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Solar Video Series for Local Governments

Since December 2011, MARC has received two Rooftop Solar Challenge awards from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative. The goal of the Rooftop Solar Challenge is to make solar power more affordable and widespread by reducing soft costs such as permitting, zoning and regulatory barriers. During the first award cycle, MARC worked with local governments within the Kansas City region. Now, in the second grant cycle, MARC is leading a team of 10 regional planning councils to spread our solar best management practices to more jurisdictions, both in the Kansas City region and across the country.

Our team’s consultant, Meister Consultants Group (MCG), recently put out a series of video lessons as part of the Solar Outreach Partnership, also part of the SunShot Initiative. These 10–15 minute videos explain basic solar concepts and barriers to solar deployment, and provide local governments with strategies and resources to help overcome those barriers. Specific topics covered include local solar ordinances, solar financing options and installing solar on municipal facilities.

This video series is based on a report by the DOE, “Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments,” which is available, along with other resources, at solaroutreach.org.

 

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KCMO installs solar panels on city buildings and in the City Market

KCMO-solar-array-City-Market-webThe city of Kansas City, Mo., is partnering with KCP&L and Brightergy, a local solar energy company, to install solar panels at 45 city locations. In total, 61 25-kilowatt (kW) systems will be installed, for a total of 1.5 megawatts of solar power. Police, fire department and community center buildings are among those getting the solar panels.

The City Market received four solar panels on the south-facing roof peak of the Arabia Steamboat Museum building (see photo).

The systems were designed by Solar Design Studio for KCP&L and will be leased to the city. Panel installation by Mark One Electric was completed in March, and the system will be fully operational by late spring. All of the installations are slated to be completed by the end of June.

In addition to the solar energy that will soon partially power the City Market’s east bank of buildings, the market has taken other measures to reduce its environmental impact. For instance, the market has a compost and recycling program that annually diverts almost 400 tons of food waste, cardboard and other materials from area landfills.

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Teams gearing up for 2015 Solar Decathlon

solar decathlon 2013 missouri 2In February, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015. The Decathlon challenges the teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing.

Teams have approximately two years to design and build their houses and the winning design will be the one that best showcases affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence, as well as optimal energy production and efficiency.

Three Missouri schools are participating: Drury University (Springfield), Crowder College (Neosho) and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla). In 2013, the Vienna University of Technology (Vienna, Austria) won the Decathlon. The 2015 competition will take place at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Ca.

Read more about the Solar Decathlon.

See pictures of the Missouri University of Science and Technology’s 2013 Decathlon house.

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2013 — A Big Year for Solar Jobs in Missouri!

bigstock_Solar_Panel_Installation_9354038_cropped_300pxMissouri experienced a surge in solar jobs in 2013, according to a report released by the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA) this month. While a total of 399 solar jobs were created in Missouri in 2011 and 2012 combined, 2013 saw the creation of a whopping 1,713 new solar jobs. The report, produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and written by John Farrell, projects that by the end of 2014, Missouri will have a total of 3,775 solar jobs.

MO_solar_increase_graphWhile much of this growth can be attributed to solar rebates offered by investor-owned utilities in Missouri, Farrell projects that with retail electricity prices rising an average of 5 percent per year, solar will continue to be a good long-term investment for electricity customers. In fact, assuming electricity rates rise at that rate, electricity produced from solar will cost less than power provided by utilities by 2019, even without a rebate.

The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2013, released in January 2014, shows that the U.S. solar industry employs 142,692 workers, an increase of nearly 20 percent over 2012.

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