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As PG&E plans to implement power shutoffs to reduce the risk of wildfires, one of the most popular energy storage systems, the Tesla Powerwall, offers California homeowners with an energy solution that provides control and predictability. Powerwall allows users to monitor and control home energy use, maintain a sustained power supply, and detect grid outages in advance from a simple mobile app. The home battery is child and pet-friendly and made to provide families security and financial benefits during power outages or when backup power is needed.

How Tesla Powerwall Works

Tesla Powerwall is a compact, lithium-ion home battery. The home battery can be wall-mounted or floor-mounted and stores energy from either the grid or rooftop solar panels. The Backup-Only power mode allows homeowners to conserve 100% of the Powerwall’s energy in the case it needs to supply the home seamless power in the event of an outage. Tesla recommends 2 Powerwalls per household based on an estimated energy usage of 30 kWh/day, estimating a minimum of 7 days of power during an outage.

Powerwall Installed with Solar

When Powerwall is installed with solar, electricity flows through the solar panels and is utilized throughout the house. Excess energy generated during the day will then be stored and later used during the evenings. By doing so, Powerwall’s Time-Based Control (also referred to as Load Shifting) helps homeowners maximize their savings by alternating between solar and grid electricity, while minimizing their reliance on the utility grid.

Powerwall Installed without Solar

While Cal solar highly recommends that the Powerwall is paired with solar, it is possible to use one without solar. When Powerwall is installed without solar, the battery draws electricity from the utility grid at the lowest rate as utility prices vary throughout the day. When electricity prices vary, homeowners are on time-of-use plans. Similar to Powerwalls installed with solar, Time-Based Control will generate immediate savings by smartly charging and discharging from the grid. In the case of a grid outage, Powerwall provides support by utilizing stored energy and automatically becoming the home’s main energy source.

Fully Charged and Self-Sufficient

Powerwall allows homeowners located in Nevada County to detect power outages in advance and have a seamless backup power experience. The battery storage possesses a reliable source of energy back-up and allows residents to become self-sufficient. California Solar Electric Company’s experienced solar and Tesla certified installers can empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions on how you can stay fully charged while maximizing your solar system and Powerwall’s value.

If you are interested in learning how our solar systems and Powerwall installations can provide you with a continuous cycle of clean, renewable energy, you can fill out the online form here or call (530) 274-3671 and speak to our solar designers today.

Powerwall is designed to qualify for the 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) when it is installed on a solar system and is charged 100% with solar energy. It does not qualify when installed without solar or if solar is installed after Powerwall.

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Position Overview

California solar has immediate opening for an energy storage lead technician.

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To Our Valued Customers and Community Members,

 

At California Solar Electric Cooperative, we’re closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and working tirelessly to serve the needs of businesses and individuals who are considering solar for their home, business, or farm. In response to the virus, for those few who are still at the office, we’ve implemented updated best practices in our workplace to help ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers.

 

Putting our Employees and Customers First

In accordance with California’s recent statewide stay-at-home order, most employees in the Nevada County area are now working from home. We have temporarily limited on-site business operations to essential staff in our warehouses to ensure fulfillment and completion of ‘essential’ installations and urgent service calls. These essential employees adhere to recommended hygiene and social distancing practices, and we’ve increased janitorial services to preserve a clean, healthy work environment.

 

Deploying a Remote Workforce

More employees than ever before are working from home – some by choice, others out of necessity. Our sales staff remains capable and able to start you off on your search for solar even during these challenging times. California Solar Electric Cooperative will continue to serve our community members in sheltering themselves from the ever-rising costs of electricity now and for years to come.

 

Looking Ahead: The Good News!!!

The good news is this will come to an end. From all the information we have gathered, our best guess is we will be back to normal operations in relatively short order. The COVID-19 situation remains fluid, and California Solar Electric Cooperative is committed to helping customers as well as our community through this difficult time. We will continue to monitor and respond to federal, state and local health authorities to protect our employees and serve our customers safely, and with minimal disruption.

 

Are You Tired of Being Cooped up at Home?

Don’t forget that Cal Solar is open for business. Now is a better time than any to start exploring solar with a local professional!!! We are conducting virtual site visits that are low pressure and education-based. Whether you are looking to do your solar project now or later in the year, there’s no harm in gathering information early and we’d love to help. Even if you already have solar it’s a GREAT time to be looking into adding those few extra panels you may need or even a battery! Let’s chat about it!

Please call: 530 274 3671

or fill out a quote form on our website to schedule your virtual site visit: https://californiasolarco.com/quote/

Best Wishes and warm regards,
California Solar Electric Cooperative

We are currently hiring for this position.

 

Position Overview

The Administrator Assistant is the public face of the company, and the first point of contact for most of our customers. This position is responsible for customer intake and a variety of tasks supporting all departments. Reports to Office Administration and Management.

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Article on YubNet.com February 5, 2020,

There is synergy with the people of Cal Solar. And, after formalizing that connection through its worker-owned cooperative, Cal Solar has cast a wider, synergetic net through Amicus Solar Cooperative. Amicus Solar is a member-owned purchasing cooperative of over 50 high-quality, independent, values-driven solar energy companies in all 50 states, Washington DC, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Stephen Irvin is president and CEO of Amicus. “I helped start a solar company very similar to Cal Solar in Colorado in 2005 with a college buddy and other friends, Namaste Solar” he said. “We started it as an employee owned business from the get-go. We believed in sharing the benefits and the risk and responsibility. We believed in that business model.”

Irvin said they didn’t know about cooperatives. They wanted to create a business that would promote the use of solar energy. A few years later in about 2009, very large solar companies, moved in. “They were very disruptive,” Irvin said. “They came in hot and heavy, and we were concerned.”

They wanted to keep Namaste Solar employee-owned.

“One way to do that was to tap the power of coming together with other companies for a common goal: Buying power.”

Amicus is a Latin word for friend. It is fitting for the mission to create a cooperative.

“We said, let’s create and own equally a purchasing cooperative,” Irvin said. “This business model is time tested and proven. The most common is Ace Hardware. It is the exact business model. Ace Hardware Cooperative.”

Ace Hardware stores are each independently owned and operated, and all are part of the Ace Hardware Cooperative. They pool their buying power to compete against the larger companies.

As a group, Amicus uses their collective buying power. Discounts get passed on to the companies in the co-op, such as Cal Solar.

“The goal is lowering the cost for their customers and puts more solar out there,” Irvin said. “It helps people go solar. And it’s helping Cal Solar stay independently owned and operated. Not to be rolled up into a bigger group. That’s the big thing it does.”

Solar financing

Reducing the cost of loans and financing also gets passed on to customers. “We say, Bank XYZ, we’ll bring $50M of solar loans to you, can you give discounts? Instead of one at a time, it’s sort of negotiated up front,” Irvin said. “Now Cal Solar has the ability to tap into this brain trust with Amicus.”

Working collaboration

There is also an app available to each company. “At any time an engineer can open the Amicus app to ask a question. They have access now to close to 4,000 solar professionals. Everyone helps each other,” Irvin said. “It’s classic cooperative. The more you give the more you get. Everyone helps each other out. Cal Solar answers questions as well. They’ve already been doing that. Cal Solar is almost 20 years old. The average age is16. Cal Solar has a lot of experience. And now they have the buying power and brain power of an enormous company with the benefits of staying local.”

Nominations are now being accepted for the Shared Capital Cooperative Board of Directors. The election will be from March 30 to April 12 and this year four seats are open; three seats representing cooperative members and one seat representing individual members.

Shared Capital seeks a diverse pool of candidates representing different backgrounds, experiences and geographic regions. Many different skills and expertise add value to our board, including knowledge and experience in cooperative governance, finance, lending, investing, law, marketing, member engagement, cooperative development and CDFIs. Most importantly we are looking for people who are committed to our mission and our work and able to participate fully on the board and at least one committee.

Interested in running? Check out the candidate statement form and endorsement form on our website. There’s also a board job description. People interested in running for the board must be endorsed by a cooperative that is a member in good standing of Shared Capital. Both a candidate statement and endorsement form are needed for a nomination and nominations are due by end of day March 6, 2020.

Shared Capital Cooperative is a CDFI loan fund that is committed to building economic democracy by investing in cooperative enterprises. Shared Capital is a cooperative association owned by over 250 cooperatives throughout the U.S. Members include worker-owned co-ops, housing cooperatives, small farmer co-ops, purchasing co-ops and retail grocery co-ops. Shared Capital has an eleven-member Board of Directors elected by the members of Shared Capital. Ten of the seats represent Shared Capital’s cooperative members and one seat represents Shared Capital’s individual members.

More information about membership and a full list of members is available here. Your questions or finalized materials can go to adam@sharedcapital.coop.

Your Vote Matters! Vote for the Board of Directors starting March 30

This year’s vote will be held electronically from March 30 to April 12. You will  receive an email with your voting credentials. Both individual and cooperative members will vote in this election.

Member cooperatives will receive an email with voting credentials. If you haven’t received credentials by April 2 or if you’d like a paper ballot, please contact adam@sharedcapital.coop. 

For questions, please contact adam@sharedcapital.coop. For biographies and candidate statements of this year’s candidates check back here in March.

How Worker Cooperatives are the Model for a Sustainable Future

Worker-owned cooperatives have proven to be beneficial for businesses and communities. Cal Solar, known as a company that is focused on the environmental and human condition, is the first of such co-ops in Nevada County.
Cal Solar General Manager Lars Ortegren and Operations Manager Angelica Niblock participated in a workshop on the worker cooperative model, presented as part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Sunday January 19th, 1 to 2pm in the Activist Center, at the Nevada City City Hall.

“I think probably the biggest thing was introduction to worker co-ops as a model for transitioning businesses, for people who are either looking to sell their business or locking in the mission of their business that already exists,” Ortegren said. “This was a perfect fit for Wild & Scenic, because it addressed the structure of an environmental company, while focusing on the sustainability of our community”

Flying V Farm’s, Harvest Sales and Communications Manager Lucy O’dea, and Perennial and Maintenance Manager Cody Curtis were also on the panel. Flying V Farms is a worker-owned, certified organic farm in Placerville growing a variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Project Equity’s Sr. Client Services Manager and Regional Partnerships Manager Patty Viáfara, was the panel’s moderator. Project Equity is a national nonprofit organization. “We work to catalyze employee ownership,” Viáfara said. “We work with over 30 companies at different stages. We have seen a great deal of success with our companies that have converted to the co-op model.”

“(For Cal Solar) it’s been great,” Ortegren said. “Especially with trying to run a small business in Nevada County in an every-changing environment, to have a group of people with the same mission allows us to be more adaptable.” Viáfara said these employees are receiving an increase in personal wealth. “And we’ve seen growing community wealth,” she said. “It keeps it in the community. It is ensuring business longevity and keeping local communities thriving.” Project Equity also addresses the silver tsunami. Baby boomers own about a half of the businesses. “There will be a huge wealth transfer in the next few years, starting now,” Viáfara said. Viáfara went on to say there are proven, seven-year old studies with co-ops that show they are more resilient to recession, and are building wealth for their owners.

There are also ancillary benefits.

“Creating employee owners is creating community advocates,” Viáfara said. “Owners are paying attention. They have a stake in what is happening in their community. They are going to city council meetings, they are aware of the pressure on businesses, they are more active in the community.”

Part of the work Project Equity does is a full underwriting. Including how a business performed in the past, potential in the future and market forces. The workshop included the process for converting to a worker-owned business and all its benefits. There was an audience Q&A after the workshop. “I think this is a great model. It’s about creating sustainable economies, to work where you live. I’m here to help people understand the model,” Viáfara said.  “We are talking about worker co-ops as a model to create more economic and environmental sustainability in local communities,” Ortegren said.

When asked about forging ahead as the first Nevada County company to transition, Ortegren said, “Yes, we were blazing our own path. At the same time it was with a special group of people that I really trusted. We formalized something that was already happening in our company.”