Ascent Solar Expands Market Reach with Solar Device Chargers

As a Colorado success story in the business of solar manufacturing, Ascent Solar has weathered the storm of bankrupt solar manufacturers (Abound Solar) and failed plant openings (GE’s PrimeStar Solar solar factory in Aurora) to remain as the leading solar manufacturer in the state. Ascent Solar is now expanding marketing reach with solar charging products. Staying a step ahead of the curve is working well for Ascent Solar who debuted their Enerplex Solar Chargers at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. 


Read more about Ascent Solar’s foray in the world of consumer products:

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Colorado Solar Light Bulb Manufacturer Nokero Wins Humanity Award


Innovation and philanthropy thrive in Colorado as solar light bulb manufacturer Nokero wins humanity award. For over three years, Nokero has established a market niche for portable solar lighting. Nokero touts four main categories for their product: Emergencies, Recreation, Disaster Relief and Solar Solutions for the 1.3 billion people on the planet living without electricity. Recently winning the U.S. Trademark and Patent for Humanity Award, Nokero continues to push the boundaries of innovation and philanthropy.

Read more in this Denver Post article:

For more information about Nokero, visit their website and blog:

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Did Renewable Energy Sway Swing Voters in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election?

With the partisan divide wider than ever on U.S. energy issues, a recent poll suggests swing state voters not only support renewable energy but cite renewable energy as a deciding factor in placing their vote in this years presidential election. “Clean Coal” was a mantra heard by the Romney campaign over and over during the campaign and renewable energy failures such as Solyndra and Abound Solar were touted as the norm for U.S. renewable energy investment by republican candidates. However, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) discovered in a recent poll that Americans place great value on renewable energy advancement in America. Read more in this article from Pv-Tech:
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Sustaining Renewable Energy Growth in Colorado

ImageBringing any new technology on line has many pitfalls and hurdles. So it is with renewable energy. Colorado has experienced a renewable energy boom over the last several years with the largest utility in the state on track to provide 30% of it’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Creating the perfect balance of tax credits, subsidies and incentives along with reasonable utility rates is a feat that when played correctly yields a steady growth of renewable energy instead of a vicious boom or bust cycle. Read more about an intelligent approach to drive renewable energy growth in Colorado from former Colorado Public Utilities Commissioner Richard P. Mignogna in his Denver Post Guest Commentary here: Can the growth of renewable energy be sustained?

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The Push to Stop Farming Genetically Modified Crops on Boulder County Land

As Boulder County Colorado commissioners take public input regarding a possible ban on farming GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) on Boulder County open space, information continues to stream in about the dangers of GMOs. A new article titled, “Take Head – Nearly Every Processed Food You Eat is Contaminated with this Material”, outlines the widespread use of GMOs and the many associated dangers.

On December 8th at 6 pm at the Longmont Conference Center, 1850 Industrial Circle, in Longmont, CO, Boulder County commissioners will take public input on the proposed cropland policy which will address whether or not GMO crops will be allowed to be grown on Boulder County open space land. Read more: “Second committee votes to phase out Boulder County GMOs”

In January 2011, the US government authorized the “unrestricted commercial cultivation of genetically modified alfalfa” which adds another GMO to the list of genetically modified food being fed to cows, pigs and chickens. So even if consumers avoid GMO alfalfa, soy, corn, cottonseed (used in cooking oils), canola (canola oil), sugar from sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and squash, they may still be ingesting GM food by eating beef, pork and chicken not labeled as organic. According to a recent article titled “Monsanto is Using GMO Foods to Destroy our Health”, “GM corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar beets have made their way into approximately 80 percent of current U.S. processed grocery store items now that up to 90 percent of several U.S.grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed.”

Take action here to urge the FDA to label genetically modified food: Legal Petition to the FDA

For more information, check out the Organic Consumers Association and Non-GMO project on Facebook (click images below):

Organic Consumers Association         Non-GMO Project

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Feasibility of Solar Power

People have lived off the grid for decades powering their homes with solar energy. Still there is a perception within government and industry that solar energy just isn’t feasible and that it could never provide enough energy for us to survive. It’s a ludicrous belief system that has been perpetuated for years by moneyed interests in the fossil fuel industry. It reminds me of this cartoon that has also been around for years.

If solar energy had the same subsidies from the government as coal, oil and gas industries have for nearly a century, we would not have a need to buy oil from any nation. Electric vehicles have existed since the 1800’s. This electric vehicle technology could have been powered by the sun had certain policies been in place to promote and support solar energy technology.

Read more:  The Real Story On Solar Power And Energy Policy In America

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SolarTalk: Solar Inverters with Fronius USA

Fronius USA talked shop about solar inverters recently at the Fronius Inverter Training in Denver. Highlighting their Grid-Connected PV Inverters, Fronius representatives detailed information about inverter basics, safety, features, installation, system monitoring, support and warranty during the four hour session.

Training on Fronius IG, IG Plus and CL series inverters included continuing education credits toward the NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certification.

Offering extensive technical and field support, Fronius Technical Support representative, Dan “D-Bone” Fortsen, outlined diagnostic support, replacement parts delivery time-frame, warranty and trouble shooting.

Yes, all of the support team are required to have a nickname by orders from their technical support manager, Moe “Papa Bear” Mahone. And since it’s such a cool nickname, we’ll just go with “D-Bone” from here on out.  D-Bone has several decades of pv installation experience and fielded questions from a room of experienced solar installers culminating the session with an operational inverter demonstration.

Fronius USA offers inverters designed for easy installation and I was impressed with replacement product, technical and field support Fronius offers. It was noted that the Fronius inverter warranty covers the inverters for temperature ranges of -13 to 122 degrees fahrenheit. Since it is common in Colorado to have temperatures below -13 in the winter months, Fronius inverters currently installed outdoors in Colorado have more than likely invalidated the warranty. D-Bone stated that each inverter has a computer log of daily high and low temperatures and it is the first thing they check when an inverter is returned under warranty. For Fronius solar inverters installed in Colorado, this requires installation indoors or in an area that has temperatures of -13 or above.

The Fronius website provides a number of helpful tools for installation including the Fronius Configuration Tool for IG and IG Plus series converters and Fronius Solar.web which provides personal monitoring of system data via the internet.

Special thanks to Brad Ritter and Ken Oatman at Solar Solutions and Distribution for the invitation and coordination of this informative event.

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For more information, visit Fronius USA Solar Electronics website: 


Solar Solutions and Distribution in Denver to purchase:

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NBA Green Initiatives Night benefits Colorado Renewable Energy Society and The Nature Conservancy

Join the Colorado Renewable Energy Network on April 5th for the NBA Green Initiatives Night with a portion of ticket sales benefiting the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and The Nature Conservancy.

Event: Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Date: Tuesday, April 5th
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

Use this link to purchase special discount tickets to benefit the Colorado Renewable Energy Network and The Nature Conservancy:

Network and meet with other professionals interested in Colorado renewable energy and conservation at the Colorado Renewable Energy Network meeting prior to the game.

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Move over King Coal, There’s a new Solar Sheriff in Town.

Coal is king in the United States. The state of Colorado currently receives more than 70% of its electricity from coal. However, upcoming years could see a new sheriff in town as solar power plants exponentially increase in size and capacity to produce 1,000 – 5,000 MW of electricity in the upcoming decade.

To provide some context in comparison to solar energy generation, the Comanche Coal Power Plant in Pueblo, CO features three operational units (Comanche 1: 325 MW – Comanche 2: 335 MW – Comanche 3: 750 MW) that produce a total of 1,410 MW.

Until 2009, the largest solar power plants produced under 100 MW.  Spain’s Andasol Solar Power Station features Europe’s first large scale parabolic trough solar power plant. In 2009, the Andasol 2 solar power plant came online and added 50 MW to the existing 50 MW of Andasol 1 for a total capacity of 100 MW.

2010 saw the completion of the Solnova Solar Power Station in Spain with a 150 MW installed capacity and the Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) solar  power plant in the United States with a capacity of 354 MW.  Situated in California’s Mojave Desert, the SEGS solar power plant features nine parabolic trough power plants totaling 354 MW.

The Blythe Solar Power Project in the Mojave desert on BLM land is scheduled to be completed in 2013 and will provide 1,000 MegaWatts (MW) or 1 GigaWatt (GW) of electricity. This will almost triple the current largest solar power plant capacity in 3 years. The United States and South Africa are currently in a race for the first 1 GW solar power project.

With the exponential growth of solar energy expected to continue as new technologies and efficiencies are achieved, it appears there’s a new solar sheriff in town.

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For more information visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) website:

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Colorado: The New Mecca for Wind Energy

A recent announcement by Vestas wind energy of a new office opening in Louisville, Colorado, highlights the fact that wind energy companies recognize the many benefits that the state of Colorado has to offer.

New developments include the opening of WindIngen in Fort Collins, Colorado. Specializing in the maintenance of wind turbines, WindIngen is banking on the need for maintenance on the large number of turbines installed in the past couple of years. The United States installed more Megawatts (MW) of wind power in 2008 and 2009 than the total amount of MW installed from 2000 to 2007.

WindIngen provides service, maintenance, upgrades and retrofits for wind turbines throughout the U.S.. As a new division of parent company, Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis Ltd., WindIngen offers complimentary services to the established turbine-generator engineering and outage services that MD&A currently offers.

A wind turbine company based in Lafayette, Colorado, Hybrid Turbines, Inc., has developed a hybrid wind turbine system dubbed “SmartGen”. The combination of a Turbo-Compressor and biodiesel back-up power generation enables the SmartGen System to “generate power at their rated capacity 100% of the time” even during intermittent wind speeds.

Juwi Wind is a German-based renewable energy company that recently moved their U.S. headquarters from Cleveland, Ohio to Boulder, Colorado. The U.S. headquarters for Juwi Solar is also based in Boulder. As a renewable energy hub, Colorado has many resources that are very attractive to renewable energy companies. Michael Rucker, the executive director of Juwi Wind stated in the Daily Camera; “There are a lot of benefits and synergies, particularly in being able to recruit people,” said Rucker. “Having CU, NCAR, NIST and the National Renewable Energy Lab nearby, all of those are big benefits and draws.”

Boulder Wind Power began operation last April in Boulder. Created by Sandy Butterfield, a former chief engineer at NREL, Boulder Wind Power designs and builds next generation wind turbines and plans to employ approximately 40 people by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, several other wind energy companies moved to Colorado. Wind turbine component manufacturer Aluwind chose Castle Rock as the location for its first U.S. manufacturing plant. Aluwind is a Denmark-based company that manufactures wind turbine components for key clients such as Vestas Wind. Aluwind plans to employ over 100 people in the state. Also flocking to the renewable energy mecca of Colorado is Portland-based wind energy company REpower USA which moved their headquarters to Denver this month.

Time will tell if Colorado becomes the new “silicon valley” of renewable energy but from our front row seats it appears we’re off to a great start.

Find out more about Colorado wind energy by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy – Wind Powering America website:

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