Geothermal Seminar – Mon, Sept 12, 2016

Please join us for our Second Geothermal Seminar to be hosted by the MASS CEC on Monday, September 12th at 5:30 P.M. This is the second in a series of bi-monthly seminars which will examine topics relevant to the geothermal industry in New England. Highlighting this seminar are presentations on:
• Historic Mill Building gets 21st Century Heating and Cooling System
• Review of New Joint U.S. – Canadian International Geothermal Heat Pump Standards

Speakers:
Lawrence Lessard, operates Achieve Renewable Energy, LLC., is a practicing hydrogeologist, is a member of IGSHPA and is an Accredited Installer and has completed the Certified GeoExchange Designer exam.
Carl D. Orio, Chairman, Water Energy Distributors, Inc. Co-Author, Modern Geothermal HVAC Engineering and Control Applications, Certified IGSHPA GeoExchange Designer, and Accredited Installer. Certified IGSHPA Instructor.

When:
Monday, September 12, 2016
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Where:
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Third Floor (go left after entering, take elevator)
63 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110

For further information contact:
James Ashley, President, NEGPA,
1053 Kittredge Road, Danville, VT 05828, jashley@vermontgeo.com, 800-236-8215 or 802-684-3491

Win Tickets to the New England Home Show

New England Home Show Logo

Win Tickets

Achieve Renewable Energy is exhibiting at the New England Home show February 21-23 and we are giving two home show tickets to a randomly selected person who Likes us on Facebook or Follows us on LinkedIN. There is no entry form — simply Like our Facebook page or Follow us on LinkedIN before we select the winner at 3 PM on February 17th.

At the Home show we will have special offers for WaterFurnace geothermal systems and for Zero Down solar PV leases. There has never been a better time to use renewable energy in Massachusetts!

Drop by and see us at Booth #842. The New England Home Show is at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston February 21-23. We hope to see you there!

Here is a link to the New England Home Show website: http://www.newenglandhomeshows.com/

The Sun is Rising on a New Era for the DOER SREC Program

Important changes are coming for the Massachusetts DOER Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC) program.  As expected, the DOER is in the process of shifting from the existing SREC-I regulations to a new phase suitably called SREC-II.  A final policy design of the new SREC-II program was released on December 13, 2013.  The DOER Commissioner has released some highlights.  These changes are described in greater detail on the SRECTrade website.

What Changes are Expected?

Most importantly, the Patrick-Murray Administration has revised its cumulative installed solar power capacity goal from 400 MW to 1,600 MW by 2020.  Currently, just under 400 MW of solar power have been installed since the inception of the program.

SREC rates will vary depending upon project size and other considerations – this will allow smaller projects to receive more SRECs on a per MWhr basis than larger projects.  The SREC factor will range from 1 SREC per MWhr produced for residential and community scaled projects to 0.8 SREC per MWhr for larger landfill or brownfield sites.  The SREC factor for certain atypical projects that do not meet specific Market Sector criteria could drop as low as 0.7.

Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction (SCCA) prices and Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) rates will continue to decline over the next 10 years with the SCCA price dropping from $300 to $199/MWhr and the ACP rate declining from $375 to $257/MWhr.  The SCCA is the Massachusetts market’s floor value established on a yearly basis for the semi-annual SREC clearinghouse auctions.  The ACP is the SREC compliance rate established on a yearly basis for electricity producers who do not purchase required SRECs from providers in order to maintain their energy portfolio requirements.

Other changes that are anticipated include a provision for no forward SREC minting for residential properties.  Previously, the DOER allowed residential projects to create or bank up to 10 years worth of SRECs from the onset of the project.  Also, no competitive SREC factor adjustments will be allowed for larger scale projects.  All assigned SREC factors will remain fixed.  Finally, the Grant Program for Directly Owned Residential Facilities will remain in place.  The original August 2013 SREC-II draft did not allow for a continuation of this grant program.  However, the program has survived the cut and will continue to allow for residential owners with 3rd party leasing or PPAs to move towards system ownership.

So What Does this All Mean?

Although changes to the SREC program have been anticipated for some time, these changes will ensure that the Massachusetts SREC program will remain among the nation’s best and at the forefront of the global push for greener, healthier energy.  Expanding the goal solar power installed in Massachusetts from 400 MW to 1,600 MW by 2020 will only stabilize SREC values and rates moving forward. Now that that Final Design document has been released, a public hearing and comment period will follow.  The DOER anticipates that SREC-II will become effective by the end of the first quarter of the year.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Just Keeps Getting Better!

Geothermal Heating and Cooling equals efficiency! This is particularly true with the latest and most advanced 7 Series line introduced by WaterFurnace and provided by Achieve Renewable Energy. This state of the art system is considered the ‘best of the best’ and represents the industry’s FIRST fully launched variable capacity residential unit and the ONLY unit to surpass both the 41.0 EER and 5.3 COP efficiency barriers developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

700A11-190

WaterFurnace 7 Series

How does it work? Unlike traditional geothermal units, which typically use one or two fixed compressor speeds, the 7 Series scales the speed up and down based on actual need. This allows the system to run more frequently at lower capacity thus resulting in an increase in efficiency that translates into over 30% savings over a typical Geo system and up to 70% savings on a more traditional fossil fuel system. The 7 Series works like a race car with a 10 speed transmission while traditional units are limited to 1 or 2.

The current market place for these variable speed or inverter-based units is just starting to develop. The only inverter-based GSHP in production that is readily available is the WaterFurnace 7 Series. Competing units from other manufacturers are anticipated in the coming year or two but are not currently available. Achieve has installed or is currently installing more WaterFurnace 7 Series units than any other WaterFurnace dealer in our area and we believe we have the most inverter-driven GSHP experience of any geothermal installer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Want to learn more? Check out this recent article on ProudGreenHome that touts this next generation in geothermal technology, particularly the WaterFurnace 7 Series: http://www.proudgreenhome.com/article/220845/Geothermal-heat-pumps-taking-the-next-step-in-efficiency.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is also convinced. Their new $3,000,000 Financing Program for Renewable Thermal Investment specifically targets the development of renewable thermal technologies including ‘inverter driven air and ground source heat pumps.’ To learn more about this program or to further educate yourself about all of the amazing benefits of renewable energy, visit the DOER website at http://www.mass.gov/eea/.

geopro-dealer

Achieve is a registered WaterFurnce Geopro Master Dealer

 

Geothermal, Ground Source Heat Pump or GeoExchange?

Geothermal Heat Pump Cycle

Geothermal Heat Pump, Ground Source Heat Pump or GeoExchange — which is it?

Mankind has used the relatively constant temperature of the shallow Earth for climate control for thousands of years with structures like root cellars and caves. Energy from the Earth has been used to heat and air condition buildings using mechanical heat pumps for decades, and during that time these systems have been called many different things. Some of the most common variations include geothermal heat pump, ground source heat pump and geoexchange. So how are these different? Well, they really are not. All of these names are meant to describe essentially the same thing. The process that these names describe is the movement of heat from the ground into a building for heating and the movement of heat from a building into the ground for cooling using a heat pump.

Why not just use one name?

One name would make things simpler but that is probably not going to happen right away. What should we call the highest efficiency, lowest operating cost and most climate friendly way to heat and cool commercial buildings and residences? I think we can call it anything we want. There are people who wrinkle their noses if someone says ‘geothermal’ instead of ‘ground source heat pump’ or ‘geoexchange’ but I don’t put much weight in nose wrinkling. As a professional I believe all three names are good but imperfect.

WaterFurnace 7 Series

WaterFurnace 7 Series

  • ‘Geothermal Heat Pump’ is the most common name but also the most maligned. On the most basic technical level it is correct because we are working with earth (geo) heat (thermal) using a heat pump. There is the potential to confuse geothermal heat pumps with high temperature geothermal energy. The biggest problem with this is when someone starts to think they need to live on the slope of a volcano to heat their building geothermally. In dealing with clients, I find that simply ‘Geothermal’ or just ‘Geo’ is the most common name for what we do in public use and this has become my most used name.
  • ‘Ground Source Heat Pump’ is a technically correct option that I find second most common after ‘geothermal’. I use ‘GSHP’ nearly as often as I do ‘Geothermal’ and think it is a fine choice that helps avoid visions of volcanos. One problem is that GSHP is the common term for the equipment and does not stress the underground component as well as Geothermal does.
  • ‘GeoExchange’ is my least favorite but I won’t wrinkle my nose when it is used. GeoExchange may be the most technically accurate of the three choices here. GeoExchange refers to the entire process of using the GSHP in conjunction with the underground (or underwater) heat exchanger.  I think this term was coined in an effort to market geothermal heat pump technology and differentiate it from high temperature geothermal energy projects. For me, GeoEchange does not roll of the tongue and I don’t hear many clients using the term.

In truth, none of the three is a perfect naming choice. The issue will resolve itself over time. In the end, I just wish for more people to use and think about any (or all) of the names. Heating and cooling using the treasure under our feet is important to energy policy and the more it is talked about the better. Whatever name you use, you are still talking about using the heat stored in the Earth to save 60-75% of HVAC operating cost and reduce HVAC carbon footprint by the same 60-75%.

 

 

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Just Keeps Getting Better

Geothermal Heating and Cooling equals efficiency!  This is particularly true with the latest and most advanced 7 Series line introduced by WaterFurnace and provided by Achieve Renewable Energy.  This state of the art system is considered the ‘best of the best’ and represents the industry’s FIRST fully launched variable capacity residential unit and the ONLY unit to surpass both the 41.0 EER and 5.3 COP efficiency barriers developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

700A11-190

WaterFurnace 7 Series

How does it work?  Unlike traditional geothermal units, which typically use one or two fixed compressor speeds, the 7 Series scales the speed up and down based on actual need.  This allows the system to run more frequently at lower capacity thus resulting in an increase in efficiency that translates into over 30% savings over a typical Geo system and up to 70% savings on a more traditional fossil fuel system. The 7 Series works like a race car with a 10 speed transmission while traditional units are limited to 1 or 2.

The current market place for these variable speed or inverter-based units is just starting to develop. The only inverter-based GSHP in production that is readily available is the WaterFurnace 7 Series. Competing units from other manufacturers are anticipated in the coming year or two but are not currently available. Achieve has installed or is currently installing more WaterFurnace 7 Series units than any other WaterFurnace dealer in our area and we believe we have the most inverter-driven GSHP experience of any geothermal installer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Want to learn more?  Check out this recent article on ProudGreenHome that touts this next generation in geothermal technology, particularly the WaterFurnace 7 Series:  http://www.proudgreenhome.com/article/220845/Geothermal-heat-pumps-taking-the-next-step-in-efficiency.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is also convinced.  Their new $3,000,000 Financing Program for Renewable Thermal Investment specifically targets the development of renewable thermal technologies including ‘inverter driven air and ground source heat pumps.’   To learn more about this program or to further educate yourself about all of the amazing benefits of renewable energy, visit the DOER website at http://www.mass.gov/eea/.

geopro-dealer

Achieve is a registered WaterFurnce Geopro Master Dealer

 

Tower School Solar PV Production Exceeding Expectations

Tower School PV Array

Electricity produced from Solar PV is the whole point of installing the solar panels, right? What can you do to maximize the production from your small commercial or residential PV system? Maybe you should talk to Achieve about designing your system with micro-inverters. The Tower School solar array went live in August of 2012 and we now have performance data for the first year. Achieve built this 25 kW Solar PV system with individual Enphase Micro-inverters for each of the 105 solar panels. The micro-inverters are designed to minimize impact due to shading. Micro-inverters also allow each solar panel to start producing electricity at the first sign of morning light. This maximizes solar PV production. Having each solar panel independent has great advantages over more common central inverters. Central inverters that connect solar panels like strings of old-style Christmas Tree lights — if one has a problem they all have a problem. Using standard industry software, the Tower School array was predicted to produce 28 mega-watt hours per year. In the first year, Tower School produced 32 MWh. That is over 14% more than predicted. Tower benefited with the extra 4,000 kWh produced and with an extra 4 Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). That’s about $1,550 in extra cash due to increased solar PV production. Was it the micro-inverters? Hard to say for sure. We do know using micro-inverters make monitoring and troubleshooting a breeze. The graph below shows solar PV production predicted for the Tower School array and the actual production. Not every month exceeded the predicted output. The lower winter half of the year (October to March) had several months with lower than predicted PV production. All of the summer half of the year (April to September) had higher output.

Chart showing monthly Actual and Predicted Solar PV Production at Tower School

New Incentive on the way for Geothermal and SHW

There is a new incentive coming and this is a big deal for a lot of our clients because it creates an income stream from their renewable energy systems! Explaining things is a little regulation wonky we’ll try to be brief. If you have read our website then you know that there are tax credits and sales tax exemptions for geothermal systems Geothermal Drilling Rigand solar hot water (SHW). The tax incentives are great but the renewable thermal options have lagged behind solar PV in some states like Massachusetts. Those installations also qualify for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) which are traded on an open market and provide ten years of income for owners of PV systems. Now both Massachusetts and New Hampshire are poised to be issuing renewable energy credits for each MWh of renewable thermal energy generated.

In Massachusetts, Senate bill S. 1593 is working its way through the legislature. The bill would include renewable thermal sources in the Solar Hot Water ArrayAlternative Energy Portfolio Standard. Achieve was at a meeting this week with Massachusetts Senator Downing who is the Senate chair for the Joint House/Senate Telecommunications, Utility and Energy Committee. Based upon discussion at the meeting, S. 1593 seems to be in a good position to move forward this year. Once the bill is passed, MassDOER will modify regulations to integrate renewable thermal technologies into the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (APS). There is an active set of regulation and trading system for the credits so adding in the renewable thermal technologies should not be too big a task. Achieve has had some informal discussions with regulators and expects the revised regulations will include a cutoff date for entering the program, an eligibility term, metering requirements and may have differing rules for residential and commercial projects regarding how the AECs are minted. One option that may be considered is providing owners of smaller systems a number of years of AEC ‘up front’ to further offset installation costs.

So what does this mean for your wallet? continue reading →

Rooftop Solar Array Enhances Curriculum at Tower School

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 9.10.05 PMTower School announces the completion of their rooftop solar array and the installation of electronic monitoring stations, which became fully operational during the 2012-2013 school year.

Board member, and driving force behind the solar program at Tower, Susan Livingston, expressed her commitment to the program, “As we try to move beyond burning fossil fuels as a nation, demonstrating the active use of renewable energy in schools sets a wonderful example for the community and our students. The new Solar Array can be a practical teaching tool for our children to learn more about our energy future.”

Head of School, Peter Philip agrees: “We are pleased to set an example for our students and for the community through the installation of this Solar Array. As well, we are eager to witness how our teachers and their students weave this commitment to renewable energy into the curriculum.”

The 105 solar module system was installed by Beverly MA-based, Achieve Renewable Energy, and is designed to supply more than 28,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Larry Lessard, director and founder of Achieve Renewable Energy, LLC says, “We’re proud to partner with Tower School in deploying a solar-electric system that will generate renewable, carbon-free power for decades. Our final phase is the installation of electronic monitoring stations within the science lobby, so the re- newable energy system can be integrated into the science program. To me that is the most gratifying part of the project.”

To learn more about Tower’s rooftop solar array, and to arrange for a personal tour, contact Tower School’s Business Manager, Dean Sidell, at 781-631-5800. For information about Tower’s culture of environmental stewardship, or to read about student-driven sustainability initiatives, visit towerschool.org.