Tag: EarthKind® solar energy

Solar grows by 95% in 2016!

Solar energy installation capacity grew by 95% in 2016, with utility scale, residential and commercial solar all achieving record growth. Solar installations were 39% of all new 2016 electric capacity in the US, and wind energy 26%. Renewables were the majority of new capacity – blowing away new natural gas plants (29%).

While we have a long way to go, the exponential growth is creating a new paradigm of clean energy jobs – good for the economy, and great for the environment.  Read Here!

New Solar Job Every 10 Minutes!


The solar industry added a new solar job every 10 minutes last year, bringing the workforce to a whopping 260,000 U.S. solar jobs. More than a quarter million workers across all 50 states are busy building a better energy future for all of us. Solar is now the 2nd largest employer in the energy sector, employing more Americans than coal or natural gas. You can download the entire report here:

New Yorker’s For Clean Energy Launch

The video from the May 2, 2016 New Yorker’s for Clean Power is finally out! Mark Ruffalo, Ron Kamen and others spoke at the event held in New York City. Ron, representing E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) spoke about the recently published New York Clean Jobs report and the launching of the New Yorker’s for Clean Power campaign.

Solar Saves

successful residential solar | earthkindsolarenergy.com

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.

The Boiler Dilemma – What Are The Alternatives to Converting to Gas?

The Boiler Dilemma -Kamen presentation

On March 22nd, EarthKind’s Chairman spoke at a discussion series on Renewable Energy in NYC organized by RenewNEWYork. The City’s new heating oil rules require buildings to stop using heavy oils by 2030, and building owners are tempted to convert to gas, due to its current low price. But what is the true cost of “cheap” gas, when fracking could ruin our air and water, and bring radon-laden shale gas to our stoves? Are conservation, solar thermal and biodiesel realistic alternatives?

Starting off with energy facts, Kamen details the power of renewables: in one second the Sun generates more energy than has been used in all of human civilization, realistically all of that does not reach the Earth, however roughly 23,000TW/year of usable Solar Power does. With the entire world’s energy use of about 16TW/year, Solar is an option that we could and should take advantage of.  Kamen also reminds us that almost 80% of the CO2 emissions in NYC come from buildings and 51% of all NYC building emissions are from heat and hot water usage. This presents a clear opportunity for Solar implementation.

Kamen discusses the Solar Hot Water as well as Solar Air Heating systems, both relatively simple and inexpensive solutions for residential and commercial use. He also discusses Solar Electric PV, which though at this time Solar PV costs a bit more than utility delivered electricity, there are current incentives that help bridge that expense and he predicts that in 10 years Solar will be the cheapest source of electricity in the world.

Other panelists were Chris Benedict, from Architecture and Energy Limited and  Dehran Duckworth from TriState BioDiesel. The Moderator was Dan Miner of Beyond Oil NYC.

This discussion series is sponsored bythe following groups:The Environmental Task
Force of The Congregation of Saint Saviour; The Green Sanctuary Committee of the
Community Church of New York, UU; NYC Friends of Clearwater; Tri-State Food
Not Lawns/Neighborhood Energy Network; NY Climate Action Group; Sane Energy Project; United for Action; and WBAI’s Eco-logic.

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 »

New York Awards Solar Developers $30 million for Solar Projects

EarthKind is included in a select group of eligible developers to implement Governor Cuomo’s Solar initiative. Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the state Public Service Commission (PSC), a total of $30 million has been allocated to support PV installers and developers.This is the first year of funding for a $150-million, five year program.
Read more »

Solar Energy Projects that Make a Difference. (Part 2)

Reprinted from Alternative Energy eMagazine – Case Studies from EarthKind® Solar

continued from Part 1

written by Gehard Klier, EarthKind® Energy

Bard College Shines

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 »

Down to Earth Solar Energy Projects… (Part 1)

Reprinted from Alternative Energy eMagazine – Case Studies from EarthKind Solar

written by Gehard Klier, EarthKind® Energy

Green Seniors Go Solar at Hawthorne Ridge Retirement Community

Joan Taylor has always cared about doing her part to conserve the earth’s resources. She can be called a ‘green senior,’ one of thousands of elderly and retired people around the world who have an active interest in environmental issues.

“I recycled before it was popular,” says the 78-year-old, crediting it to her Scottish heritage.

So it’s not surprising that the driving force behind a new solar thermal project at Hawthorne Ridge in East Greenbush, NY was driven by a group of green grandmas — and one granddad.

Read more »