Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Thanks for the Support: “Solar Farms in New Jersey Can Help Light the World, Preserve the Planet”

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

As we approach our conceivably  last meeting in front of the zoning board in Hamilton Township tonight, which holds the destiny of the Black Solar Farm in Hamilton Square, Mercer County, we love to see the support from those who have been there in the town meetings from the beginning and sat through those seemingly endless nights of abuse over the proposed solar farm and what everyone would prefer to see done with Barry Black’s land, other than what he wants to do with it.

Trenton Times

Opinion: Solar farms in New Jersey can help light the world, preserve the planet
Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 6:20 AM

By Brian D. Haig

As financial troubles are casting long shadows across the state, New Jerseyans have little time for less immediate concerns. However, we must look toward the environmental future of our state.

There in an ongoing debate in Hamilton Township over a use variance request for 60 acres of what used to be farmland in the township’s Rural Resource Conservation Zone.

BKB Properties has proposed a sustainable plan to build 42,000 solar panels and housing on the property. While critics cite unsightliness, land loss and soil degradation, they fail to truly consider the benefits.

The issue of unsightliness is moot. BKB Properties plans to surround the site with fencing and landscaping that would hide the panels.

As for land loss, it is important to remember that this land is currently unused. Although it may once have been farmland, it has not been cultivated for some time.

While some may not consider the proposed solar farm ideal, it is far more productive than the land’s current state. What’s more, no other uses seem to have been proposed for it.

The fear of soil degradation is largely supported by speculation from experts who, while knowledgeable, admit that soil degradation is merely a possibility — one that other professionals have determined to be unlikely. The developers have said they will make efforts to preserve the soil’s fertility. One such plan is to cultivate low-lying crops under portions of the panels, which will help to keep the soil rich. With the opposition’s arguments adequately addressed, it is important to now look at the benefits.

Most of Hamilton’s energy is provided by PSE&G’s Mercer Station, which generates power by burning coal, gas and oil. The resulting emissions contain toxic particulate matter that contaminates the air we breathe and eventually even enters the water we drink. Also of great concern is the emission of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. The extent of the dangers posed by the emissions from PSE&G’s Mercer Station are made clear when we consider that, according to scorecard.com, the power plant is Mercer County’s leading source of pollution. In addition, the coal, gas and oil that are burned are non-renewable fossil fuels; they do not regenerate.

The proposed solar facility would be able to provide energy to 2,000 homes, using a renewable resource that has no adverse environmental impacts. And although the energy produced would not be able to replace the energy provided by PSE&G entirely, it would certainly decrease the amount of energy needed from burning fossil fuels.
We should also take note that only a portion of the 60 acres in question is intended to be used for the solar farm. BKB Properties plans to donate a segment of the property to a charity that will use it to build homes for disabled veterans returning from war.

The benefits of granting BKB Properties’ use variance request go beyond environmental preservation and supporting our wounded warriors. Additional benefits would be felt at the local level.

Building the facility would temporarily provide jobs for local construction workers and landscapers. This economic boost would help struggling families who rely on development for their living. And for the township, the facility would provide $70,000 in taxes annually. While this is not an impressive amount, it is certainly more than the land currently yields.

By allowing the construction of BKB Properties’ proposed solar farm, Hamilton residents would be taking one more step toward a sustainable lifestyle. The town might even inspire other parts of the county, the state or even the country to follow suit.

Even in these times of financial hardship, it is imperative that we work toward a better future, not only for our own state, but for the world. It is, therefore, only logical that development of the proposed Hamilton solar farm be allowed. The benefits will be felt at a local level immediately. And with time, the facility will play a small role in the struggle to preserve our global environment. The solar farm would provide Hamilton with sustainable energy from a renewable source and provide New Jersey with an example of an environmentally responsible township.

BYOP

Friday, November 19th, 2010

BYOP

Last night, Rager Energy attended Bring Your Own Philly (BYOP), a networking event sponsored by Brolik Productions, a branding and interactive agency based out of Philadelphia [Brolik is also the company that designed our killer logo and website].  The event was held at Studio: Christensen located in Rittenhouse Square.  What a great time.  BYOP brings together professionals from all over the Philadelphia region and includes a wide range of professions including various business owners, entrepreneurs, artists, clothiers, photographers, film makers, graphic artists, finance sources, attorneys and other independent professionals.  The party is fully catered with gourmet meals served tapas style by Catering by Miles, a full service catering and event planning company delivering simple yet elegant cuisine for events in a stylish and artistic manner.  It’s delicious to say the least.

Alex, Drew, Rashelle

Christopher, Owen, Sam

Elizabeth, Catering by Miles

Julie, Matt, Barbie, John

Studio: Christensen

Qino: Quinoa Vodka

Moi & Alex

BYOP is quickly becoming one of Philly’s prominent networking channels.  Over the past year, we’ve watched Brolik’s social affair gain popularity and grow out of their previous venues.  Through BYOP events, Rager Energy has made several key business contacts and developed many other invaluable relationships.  A big thanks to the guys at Brolik Productions.  Keep the parties coming.

Stacey, Clay, Owen

Interpreting Section 1603

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

There has been a lot of discussion amongst seasoned professionals in the renewable field, as well as, with accountants and attorneys attempting to interpret Section 1603 of the The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.  The question remains, what constitutes as 5 percent of the total cost of the project to be completed before year-end 2010 in order to be eligible to receive a cash payment in the form of a grant from the US Treasury versus taking the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)?  Although Section 1603 covers several qualified properties and various procedures, in this case we will focus on solar PV.

Background
Taxpayers who own property eligible for tax credits under sections 45 and 48 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) may elect to forego claiming tax credits and instead apply to the United States Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for a cash payment. To do so, taxpayers must place eligible property in service during 2009 and 2010. Property placed in service after 2010 may also be eligible so long as construction began after 2008 and prior to 2011 provided, however, that more than 5 percent of the total cost of eligible property has been incurred, and must be originally placed in service prior its respective credit termination date (i.e. January 1, 2013 for large wind, and January 1, 2017 for solar photovoltaic).

So what does this mean?  As time ticks on and the rush to get eligible projects qualified for the grant before year end, solar integrators look for answers.  Some speculate that you just need to show that you spent 5% of the total project cost in order to be eligible for the grant, others guess that 5% of the physical work must be completed, and still others surmise it should be a mixture of the two.

So what’s the right answer?  Having just returned from the Solar Power International 2010 Conference in Los Angeles (which was amazing btw), I learned that even experts in the industry are unclear of it’s definite meaning, however, I can tell you this:

  • Construction must begin before year-end 2010 (this is not as simple as it sounds)
  • “Physical” work on the specified property must begin and there be a schedule of continuous work in place.  Meaning:  you cannot move some dirt around, drop off a bunch of panels on the site, stage the ground, take some pics, assume you have 5% complete, and call it a day.
  • You must have a concrete plan and schedule of contiguous construction.  If you complete 5% of construction, take off the next 6 months and assume you’re safe, you might be disappointed when the IRS comes back and has you repay the generous grant money you received years prior.
  • In addition to having construction started with a schedule of work in place, you must also have 5% of actual costs paid or incurred by year-end.
  • Don’t think 5% paid and delivery of materials will suffice.  Some suppliers, either out of negligence or in the effort to score business, have offered that this will be enough to qualify for the 5% rule, but this is not the case.  If you are counting on the grant to make your project work for you, be sure to cover all aspects: physical work, schedule of construction and costs paid or incurred.
  • Additionally, the project must also be under a binding rate contract.

If you are planning on applying for the grant to make your project work for you, don’t chance it.  You are already spending a substantial amount of money on your solar investment.  Please seek professional advice from an attorney or accounting firm specializing in this area of expertise.  I retrieved the above information during a seminar, where Ms. Laura Ellen Jones from Hunton & Williams, LLP based out of Richmond, VA, answered the question regarding Section 1603.

For Your Enlightenment

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The Story of Cap & Trade

Wingless flight

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Welcome to the 21st Century…

The Aptera 2 Series, a three-wheeled two-seater, is currently under development.  There are two models:  2e (all-electric) and 2h (hybrid). The 2h configuration is estimated to have a fuel efficiency of 300 mpg, if plugged in every 120 miles.  This would make this space-age car one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the world.  Some features include:  optional roof-mounted solar panels for running a heat pump, always-on climate control, keyless ignition and entry, and an in-car touch screen computer which serves as an entertainment, navigation, and communication system.

On the flip side, according to Consumer Reports, the Aptera 2e needed more than 40 tries before passing the accident avoidance test on 4/29/10.  The test requires the vehicles to drive at a minimum speed of 45 miles per hour and change lanes “to the left and then back to the right without using throttle or braking to control the vehicle,” as Consumer Reports writes.  This may be a hurdle for the Aptera 2 to overcome, but let’s hope for the best.  Currently, this cool electric/hybrid tricycle is only accepting pre-orders from California residents.

http://www.aptera.com/