Kansas opera company to save 25-30% on energy bills by installing solar panels

Brenna Hawley, Kansas City Business Journal, 7/17/12

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City is working with Solar Link US to install solar panels at its new facility in the Crossroads Arts District. The two solar arrays will include a total of 228 panels, producing 70,300 kilowatt hours of power during the first year. That should cut energy bills by between 25 and 30 percent. The panels will be installed by the end of the month on the roof of the new Opera Center's production arts and administration buildings. "The Lyric Opera is delighted that it will be able to take advantage of the large flat roofs of the Opera Center buildings to generate a substantial amount of electrical energy for its operations," Don Dagenais, Lyric Opera VP and general counsel, said. The energy provided in a year will be equivalent to drying 11,710 loads of laundry with a residential dryer. The system also will avoid the release of more than 1,400 tons of carbon dioxide a year. The system cost $185,000, and tax credits paid for $100,000 of that, Lyric Opera CFO Greg Hubbard said. Solar Link helped the nonprofit connect with entities that could use the tax credits and also helped it set up a 20-year power purchase agreement under which the Lyric Opera will pay for the energy the panels provide. That money will go toward paying them off, and the rates the Lyric Opera pays under the agreement will be cheaper than normal rates -- roughly 7 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with 9 cents, Hubbard said. "Part of it was just the desire of the company and the board to be green and to not have to rely on the grid, on coal-fired power plants, as much," he said. "But it also is a cost savings for us."


In Massachusetts, the world's largest (only?) solar-powered ballet shoe factory

Bill Kirk, Eagle-Tribune, 6/25/12

With 1,092 solar panels on the roof generating 273,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, Richard Bass of the Cardinal Shoe Corp. likes to brag that he now has "the largest solar powered ballet shoe factory on the planet." Of course, he admits, it may be the only solar-powered ballet shoe factory in the world. Bass said the project will provide all the power needs for his ballet shoe manufacturing plant as well as the 30 tenants that make up the rest of the 160,000-square-foot building he bought with his father in 1979. "It will pay for itself in four years," said Bass. He said a combination of factors made the project financially feasible: Dynamic Solar is leasing the space on his roof in exchange for discounted electric rates. Dynamic Solar, meanwhile, has made use of federal tax credits as well as Massachusetts' renewable energy credits program. The result will be that the electricity bills for Bass' building will be cut in half. Without getting into specifics, he said it would save "tens of thousands of dollars." As he saves money, he won't have to charge his tenants high electricity bills, either. Today, the company uses just part of the second floor of the building, where some 35 employees crank out around 100,000 ballet shoes a year. A profitable business, his product is shipped to 93 countries and among his clients are the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet. Now, in addition to being able to say the shoes are "Made in the USA," they can also say, "Made using solar power."


Grammy-winning band uses solar power, raises money for energy-poor regions

From the Sustainable Energy For All website, 5/9/12

Building on its Power the World initiative to bring solar lights to homes in Haiti, the Grammy-winning band Linkin Park has launched a new campaign to bring solar power to health clinics in Uganda and encouraging fans to sign a pledge to support Sustainable Energy For All. With 1.3 billion people living without access to electricity, health care in energy-poor regions is severely compromised. Clinics and hospitals often function in the dark at night, or close their doors. Among those most affected are mothers in need of emergency obstetric care and their newborns. Most energy-poor regions, including Uganda, are at a crisis point in maternal and neonatal mortality. To bring solar power to health clinics in Uganda, LinkinPark, through their non-profit organization Music for Relief, is working with We Care Solar, a nonprofit that designs and manufactures the Solar Suitcase, a high-efficiency solar energy system that fits in a carry-on suitcase. Designed for medical settings, the Solar Suitcase provides health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication devices and power for medical devices. The suitcase is now used in 17 countries, including Uganda. Linkin Park will be featuring the Solar Suitcase at upcoming concerts. The band is asking supporters to help pack a Solar Suitcase by making a gift of $10 or more by texting or by clicking the Donate button on the website. "The dark is no place to practice medicine," said Linkin Park lead vocalist Mike Shinoda. "It's unimaginable to think of a mother delivering in the dark, or having a C-section by the light of a cell phone, but that's what's happening. Solar power enables health workers to do the work they were trained to do. It allows women and babies to get the care they need...and survive childbirth."


A solar 'work of art' launched at Olympics Festival could bring light to millions

Louise Gray, The Telegraph [UK], 7/12/12

The 'Little Sun' lamp has been designed by artist Olafur Eliasson, who is best known for his giant sun art installation in the Tate Modern in 2003. This time he is offering visitors to the gallery 'little suns' that can be used as torches on a tour of the blacked out surrealist gallery. The 'Tate Blackouts' on Saturday nights from 28 July to 23 September will offer visitors a new view of the art, while teaching them about the potential of solar power and raising funds to roll out a business selling the lamps around the world. Olafur Eliasson: Little Sun, part of the Olympics Festival, is a unique partnership between an art gallery and a business project aiming to bring solar light to millions of people around the world. "Little Sun responds to the situation we face today, where natural resources no longer abound," said the artist. "Energy shortage and unequal energy distribution make it necessary to re-consider how our life-sustaining systems function. I see Little Sun as a wedge that opens up this urgent discussion from the perspective of art." At the moment 1.6 billion people around the world have no access to mains electricity. The 'little sun' solar lamps will be sold for just $10 around the world as an alternative to kerosene lamps. A ten-year-old doing her homework in the evening to the light of a wick-based kerosene lantern breathes in pollution equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day. The hope is to sell at least 500,000 in the next year and 50 million by 2020 by distributing the lamps to entrepreneurs across the developing world. Little Suns are made to last up to three years and up to 20 years by replacing the battery. The yellow plastic lights can be made into lamps to do homework, lead a donkey cart or illuminate cooking, boosting education, business and health. Mr Ottesen said the yellow 'flower design' not only looks good but is designed to attach to anything and circulate air so the plastic remains cool. He also said it was providing people with something beautiful. "Why should poor people not want something pretty as well as functional?"


Solar sculptures are "more than artistic ornament," they're an energy source

From the Solar Art Works website

Solar artwork is a new type of artistic installation that integrates the new technologies related to collection and use of solar power. Thanks to this capability to produce clean energy, these works offer some resources and possibilities that have remained unnoticed until now in this field of urban landscape design. These projects combine art, architecture, design, science, and a common objective to create new aesthetic spaces within urban landscapes where, at the same time, they take an active part in the ecological global awareness. The interactive possibilities are their main attraction. The capability to produce solar power and apply it in an independent way within public spaces makes solar artwork more than an artistic ornament. This is the point where works of solar art can make the most of their original qualities to be adapted to the surrounding architecture, offering complementary resources that can enhance the artistic experience of the public. Although we are talking about a pioneer type of product, which is in the firsts stages of its existence, we can anticipate the creation of really interesting projects in the coming years. The evolution of solar artwork will be determined by the artistic vision of their designers, as well as the evolution that we can expect in the field of solar powered technology in the future.

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