Thursday, September 21, 2017

The 1,600-MW Solar Program for Massachusetts Really is SMART

With nearly 1,500 MW, Massachusetts has the seventh-greatest solar energy capacity in the country, enough to power a quarter-million homes. It has the second-most solar jobs, with over 14,500. Already in a leading position, Massachusetts in January developed a new incentive program to double its solar capacity to over 3 GW.

It’s a fascinating blast from the past, shifting from a common policy in the Northeast — solar renewable energy credits — to an approach that looks more like California’s 10-year-old Solar Initiative or Germany’s decades-old feed-in tariff. The policy is dubbed “Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program.”

Fixed, Long-Term Prices

The core of the Massachusetts policy is a fixed contract price (inclusive of the value of energy and incentive) and a fixed term for solar projects less than 5 MW. So instead of getting net metering for energy and a solar renewable energysource (like GOAL ZERO NOMAD 20 )credit as an incentive, the latter of which could fluctuate significantly over the project’s life, projects will have a near-certain revenue stream.

The prices will be differentiated by capacity. Projects larger than 1 MW will participate in a competitive bid for the first block of capacity, with a cap on that first block of $0.15 per KWh for projects 1-2 MW, and $0.14 per KWh for projects 2-5 MW. The following graphic shows how the projects with the lowest bids will get built, receiving the clearing price of the last project in the 100-MW auction. In this illustration, all winners receive the contract price of $0.14 per KWh.

This clearing price will also be used for determining the prices for the smaller projects, with the 1-2 MW clearing price serving as the index. The following chart shows the contract prices for solar projects of various sizes, based on a hypothetical 14-cent clearing price for the 1-2 megawatt auction.

Contract prices don’t reflect what the actual per-kilowatt reimbursement will be to the producer, but rather set a floor. For net metered projects, for example, the incentive will be determined by subtracting the “volumetric distribution + transmission + transition + three-year average basic service rate for this particular rate class” (base rate) from the contract price, and then that value will be fixed over time. So if a 25-kW project has a 28-cent contract price but an 18-cent base rate, its 10-year incentive will be $0.10 per KWh. The following graphic, taken from a presentation by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, shows how a net metered solar project receives an incentive on top of the net metering rate.

The contract prices start with the bidding results, but rise significantly for small projects, to 150 percent of the index price for projects as small as 25 kW. Projects smaller than that get a much higher contract price, but also a shorter contract. The advantage will be in covering finance costs, which are almost always incurred in the first 10 years. However, the term limit means that the effective tariff value may be lower for smaller projects. To be clear, however, the contract price for behind-the-meter projects is only used to establish the fixed incentive level, not the total annual payment.

The following chart illustrates the contract value for projects in each capacity bucket, assuming equal production of 1,300 kWh per kW (DC) of capacity per year and a fixed price over 20 years.


The contract price is not the full story for solar project compensation, however. The new tariff also provides additional incentives (called “adders”) for projects that meet certain criteria. Those include bonuses to the per-kW contract for projects cited at certain locations (such as those mounted to buildings, at landfills, or built as solar canopies) and projects that include energy storage. Adders also come into play based on the inclusion of certain off-takers, including public entities or low-income property owners. The following table from the Department of Energy Resources illustrates these adders.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Routine Gate Maintenance

One topic that every old, new, or potential gate owner should cover is the proper maintenance of a gate. Everyone knows that every great product requires care, and a gate opener
( for example: MIGHTY MULE 502 ) is no different. Let’s discuss some simple tech tips to keep your gate opener operating at its full potential for years to come.

For this entire discussion, we will be referring to the Estate Swing E-S1000 gate opener due to its popularity. If you have a linear actuator style gate opener, you may notice that your opener may stop and try to reverse when opening. This problem is occurring due to buildup on the screw drive, so we’ll tackle that problem first.

Heat and humidity can cause surface rust to form on your screw drive. To perform the task you need a screwdriver and Blaster’s Spray  Lubrication (seen above). What you want to do first is extend the gate opener arm fully and remove the limit switch track. Spray just a small amount of the lubricant into the holes at the bottom of the tube assembly. To get an even coating of the lubricant, run the opener either manually or via remote. Repeat this process to ensure that the arm is sufficiently lubricated. Once your arm is gliding smoothly, re-attach the limit switch track and make sure the limit positions have not changed by operating the gate (adjust as necessary).
Now let’s shift our attention towards the piston and get that lubricated. This process requires two materials: WD-40 Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant and a rag. Grab your lubricant and spray it onto the piston surface. Now, using the rag spread the lubricant on the piston surface in its entirety. This process will help protect the rubber scrub seal and prevent any surface rust or corrosion. Once this is complete you are now halfway through the process.

While your silicone is curing from the previous step, you can now lubricate your post and gate brackets. This is often one of the most overlooked areas of proper gate maintenance, yet it is the easiest step. You just grab your WD-40 lubricant as mentioned in the previous step and apply a liberal amount to the opener’s pivot points. That wasn’t to bad, right?

Now we are on to the final step. We can now cover an area of the gate that should get the most attention: the lubrication of your gate hinge. Any high quality gate hinges will feature a zerk grease fitting, and now is the time to grease the ball bearings with your choice of grease. You can use anything from marine grease to any automotive grease. Just a quick note: when you are inspecting your hinges, be sure to place a level on your gate. You are doing this to ensure that your posts haven’t shifted over time causing stress on the opener.

By doing all these essential yet simple routine check-ups, you can extend the life of your system and prevent any issues down the road. We here at GateCrafters recommend performing these checkups every 3-months and the internal lubrication once a year. That’s all from “GateCrafters Tech Tips” for today. Watch the video below for a visual representation of the steps above.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why Are All the Roof Replacement Estimates Priced So Diversely?

Form of new roofing material

There are considerable contrasts in between different types of materials. The price of the roofing product being used has a plain role in the cosmetic design, weight, durability and the supreme lifetime of the new system.

For steep roofing products, asphalt composition shingles have a tendency to be your entry level product, with perspective lifetime shingle product possibilities requesting an increased cost. Concrete and clay tile usually be even more of a mid-range choice with synthetic, wood shake, metal and traditional slate being in the higher range roofing products.

For flat roofs, pricing options tend to begin with coatings, hot-mop built-up roofs, modified torches, TPO products and lastly single-ply PVC systems.

Roof pitch and/or slope

The roof's pitch is a crucial factor in determining the cost for two main reasons. First one, a very steep roof, commonly viewed as anything that's over 6:12 pitch, is for the most part regarded as not walkable and calls for far more safety, labor and staging to finish the roof correctly.

The second one, relying upon the type of roof being installed and the demanded fire rating, roof pitch determines the type of demanded underlayment system and throughout these line plays a vital part in estimating a roofing job appropriately.

A composition shingle roof that is somewhere around 2:12 and 4:12 pitch requires two layers of underlayment installed, while a flat roof that is between a 1/2:12 and 2:12 pitch might require certain underlayments to achieve a Class A fire rating.

Size of the roof

Roofing contractors will take an accurate roof measurement according to square footage and after that divide this number by 100, presenting them what is referred to as a roofing square. One roofing square equals 100 square feet. Most New York roofing materials are sold by the square, not the square foot.

Roofing components installed

The majority of the people consider their new roof essentially as the new tile or shingle which is being applied-- still and all, there is noticeably more to waterproofing your roof over the long run. The type of underlayment and decking materials utilized, the ventilation and insulation installed and even the types of fasteners applied all impart an alternate level of efficiency, life expectancy, producing expense, and thus price tag.

Sort of roof and amount of layers being removed

Typically, roof tear-offs are managed by the amount of time it takes to remove-- the labor-- and the landfill charges to dispose of the roofing material, which is normally determined by the weight of the material. The heavier the material or the more there is, the more it requires to remove the old roof and the more it costs to remove of correctly.

Type of roof warranty

There is a significant variance between a standard roofing warranty, where the professional roofer is standing behind the labor and workmanship of the project, as opposed to a no-dollar-limit or eveloped (NDL) guarantee backed by the manufacturer themselves. A maker's warranty on a regular basis calls for extra measures, products and examinations along with an expense that is billed by the manufacturer to back and bolster the roofing contractor's labor and handiwork.

A standard roofing warranty commonly does not require the additional steps; in any case, you pay for what you get and ought to consider this distinction when looking at offer comparisons. Manufacturer-warranted roof replacements normally emphasize quality craftsmanship, since they bring an extra set of eyes on the examination and ultimately more security and comfort to the client.

Accessibility to the roof

Access to the roof is a critical part in the standard pricing of the job. Troublesome access means additional equipment and labor are required to tear off the roof, load the roofing materials, stage the roof and complete the roof system. Since there is an immediate connection of labor and equipment costs to each and every roofing project, the simpler the access, the lesser time and material are necessary to finish the job.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Importance of Annual Employee Drug Testing for Businesses

Drug testing your employees is not only a mandatory requirement, but also company policy to which many businesses follow. The need to have a drug test is to prevent the increase of accidents as well as low in productivity. Drug testing is an important factor which company owners need to adhere especially that it affects production and in providing services. This activity obliges personnel, new and/or old, to take a drug test. Usually, employees are required to present their urine samples for screening but there are also those which need hair, blood, sweat and even saliva samples. Some people do not understand the concept of having to undergo drug testing and other businesses don’t practice this at all.

The growing importance is enough of an explanation. As far as where medical needs stretch, the test is limited to those that can present legal papers for proof. But there’s still another procedure for that to confirm when the result comes in positive. Even then, getting your employees test for a yearly or even a quarterly drug test is beneficial for you and your people. Why so?


Drug abuse is one of the common problems in a workplace aside from taking it as a medication. This type of illegal substances can impair a person’s senses, such as his or her physical capability as well as the mental state. When that happens, how do you expect them to reach a certain level of productivity when they are not consistent with what they are doing? Even if you’re earning 70% of your capital, once it is affected just because you didn’t know one of your workers is taking illegal drugs, your profit will basically go down. Applying the test into your business will let you know who these users are and you can promote a much safer and productive floor for your company.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bronx Roofing Contractors

Foam roof repair becomes a necessity when there is damage caused to the foam when objects driven by the wind fall onto the surface. These objects can cause cracks and pits in the top layer. What are foam roofs? These are seamless roofing systems made of polyol and isocyanate in a mixture.

The polyurethane is sprayed on to the roof from the mixture. If you want to maintain the integrity of the roof and prevent penetration of water into the foam, it is necessary that sprayed polyurethane foam is repaired. Periodic checking and regular maintenance will help in early detection of damage and you would also be able to save money on the more extensive repairs. The repairs can be done successfully by using polyurethane caulking sealant and disposable spray foam kits.

Bronx roofing contractors fix the troubles that you face will increase if you undertake pointless renovations. If warranty has been provided with spray roofing, it would be best to leave the renovations to the expert providers who would renovate the roof perfectly. You can do the repairs on your own by utilizing the repair tools properly in the case of crisis where you do not want to waste any time.

The only tips that you need to know about foam roof repair
The areas that need repair must be cleared of all debris and any items or walls that would be coated in the overspray need to be taped off. Scrub with a mixture of 1 part chlorine bleach to 1 part water to kill any moss or mold. Let the areas that need foam roof repair dry after rinsing it with clear water. Use a 80 grit sandpaper to roughen up areas like flashing before the roof repair product can be sprayed on them and this process will make them receptive to sealant.

Until you get down to dry foam you will need to cut out and discard all wet and damaged areas of the foam roof. Before continuing with the foam roof repair you must ensure that the roof is completely dry. For a smooth union of the old foam and the new repair you can use a grinding wheel, saw or razor knife to bevel the cut edge at a 45-degree angle away from the damaged or wet area.

Foam roof repair made easy
Once the old foam is removed the damaged underlying deck will become visible and you must appropriate repairs and patches to it. Before applying new foam, you must ensure that the repairs are clean.

By following the instruction you should re-foam the area with a high-density foam repair kit (2.5 to 4 lb. density). Apply foam after putting on some disposable gloves and attaching the hose to foam container and the applicator. The applicator will change depending on the kit. The valve can be turned on after this. As the foam will dry quickly in just a few minutes you will need to work quickly. The excess foam can be wiped off with rags.

Fill to the level of the foam roof surface by spraying the disposable polyurethane foam into the repair. Allow the foam roof repair to cure for at least 15 minutes. Use a Bronx roofing knife to trim any overspill of foam to the main foam roof surface. This will complete the process of foam roof repair.

How to Identify Pre-Owned Seiko Watches

Seiko watches have reached to become generic for quality yet reasonably affordable timepiece. They have been producing so many of the world's first watches, and their watch innovations are always a big hit in the market. With great reputation in the industry and expanding international market, used Seiko watches are never safe from product and brand imitations. Thus, it is very important to be aware on how to identify Pre- owned Seiko watches.

Owning used Seiko watches is proven to be life-long investment. As they say, you get what you paid for, and even more. The quality speaks for itself. These watches are very reliable and accurate in time keeping. Like the Seiko Spring Drive, the technology of its mainspring mechanism is to deliver accuracy in time regulation. More importantly, used Seiko watches are well-known not only for their technology but also for their durability.

There is always the suitable Seiko watch for everyone. The Seiko Sportura and Seiko Dive are very appropriate on sporting events and outdoor activities. The Seiko Quartz are best during casual occasions. While the Seiko Kinetic Series, Seiko Chronograph and Seiko Titanium Watches are advisable for everyday wear. The internet offers great pictures of the different models and quality parts and are guaranteed by Seiko Watch Corporation. Each style is meticulously created to suit the passion of customers.

It is always good to be aware of the features of pre-owned Seiko watches. Although some models comes in color tone combinations, colors of original Seiko watches never fade. The Seiko watch metallic parts need minimal cleaning and still retains their original appearance after some years of use.

See through back is an indication that Seiko watch is genuine but some old models still have stainless steel back. This is done by the company to combat against fake Seiko watches. Every detail of the watch is carefully examined and assembled to create a masterpiece.

Original Seiko watch comes with a nice packaging box, instruction manual and 1 year international warranty. Although the watch box and instruction manual can easily be imitated, the Seiko watch international warranty is unique. It contains an original serial number for a particular Seiko watch.

Finally, Seiko watches are sold in authorized dealers and retailer stores all over the world. The watch parts are also guaranteed original in these stores. These watch shops sell original Seiko watches and safeguard also the spread of fake ones.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Visual Aid: Door County galleries and museums

• AUDREY M. OFF GALLERY AND FRAMERY, 40 N. Third Ave., Sturgeon Bay. Creations by Door County artist Audrey Off, who also has 30 years of experience in picture framing and design. Gallery includes works by Kari Anderson, Charles Peterson, Marion Burmeister, Sandra Peterson, Mary Uhl, Faith Frykman and R.D. Bentley. 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. 920-743-2259 or

• BLUE DOLPHIN HOUSE/BDH STUDIO, 10320 N. Water St. (Wisconsin 42), Ephraim. 48th season. Furniture, decor, accents, bed and bath items, gourmet and kitchen accessories, gifts and gadgets. Studio has oils, watercolors, fiber art, metalwork, mixed media and glass art. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 920-854-4113 or

• CLAY BAY POTTERY AND GALLERY, 11650 Wisconsin 42, Ellison Bay. Pottery by Jeanne and David Aurelius, Mary Deneen, Martha Winter, Peder Hegland, Peter Deneen, and Kate and Jere Huffman; paintings by David Stewart and Gail Stewart; woodcuts by Carl Hornstad; photography by Jim Mielke and etchings by Larry Melo. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 920-854-5027 or

• COTTAGE ROW FRAMMING AND GALLERY, 9197 Wisconsin 42, Fish Creek. Original artwork by Dan Anderson, Jack Anderson, Bridget Austin, Michael Bond, Mary Johnson, Melissa Merkel, Charles L. “Chick” Peterson, Stacey Small Rupp and Mark Vander Vinne. Custom framing by Myron and Anne Rogers by appointment. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and Mondays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. 920-868-2626 or

• JACKSONPORT COTTAGE — GALLERY AND GIFTS, 6275 Wisconsin 57, Jacksonport. Featuring Door County’s premiere collection of Amish quilts for sale and fine art and gifts created by more than 130 artists since 1984. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays-Sundays through April 30 or by appointment. 920-823-2288 or