More People Work in Solar Energy Than Coal Mining

According to a solar job census done by the Solar Foundation, the solar energy industry in the United States accounts for 119,016 jobs.  Even more astounding is that number represents 13.2% growth over the previous year, making solar energy once again one of America's fastest growing job sectors.  During the same period, job growth in the overall economy was 2.3%.

“The solar industry has grown at significantly higher rates than most other industries in the past several years, making it one of the foremost creators of new jobs in the United States,” said Andrea Luecke, TSF Executive Director. “Our census findings indicate that these new jobs are highly skilled in nature, including solar installation, sales, marketing and software development. These new solar industry jobs are sustainable, cannot be outsourced and play a critical role in our country’s economic recovery.” Press Release from the Solar Foundation

In contrast, the US Energy Information Administration reported that in 2011 there were 91,610 employed in the coal mining industry. Link

The full report will be released on November 14. 

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.

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 will.kenworthy@tipenergy.com.  Additional information is availble at Tipping Point’s website:  www.tipenergy.com.