Central Animal Hospital: Celebrating 6 Years of Clean Energy

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Central Animal Hospital: Celebrating 6 Years of Clean Energy

In 2009, Central Animal Hospital designed a new, LEED certified facility to provide a clean, healthful and modern environment for its patients, clients and staff. Early this week, Central Animal Hospital's solar system turned 6 years old! 

TFS installed a photovoltaic system and a solar hot water system, which are just a couple of the green features that Central Animal Hospital incorporated into their new building. Central Animal Hospital designed a green building simply because it was “the right thing to do.” 

 

Some of the other sustainable features include:

•Extensive daylighting after taking a mostly windowless building and bringing in natural light via a central light monitor, glass block and solatubes.

•Automatic light adjustment using electric lights, which automatically adjust to provide the needed foot-candles of lighting for that room, at that particular time of day.

•High levels of building ventilation from the placement of carbon dioxide and temperature sensors throughout the building, which adjust the ventilation to provide a healthful and comfortable environment.

•Energy recovery systems that recover energy, hot or cold, from exhausted air and return it to the fresh air that is being pumped into the building.

•Rainwater harvesting for plants using cisterns that store a small portion of the rainwater that runs off the roof.

•Use of sustainable building materials that were produced as locally as possible and from materials that can be easily re-grown or replaced.

•Low-toxin production to prevent fumes and toxins from being released into and lingering in the building and the environment, creating a much more healthful building for all.

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Casas Church Has Gone Solar!

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Casas Church Has Gone Solar!

We are excited to announce that Casas Church has made the switch to solar with TFS! The 686kW photovoltaic system at Casas Church is the largest solar installation in Oro Valley.

"We decided to go solar for two reasons," says Casas spokesperson Seth Kreimeyer-Kelly. "The primary one was that we recognized the economic sense that [solar] made for our church. We're always trying to be wise with our finances and using solar energy seems to be a way to do that."  

The Casas Church system will produce over 1,099,000kWh each year, covering 80-85% of the facility's electrical needs, ultimately saving the church an estimated $2-2.5M in the first 25 years of operation. 

In addition to the financial savings, the church decided to pursue solar for environmental stewardship reasons.  Kreimeyer-Kelly said, "we believe it to be a spiritual thing to be conscious of the earth and environment as God's creation and when we can feasibly find ways to do so we happily want to participate."

For more info, read our full case study on Casas Church.

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Community Solar: Increasing Accessibility

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Community Solar: Increasing Accessibility

Rooftop solar has experienced explosive growth throughout the decade so far. 2010-2014 saw the United States' installed solar capacity increase by an incredible 418%. As the costs associated with solar continue to decrease and consumer financing options broaden, solar has become more accessible than ever to homeowners. 

Alongside the rising rates of rooftop installations, community solar projects have been gaining traction throughout the country, aiming to bring the benefits of clean energy to urban livers, or simply anyone without access to a viable rooftop or home ownership. 

In 2015 alone, community solar farm capacity is expected to see growth rates of up to 500%. By the end of 2016, the industry is projected to have expanded seven-fold, and, by 2020, may see an annual expansion of 500 million watts. 

To learn about the numerous forms of community solar, and keep up to date on industry developments, visit the Shared Renewables portal on the SEIA website.

 



 

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Moving Towards A Renewable Future

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Moving Towards A Renewable Future

In order to achieve sustainability, renewables must become the root of our global energy production. Wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal have all experienced generous year over year growth throughout the last decade, with decreasing production costs resulting in increased accessibility throughout the world.  

Costa Rica has been featured prominently in the media this month for their accomplishment of running on 100% renewable energy since January. Hawaii also made headlines after enacting a law requiring that all of the state's electricity must come from renewable sources by 2045.

The Solutions Project has released an interactive map of the United States, predicting growth patterns that illustrate a viable route to a renewable future for each state by the year 2050.

To learn more about projects and targets aiding the global shift towards renewable energy production, visit Go 100 Percent

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What Is Net Metering?

What Is Net Metering?

Net Metering is a billing method used by utility providers to compensate the owners of PV systems for energy they produce and send back to the grid.

When a rooftop PV system generates energy in excess of what is consumed, that energy is sent back to the utility grid, supplying power to other customers in the area. The producer of this excess energy is granted credits, which are used in turn to draw additional power back from the grid at no cost when usage outperforms the PV system’s production.

Since battery storage is not currently the standard, net metering is an extremely valuable mechanism for solar powered homeowners. Solar production is at it’s peak during the day when the majority of homeowners are at work, consuming the least amount of energy. By supplying energy back to the grid this time, it is possible to draw power back from the utility at night - when the sun is down and generation does not occur - at no cost until the production to consumption ratio equals out. Additionally, credits for unreclaimed energy rollover each month if the homeowner maintains a deficit, and will be converted to a financial credit once per year, in the fall.

For additional information on net metering and how solar works, please visit our How It Works page.

Solar Q&A: Part 1

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Solar Q&A: Part 1

As solar power continues to expand in America, more and more consumers are learning about our technology and becoming more aware of alternative energy sources. We at TFS believe in strongly educating our community on not only the benefits of using alternative energy sources, but on the in’s and out’s of living with them. We will be regularly publishing our ‘Ask A Solar Expert’ series, providing brief answers for our most commonly received questions.

 

Q: Should I purchase an oversized system so that I can sell back energy to the utility?
A: No! It is a common misconception that installing more than 100% of a home’s necessary production will allow the owner to lucratively sell back to the utility for a profit. When self-generated energy is sold back to the utility, it is bought at a highly discounted rate, resulting in almost no gain for the owner of the panels. TFS recommends an installation that brings the homeowner into the 90-95% generation range, maximizing the reduction of purchased power without selling back to the utility.

Q: I can’t afford to purchase panels for my rooftop - are there financing options available?
A: Yes! TFS has partnered with TOPCU to offer a highly-competitive, consumer friendly solar loan. We also provide the option to lease your solar system - often at $0 down - allowing you to begin saving on your electricity bill from day one.

Q: Will making the switch to solar allow me to keep my home powered during outages?
A: Not quite - while grid-free options are available via inverter upgrades and battery storage, standard solar systems are grid-tied, meaning that if the grid is offline, the solar modules will not continue to function during the outage. 

Q: How reliable are solar panels? What kind of maintenance is required?
A: Solar panels require close to no maintenance, as they operate free of moving parts. A quality installation should maintain itself very well, with only minimal cleaning required via the natural elements of rain and wind. In the event that your panels do need any sort of maintenance, TFS offers both a 25 year manufacturers warranty on the panels we install, as well as a 10 year workmanship warranty to protect our customers. For cleaning, please refer to our Maintenance & Cleaning blog.

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We Went Solar: Randi & Sherry

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We Went Solar: Randi & Sherry

For Randi and Sherry, solar was an obvious decision. As lifelong practitioners of sustainability, they maintain an organic garden, compost regularly, water harvest, and - now - have made the switch to solar! After years of keeping solar in the back of their minds, all of the pieces finally 'clicked' into place, giving them the perfect opportunity to fulfill their longterm goal of eventually generating their energy from the sun. We sat down with Randi and Sherry shortly after their installation was completed to recap the process with them.
 

What inspired you to go solar?
The sun! We know utility costs are going to go up, and we want to do what we can for our environment, locally and globally. We were in a position to move forward. 

Once we started seriously looking into it - we are closer to retirement than we used to be - and we viewed it as a part of retirement planning. When we get into retirement, we will be on a fixed income. The more we do now to maintain a flat expenditure over time became one of the main reasons.


How did you go about researching solar?
I actually did a lot of research - I did a lot of research online of course, I also talked to 3 or 4 solar companies. I got a lot of estimates - that’s what I do, I get a lot of estimates. I also talked to a friend who works at TEP - as a friend, not as a TEP employee. 

Some of the things we try to practice as a household philosophy are buying American made, buying local, supporting a high quality product. Those were some of the benchmarks for what we were seeking in our research. 
 

What has been your experience since installing?
We’re like giddy school children - let’s go out there and see how much we generated today! We were very excited to have it completed and watch them flip the switches to get all of the meters and things start running. It was a giddy moment. Our usage hasn’t changed since we know we are making it. Nothing of our usage patterns have changed based on that, but it’s just cool to know that’s where we’re getting that from. That’s kind of cool. 

We have been in our house for 18 years, since April Fools Day 1997. It takes a while to achieve your goals, but you can.


Keep an eye out for Randi & Sherri's full case study, coming in the near future!


 

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Retirement Planning: Solar As An Investment

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Retirement Planning: Solar As An Investment

TFS customers George & Laurie made the switch to solar to 'pay off' their electricity.

TFS customers George & Laurie made the switch to solar to 'pay off' their electricity.

There are two key facets to retirement planning: reduction of expenditure, and investment optimization. Paying off your mortgage and researching low-risk/long-term stock options are likely the first steps of planning, but more and more families are now looking to solar power as a viable financial option for both ends of the financial spectrum.

In line with owning your home rather than renting a living space, ownership of solar panels can be viewed as paying off your electricity in advance. With purchase options estimating a 20-year repayment, and system lifespans estimated at 45 years, owning your solar system provides a return of free energy generation for the remainder of the system’s lifespan once the 20 year mark has been reached.

If funds are not available to purchase a solar system outright, there are now cost-efficient loan and lease options available, both resulting in a day one savings by providing electricity to the homeowner at a lower monthly payment than would be spent on traditional utility charges. If a household experiences a monthly utility bill of over $150, a solar lease or loan will result in an immediate monthly reduction, saving hundreds-to-thousands of dollars each year that the system is installed.

TFS’ own clients, Bill & Linnea, made the switch to solar primarily as an investment for their retirement: “We’re in a retirement community, and there are a number of people here who have gone solar, but there are also many who have not.” When he asks his neighbors if they’re considering going solar, “often times I’ll hear someone say in response, ‘I’m too old, I’ll never live long enough to recoup my investment.’  And, I explain that they’re just not looking at it right. It’s not a recouping of your investment, it’s a yield. You’ve got money out there today earning a half of one percent and that’s taxable. When you put your money into a solar electric system, you’re going to get about 12% a year and that’s tax free. Where else can you go and get a tax-free return like that in this marketplace?” 

TFS customers George & Laurie, the stars of our newest Solar Stories installment, recently made the switch to solar as part of their retirement planning! Watch their story at http://tfssolar.com/george-laurie

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Simple Green Living Tips: Part 1

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Simple Green Living Tips: Part 1

Whether you’ve already made the switch to solar or are still thinking things over, it is easy to make small adjustments to your daily routine to reduce your footprint and live green. 


1. LED Light Bulbs: LED lighting is an incredible boost from incandescent, carrying numerous consumer benefits. LED bulbs operate at an efficiency of 80-90%, while incandescents average 20%, leaving the remaining 80% of their supplied energy to be converted to heat rather than light. LED bulbs also carry a much longer lifespan, estimated at 100,000 hours, or 22 years of 50% daily operation.

2. Reusable Grocery Bags: We all have them, we all forget them at home, but regular usage of reusable grocery bags can prevent hundreds of plastic ones from ending up in the ocean or a landfill once you have used and disposed of it.


TFS Employee Tips: 

Nicole line-dries her family’s laundry to cut down on their household energy cosumption. She shares this easy tip for ensuring your towels stay pillowy soft after air drying: “Midway through drying, take your towel off the line and give it a few good hits and shakes before returning it to the line, facing the opposite direction it was previously hung.”

Tiernay (pictured above) has a slight obsession with reusable water bottles. You'll never catch her without one, and you'll never catch her with a disposable either!

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Solar Panel Maintenance & Cleaning: What You Need to Know

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Solar Panel Maintenance & Cleaning: What You Need to Know

One of the most common questions we receive from both prospective and existing clients is whether or not solar panels require manual cleaning. 

The answer to this question is no, you do not have to regularly clean your solar panels to avoid major performance loss. In Arizona, the rain received throughout the year is sufficient to remove natural residue build up on rooftop solar panels. Numerous studies have been conducted, including a recent investigation at the University of Arizona*, showing a minimal (2%) increase in annual energy production from frequent cleaning of panels.

If you do, however, decide to clean your solar panels, it is best to take proper precautions to avoid causing thermal stress to the modules. It is recommended that you rinse only with water, and avoid cleaning at times that will drastically effect the temperature of the modules. Always avoid splashing hot solar panels with cold water. It is best to wash during the early morning before the panels begin absorbing heat from daylight to ensure that a rapid temperature reduction is not sustained. A light rinsing with water to clear away natural debris and dust buildup is all that is needed to return your panels to their maximum efficiency, and further maintenance - such as scrubbing or wiping - is not recommended.

At TFS, we maintain pro-active data monitoring of all solar installations, allowing us to track system production and alert a customer to any issues or potential red flags in their generation levels. Data monitoring is also available on the client’s end as well, providing easy access to generation levels at home. While solar panels are very durable and require little to no cleaning upkeep, occurrences such as power outages can occasionally result in a need to manually re-establish connection between your home and your solar system, which our data monitoring allows us to keep aware of, frequently resulting in a prompt diagnosis, repair, and follow up before the client notices.

*University of Arizona study: http://uapv.physics.arizona.edu/publications.php

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B Corps 2015 Best for the Environment Honoree

Healthy profits don’t mean much without a healthy planet, and we run our business with that in mind. That’s why we’re proud to lead our fellow B Corps as a 2015 Best for Environment honoree.

How are we Best for the Environment? We earned an environmental impact score in the top 10% of allCertified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on workers, the community and the environment. That means every day, along with our fellow honorees, we help create a healthier planet by taking the lead in advancing renewable energy usage, reducing carbon footprints, and developing low-waste products.

As a certified B Corp, we’re leading a global movement to redefine success in business so one day all companies compete to be not only the best in the world, but best for the world. We join over 1,200 other companies committed to using business as a force for good. Check them all out at bcorporation.net.

 

Taking people and planet as seriously as our profits is at the heart of our company’s mission. That’s why we have solar at our office and on our homes, use fuel efficient vehicles including several Prius and an electric Nissan Leaf, recycle at our office and warehouse, and promote water-wise solutions. We couldn’t do all that without the support of people like you who believe in our mission—people who prove that doing good is good for business. Thank you helping us succeed where it truly matters. We are proud to beBest for the Environment.

Please check out our fellow honorees—along with those who are Best for the World, Best for Workers and Best for Communities,—and help us spread the word.

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Take aways from the Dec. 18th Arizona Corporation Commission hearing

Quick take away from Thursday, December 18th's  Arizona Corporation Commission hearing: The ACC approved the TEP 2015 Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) plan. On the down side, they eliminated solar hot water incentives, which reduced the price of a system by about $1,000. We at TFS believe that for higher volume hot water users, solar is the best energy source, and we are sorry to see the commission withdraw it's support.
On the plus side, the "Utility Owned DG" program to install up to 600 systems on residential roof tops under a special tariff was approved. We support this TEP program as expanding choice for solar consumers, as well as paving the way for a better grid and a more responsive utility. Look for more news to come as TEP's program is rolled out in the spring, and the selected solar contractors that will install the projects are announced.

TFS Becomes a Certified B Corporation

Technicians for Sustainability becomes a Certified B Corporation

Locally owned solar installation company joins prestigious group of ethical companies committed to environmentally and socially conscientious business practices. Using Business as a Force for Good

Tucson, Ariz. (August 5, 2014) Technicians For Sustainability (TFS), a locally owned and operated solar installation company in Tucson, announced today that it has completed a rigorous certification program to become the first Certified B Corporation in to be headquartered in Southern Arizona.

"B Corporations have committed to high standards of social and environmental performance and accountability. Much of it falls into the category of things we at TFS have already been doing," says co-owner Kevin Koch. "By joining the B Corp community and going through the certification process we can support and help grow a movement we believe in, a movement that believes corporations and businesses are not only instruments of social change but have a responsibility to support our communities."

Since its beginning, TFS has striven to provide renewable energy systems to homeowners and businesses, using high quality, clean, proven technologies. Their mission is to ensure that Southern Arizona’s natural resources are used efficiently and with respect for present and future needs. Committed to practicing what they preach, most TFS employees live with the systems they install, make fuel-efficient transportation choices, and whenever possible, do business with companies that hold values, standards, and ethics comparable with theirs.

B Corporations are a new kind of company which use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Aspiring B Corporations must qualify through a comprehensive assessment which measures a company's impact on its employees, suppliers, community and the environment.

TFS joins over 1,045 other mission-driven Certified B Corporations from more than 60 industries in 32 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business. Koch says, "We are excited to continue to grow as a business and to strive for more positive change and impact."

b corp sign

About Technicians For Sustainability

Technicians For Sustainability (TFS) is a solar energy design-build firm helping businesses, public institutions, and homeowners translate environmental values into practical reality. The company employs reliable technologies, including solar electricity and solar hot water, to meet customers' specific needs. TFS has installed over nine megawatts of solar power in southern Arizona. For more information about Technicians For Sustainability visit www.tfssolar.com.

About B Corp

Certified B Corporations meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests, and build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand. As of June 2014, there are more than 1,045 Certified B Corporations from over 60 industries and 32 countries, representing a diverse multi-billion dollar marketplace.

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Contact:

Tiernay Marsh Technicians For Sustainability 520-740-0736 tiernay@tfssolar.com

TFS becomes a Certified B Corporation - Press Release

Youth Stewards Project Seeking Applicants

Calling all youth—ages 15 to 23!  The Community Water Coalition wants you to participate in their Youth Stewards for a Secure Water Future program!

Do you want to:

  • Add your voice to the vital conversation about water in our community
  • Gain valuable experience and build your resume
  • Make strong connections in local government, non-profit groups, and community organizations
  • Become a leader and informed advocate—shape the future of Tucson
  • Get to know other local youth who care about the same things you do

Download the application today, and get started on a great future for yourself and for Tucson.

The Community Water Coalition works to:

  • encourage local leadership to act in the best interest of sustainable water policy for our region
  • inform the public on important issues related to water security, quality and use
  • engage statewide networks to respond to threats that impact our local watershed

Learn more about the Community Water Coalition and their Youth Stewardship Program.

COUNTDOWN TO CYCLOVIA TUCSON: ARIZONA’S LARGEST CELEBRATION OF CAR-FREE STREETS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASElsa_logo_lightContact Info: Kylie Walzak, Cyclovia Tucson Event Coordinator Living Streets Alliance P.O. Box 2641 Tucson, AZ 85702-2641 520. 261.8777 info@cycloviatucson.org www.cycloviatucson.org

COUNTDOWN TO CYCLOVIA TUCSON: ARIZONA’S LARGEST CELEBRATION OF CAR-FREE STREETS

Tucson, AZ (March 19th, 2014) – Cyclovia Tucson returns to Downtown and the City of South Tucson on Sunday April 6th, opening five and a half miles of city streets to pedestrians, cyclists and people-powered wheels of all kinds from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The annual event - presented by Living Streets Alliance - temporarily transforms Tucson’s streets into safe recreational space, open and accessible to everyone, and is a proven cost-effective way to introduce thousands of Tucsonans to sustainable, healthy, safe and active transportation habits.

Last year, more than 25,000 Tucsonans from every zip code took the first step towards a less car-dependent and healthier future by lacing up walking shoes and hopping on their bikes. Already the largest event of its kind in Arizona, 2014 is shaping up to be even bigger. With two music festivals anchoring the north and south end of the route on April 6th, organizers are expecting a record turnout.

"Tucson is a bike-friendly city and Cyclovia Tucson is just one example of that. We are committed, as a community, to providing our citizens with access to safe physical activity that promotes health and wellness, such as biking and walking," said City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. "We're also committed to developing sustainable transportation systems which include biking and walking. On Sunday, April 6th, take a stroll - or leisurely ride - through downtown's unique neighborhoods. Discover new businesses and make some new friends, all while getting a little sunshine and exercise. Hope to see you at Cyclovia Tucson."

Cyclovia Tucson has grown into one of the region’s most exciting initiatives to promote the benefits of active transportation and healthy lifestyles. With dozens of free activities, games, entertainment, and local businesses located within easy walking or biking distance along the route, Cyclovia Tucson helps make the possibilities of our streets visible to all who attend.

“Living Streets Alliance – the organization that presents two Cyclovia events each year – is really working to show Tucsonans that our streets can be retrofitted to do so much more than just carry cars and the results are quite pleasing to everyone,” said Living Streets Alliance founder and Executive Director, Emily Yetman. “Adding protected bike lanes, converting parking spaces into parklets, calming traffic with native plants that also provide shade – these are all techniques that will be demonstrated at Cyclovia and they are all examples of what LSA envisions for our streets.”

Cyclovia Tucson is made possible by the support of Pima County, Pima Association of Governments and the City of Tucson. The 2014 season of Cyclovia events is also supported by Cox Communications, Technicians for Sustainability, Cigna, Allstate, the University of Arizona Medical Center, and the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association (GABA).

Kevin Koch owner of Technicians for Sustainability noted, "As a business owner, I see true value in supporting Cyclovia Tucson. This event helps to strengthen the vibrancy of our community, while energizing the reality of active, livable streets. Ultimately, it's good for business, for the community and for individuals."

Make it a car-free day! Sunday April 6th is a day filled with fun, healthy, family-friendly events all across Tucson including: Tucson Hullabaloo in Armory Park (April 5th-6th), the Fería de Sur Tucson in the City of South Tucson and the first annual Viva La Local Food Fest. The organizers of these events encourage Tucsonans to use people-powered transportation for the day and take advantage of the Pima County Loop system and the City of Tucson’s bikeways, such as Mountain Avenue and Third Street, to access the events.

For participants heading to Downtown Tucson from farther away, parking is available at several locations near the Cyclovia Tucson route. Visit cycloviatucson.org/route to download a copy of the route map and locate parking.

For more information on Cyclovia Tucson visit www.cycloviatucson.org

For more information on Living Streets Alliance visit www.livingstreetsalliance.org

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Amicus Solar Cooperative

Amicus Solar Cooperative, of which TFS is a founding member, was interviewed by SolarPro Magazine.  The interview discusses Amicus' role in facilitating the exchange of ideas between other local (although in different markets) companies, as well as increasing each individual company's purchasing power through group-buying, among other things.           Link: Stephen Irvin, Amicus Solar Cooperative

Technicians For Sustainability & Easter Seals Blake Foundation Celebrate Installation of State-of-the-Art Solar Parking Shade Structures

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Nicole Koch Office: 520-740-0736 Email: nicole@tfssolar.com

 

Technicians For Sustainability & Easter Seals Blake Foundation Celebrate Installation of State-of-the-Art Solar Parking Shade Structures

Over $600,000 in utility savings for the non-profit projected over 20 years

 

TUCSON, Ariz. (November 7, 2013) – Easter Seals Blake Foundation, one of Southern Arizona’s largest non-profits, will be celebrating the completion of a new solar parking shade system with a public open house and reception on November 14th at their new headquarters, 7750 East Broadway Blvd.  Tucson-based solar company, Technicians For Sustainability (TFS), designed and installed this 346 kW system, which covers over 100 parking spaces, to power the Foundation’s 50,000 square foot campus.

The steel structures provide shade for a large portion of the parking lot and incorporate high-efficiency solar panels made by industry-leader SunPower®. Notably, using these high-efficiency SunPower®panels allowed TFS to design a system that will deliver over 30 percent more energy than conventional panels would allow at this site.

Easter Seals Blake Foundation CEO Ema Kammeyer said, “Technicians For Sustainability have a vast comprehension of this technology, yet they convey it seamlessly to non-tech audiences. They really made it accessible and understandable for our board to have complete confidence in moving forward with this installation. True professionals.”

While cost has long been perceived as a barrier to “going green”, Technicians For Sustainability assisted the Easter Seals Blake Foundation in securing financing for the project that, due in part to federal and TEP incentives, will have no upfront costs to the organization. Also, the Foundation reports it anticipates that after eleven years the cost of electricity at the campus will be virtually nothing, with a projected $600,000 - $1,000,000 in savings over the next twenty years alone. The savings would be enough to offset state budget cuts and provide 50 working poor families, every year, with tuition assistance to its nationally accredited childcare program.

In addition to the financial benefits, the move to solar reinforces Easter Seals Blake Foundation’s organization-wide mindset of environmental accountability.

"Tucson will be a better place to live because of the forward looking vision of organizations like Easter Seals Blake Foundation,” said TFS President, Kevin Koch. “Not only are they lowering their operating costs for the long term, enabling them to serve the community more effectively, but they are building a cleaner future for our community by producing their electricity with solar energy.”

Easter Seals Blake Foundation’s Solar Open House and Reception is Thursday, November 14 from 4:30 to 6:30pm at their headquarters, 7750 East Broadway Blvd. For more information, or to RSVP for the event please contact Jennifer Turner at jturner@blake.easterseals.com.

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About Technicians For Sustainability

Technicians For Sustainability (TFS) is a locally owned, mission-driven business, committed to walking their talk.  They provide businesses, public institutions, and residential homeowners with high quality, clean, renewable energy systems, helping to translate environmental values into practical reality.  The company employs proven technologies to meet customers’ specific needs, including solar electricity and solar water heating. TFS has installed over 7 megawatts of solar power in southern Arizona.  For more information about Technicians For Sustainability visit www.tfssolar.com.

About Easter Seals Blake Foundation

Easter Seals Blake Foundation has been providing services to children and adults with disabilities since 1950. Their educational, therapeutic and community living programs are designed in accordance with their mission: to enable each individual served to discover and meet his or her maximum potential for independent, productive living and developmental growth. For more information please visit www.blakefoundation.easterseals.com.

About SunPower®

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. For more information visit www.SunPowercorp.com.

About the project

Tucson Electric Power estimates that a project of this type results in the following environmental savings:

  • Water NOT used in the production of electricity: 27,700 gallons/month
  • Coal NOT burned to produce electricity: 55,410 lbs/month
  • Carbon Dioxide NOT emitted into the atmosphere: 123,400 lbs/month
  • Lifetime benefit to air quality is equivalent to planting 2,482 trees

TFS Open House 2013

Casa Maria Food Drive

To celebrate the 2nd anniversary of Casa Maria Soup Kitchen's solar system, we're hoping to raise awareness and fuel a small food drive for Casa Maria.  Who's with us?

Casa Maria Soup Kitchen's solar systemThe solar soup kitchen helps feed many hungry people each month, and an extra donation always helps!  Please drop off donations at the TFS warehouse, at 612 N 7th Ave (north of downtown), or you can drop if off directly to Casa Maria at 401 E 26th St (south of downtown).

Suggested food donations include:  Pinto beans, mayo, mustard, coffee, sugar, canned goods, fresh fruit, tomato sauce (or anything like it), fresh vegetables, any kind of meat, anything that would go in a bag lunch.  They can use almost anything.

They are also in need of some volunteers so if you have a couple hours to spare, sign up to volunteer at their website.  The kitchen is open every morning from 8:30am - 11:30am, but if you cannot be there the entire time, please stop by for an hour or two.

There are many different donation options.  To find something that works for you, please check out the Casa Maria website.

Casa Maria received a matching solar grant from TFS in 2011.  To learn more about their donated solar system you can check out the Casa Maria case study on the TFS website, go directly to the Casa Maria website, or check out this news article from KVOA.

 

The Tucson Nature Conservancy's solar turns 5!

Tucson Nature Conservancy Solar Electric Vehicle Charging Station The Nature Conservancy, an international organization, is dedicated to preserving the lands and water necessary for life on Earth.  They have been operating in Arizona for many years and besides their Tucson office, have 6 satellite campuses and preserves.  The Nature Conservancy has long been dedicated to "walking the talk" and took a big step five years ago when they installed their first solar system.

Donated by Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and installed by Technicians for Sustainability (TFS) in 2008, the small 2.8kW system was added to again in 2010.  The entire system is now 92.2kW and provides 95-100% of the electricity used by the Tucson campus, which lets the The Nature Conservancy create their own electricity and "walk the talk."

For the Tucson branch, one of their most important goals is to help conserve and preserve natural water resources.  The entire facility practices water harvesting with several cisterns both above and below ground and have worked very hard to create a natural landscape, complete with native plant species and rainwater catchment basins.  Even the specially designed gravel driveway helps prevent water runoff by capturing the water and encouraging it to sink into the soil and eventually, the Tucson aquifers.  The solar helps with their goal as well by offsetting 6,587 gal of water each month that is used for conventional electricity generation.

In addition to their on-site energy efficiency and conservation measures, The Nature Conservancy  has an electric vehicle (EV) charging station, powered by the sun.

 

Tucson Nature Conservancy Solar Parking Array

Arizona Nature Conservancy Campuses with Solar:

  • Tucson Nature Conservation Center- 92.2kW system installed by TFS in 2008 and 2010 saves 79,000 gal of water from being used to create conventional electricity annually.
  • Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area- 14.6kW system installed by TFS in 2011 annually offsets almost 60,000lbs of CO2 annually.
  • Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve - 12.6kWh system also installed by TFS in 2011 saves over 22,000lbs of coal from being burned each year.
  • Hart Prairie Preserve in Northern Arizona