Solar Action Alliance has created the Certified Local program to identify and brand local solar and energy-efficiency contractors.  The Certified Local (CL) brand gives property owners a means of easily identifying local contractors and service providers, with the goal of encouraging them to choose local businesses for renewable energy and energy efficiency applications large and small.

The Certified Local program is focused on benefitting the local community through increasing local job growth, keeping tax revenues local, increasing profits of local businesses that are more likely to spend locally, encouraging local businesses to purchase from each other, and promoting environmental sustainability – doing business locally means fewer miles driven and reduced emissions.  Less travel time also translates into lower overhead expenses for businesses, leading to increased profits.

Local energy businesses interested in pursuing Certified Local designation may contact Solar Action Alliance for an application and more guidelines.  The program is expected to roll out in December 2013.

Funding and technical resources are available to improve multifamily properties through the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program. Property owners are eligible for $750 per unit if they install multiple improvement types (e.g. insulation and water heater) that will save 10% or more of the whole building’s energy usage. Free energy consulting is also available to assess whether improvements meet the 10% savings requirement, and to advise on what improvements to consider. Any licensed and insured contractor may install the work. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis to multifamily buildings with five or more units in the nine-county Bay Area.

For Contractors:  Attend the upcoming presentation at the SCEIP Contractor Forum on October 16th, from 4:00 – 5:30 PM.

For Contractors, Property Owners, and Property Managers: Attend an upcoming Property Owner Workshop to learn more about the program at the North Coast Builders Exchange Training Center on November 4th, from10:00-11:30 AM. Please RSVP online at or call 855-213-2838.

A representative from Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements will present the rebate requirements, describe the participation process, and answer questions.

More information about the rebate is available at, by emailing, or by calling 855-213-2838



Gaia Energy Systems and SolarWorld streamline solar procurement for local government agency

Mendocino Transit Authority becomes first in nation to buy and install solar system through local-government solar-purchasing cooperative

Camarillo and Santa Rosa, Calif., Aug. 23, 2013 – Gaia Energy Systems, a full-service solar design and installation firm based in Northern California, has installed 18 kilowatts of SolarWorld solar panels at the headquarters of the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) in Ukiah, Calif. The project is the first in the nation to take advantage of a renewable-energy group-buy program for local government agencies.

The program, Helping Governments across the Country Buy (HGACBuy), allows participating local governments to reduce the cost of going solar by sharing procurement contracts, pooling technical expertise and leveraging economies of scale. By using HGACBuy’s new renewable-energy contracting vehicle – which launched in early 2013 – to procure its solar array, MTA avoids issuing an individual RFP, saving time, staff resources and money.

“As a government solar contractor, we have seen the inefficiency and expense of the usual procurement process,” said Kate Collins, CEO of Gaia Energy Systems. “Having the ability to bring our government customers an easy, cooperative-purchasing solution, which alleviates the cumbersome nature of the procurement system, is an incredible benefit.”

Gaia helped MTA access HGACBuy through its relationship with SolarWorld, the program’s top-ranked supplier of solar panels, systems and engineering and construction services. SolarWorld is the only HGAC-approved supplier to produce high-quality solar cells and panels entirely on American soil. As a SolarWorld Authorized Installer, Gaia is an approved subcontractor under SolarWorld’s HGAC contract.

We appreciate having access to quality American-made solar panels at attractive prices. We thought the application process was straight-forward and reasonably fast,” said Dan Baxter, general manager for MTA.

The project is Gaia’s third solar installation for MTA, which provides transit service throughout 2,800 square miles of coastal and inland Mendocino County. The third system is comprised of 66 American-made SolarWorld solar panels mounted atop a bus shade structure near the agency’s administrative building. MTA plans to work through HGAC and Gaia to cost-effectively procure additional solar capacity in the future.

“SolarWorld’s inclusion in the HGACBuy program is bearing fruit for our Authorized Installers and their government customers,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “Our partners pursue solar installation through HGAC knowing that our solar systems have been pre-qualified and competitively priced for use in government projects.”

HGACBuy is composed of more than 6,100 local and state government agencies and nonprofits in 47 states, including cities, counties, utilities, community colleges, universities, school districts, transportation agencies, port authorities and fire protection districts. On behalf of its members, HGACBuy reviews and selects products, such as solar systems, that require detailed technical specifications and procurement through a public, competitive bid process.

About Gaia Energy Systems

Gaia is a woman-owned small business (WOSB) that specializes in government solar installations. Gaia has been designing and installing solar for over 19 years in Northern California with offices in Willits and Santa Rosa. Gaia is a full-service engineering, procurement and construction firm with full operation-and-maintenance services. The company has installed over 2.2 megawatts of government solar systems, including health centers, schools, Army Corp of Engineers jobs, Transit Authority facilities, National Parks and government funded low-income housing projects. Gaia has teamed with Empower America to train and employ U.S. veterans on its solar installations. More information at

About Mendocino Transit Authority

Mendocino Transit Authority has provided public transit services for Mendocino County since 1976. MTA’s service area encompasses about 2,800 square miles and provides a diverse system of long-distance, commute and local-fixed routes, plus two Dial-A-Rides and one Flex Route. MTA serves a population of nearly 90,000. MTA’s mission is to provide safe, courteous, reliable, affordable and carbon-neutral transportation services. More information at

About SolarWorld

SolarWorld AG manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide.  The company, located in Bonn, employs approximately 2,500 people and carries out production in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro, USA.  From raw material silicon to the solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development.  Through an international distribution network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar modules and complete systems.  The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe, and has committed itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. SolarWorld has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999.  More information at



It’s official!  Gaia Energy Systems is an official SunPower Premium Dealer!  If you would like a free consultation to see if SunPower solar panels are right for you, call Gaia Energy Systems at 1-877-424-2776.


IMG_8245Getting ready for Independence Day?  We are, too.  Heads up!  Our office will be closed on Thursday July 4th and Friday July 5th in observance of the holiday.


The Windsor Efficiency PAYS® program received national recognition in January for modeling an exceptional efficiency program that saves both energy and water.

The ‘Program of Promise’ award came from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The two organizations collaborated to recognize a total of 12 top programs across the US, Canada and Australia including five exemplary award winners and seven honorable mentions. Windsor Efficiency PAYS® was one of the seven honorable mentions, as was the City of Santa Rosa for its ozone laundry program.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS® offers water and energy upgrades to Windsor homeowners and renters without upfront costs. The PAYS® program works because it allows participants to ‘Pay As You Save,’® with no loan and no debt associated with repayment for select upgrades. Possible upgrade measures include high efficiency clothes washers, refrigerators, toilets, hot-water recirculation pumps, showerheads, and drought-resistant landscaping. After installation, participants pay a surcharge on their water bill with the assurance that their estimated savings on combined utility bills (energy and water) will exceed the bi-monthly water surcharge.

Windsor Efficiency PAYS® is mainly focused on single-family home owners. However, renters may also participate, one of the unique aspects of the program. In the first few months of the program, 219 multi-family units installed efficiency upgrades, quickly exceeding the program’s goal of 200 multi-family units.  The number is expected to exceed 300 units in the next few months. This kind of success is uncommon for efficiency programs across the US.

Interested Windsor residents are encouraged to contact a Windsor Efficiency PAYS® Certification Agent at the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program at (707) 565-6472 or to visit the program web site at

The Windsor Efficiency PAYS® program is a joint effort of the Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Program partners include: Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), Climate Protection Campaign, Bottom Line Utility Solutions, Water Management, Inc., Sonoma Mountain Landscape, Niagara Conservation, Standards of Excellence, and Chilipepper Sales.

Using water bills to implement PAYS® was an idea originated by Climate Protection Campaign technical consultant Ned Orrett while working on Sonoma County’s Community Climate Action Plan in 2007. PAYS® is one of three powerful financing tools on which Sonoma County is focusing. SCEIP and Sonoma Clean Power are the other two. More information about this is available at