Largest Roof Municipal Solar Array in Ohio Generating Power for the City of Columbus

 Tipping Point CEO Eric Zimmer in front of a small part of the City of Columbus Fleet Maintenance Building solar array

Tipping Point CEO Eric Zimmer in front of a small part of the City of Columbus Fleet Maintenance Building solar array

Tipping Point Renewble Energy is proud to have been instrumental in bringing to fruition  the solar array on the Columbus Division of Fleet Managment's Fleet Maintenance Building on Groves Road.  The array consist of 2,650 solar panels that will produce almost half of the building's electricity needs.

Tipping Point was the original developer of the project which is now owned by General Energy Solutions.  GES, owns and operates the system, and sells electricity to the City at a rate lower than their current electricity costs.   

Link to City Press Release

Link to Live Feed 


Solar PV Is Good Business

Even while solar energy continues to be tossed around as a political football, some of the smartest businesses in America are voting with their dollars and making substantial investments in solar photovoltaic systems.  

Last week, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released Solar Means Business: Top Commercial Solar Customers in the U.S .  The report details  investments being made by companies around the country:

The rapidly falling cost of solar energy has made solar an increasingly appealing investment for American businesses.  Between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quareter of 2012, the average price of a completed commercial PV system fell by nearly 14 percent.  The economics of PV have become so attractive that many of the best managed corporations, which are synonymous with low cost and efficiency, are adopting solar energy on a massive scale across the U.S. Solar Means Business: Top Commercial Solar Customers in the U.S. Link

SEIA has also provided a "heat map" of commercial solar installations in the U.S.

 Heat Map of Commercial Solar Installation in the U.S. Click on the map to be taken to SEIA's interactive map.

Heat Map of Commercial Solar Installation in the U.S. Click on the map to be taken to SEIA's interactive map.

Here are the top 20:

  1. Walmart
  2. Costco
  3. Kohl’s Department Stores
  4. IKEA
  5. Macy’s
  6. McGraw-Hill
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. Staples, Inc.
  9. Campbell’s Soup
  10. Walgreens
  11. Bed, Bath & Beyond
  12. Toys ‘R’ Us
  13. General Motors
  14. FedEx
  15. White Rose Foods
  16. Dow Jones
  17. Snyder’s of Hanover
  18. ProLogis
  19. Hartz Mountain Industries
  20. Crayola

For more information about how solar PV can benefit your company, contact us.

The Home Depot

We are proud to announce that, in partnership with UR Solar, we are a now a ceritfied installation partner with the Home Depot. We are selling systems from several Home Depot stores in the Central Ohio area. Another validation from a leading organzation that we are trusted leaders in the solar arena.

Energy Information Administration Studies The Impact of Clean Energy Standards (CES)

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released an analysis of the economic and other impacts that would result from the enactment of a number of different Clean Energy Standards. The analysis was done at the request of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. There are a number of interesting findings that arise from the study, including the dramatic impacts that enactment of a Clean Energy Standard (CES) would have on emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants compared to the relatively modest impact on electric prices and the economy. Specifically, Chairman Bingaman requested an analysis that compared a Clean Energy Standard that he is expected to offer next year (called the Bingaman Clean Energy Standard or BCES) with the Base Case from the EIA's 2011 Annual Energy Outlook. A number of alternative cases based on policy ideas that have been previously considered in Washington were also analyzed. As expected, the analysis finds a significant impact on the mix of technologies used to generate power:
The BCES policy changes the generation mix, reducing the role of coal technologies and increasing reliance on natural gas, non-hydro renewable and nuclear technologies. Coal-fired generation, which in the Reference case increases by 23 percent from 2009 to 2035, decreases by 41 percent in the BCES case over the same period. Relative to the Reference case, where natural gas generation grows steadily throughout the projection period, natural gas generation in 2025 is 34-percent higher and 53-percent higher in 2035. Under the BCES policy, non-hydro renewable technologies grow at the fastest rate, increasing from 146 billion kilowatthours in 2009 to 601 billion kilowatthours in 2025 and 737 billion kilowatthours in 2035. These totals are 60 percent and 75 percent greater than the 2025 and 2035 Reference case projections, respectively.
Also as expected the impacts of annual electricity sector carbon emissions are dramatic.
Under the BCES, projected annual electricity sector carbon dioxide emissions are 22 percent below the Reference case level in 2025 and 43 percent lower in 2035 (Figure 3, Tables B1 and B2). In the Reference case electricity-sector carbon dioxide emissions increase modestly over the projection period, reaching annual emissions of 2,345 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2) in 2025 and growing further to 2,500 MMTCO2 emitted in 2035. Over the 2009-to-2035 period, cumulative CO2 emissions are 20 percent lower in the BCES case than they are in the Reference case.
Finally, the report also found that in the early years, the impacts of the BCES on electricity prices is negligible, but grows as the standards ratchet down.
The BCES has a negligible impact on electricity prices through 2022, but prices rise in later years. In the early years of the projection period, there is negligible impact on average end-use electricity prices, as the requirement to hold BCES credits is modest. As shown in Table 1, the share of total sales that must be covered by credits does not exceed 45 percent until after 2030. This is important because, while coal-fired plants do not receive BCES credits, efficient combined cycle plants receive 0.48 credits for each megawatthour they generate, more than retailers purchasing their output are required to hold until after 2030. This effectively reduces the cost of most natural gas-fired generation until the later years of the projections. Electricity prices do grow later in the projections, reaching 21 percent above the Reference case level by 2035 in the BCES case.
The report can be found here.

Solar By Soldiers (SM) Garners Attention

Tipping Point was pleased to have a recent story by the Associated Press about our Solar by Soldiers (SM) program picked up by a number of news outlets throughout the country.

The article, written by Andy Greenfield, was picked up by a number of major news outlets including Fox News, the Huffington Post and many local and metro news organizations.

The article discusses a number of programs for getting US service veterans to work in the clean energy industry, but focuses on former Marine Ben Noland's experience looking for a job after returning from two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Noland, one of Tipping Point's hires, left the Marines in 2009, in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

He started looking for supply and logistics management jobs, something he had experience with from running supply convoys to troops on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. When nothing turned up, he looked futilely for warehouse jobs in Columbus. Finally, he briefly took a minimum-wage job at McDonald's 30 minutes away from his house.

"I'm a military veteran. Two tours of Iraq, one of Afghanistan — I was thinking, 'Man, I've got to be able to hang my hat on that,' you'd think." Noland said. "I was completely discouraged." Link to AP News

Ben is currently a Project Manager with Tipping Point.

MIT Scientists Discuss Potential for Solar Energy

A friend who is an MIT Alum forwarded me this from the MIT News about some of the research going on in solar energy at at the Institute.  It is good to see and hear about the different paths of research that some highly intelligent people are pursuing to make solar more efficient and cost competitive.

Lots of interesting tidbits in here.  I've heard it before, but it bears repeating that 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of energy strikes the Earth continuously -- more than 10,000 times what we currently use.  The challenge is harnessing and moving that power when we need it.

Since solar energy is, at least in theory, sufficient to meet all of humanity’s energy needs, the question becomes: “How big is the engineering challenge to get all our energy from solar?” Taylor says. 

Solar thermal systems covering 10 percent of the world’s deserts — about 1.5 percent of the planet’s total land area — could generate about 15 terawatts of energy, given a total efficiency of 2 percent. This amount is roughly equal to the projected growth in worldwide energy demand over the next half-century. 

Read the whole article here.

Tipping Point CEO Zimmer Expresses Support for Ohio Renewable Energy Standards

On September 20 and 21, 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich hosted an energy summit to discuss the importance of energy in Ohio.  Among the many subjects covered was one near and dear to our hearts, the state's Clean Energy Standard, which requires a certain percentage of electricity in the state to come from clean energy sources, including solar energy.

As the Governor and his cabinet consider the many policy recommendations that were presented at the summit, Tipping Point would like to bring to your attention this article, which appeared on National Public Radio affiliates around the state. In the article, our CEO Eric Zimmer, expresses why we believe the CES is important for Ohio jobs and the economy:

CEO Eric Zimmer says erasing the mandates now would be a job killer. “What we need is stability. And so, bills that are thrown out willy-nilly like this that question that really put a freeze on that market. We have had challenges with our investors who we’ve been working on for close to a year now saying, ‘what’s with this bill?’ If Senate Bill 221, the renewable portion was repealed, it would absolutely kill jobs in Ohio. It would drive away a lot of jobs.”

Click here for the whole article (including a link to listen to the story).

Solar panels to save $1,000 per month

Tipping Point Renewable Energy is please to announce the commissioning of a 47.84 KWe solar photovoltaic installation for Wepuko Pahnke Engineering LP in Springfield, Ohio.

According to Springfield based Wepuko Pahnke Engineering LLC it used a federal grant to help complete a solar panel system that could save the business close to $1,000 a month in energy costs. The manufacturers of pumps and presses finished building a solar panel array of about 200 panels that could generate almost 56,700 kilowatts a year to power its operations on Urbana Road.

The Springfield News-Sun reported on the story:

Wepuko Pahnke office manager Kelly Eichelberger said “Last week, contractors were here doing the final prep work for the system panels to track the usage of the electricity. The electrician was here and they were getting the actual final inspection. We are approved and up and running.”

The 50 kilowatt panels will provide energy for Wepuko Pahnke’s four buildings and remaining power will be sold back to their electric company, First Energy, or sold as energy through Ohio’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificates program.

Eichelberger said that Wepuko Pahnke could end up earning $21,542 on average a year from selling excess energy, based on a sales rate of 38 cents per kilowatt last week. The price of energy fluctuates daily, much like the stock market. This project has been ongoing since 2010.

He also added that “We’ve been working on this project for about a year but we couldn’t finalize it because we didn’t get any more state grants, we got a federal grant instead.”

The grant, for $65,285, will be reimbursed to the company within 60 days of the final payment for the project. The entire project, which cost $217,000, was conducted by Tipping Point Renewable Energy, based in Dublin, Ohio.

Tipping Point CEO  Eric Zimmer said “Solar energy works today in Ohio, and Wepuko shows that a company can install solar energy and do it for economic reasons, has a good pay back, they’re saving money, being green and helping provide jobs for unemployed vets.”

Zimmer  also said that Tipping Point installed the solar array as part of their Solar for Soldiers program, where they train unemployed veterans – five veterans worked on the Wepuko Pahnke project – to install solar panels as a way to provide a career path for them.

News Story from Ohio News Network on Solar By Soldiers

The Ohio News Network ran an excellent story about Senator Sherrod Brown's press conference at the kick off of Tipping Point Renewable Energy's Solar By Soldiers program. It's a bit (actually more than a bit) awkward to embed the actual video here, so follow this link to open their video player. Here's a link to the accompanying story.

Senator Sherrod Brown and Flannagan's of Dublin Help Launch Tipping Point's Solar By Soldiers Program At Press Conference

Tipping Point Renewable Energy would like to thank Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Flannagan's of Dublin for helping to launch the Solar by Soldiers program today.  Here are some pictures from this great event.  For more information about Solar by Soldiers, please contact us.

Solar By Soldiers Program Launched at Press Conference with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

Columbus, Ohio -- (August 8, 2011) --  Following is the text of the statement made by Tipping Point Renewable Energy Founder / CEO Eric Zimmer at the press conference with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the owner of the Flannagan’s of Dublin, David Straub at the launch of Tipping Point’s Solar By Soldiers© program.

Thank you Senator Brown.  

Today, we are officially launching a program that is near and dear to our hearts here at Tipping Point.  

When Tipping Point was founded just two years ago, we had a goal to improve our communities by using renewable energy. One of the things we have done is to make a commitment that we will use veterans to carry out our projects whenever possible.  

We want to make sure that as our veterans return home they are able to find good work in a growing field. We passionately feel, as Senator Brown does, that these heroes should not be worrying about where they are going to work and how they are going to feed their families after serving our country. 

With that in mind, we created the Solar by Soldiers program to formalize our commitment and to provide a framework within which we will provide training in green energy job skills to veterans, not just for our projects, but for the clean energy industry throughout Ohio.

Solar is currently the fastest growing industry in the United States. In tough economic times clean energy is a way to create jobs in both manufacturing and installation of these important technologies. Continued federal and state investment is key to this growth. I want to thank the federal government and the State of Ohio for investments they have made in clean energy in the past and urge them to consider extending and enhancing those programs.

We have over 20 million dollars worth of projects right here in central Ohio that we are working to launch to help create more jobs for these very worthy heroes.

I especially commend Senator Brown for his support of the Hiring Heroes Act to ensure that veterans are ready to re-enter the job market after their service. Also, his legislation to expand and improve the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit will help to continue the trend toward grid parity for solar energy.

I’d like to thank David Straub and Flannagan’s for making this all possible by making the commitment to using clean, safe solar energy to power his business.  David can tell you this for himself, but he made the decision to proceed with the project because solar energy does work in Ohio.  This project makes good economic sense in addition to benefitting the environment and the veterans involved in its construction.  

The solar array that you are looking at today will be generate about half of the annual electric requirements of Flannagan’s. Once the initial investment for this project is recovered in a few short years, the solar array will generate about half of Flannagan’s electricity for free for the next 25 or 30 years. Not only that, but the solar array will protect Flannagans from future electric rate increases that will inevitably come.

Finally, Id like to thank Daniel Hutchinson with Ohio Combat Veterans.  Daniel worked closely with us in the early stages of the Solar by Soldiers program to develop the vision for our program.  Although he couldn’t be here today, we thank him for his efforts and look forward to working with him and his organization as we continue to grow the Solar by Soldiers program.

Now, I’d like to introduce David Straub, owner of Flannagan’s and our host today for a his comments.

For more information on Tipping Point Renewable Energy, the Solar by Soldiers Program, or the solar array at Flannagan’s of Dublin contact Will Kenworthy at 614-321-3335 or  Additional information is availble at Tipping Point’s website:

Ohio Ranks Second in Solar Panel Manufacturing

Tiipping Point and our crews are part of the fastest growing industry in the country.According to a report recently released by the Solar Energy Industries Assocation (SEIA), Ohio ranks second in the nation for the manufacture of solar panels.  The Toledo Blade reports:

The Solar Energy Industries Association of Washington says Ohio produced 66 megawatts of photovoltaic modules in the first quarter of 2011, up 50 percent from 44 megawatts of solar modules produced in the state during the first quarter of 2010.
Oregon was tops in the nation for solar manufacturing during the first quarter of this year, making 120 megawatts of solar modules during that time, according to the solar association.
The statistics were in the solar association's recent quarterly report. The association says Oregon
and Ohio have the largest amounts of solar manufacturing capacity in the country, which allowed them to beat out other major solar states, such as California and New Jersey.
Increased solar production means more jobs for Ohio and other states with manufacturing-based work forces, the solar group said.

The Solar Energy Industries Association of Washington says Ohio produced 66 megawatts of photovoltaic modules in the first quarter of 2011, up 50 percent from 44 megawatts of solar modules produced in the state during the first quarter of 2010.Oregon was tops in the nation for solar manufacturing during the first quarter of this year, making 120 megawatts of solar modules during that time, according to the solar association.The statistics were in the solar association's recent quarterly report.

The association says Oregon and Ohio have the largest amounts of solar manufacturing capacity in the country, which allowed them to beat out other major solar states, such as California and New Jersey.Increased solar production means more jobs for Ohio and other states with manufacturing-based work forces, the solar group said.


Read the whole article here.

We have a lot to be proud of here and are at the center of one of the fastest growing parts of the economy.  In fact the same report also found that the solar industry is the fastest growing industry in the US.  

Here is a link to the SEIA's press release on the report.


Work Underway at Flannagan's of Dublin

We are nearing completion of what will be one of the most innovative solar arrays in Ohio at Flannagan's of Dublin.  If you get a chance to drive by and check out the custom canopy above the deck overlooking the volleyball courts you will appreciate the careful planning and attention to detail that this project requires.

Here is a link to the Flannagan's website where they detail more about how their solar array is part of an overall recycling and money saving conservation program that they are developing. 

Not New, But New To Me: DP&L Info Page on Yankee Road Solar Array

Since large-scale solar is a fairly new phenomenon in Ohio, we spend a lot of time helping clients and potential clients to understand what a solar array looks like and feels like. After all, the decision to install a solar array means a decision to live with it for quite some time.

We happen to think that a solar array is a beautiful thing, even aesthetically. In addition, it's a badge of honor to make a statement about a community's values and (for our customers at least) commitment to saving money for their stakeholders.

Anyway, I was preparing some information for a client on what a solar array looks like and came across this page on Dayton Power & Light's website about their Yankee Road Solar Array.

I haven't actually seen this before and was very impressed by the info that they have made available. The "Solar Array Construction Video" gives a great look into the construction process for their 1.1 Megawatt solar array.

Well done DP&L.