding for 3,000 MWs of CST PV
  • That LIPA/PSEG Long Island residential and small non-residential customers participate in the statewide PV program – with the PSC desiring NYPA to be in one uniform program as well…
  • A MW block plan by 2014 Q1 for the PV standard offer program (up to 200kW), with a similar program to be created later for the current competitive PV program (200-2,000kW)

I am tremendously excited about the new leadership at NYSERDA and the NYS Public Service Commission. Governor Cuomo’s Chairman of Energy and Finance, Richard Kauffman, has been working with the PSC’s new Chairwoman, Audrey Zibelman, and the new NYSERDA President / CEO John Rhodes to redefine the role of utilities and energy incentives. In December’s “trilogy of orders”, the PSC “…begins the process of articulating the broad policy based outcomes intended for the clean energy programs”, and “directs Staff to recommend, in the first quarter of 2014, a process that will result in timely decisions regarding changes to our regulatory model, including performance and outcome based incentives, that will be required to achieve our broad policy objectives”.

The PSC agreed with PACE/NRDC (and us) that “we need to have an incentive structure in place that not only makes utilities indifferent to revenue losses from efficiency (as revenue decoupling does) but provides affirmative motivation”. The PSC “intends to change the regulatory model so that …incentives are not confined to a narrow silo of meeting certain single metric targets, but are integrally bound to the utilities’ business model.”

What this means is that New York State utilities will soon stop fighting efficiency, solar and other distributed generation, since they will be making a profit from them. The old models are about to be turned upside down, and a “new day” is dawning. With the creation of the Green Bank, the PSC also authorized NYSERDA to reallocate unencumbered Main Tier funds to the solar photovoltaic (solar PV) programs “with the goal of reducing and ultimately eliminating RPS incentives for PV systems by or before 2020”.

While change is always scary, the “future looks bright” to those who can evolve to the new structures.

I’m in the process of deciding which new projects, business development, and public policy ventures I’ll be pursuing this year, and am always interested in talking and working with good people who are doing interesting things. If you’d like to discuss any of the above or other topics, please email me.

Otherwise, I look forward to participating with you in the NYSEIA member calls, and hope to see you soon!

Best Regards,

Celebrate Solar

For those of us interested in Solar Energy, there is cause to celebrate.

Here are some compelling facts:

  • 92% of American voters agree that it is important that America develop its solar capacity.

  • The price of solar panels has dropped 80% in the last five years, to $0.70 per watt in 2012.

  • And it keeps dropping: in 2012, the cost of a completed PV system dropped by 14%.

  • Solar installations grow by 1400% in the last five years.”

Thanks to Vote Solar for these facts and the great graphic. For more inspiring information on the solar revolution visit Vote Solar.

Solar Saves

successful residential solar |

Ron Kamen in front of the Curtis family's solar shed, added to their south-facing wall to provide solar heat and hot water and gain storage space. The rectangular panel on the right is a solar air heater for heating a kid's bedroom. (photo credit James Orr)

Humans are great at consuming energy. We have come to depend on energy for everything—powering our motor vehicles, heating and cooling our homes, workplaces, and electronic devices, transporting our food and water from source to marketplace, and so on. For the last 100+ years, we’ve been relying on abundant fossil fuels for our growing energy needs. Today, the scientists at the SUNY Atmospheric Science Research Center calculate that the world uses an incredible 16 trillion watts (16 terawatts, or 16 TW) of power every year.

Here’s the problem: even if we deep drill every last pint of oil; frack every last cubic inch of natural gas; and strip mine every last ounce of coal and uranium, scientists estimate that the world will only have enough fossil energy for about 100 more years—and that’s if we don’t increase our energy use. So far, we’ve been blessed with enough fossil fuels to sustain our energy-dependent lifestyles. But we only need to observe the ever-weirder weather to realize that burning the last of the world’s carbon reserves is having a disastrous environmental impact on our lives today—and will dramatically change the world for our children and grandchildren.

Ray of Hope

When we compare the world’s total energy use of 16 terawatts to non-solar renewable energy sources, we find that wind, hydro and tidal (water), geothermal (Earth), and biomass could supply 80 TWs per year—or more than five times the amount of energy we currently need. Then there’s our planet’s other energy resource, the ultimate source of power: the sun. Compared to the 16 TWs of total world energy use; or the 80 TWs that we can get every year from non-solar renewables; or the one-time 1,600 TWs from all fossil fuels, the sun sends us 23,000 TWs of usable energy every year.

Perhaps more importantly, solar energy saves money. Recent advances in solar—technology, cost reductions, government incentives, and long-term financing—now make solar electricity an excellent cost-saving option for residents, businesses, and institutions.

If you have a modest amount of money to invest in your home or office building, a solar energy system can earn back your investment in only a few years and go on saving for you. Even better, new financing options now provide the opportunity to go solar with small amounts or even no cash at all. Almost any homeowner, business, or institution can now have a solar system that will “zero out” their annual utility electric bill—and save 10% or more every month on your utility costs, even without putting out any cash.

Here are three ways consumers can “go solar and save”:

1) You invest your own capital. The solar installer takes the NYS cash incentive “off the top,” you claim a 30% Federal and 25% NYS tax credit. After the cash and tax incentives, the solar system’s savings from reducing the electric bill pays for itself in three to seven years, providing an annual “return on investment” far superior (and with much less risk) than any stock on Wall Street.

2) You have a third party financing company pay for the entire installation, and the third party takes the incentives and tax benefits. In this case, you have put no money down and still get a solar system. You pay the third party for the energy generated (in either a “solar lease” or “power purchase agreement”), but usually save 10% or more per kilowatt hour compared to the utility cost.

3. You invest in a hybrid “pre-paid lease”—for which you make a one-time payment—then keep all the savings for 20 years. At the end of the lease term, you purchase the system for either $1 or fair market value, depending on the contract terms (make sure you read the fine print!)

In all these situations, solar customers stay connected to “the grid,” and the utility continues to provide power at night and during cloudy days. But, over a year, these “net metered” systems generate as much electricity as is consumed. For people who desire electric back-up for those times when the electric utility lines go down (an ever-increasing outcome of climate disruption)—a solar project can be upgraded to enable short or long-term back-up power options.

Among the installations that have been secured with some assistance from our consulting firm are a solar hot water system at Benedictine Hospital that is saving 2,000 gallons of oil per year, solar hot water systems for two of the residential dorms at Bard College; and a 50,000-watt rooftop solar electric system at the Center for Automotive Education, in Queens. Meanwhile, the Curtis family in Clinton gained a solar electric system that offsets 100% of their family’s electricity with a “pre-paid lease,” for which they made one minimal payment and will keep the entire monthly and annual savings for 20 years, then purchase the system for $1.

The sun is the largest power source on the planet. Now, solar can be installed on our roofs, in our yards, or on top of a new shed, gazebo, carport, or porch—and we can save money, while helping save the planet, and moving toward true energy independence.

We can burn through all the remaining fossil fuels or we can make the clean energy transition today, and leave a legacy we—and our children—will be proud of. The choice is ours.

This article originally appeared in the Dutchess County publication AboutTown and can be viewed on their site.

EarthKind Energy Divests Solar Products Division to Focus on Solar Project Development

RHINEBECK, NY, Sept. 18 – EarthKind Energy®, a renewable energy company founded in 2007, today announced that it has sold its Solar Products Division in order to concentrate on its rapidly expanding solar project development business.

“This move is an integral part of EarthKind’s business strategy to focus on and leverage our core competencies of solar project development, including identifying projects, securing government incentives, and structuring project management and financing,” said Ron Kamen, EarthKind Chairman. “We have developed solid relationships with solar equipment manufacturers, distributors and installers who will do a great job of managing warehouses and materials. By concentrating on solar project development, our logistics partners will allow us to do what we do best: use our knowledge, experience and relationships to develop successful renewable energy projects.”

Linda Curtis, President of EarthKind, said that the focus on project development is the next logical step in EarthKind’s evolution. “Over the last six years, our customers have had to contend with fast-paced fluctuations in solar markets and government policies,” said Curtis. “We are excited to concentrate our expertise and relationships to exclusively help our clients develop commercial solar electric, hot water and solar heating projects that save them money while meeting their energy, esthetic and environmental goals.”

Douglas Polley, the former President and CEO of EarthKind who led EarthKind’s transition from a primarily solar hot water products distributor to a Solar PV and Solar Thermal Project Developer, will continue to support EarthKind in an advisory role. Polley said, “I have worked with Ron for the last two years to develop and implement a business strategy that leverages EarthKind’s years of experience in renewable energy. This announcement is the culmination of our efforts. I am proud to continue my support and believe that the changes strengthen the ability of EarthKind to facilitate solar development here in New York State and beyond.” As part of the restructuring, Kamen and Curtis acquired the outstanding shares of EarthKind stock, secured 100 percent ownership, and relocated the company’s corporate headquarters to Rhinebeck, NY.

Kamen and Curtis also co-own Starphire® New Energy Technologies (Starphire.NET), a renewable energy wholesale and consulting firm. Starphire markets the EarthKind Wind®, EarthKind Hydro® and EarthKind Biomass® renewable energy brands to customers, including NYSEG Solutions/Energetix; the NYS Office of General Services; the NY Power Authority; the State University of New York at Buffalo; and other public institutions and private businesses. EarthKind’s Solar Energy division has developed solar electric, solar hot water and solar heating projects for scores of commercial customers throughout the region, including the City of Binghamton, Greater NY Auto Dealer Association in Queens, Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, NorthEast Health’s Hawthorne Senior Living Center in Albany, Wadsworth Terrace multifamily affordable housing complex in the Bronx, and the Millbrook Water Treatment plant in the Town of New Castle.

Kamen stated “EarthKind and Starphire create a unique business synergy that offers clients in the marketplace a powerful ally to lead them from start to finish on cleaning their energy supply, whether from development of on-site renewable energy projects or via the purchase of ‘green power’ through the grid. We look forward to the expanded growth that will be propelled by this next evolution of our business model.”

For more information, contact:
Ron Kamen: 845-266-3723,
Linda Curtis: 845-266-5401,

Opportunity with EarthKind

Sales Performance-Equity Partner

Job Details

EarthKind Solar Energy is ready to hire an experienced sales professional whose performance will lead to an equity position in the company.

You must have proven sales success in the development of commercial solar projects. You will close direct sales of your own and build a successful sales organization; will be financially established and desire a highly performance based compensation; and will aspire to turn your performance into a significant equity position in the company.

EarthKind’s Chairman, Ron Kamen, has 25 years of leadership in developing public/private partnership investments in energy, alternative energy and sustainability, and is a respected leader in driving the green power movement in New York State. EarthKind’s CEO, Doug Polley, is an entrepreneurial executive leader who successfully built and sold two high tech companies.

EarthKind has evolved our business model and is now seeking a sales powerhouse who can drive the company to the next level of success.

Send cover letter & resume to


Qualifications are proven success in solar sales; experience building a sales team; motivation to excel; desire to make a difference by building renewable solar energy.

New York Solar Jobs Coalition holds Job Fair

ny solar jobsClean energy advocates gathered May 24th at Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations School in Buffalo to call for an expansion of solar power across the state. Holding a Solar Jobs Fair, members of the New York Solar Jobs Coalition along with business leaders and environmental advocates outlined the many opportunities for quality jobs that the solar industry can and will create.

With more than 300 solar power related businesses in New York State, this is a rapidly growing economy with a solid job creation potential.  Studies show that within 10 years, solar will be the most cost effective energy resource, which will lead to even more skilled, high paying and sustainable jobs.

“The goal of this coalition is to bring together and put together state policy that can have New York be in the leadership of that development instead of tagging along at the end,” said Ron Kamen, Chairman of EarthKind.

Ron Kamen works extensively with the government at local, State and Federal levels to ensure a favorable climate for solar development.  EarthKind is assisting the solar adoption goals of NYS by participating in Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative which estimates a quadrupling of customer-sited photovoltaic capacity by 2013 and are supporting the master plan for accelerating energy-saving improvements in state facilities. That plan will call for substantial investment in cost-effective energy efficiency measures in state buildings over the next four years. State lawmakers have introduced legislation to implement a long-term solar plan and it has passed the energy committee in the Assembly.

solar jobs

Bard College Shines by Gerhard Klier

Reprinted with permission from the *January/February 2012* issue of Facilities Manager magazine, the magazine of APPA, Alexandria, VA.

With its park-like campus location overlooking the Hudson River and Catskills Mountains in New York’s Hudson Valley, it’s no wonder that Bard College is committed to being green.

At the liberal arts college in Annandale-on-Hudson, students learn and live in 25 geothermal buildings on campus that don’t burn fossil fuels on site. Instead of driving to class, they walk, take shuttles, or even can borrow electric bikes. When their old light bulbs blow out, they trade them in for compact fluorescent light bulbs supplied by the college, which has given out more than 1,000 of the more efficient bulbs.

Read more »