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‘Plug and Play’ Solar Finds Markets in Nebraska and Ohio

first_img‘Plug and Play’ Solar Finds Markets in Nebraska and Ohio FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Midwest Energy News:Utility customers in Ohio and Nebraska are among those taking advantage of a new and simpler technique for connecting solar arrays and other renewable energy systems to the grid.ConnectDER, as it’s known, generally eliminates the need to enter a home and it greatly reduces the amount of electrical work required.“It allows you to inject the solar on the customer side of the meter prior to getting into the home,” said Michael Shonka, a solar installer who has put the new equipment in a half-dozen homes in the Omaha area. “This means we can cut out $1,000 to $2,000 worth of cost in the system because you don’t need electricians to go through foundations trying to get to the service panel, and you don’t need to rearrange the panel.”Some people know it as “plug and play” solar.The ConnectDER “collar” plugs into the meter socket, typically on the outside of the house, and then the meter plugs into the ConnectDER, meaning that the solar panels’ inverter connects directly with the meter without having to go through the household service panel.In Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District approved the equipment this past summer, and the Lincoln Electric System is now evaluating it. In Ohio, utilities in Tipp City, Yellow Springs and Westerville permit the new technology, as do about a dozen other utilities from Vermont to California and Hawaii.Shonka said he is “always looking for innovations in the industry,” and heard about ConnectDER at an industry meeting.“I recognized this as being a problem because every time I went to do an installation, I ran into issues with how to make the electrical connection.” The last few feet of wiring, he said, “are very expensive. You have to get through foundations, run wire in conduit through the inside of the house, rearrange the circuit-breaker box.”Marketing the product is time-consuming, said ConnectDER’s product manager, Jon Knauer, because, “Each new market that we want to sell it into requires utility approval. Over time that gets easier, because once we have a couple utilities sign off, the others tend to follow along. We’re still in the phase of opening up new markets.”He’s hopeful that in the Midwest, with its numerous municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives, the technology may spread more rapidly than in other regions.Smaller non-profit utilities “make decisions fairly quickly. The (Omaha Public Power District) approved it in a month or two, which isn’t very long. And there are a lot of statewide municipal or co-op associations that you can take the product to and say, ‘This group of utilities similar to you are doing this, and maybe you should think about doing the same.’”More: New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installationlast_img read more

UW takes conference break to play ND State

first_imgFollowing the Badgers’ first Big Ten loss of the season, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team limped out of Columbus, Ohio, quite literally. Playing with only 11 dressed players against Ohio State, UW also watched sophomore Brian Butch go down with an ankle injury, leaving the team with only six regular contributors.Fortunately for Wisconsin, they now have an opportunity to lick their wounds as they prepare to play North Dakota State at home Saturday morning, in what will be the non-conference finale for the Badgers.The Badgers will play the softest remaining spot in their schedule over the next week, as they will follow up their game against the Bison with a home game against traditional conference bottom-feeder Penn State, though the Nittany Lions are certainly improved this season.Although his team is undermanned and ailing, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is preparing for the game as he would for any other and is not planning ahead to try and get some players more rest time than they might usually see.”You don’t ever go into a contest ever assuming or thinking that something is going to be the outcome,” an incredulous Ryan answered when asked if he saw the game as an opportunity to rest his starters. “You go into each and every game preparing the same way.”The Bison are 10-8 on the season and are currently in transition from Division II status into Division I, and are not affiliated with any conference. The independent school is also in a transition year on the court as the team lost all five starters from a year ago, and only returned three letterwinners.Despite the inexperience, the squad of first-year starters has performed admirably, with four of them averaging double-figures in points.”You can see through the scores, you can see what they’ve been doing, they have just been getting better through the year,” Ryan said of the quickly developing squad.The team’s leading scorer is redshirt freshman Ben Woodside, who is averaging 17.3 points per game. Woodside is also the team leader in assists, dishing out five a game.The game will be a homecoming for Memorial High graduate and Wisconsin’s 2004 “Mr. Basketball” Mike Nelson. The Madison native has been averaging 11.9 points and is shooting three-pointers at a 48 percent clip (28-58).”[Nelson] was a good player coming out of high school. He gets into a system and gets a chance to develop in it and it just makes him even better,” Ryan said.Nelson won’t be the only familiar face to visit the Kohl Center this weekend. One of the assistant coaches for the Bison is Saul Phillips, who is a disciple of Ryan. Phillips was the Badgers’ director of basketball operations for three seasons and also was coached by Ryan at UW-Platteville.”Saul wasn’t going to be part of a program that wasn’t going to be solid, so he was pretty excited [at the opportunity],” Ryan said of Phillips.Freshman forward and South Dakota native Joe Krabbenhoft will also get the chance to revisit some past acquaintances.”I know some of the coaching staff up there,” said Krabbenhaft, who once lived in Fargo, North Dakota. “I’m familiar with them personally.” “We know they are a good team,” Krabbenhoft continued. “They do things the right way.”Regardless of any personal ties between the players and coaches, one prevailing theme rang through the team’s comments. North Dakota State would not at all be taken lightly.”It doesn’t matter what it says on the jersey,” Ryan said. “We prepare for every game the same. Ohio State, North Dakota State, Michigan State or whoever. We are going to prepare for them and we’re going to prepare to play well.”last_img read more