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President Barack Obama has recently announced a federal loan guarantee to Abound Solar, a Loveland-based company that has a manufacturing facility in Longmont.
The company, which employs 360 people in Colorado and manufactures thin film solar panels, will nearly double its employee base in the state, Abound Solar spokesman Mark Chen said.
He said it’s not yet clear exactly how the new jobs will break down between Abound Solar’s Longmont production facility, its headquarters in Loveland and its research lab in Fort Collins.
But he said Longmont would most likely be the biggest beneficiary since the bulk of production is done in the city. The company will be able to add two production lines to the one it already has in Longmont as a result of the loan guarantee, Chen said.
The White House said the project marks the first time this new manufacturing technology for Cadmium-Telluride panels will be deployed commercially anywhere in the world.
It will produce photovoltaic panels using an innovative process in which thin films of Cadmium-Telluride are deposited onto the glass panels, according to the White House. The technology reduces overall product costs.
Abound Solar is a member of PV Cycle, an organization dedicated to creating “truly sustainable energy solutions that take into consideration the environmental impacts of all stages of the product life cycle, from raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling.”
Learn more about the Abound Solar expansion in Longmont and the federal loan guarantee at the Camera.
A solar cooker is a simple way to use and understand a resource Boulder has in abundance: sunlight. Simple cookers require such basic household items as Elmer’s glue, cardboard, aluminum foil and a glass jar, and can be assembled in as little as two to three hours.
“One thing that’s good about it is it’s a slow cooker,” Graef said. “You basically don’t have to watch it. You can throw in the food, go out and do some errands, come back and it will be cooked.”
“You can cook a pretty good variety of things, but things that take a long time to cook are more challenging,” he said. “The easiest things to cook are fruits and vegetables.
While a solar cooker might not be able to produce enough heat to cook everything on the dinner table, it could be a fun and energy efficient way to gain more understanding of the power of the sun.
Read more about how to make a solar cooker at the Camera.
CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) — Keeping Fremont County’s administration building closed one day a week has saved more money than expected.
Last June the county switched the building’s operating hours to 10-hour work days, Monday through Thursday in a move to save an estimated $10,000 per year in utility costs.
County Manager George Sugars said a recent energy cost analysis found that the savings from closing the building for three days per week during the last 10 months of operation totaled $18,276. He says turning down heating and cooling systems from Thursday evenings until Monday mornings helped reduce costs.
Medical marijuana operations are sweeping Colorado. (If you live in our great Rocky Mountain state, I’m sure you’ve noticed).
Lots of folks are psyched. (Especially 20-something dudes with snowboard injuries.) But lots of towns aren’t. This spring, communities across Colorado have gone to great pains to figure out how to regulate these businesses. Mostly, they seem concerned about how close dispensaries are to schools, day cares and each other. And in some towns, dispensaries may be banned altogether in the near future, thanks to a new state law.
The Boulder City Council is concerned about little kids too, but in classic Boulder style, they’re also concerned about whether folks are growing their pot with energy from coal plants. (All those heat lamps can burn a heap of electricity.) So last night, when city council passed a new set of pot shop rules, this was among them: growing operations have to offset 100 percent of their electricity use with renewable energy!
Boulder County has suspended its popular, voter-approved ClimateSmart Loan Program, which lets you borrow money from them (at relatively low interest rates) to make energy-efficient improvements to your home like adding solar panels or blowing in some more insulation.
There are, apparently, a couple of problems that came out last week. One is a set of new rules from the DOE that govern loans like ClimateSmart — though that one will likely be no that big of deal. The second, which is more of a problem, is a letter from mortgage-buying giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The letter implies that the government-sponsored agencies won’t buy mortgages for houses that have ClimateSmart liens on them.
“Every program in the country — in Colorado the programs that are just getting set to launch in Eagle County — are going into neutral and saying, ‘We’ll continue developing programs,’ but nobody is going to issue any additional financing until there’s clarification of the letter,” Commissioner Will Toor told the Camera on Thursday.
“The timing here in Boulder County is very unfortunate because we had a round of residential loans that would be closing tomorrow and we were looking at a bond sale in a few weeks,” he said. “There are a bunch of property owners and a bunch of contractors who were hoping that this would move forward.”
On the day of the late-April Valmont Coal Plant protest protest, the Camera talked to protester Tom Weis by cell phone – while he was standing on top of a pile of coal at Valmont. Weis and four others were arrested that day, but they’re not done talking (or collecting funds for legal defense, for that matter).
Elephant journal recently talked to four of the Valmont Coal Plant protesters, Weis included, who are in hot water after trespassing on Xcel’s property.
The world of solar is about to open up to a whole new group of Coloradans thanks to a bill that is on the way to the governor’s desk to be signed.
People with shady roofs, renters, condo owners and even folks with too-small roofs (or even no roofs, like farmers who want to offset their irrigation pumps) will soon be able to buy a share of solar panels that are installed in nearby “community solar gardens.”
People who buy into the gardens will get all the same benefits as people who slapped the PV panels directly on their roofs, which means they can get rebates and incentive payments as well as have the electricity produced by the solar panels credited directly to their energy bill.
Solar gardens could be sprouting as soon as next fall, according to the bill sponsor, Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat.
A small group of protesters gathered at the Valmont power plant east of Boulder on Tuesday to protest the burning of coal for electricity.
The group was surprised when eco-hero Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org and an award-winning environmental journalist) dropped by. Later the police dropped by, too, which shouldn’t have come as a suprise.
In all, five people were arrested for second-degree trespassing. Those were the folks who actually climbed over Xcel’s fence (it’s rimmed with barbed wire) and unfurled a banner on the side of a coal pile that was waiting to be incenerated. The sign read “Renewables Now” and was accompanied by a pair of fake wind turbines.
Xcel didn’t find this all that amusing. In fact, spokesman Mark Stutz called the move stupid. Read more about the protest and watch a video at DailyCamera.com.
Are you powered with 100 percent wind? (Are you sure?)
If you get your wind power through Xcel Energy in Colorado by subscribing to the company’s popular Windsource program, you’re getting mostly wind, but you’re also getting some of your electricity from hydroelectric (about 7 percent), solar (about 2 percent) and biomass (about 1 percent).
This, of course, doesn’t bother many renewable energy supporters, but it does beg the question: should Xcel change that program’s name? Tireless Xcel watchdog Leslie Glustrom thinks they should — not just because the program is more than wind, but also because the program’s past missteps may have tarnished the brand. (Glustrom has filed a request with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission asking that the name be reconsidered.) Read more