This Tuesday, December 4th at 10:30, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and the Board of the Sonoma County Water Agency will consider forming a joint powers authority to be the new legal entity, Sonoma Clean Power. As envisioned, Sonoma Clean Power will be a local program that buys and generates cleaner, locally-produced electricity at competitive rates. Sonoma Clean Power will offer businesses and residents a choice. Local production of renewable energy will boost the local economy as well as render our energy system more secure.

Please join us to show community support for this smart step in the right direction. Here is a link to the complete agenda for this Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, December 4th.

After over a year of waiting, weeks of data collection, and long hours of number crunching, The Solar Foundation is thrilled to announce that its 2012 National Solar Jobs Census has found that the U.S. solar industry employs 119,016 Americans, a figure that represents a 13.2% employment growth rate over 2011! With employment in the overall economy growing at only 2.3% during the same period, the solar industry has grown nearly six times faster.

Want more? Visit the Solar Foundation website for additional top line figures and stay tuned for the release of the full report. The full report includes complete breakdowns of employment and growth by industry sector and other information to help advance your solar jobs knowledge.  Read more…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! As a thank you to our communities we will donate $500 to the charity of your choice when you sign a contract with Gaia Energy Systems between now and 12/31/12.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In one 50-minute period last month, the Intro to Engineering students at Chatfield High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, charted the strength of solar panels at their desks, then climbed through a trap door to examine the 100-kilowatt solar array on their school’s flat roof.  Read more…

Help is on the horizon for some of the hardest hit in California’s downturn economy. And while it involves no public monies, this help was inspired by local government — the City Council in California’s top solar city – San Diego. On October 23, 2012, San Diego became the first municipality in the state to introduce a competitive PACE environment for contractors and property owners by introducing FIGTREE PACE to the mix of commercial PACE providers.  Read more…

Salt Lake City, UT — In one swift move, Korean business conglomerate Hanwha Group has officially positioned itself as the third largest solar manufacturer in the world. With the purchase of bankrupt solar cell manufacturer Q.CELLS, the newly launched entity – appropriately named Hanwha Q.CELLS – now claims ownership of a total of 2.3 gigawatts of manufacturing capacity across Germany, Malaysia and China. That multinational position also puts Hanwha in the unique position of being able to deliver supply to any region in the world without concern over trade sanctions. Read more here…

This is the first organization that certified installers and lent some structure and accountability to the solar industry.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the “gold standard” for PV and solar heating installation certification. Designed to raise industry standards and promote consumer confidence, NABCEP offers certification and certificate programs to renewable energy professionals throughout North America.

As the weather turns cold and the rain starts to fall it is a great time to inspect your home for energy inefficiencies and take measures to protect yourself from high energy bills.

Small maintenance procedures like checking the weather stripping around doors and windows can ensure that your house stays comfortable. Also installing a programmable thermostat, insulating hot water pipes, and other weekend projects can help shield you from rising energy costs as the temperatures drop.

For those serious about saving money, saving energy and living comfortably this winter, consider taking advantage of Energy Upgrade California™ in Sonoma County. This program helps residents and business owners reduce energy use and save money by providing access to approved contractors, rebates, incentives, and financing. Through this program, Sonoma County property owners address their energy saving needs by taking a “whole-building” approach, because it takes more than just switching out light bulbs to achieve maximum efficiency. Contact SCEIP or visit the website.