Renewable Energy Briefing: WindTamer, Solar 4 All, Longwood Gardens

by | May 4, 2011

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Rochester, N.Y.-based WindTamer, a maker of wind power generators, has developed a patented “Power on Demand” system which is a storage and power management unit rolled into one. The system consists of a wind turbine, solar panels, and specially designed “smart” delivery battery that stores energy from the grid. WindTamer’s system manages the supply and demand through the use of multiple resources to lower a company’s power demand from the grid. Electricity costs can be reduced by about 30 percent, writes WindTamer has installed the system in several of small-business customers. The company is undergoing a name change to Arista Power this month.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company and Matrix Development Group have completed two rooftop solar installations at adjacent Matrix-owned buildings in Perth Amboy, NJ. The 2.8-megawatt (MW) project is part of PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program focused on increasing New Jersey’s renewable energy capacity. The solar systems at the Matrix buildings are comprised of 10,395 crystalline solar panels. The panels cover more than 217,000 square feet of roof space and are connected directly to the PSE&G electric grid. They will produce enough solar electricity to power about 470 average-size homes. The Solar 4 All initiative is a three-year project that aims to develop 80 solar megawatts – enough power to serve about 13,000 average-sized New Jersey homes. The financial benefits – the value of the solar credits (SRECs), federal tax credits and the sale of the solar energy – are returned to customers to offset program costs.

Municipal utility L.A. Department of Water and Power has suspended its Solar Incentive Program for at least 90 days because of a lack of funds to meet demand from interested homeowners. The DWP says it has $30 million budgeted for the program, which helps fund rooftop installation of solar panels. But about $112 million in rebate requests have poured in from homeowners keen on cutting their power bills, writes the LA Times. The DWP estimates that it costs an average of $40,000 to install a typical solar-power system. Much of that price goes into the solar panels. Until now, the average DWP rebate for a solar installation was $16,000, or about 40 percent of the cost.

The Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania are preparing to hit the “on” switch of 6,682 solar panels. Scheduled for completion in June, the solar panels stretch across 9 acres of the estate lands and are to supply about 18 percent of Longwood’s energy. It will be one of the largest fields of its kind in the region. The $7-million solar field, a project that has been in the works for three years, is aimed at cutting the garden’s energy bill by $64,000 annually and promoting alternative-energy usage, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Two Florida-based businesses, Ambient Technologies, a supplier of solar energy systems design and engineering and landscaping firm, Anne Kramer & Associates, have entered into a partnership to supply more energy-efficient products to their clients’ energy-producing systems. The two companies will remain independent but collaborate on specific projects. Both Ambient and Anne Kramer & Associates are certified as small disadvantaged businesses and minority-owned business enterprises, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The partnership aims to provide a ready solution to architectural or engineering firms who want to incorporate solar into the landscaping design of a project.

European wind engineering firm, GL Garrad Hassan (GL GH ) is rolling out a new element of its GH SCADA software product, adding a feature called WindHelm, reports The WindHelm software can evaluate about 500 turbine signals and generate reports covering various Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for owner-operators. The system has capability of send alerts by email or text, in the event of developing maintenance issues. Business Development Manager John Macaskill estimates that, worldwide, half a billion euros (about US$ 745 Million) are lost annually around the world by wind farm operators due to operating inefficiencies at wind farms.

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