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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

Volleyball captain focuses on leadership to leave her mark

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanThis past week, Whittingham moved into the fourth position in all-time career digs at USC and is expected to move into third before she graduates.“She is a walk-on and she is setting records,” head coach Mick Haley said. “That is pretty darn special.”Whittingham is an inspiration to all walk-on athletes of what they can accomplish through hard work and perseverance. On top of that, she is also a leading force on the court for her teammates as her experience, her attitude and her presence on the court are something they have come to rely on.“She is such a calming force and is never freaking out,” freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier said. “You just have to look to the veterans on the court and she keeps me in check.”Being chosen as captain is not something that Whittingham takes lightly either. Part of her impact on the court is through the younger players that have the chance to learn from her. However, she also feels as if she is constantly learning from them too, while helping to continue to build the legacy of USC’s program.“I really pride myself in being a calming force out there,” Whittingham said. “Any way that I can help others and that they can help me in return is something that is really important.”This season, Haley and the team had a taste of what it will be like without her, as she suffered an injury to her right knee that kept her off the court for a week. While a week is a small period of time in the grand scheme of injuries, not having the staple of their defense was felt by everyone.“There is no question it is a big difference not having Taylor out there,” Haley said. “If Taylor could have been playing with us against UCLA and Washington, we feel like we would have had a much better match in each of those situations and possibly could have won.“We want to have her in there even if it is one-legged,” Haley said, laughing.Her time out of the games was not much easier on Whittingham, as she always wants to be on the court making a difference. She had a lot of praise for the strength coaches helping her to get back so quickly — with a lot of rehab and icing — but also lauded her teammates for adjusting to her abrupt absence.“It was hard being on the sidelines, just wanting to contribute and help my team,” Whittingham said. “It was definitely a quick change and something they didn’t expect, but I think they did a great job when I wasn’t out there.”Her drive to make a difference is one of the many reasons she has been named a candidate for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award —  an award for NCAA Division I senior athletes who excel both on and off the court in the community, the classroom, their character and competition. Whittingham is the fourth candidate from USC to be nominated and the last since All-American libero Natalie Hagglund in 2013.Whittingham’s list of accomplishments in her time at USC is impressive given the countless hours she puts into the gym and school at the same time. She has a 3.00 cumulative GPA in both her major, communication, and minor, consumer behavior, has led the Pac-12 in digs in both the 2014 and 2015 season and is a three-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week winner.Off the court, she has participated in service projects at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and served as a counselor for USC’s annual inner-city outreach program. She was also a counselor for the Girl Scouts program in 2014-2015  and even found time to go to China with the Pac-12 All-Star Team in the summer of 2016 to put on free volleyball clinics.With all she has done for both the women’s volleyball team and the school itself, Whittingham has certainly established a legacy at USC. Whittingham’s influence and leadership are things that will stay with this team even after she is gone.last_img read more

Is it Safe to Open Mail and Packages During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

first_imgHealth experts add that the risks are very low that COVID-19 will remain on envelopes or packages long enough to infect anyone who handles them.Officials reiterate that it remains a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and to also avoid touching your face, after handling deliveries.As many other businesses across the nation, the U.S. Postal Service has been limiting visitors to its facilities, and is practicing social distancing guidelines. Is it safe to open mail and packages during the pandemic?According to the the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the answer is “yes.”They say there is no evidence that the virus is spreading through mail or parcels.Instead, it is mostly spread as droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes are then inhaled by people nearby.last_img read more