(207) 845-6100

Solar Battery Back-Up System 
Richard Simon - Thursday, April 12th, 2018

MEPS was in Bristol this week installing a StorEdge battery back-up system that included a 9.8 KW battery. This battery will provide enough power to run a residence for several days when the grid goes down without the need of a noisy generator! The invertor was designed to charge the battery with only PV power. Give us a call today to discuss your energy needs!


Heat Pump Rebates 
Richard Simon - Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Did you know you can receive a $500-$750 rebate on a qualified ductless heat pump system? Maine Energy Performance Solutions is an Efficiency Maine Registered Vendor. Give us a call today at 845-6100 to discuss what type of rebate you may qualify for! 


Heat Pump User Tips 
Richard Simon - Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Read below for some useful HEAT PUMP tips to maximize your savings:

1. Use it - Heat pumps provide one of the most cost-effective ways to heat Maine homes. Now that you have one, try to use it as your primary heating source. The more you rely on it, the more you'll save.

2. Keep indoor unit filters clean - Heat pumps work best when their dust ¬filters are clean. Rinse them whenever they become visibly dirty or when the indicator light comes on. Consult your user manual for information on how to clean your filters.

3. Keep the outdoor unit unobstructed - Make sure the outdoor unit remains clear of snow drifts and shrubs. Likewise, remove any leaves that get stuck on it. Be careful not to bend the radiator fins when picking leaves off but don't worry about snow and ice. Heat pumps automatically defrost themselves.

4. Maximize the heating/cooling zone - To maximize your savings, try opening doors between the heat pump and any rooms you'd like to heat or cool.

5. Set it and forget it - Heat pumps don't work like conventional heating systems. Turning the temperature down when you're away or asleep won't necessarily save energy. They save the most when allowed to maintain a constant temperature 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

6. Pick a comfortable temperature - You may find you need to set your heat pump at a different temperature than your traditional heating system. Set it for comfort rather than the temperature you usually set for your other heating system.

7. Avoid "Auto" mode - Set your heat pump mode to "Heat" in the winter and "Cool" in the summer. We recommend avoiding the "Auto" setting. Auto mode could result in mid-winter air conditioning or mid-summer heating.

As always, if you have any questions, give MEPS a call at (207) 845-6100! 


President Trump, the Job Killer 
Richard Simon - Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Trump's Tariffs on Solar Mark Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet


·President approves four years of tariffs starting at 30%

·Tariffs set to gradually decline to 15 percent in fourth year

President Donald Trump dealt his biggest blow to the renewable energy industry yet.

On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made outside the U.S., a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply.

The tariffs are the latest action by Trump to undermine the economics of renewables. The administration already decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, sought to roll back Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions and signed sweeping tax reforms that constrained financing for solar and wind. The import taxes are the most targeted strike on the industry yet and may have larger consequences for the energy world.

“We are inclined to view it as posing greater trade risk for all types of energy, particularly if other nations establish new trade barriers against U.S. products,” Washington-based research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC said Monday.

Solar Surges

U.S. panel maker First Solar Inc. jumped as much as 9 percent to $75.20 in after-hours trading in New York. The Tempe, Arizona-based manufacturer stands to gain as costs for competing, foreign panels rise.

Just the threat of tariffs shook solar developers in recent months, with some hoarding panels and others stalling projects in anticipation of higher costs. The Solar Energy Industries Association projected 23,000 job losses this year in a sector that employed 260,000.

Trump approved four years of tariffs that start at 30 percent in the first year and gradually drop to 15 percent. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells are exempt for each year.

The duties are lower than the 35 percent rate the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended in October after finding that imported panels were harming American manufacturers. The idea behind the tariffs is to raise the costs of cheap imports, particularly from Asia, and level the playing field for those who manufacture the parts domestically.

“This is not a goodbye for renewable energy in the U.S.,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “I don’t believe this decision will reverse the solar expansion in the U.S. The global solar industry will adjust. The penetration of solar in the U.S. will continue.”

First Solar is the largest of a handful of panel makers left in the U.S. after most of the industry migrated to China in the past decade. That means the major impact of the duties will be on panel installers, which get most of their supplies from Chinese companies.

Read More: Why Trump Is Taxing Solar Panels Imported by U.S.: QuickTake Q&A

Despite higher anticipated costs, American solar installers including Vivint Solar Inc. and Sunrun Inc. jumped in after-hours trading. “A 30 percent tariff in Year One is bad,” said Gordon Johnson, a New York-based analyst at the Vertical Group, but “it’s less than what the consensus was.”

Jigar Shah, co-founder of investor Generate Capital Inc. and an outspoken advocate for the solar industry, went as far as to describe the decision as “good news.” The tariffs are “exactly what the solar industry asked for behind closed doors” to prevent a negative impact on companies, he said.

Not Deterred

The duties won’t be entirely devastating for the U.S. solar industry, said Hugh Bromley, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. He estimated they’ll increase costs for large solar farms by less than 10 percent and for residential systems by about 3 percent.

The decision will “destruct some demand for new projects in the next two years,” Bromley said. “But they will likely prove insufficient in magnitude and duration to attract many new factories.”

For Trump, the tariffs represent a step toward making good on a campaign promise to get tough on the country that produces the most panels -- China. Trump’s trade issues took a backseat in 2017 while the White House focused on tax reform, but it’s now coming back into the fore: The solar dispute is among several potential trade decisions that also involve washing machines, consumer electronics and steel.

Solar Threatened

The decision comes almost nine months after Suniva Inc., a bankrupt U.S. module manufacturer with a Chinese majority owner, sought import duties on solar cells and panels. It asserted that it had suffered “serious injury” from a flood of cheap panels produced in Asia. A month later, the U.S. unit of German manufacturer SolarWorld AG signed on as a co-petitioner, adding heft to Suniva’s cause.

Suniva had sought import duties of 32 cents a watt for solar panels produced outside the U.S. and a floor price of 74 cents a watt. Trump’s tariffs translate to a charge of about 10 cents a watt, according to Bromley.

Read More: U.S. Solar Has a $1.5 Billion, Long-Shot Plan to End a Trade War

Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., Suniva’s parent, was up 3.9 percent in Hong Kong after jumping as much as 5.2 percent earlier.

While Trump has broad authority on the size, scope and duration of duties, the dispute may shift to a different venue. China and neighbors including South Korea may opt to challenge the decision at the World Trade Organization -- which has rebuffed prior U.S.-imposed tariffs.

Here’s what people are saying about the tariffs:

·Suniva thanked Trump for “holding China and its proxies accountable” and said it looked forward to global settlement negotiations. Trump said in his statement that the U.S. Trade Representative will discuss resolving a separate trade dispute that resulted in duties imposed on Chinese solar products and U.S. polysilicon.

·SolarWorld said it “appreciates the hard work of” Trump and is “hopeful” the tariffs will be enough to rebuild solar manufacturing in the U.S.

·Sunrun said that while the decision lifts “a cloud of uncertainty,” it runs counter to “consumers, bipartisan elected officials, many military personnel, and the 99 percent of American solar workers whom this tariff will harm in the coming years.” It called for the administration to clarify which countries won’t be subject to the tariffs. (The U.S. Trade Representative said Mexico and Canada will be subject to the duties, despite previous reports that they may be spared.)

·Rooftop solar installer Sunnova Energy Corp. said the tariffs will not deter the industry. Vivint said it was “disappointed” but would continue to “provide consumers with a better way to create energy.”

·China’s JinkoSolar Holding Co. said the tariffs were “better than expected” and that it wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of building a plant in the U.S. Taiwan’s Neo Solar Power Corp. similarly said it would study the feasibility of establishing assembly lines in the U.S.

·South Korea’s Hanwha Q Cells Co. plans to diversify sales to avoid the U.S. tariffs and look for other markets

·Regardless of the tariffs, solar installer Tesla Inc. said it’s “committed to expanding its domestic manufacturing,” citing a “gigafactory” it opened in Buffalo, New York.

·Bill Waren, senior trade analyst at Friends of the Earth, called the decision “recklessly irresponsible and a thinly veiled attack on clean energy.”

·ClearView Energy Partners LLC estimated a roughly 6 percent increase in the costs of commercial solar projects and a 4 percent rise in residential rooftop solar expenses. Large, utility-scale projects may bear the brunt, with a 10 percent increase.

·The Solar Energy Industries Association warned the tariffs will delay or kill billions of dollars of solar investments.

@brianreportsMore stories by Brian Eckhouse

Ari Natter

@AriNatterMore stories by Ari Natter


Chris Martin

@cleantechchrisMore stories by Chris Martin

Updated on

— With assistance by Jennifer A Dlouhy, Chris Martin, Joe Ryan, Derek Wallbank, Sarah McGregor, Heesu Lee, Adela Lin, Feifei Shen, and Javier Blas


Look out for solar tariff 
Richard Simon - Monday, November 13th, 2017

The cost of installing solar may be going up. 

PostEverything ○ Perspective

Cracking down on foreign-made solar panels would make U.S. less secure

By Norman R. Seip November 13 at 6:00 AM

Norman R. Seip, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, is the former commander of the 12th Air Force, where he had responsibility for 18,800 personnel and more than 200 aircraft. He is part of Operation Free, a bipartisan coalition for clean energy to reduce the military’s reliance on oil.

President Trump has long vowed to make the U.S. military stronger than ever before. He now has an opportunity to do exactly that.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is proposing tariffs on imported solar energy panels for Trump to approve. That may be tempting for the president, who has put forth an “America First Energy Plan” and could see tariffs as a way to enact it. But it would be a grave mistake — one that would hurt our national security, cost veterans their jobs and increase power bills for everyday Americans.

The U.S. military depends on a diverse set of energy resources, and increasingly that includes solar energy. Over the past seven years, the price of solar has dropped by 70 percent, giving our military a cost-effective, reliable, flexible source of electricity for its operations. The tariffs proposed

would significantly raise the cost of solar energy, jeopardizing the financial viability of solar projects at U.S. military bases across the globe and threatening our long-term security interests.

Make no mistake: Tariffs would directly harm U.S. national security and needlessly put the lives of American troops at risk.

As a commander in the U.S. Air Force, I saw firsthand how energy affects America’s national security. The military is our country’s single largest energy consumer. Energy is vital to every part of our mission. And when the military is forced to rely on a single source of fuel to power its global operations,theconsequencescan,quiteliterally,bedevastating.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, we relied on oil to power almost every part of our forward operating bases. It came at a high cost, both in money and in lives. Transporting fuel to our bases, many of which are in remote regions, requires convoys to navigate dangerous supply routes, and for our military to deploy troops to protect them. Between 2003 and 2007, more than 3,000 Americansdiedorwereinjuredprotectingtheseconvoys.

When he was commander of U.S. Central Command in 2004, Jim Mattis called on the agency he now leads to “unleash us from the tether of fuel.” Mattis was right when he said that then, and it’s still true today. I am agnostic to what fuel the military uses, so long as it doesn’t put Americans at risk.

The military also needs reliable energy. Here in the United States, military bases often serve as emergency response centers, like they did for communities in Florida and Texas that were hit by hurricanes this fall. We cannot afford to have power in these facilities go out for sustained periods. But too often, it does. In fiscal 2016 alone, the Defense Department reported 701 power outages on military installations that lasted eight hours or longer. The majority of these were a result of grid disruptions that would not have happened with solar.

Meanwhile, the price volatility of traditional fuels makes it difficult for our military to efficiently budget and plan. With an energy bill totaling $4 billion, price shocks can have a serious effect on the Defense Department’s budget.

The real price we pay for our nation’s energy is even higher: Maintaining stability in regions where fossil fuels, especially, come from requires significant resources. The president seems to recognize this, which is why he and several of his predecessors have sought to boost U.S. energy independence.

Solar energy is already helping with that. I joined the Air Force in 1974, and in the years since, I have seen how a broader array of energy options, including solar, have transformed the military’s operations. Forward operating bases are using portable solar arrays to power lighting systems and computers. On missions in the field, soldiers are now using solar- powered tarps to keep electronics charged. If the U.S. solar market shrinks, sowilltheinvestmentthatisbringingtheseinnovationstoourtroops.

The military is installing renewable energy on its facilities at a record pace, nearly tripling its number of renewable projects to 1,390 between 2011 and 2015. This is helping the military better meet its mission and saving the government and taxpayers significant money. The Navy and the Marine Corps, for instance, are receiving power from a massive solar farm in the Arizona desert that will save up to $400 million on utility bills over 25 years.

The two solar companies, foreign-owned but based in Georgia and Oregon, that brought this case to the ITC say that tariffs will help revive U.S. manufacturing — another goal of the president’s. And indeed, tariffs might help these two companies. But it would be at the expense of so much more — our security, the planet and the broader solar industry, one of the nation’s fastest-growing sectors.

Solar energy created one out of every 50 jobs in the United States last year.

The sector employs 260,000 American workers, including 23,303 veterans. Several bases also are continuing an Energy Department program, Solar Ready Vets, that is connecting our nation’s highly skilled veterans to solar industry jobs. With tariffs, tens of thousands of these solar workers, including many veterans, will lose their job within months. The impact will continue for years.

The president wants to put America first. Here’s his opportunity. He should reject tariffs that would endanger our troops and harm national security, and instead support our military and veterans by giving them the diversity of energy resources and jobs they need.



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