Benefit Corporations: What they can mean to your business future and your bottom line

This article originally appeared on USGreenChamber.com

Do you think business should be about more than making profit? You’re not alone. Many corporate CEO’s feel the same way.

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An exciting option became available in 2007 when the non-profit B Lab introduced the Benefit corporations business certification. B Corps were designed for for-profit entities wanting to focus on social issues and the environment along with profit. This certification was created by three young successful entrepreneurs who, says Bryan Welch, CEO of B corporation Ogden Publications, “decided to revolutionize businesses in a non-pretentious, serious way.”

B corps fit in-between the legal structure of a C corp and a 501c3, says Chaz Berman, CEO of Growers Secret, a San Francisco B corp that produces top quality organic fertilizer products. Continue reading

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Exciting Renewable Energy Breakthroughs seen in 2013

Solana solar farm

Solana solar farm’s salt battery lets it keep generating energy when the sun isn’t shining

As we wind down towards the end of the year, it’s worth taking a moment to review some of the remarkable technological and environmental breakthroughs we saw occur during 2013. Here are some of these great innovations.

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Researchers able to dramatically increase solar panel efficiency

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASolar energy is an integral part of our renewable energy game plan. Yet as useful as solar is, their efficiency has always seemed incredibly low. Who would consider 15-25 percent “good” if it were your electricity delivery?

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Solar's too complicated and expensive? I think not, Mr. O'Reilly

 
The following is a guest post by Mr. Tom Rooney of SPG Solar. It’s also a follow-up to a story I did recently on a soon-to-be implemented solar program in Irvine, California.
 
Last night (Wed.) on the O’Reilly Factor, Bill said solar power was too expensive and too complicated for him.

His unusual comments came just hours after a school district in Orange County voted to build a solar power system at no cost to the district — and which will save the district $17 million over the life of the project.

 

FarNiente Winery's Floatovoltaics by SPG

FarNiente Winery's "Floatovoltaics" by SPG Solar

My company, SPG Solar, is building that system — and there is nothing complicated or expensive about it.

 

You want complicated? Go to one of our solar installations in Napa Valley where we built a solar energy array on top of a pond of water — the panels actually float.

You want complicated?  How about building an acre of solar panels in one of the most desolate places on earth: A hotel in the middle of Death Valley.

We did those, and more, including movie theatres, farms, and yes, plain old office buildings.

The owners do not operate these systems any more than they operate their oil or gas or electric heat.

Between the tax credits and rebates, and the cost cutting in the price of installing and buying solar panels, solar energy is a simple decision that thousands of people are making every day.

 

Guest blogger Tom Rooney

Guest blogger Tom Rooney

Nothing expensive or complicated about it. Just good business (and) sound economics.

—-  Tom Rooney
          President and CEO
          SPG Solar
         Novato, California
         415 883-7657
 

School district in southern California to go solar

Irvine schoolThe Irvine (California) Unified School District (ISUD) has partnered with SunEdison and SPG Solar to install solar energy at each of its twenty-one campuses.

Purported to be the largest solar deployment for a public school system in California, and possibly the United States, the project will reduce Irvine’s school power bill  by 20 percent – a savings of $17 million over twenty years.

SunEdison will own, operate and maintain the solar photovoltaic systems, with IUSD purchasing energy at a discounted  rate. The solar companies  will act as utilities, building and financing the system with no money from the district .

Solar schoolThis agreement could generate more than 6.6 million kilowatt hours of solar energy in just the first year. Over 20 years, the solar installation is expected to offset 127 million pounds of CO2, the equivalent of removing more than 12,000 cars from the road for one year.

An added component to this exciting venture is taking solar into the classroom. Using an internet-based monitoring system, students can track each solar site in real time while participating in lessons on how solar panels work and how weather impacts energy production. The school will also introduce a complement of courses to educate students about the use and benefits of photovoltaics.

This progressive step is one other school districts will want to check into,

Add salt to solar for light when the sun goes down

One of the toughest nuts to crack for renewable energy has been the inability of producing light from solar when the sun goes down. Solar Reserve, a Santa Monica, California company, may have solved this conundrum.

The key is salt.

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