Tuesday, October 29, 2024

Welcome to Sovereignty for the Community

We, The People are free to develop our own means to manage our future, to control the direction of the People by the People for the benefit of the People, and to renew our Community!"

* Products made in the Bay Area [link]
* Sovereign technologies [link]
* Economic democracy [link]
* Worker-owned factories & Co-ops [link]

* Publicly owned investment, savings & loan entities [link]
* Community currencies [link] and alternative currencies [link]
* "Smart Growth" planning for residential development [link]

* Community Gardening [link]
* Self-Help co-ops [link], and Food sharing networks [link]
* Freedom to Live, "Off the Grid" [link]
* Ecological sustainability [link]: Monopolists choose to poison the ecology of the Earth, to profit off of disease and un-regulated pollution. Without a clean ecology to sustain urban farming and the People's health, Sovereignty for the People cannot be achieved.
* "The Rise of the New Economy Movement: Activists, theorists, organizations and ordinary citizens are rebuilding the American political-economic system from the ground up", 2012-05-22 by Gar Alperovitz [link]
* "Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives for People and Planet" book by Carl Davidson [link]

* Monopolization of agricultural seeds [link]
* Monopolized "Big-Box" Stores
* Monopolist attacks community sovereignty using legislation [link]
* "PG&E, Ed Lee and the SFPUC v. clean energy" [link]

Regions of the San Pablo bay area
* Sonoma Valley [link]
* Napa Valley
* Suisun Valley
* Diablo Valley

Community Sovereignty organizations:
Permaculture Cooperative Research and Development
[permacultureunconference.org] [permaculture.tv] [permaculture.coop]

Communitarian Farming programs from University of California [link]

Communities for Resilience - Map Your Future Project [link]

Transition Sebastopol (Sonoma county)
Meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month; drop-in is fine; free
The Common House of Sequoia Village, 429 Sequoia Ln., Sebastopol (please park on the street)
The world is changing. Any move that responds to the changing conditions of a world in transition calls for a similar internal shift. People who are committed to Transition are of necessity making this kind of shift. Sustainability depends upon it. Being in the vanguard means learning new ways of being together. We need to try things out to develop the internal skills that accompany these colossal changes. Community resilience is an organic form of growth. It requires the hearts and minds of the most committed to create a new response to the challenges we face. This will be a facilitated learning community with the intention of discovering the forms of consciousness that best serve our times, allowing us to become more effective.

East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
An alliance which advances economic and social justice by building power and raising standards for working families.

Bay Localize 
We inspire and support Bay Area residents in building equitable, resilient communities. We confront the challenges of climate instability, rising energy costs, and recession by boosting our region's capacity to provide for everyone's needs, sustainably and equitably. We achieve this by equipping organizers, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders with flexible tools, models, and policies that strengthen their communities.

Policies for Shareable Cities

Sustainable Economic Law Center

Community Democracy Project
Local People! Local Resources! Local Power!
 The Community Democracy Project promotes active citizenship, community learning, and direct democracy by putting the people in charge of the budget. Our voter initiative will change the Oakland City Charter so that we the people decide how our tax money is spent. There will be empowered neighborhood assemblies throughout the city where people can come together to discuss community issues and determine public priorities by directly voting on the city budget. The time has come for public decision-making to include the voices of all. Want to learn more about the initiative and campaign?  Email us at: [communitydemocracyproject@gmail.com].

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment 
State Office: 3655 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 250 Los Angeles, CA 90007 
Raising up the voices of low income, immigrant and working families across California

Anti-Racism Committee
Regular Meetings: 4th Monday of the month, 6:30pm, alternating between East Bay and SF.
The Anti-Racism Committee (ARC) of the National Lawyers Guild promotes understanding among white National Lawyers Guild members about the centrality of anti-racism to social justice lawyering. Towards this goal, ARC works to support The United People of Color Caucus (TUPOCC) of the National Lawyers Guild and to implement The TUPOCC Alabama Manifesto principles of racial justice. Using a multi-dimensional framework of power and identity, we aim to make the Guild an anti-racist organization dedicated to multi-racial alliance building for collective liberation.

Body Temple Institute
[www.thebodytemple.ning.com] [THEBODYTEMPLE999@GMAIL.COM]
The Goal is to get as many people as we can to join the teleclass and learn the basics of growing their own food. Eventually for each one to teach one reaching a total of 500 bucket or back yard gardens growing Sovereign Foods! CAN U DIGG IT!!!
The Lafayette Garden Club
meets at 9:30am on the second Thursday of each month at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church located at 1035 Carol Lane in Lafayette. For more information, email [annward@annward.com]

Petaluma Bounty: Healthy Food for Everyone

CRIC House (Center for Cultural Renewal Internship Center)
 the Anarchist Bed and Breakfast and Retreat Center
 part of the network of Willing Workers on Organic Farms
 Sebastopol, near Green Valley Village, Sonoma County, California

Bay Area Community Exchange
We are a collaborative network supporting alternative means of exchange 

Benicia CleanTEch EXPO (2012)

Benicia Community Gardens [info@beniciacommunitygardens.org] [beniciacommunitygardens.org]: The mission of Benicia Community Gardens is to support local food security - by helping local citizens establish and care for gardens throughout the city that provide fresh food, fellowship and discovery, and by increasing citizens’ access to sustainable, regional sources of wholesome food - thereby strengthening community resilience.

Local Clean Energy Alliance (Oakland)

Clean Coalition
Clean Coalition is making clean local energy accessible now. Clean Coalition's mission is to implement policies and programs that accelerate the transition to a decentralized energy system that delivers cost-effective renewable energy, strengthens local economies, minimizes environmental impacts, and enhances energy security.

Another World IS Possible (by Ricardo Lewins Morales Art for Social Justice [http://www.rlmartstudio.com])

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Feldheim village, a model for Sovereignty in Germany

"Feldheim, German Village, Powered By Renewable Energy", 2011-12-29 from "Associated Press" newswire [archive.today/GHezp]

"German Environment Minister visits the energy self-sufficient village on a four-day fact-finding tour" (2013) [http://www.energiequelle.de/index.php/en/home/51-neuigkeiten-en/107-feldheim-2] [web.archive.org/web/20141030071030/http://www.energiequelle.de/index.php/en/home/51-neuigkeiten-en/107-feldheim-2]

"German town goes off the grid, achieves energy independence" (2013-02-19) [http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/town-goes-grid-achieves-energy-independence.html] [web.archive.org/web/20140123031644/http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/town-goes-grid-achieves-energy-independence.html]

"Feldheim, Germany Generates 100% of its Energy From Renewable Sources!" (2013-02-19) [http://inhabitat.com/powered-by-100-renewable-energy-german-town-of-feldheim-achieves-energy-independence/] [https://web.archive.org/web/20140727012426/http://inhabitat.com/powered-by-100-renewable-energy-german-town-of-feldheim-achieves-energy-independence/]

"German village offers blueprint for rural green energy" (2013-03-26) [http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/26/us-germany-energy-idUSBRE92O0P820130326] [https://web.archive.org/web/20141005180127/http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/26/us-germany-energy-idUSBRE92O0P820130326]

"The energy self-sufficient village of Feldheim – a pioneer within Germany’s energy transition" (2013-12-04) [http://geolog.egu.eu/2013/12/04/the-energy-self-sufficient-village-of-feldheim-a-pioneer-within-germanys-energy-transition/] [https://web.archive.org/web/20140912063517/http://geolog.egu.eu/2013/12/04/the-energy-self-sufficient-village-of-feldheim-a-pioneer-within-germanys-energy-transition/]

"100% Renewable Energy Goal Achieved: 100% Renewable Electricity and Heat With Local Resources" (2014) [http://www.go100percent.org/cms/index.php?id=70&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=129] [https://web.archive.org/web/20141030071520/http://www.go100percent.org/cms/index.php?id=70&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=129]

"A Power Grid of Their Own: German Village Becomes Model for Renewable Energy" (2014) [http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-power-grid-of-their-own-german-village-becomes-model-for-renewable-energy-a-820369.html] [archive.today/2A7NY]

"A German village keeps the lights on with windmills and pig manure" (2014-10-28) [http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-10-28/german-village-keeps-lights-windmills-and-pig-manure] [archive.today/kC537]

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrator developed by Michigan State University

Sovereign technologies [link]

"Solar energy that doesn't block the view" 2014-08-19 by Tom Oswald [Tom.Oswald@) cabs.msu.edu], Richard Lunt [rlunt@) msu.edu] from Michigan State University [http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/solar-energy-that-doesnt-block-the-view/]:
Solar power with a view: MSU doctoral student Yimu Zhao holds up a transparent luminescent solar concentrator module. Photo by Yimu Zhao.

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window.
It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface.
And, according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the key word is “transparent.”
Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials is not new. These past efforts, however, have yielded poor results – the energy production was inefficient and the materials were highly colored.
“No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” said Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science. “It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.”
The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight.
“We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared,” he said.
The “glowing” infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells.
“Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Lunt said.
One of the benefits of this new development is its flexibility. While the technology is at an early stage, it has the potential to be scaled to commercial or industrial applications with an affordable cost.
“It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” Lunt said. “It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”
Lunt said more work is needed in order to improve its energy-producing efficiency. Currently it is able to produce a solar conversion efficiency close to 1 percent, but noted they aim to reach efficiencies beyond 5 percent when fully optimized. The best colored LSC has an efficiency of around 7 percent.
The research was featured on the cover of a recent issue of the journal Advanced Optical Materials.
Other members of the research team include Yimu Zhao, an MSU doctoral student in chemical engineering and materials science; Benjamin Levine, assistant professor of chemistry; and Garrett Meek, doctoral student in chemistry.

A transparent luminescent solar concentrator waveguide is shown with colorful traditional luminescent solar concentrators in the background. The new LSC can create solar energy but is not visible on windows or other clear surfaces. (Photo by G.L. Kohuth)

Friday, August 22, 2014

How America's Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty

2014-08-15 by Laura Flanders for YES! Magazine [http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-end-of-poverty/how-america-s-largest-worker-owned-co-op-lifts-people-out-of-poverty]:
Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours, and family health insurance. With an investment of $1.2 million into the cooperative sector, New York City is hoping to build on the group's success.
Before Zaida Ramos joined Cooperative Home Care Associates, she was raising her daughter on public assistance, shuttling between dead-end office jobs, and not making ends meet. “I earned in a week what my family spent in a day,” she recalled.
After 17 years as a home health aide at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the largest worker-owned co-op in the United States, Ramos recently celebrated her daughter’s college graduation. She’s paying half of her son’s tuition at a Catholic school, and she’s a worker-owner in a business where she enjoys flexible hours, steady earnings, health and dental insurance, plus an annual share in the profits. She’s not rich, she says, “but I’m financially independent. I belong to a union, and I have a chance to make a difference.”
Can worker-owned businesses lift families out of poverty? “They did mine,” Ramos said. Should other low-income New Yorkers get involved in co-ops? She says, “Go for it.”
New York City is going—in a big way—for worker-owned cooperatives. Inspired by the model of CHCA and prodded by a new network of co-op members and enthusiasts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council allocated $1.2 million to support worker cooperatives in 2015’s budget. According to the Democracy at Work Institute, New York’s investment in co-ops is the largest by any U.S. city government to date.
Cooperatives are businesses owned and controlled by their members on the basis of one member, one vote. Given enough time, worker-owned cooperatives tend to increase wages and improve working conditions, and advocates say a local co-op generally stays where it’s founded and acts as a leadership-building force.
“There is no greater medicine for apathy and feelings of living on the edges of society than to see your own work and your voice make a difference,” says a report on co-ops by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies in New York.

Selling the council on co-ops -
This January, as a new mayor (who ran on combating inequality) and a progressive majority of the City Council were taking office, the Federation’s report inspired Councilmember Maria Del Carmen Arroyo to think about co‑ops. “A bulb went off,” she said.
Arroyo, incoming chair of the Community Development Committee, represents a South Bronx district that’s still one of the poorest in the nation, even after years of “development.” National retailers, attracted by tax breaks, typically pay low wages and squeeze out local businesses. Partly in response, the Bronx is also home to an array of co‑ops, from the large CHCA to the small Green Worker Cooperatives, which incubates local green businesses.
When Arroyo convened a first-of-its-kind hearing on co-ops this February, New Yorkers packed not one but two hearing rooms at City Hall.
Among the co-op members who testified was Yadira Fragoso, whose wages rose to $25 an hour—up from $6.25—after becoming a worker-owner at Si Se Puede, a cleaning co-op incubated by the Brooklyn-based Center for Family Life. Translation at the hearing was provided by Caracol, an interpreters’ cooperative mentored by Green Worker Cooperatives.
By spreading risk and pooling resources, co-ops offer people with little individual wealth a way to start their own businesses and build assets. That said, if starting and sustaining a successful cooperative business were easy, there would probably be more of them.
As of January 2014, just 23 worker-owned co-ops existed in New York, of which only CHCA employed more than 70 people. Nationwide, according to data from the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, roughly 300 worker-owned cooperatives average 11 workers each. Lack of public awareness and funding, as well as a weak support system, holds co-ops back, researchers say, and cumbersome city paperwork doesn’t help.

A working model -
CHCA is over 90 percent owned by women of color and yet (because of the co-op’s many owners) it hasn’t qualified as a minority- and women-owned business, Arroyo told the hearing. (Such businesses enjoy privileges in bidding for contracts.) “There’s no earthly reason we can’t change that,” Arroyo said.
If they are to change anyone’s life for the better, though, co-ops have to be successful businesses, and that’s hard, says Michael Elsas, CEO of CHCA.
The co-op was founded in 1985 on the premise that if workers owned their own company they could maximize their wages and benefits, and if workers were better trained and better treated, they’d offer better care to their clients. Creating the worker co-op was the first step. But to truly change life for their workers in a race-to-the-bottom industry such as health care, the founders knew they’d have to change the industry.
To that end, CHCA worked on several connected tracks. To raise industry standards, not just for CHCA workers but across the field, CHCA started the worker-run Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) that trains agencies across the country while also fighting for policy shifts. (PHI was instrumental in the campaign that recently expanded the Fair Labor Standards Act.)
To better address the needs of home care clients, in 2000 they created Independence Care System (ICS), a multibillion-dollar managed-care company, which contracts with the city to work with chronically sick and disabled adults. With ICS, CHCA filled an unmet need while also creating its own primary customer to fuel the co-op’s growth. ICS is responsible for 60 percent of CHCA’s business, and the co-op has grown from 500 workers in the late 1990s to 2,300 today.
Workers become “owners” with a buy-in of $1,000, paid over time. Of today’s 2,300, some 1,100 are worker-owners, Elsas says. The company had $64 million in revenues in 2013. They’ve raised wages, but more important to workers like Ramos are the regular hours, the family health insurance, and membership in the Service Employees International Union Local 1199. In short, respect.
CHCA occupies two floors of a new office building on Fordham Road. Peer-mentors answer caregivers’ calls at desks, with plenty of cushioned sitting-room space for talking. In the PHI training lab, there are no model plastic dummies. Workers in training learn what it’s like to be both caretaker and patient.
Wages for CHCA’s health care workers stand at $16 an hour including benefits, Elsas says. It’s not affluence, but it’s still almost twice market rate. Workers enjoy guaranteed hours—an average of 36 a week, compared to an industry norm of 25 to 30. They’re paid for business meetings, and in a state where the CEO-to-minimum-wage-worker pay ratio stands at 405: 1, the ratio at CHCA hit its highest (11:1) in 2006. Turnover stands at 15 percent, compared with an industry standard close to four times that.
“If I didn’t like it here, I wouldn’t have stayed all these years,” Ramos says.
Asked about New York’s new co-ops, CHCA’s Elsas hesitates. He’s all for making it easier for co-ops to get contracts, but he’s concerned about scale.
“I’m just not sure that setting up 26 new small co-ops will help change policy or practice,” he says.
Helen Rosenthal was changed by a small co-op: Her mother started one of the first nursery co-ops in Detroit, and she saw how lives improved. Now she chairs the New York City Council’s powerful Committee on Contracts, where she’s helping push the co-op legislation. “With co-ops, democracy is built into the legal DNA,” she said.
Administered by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), the city’s new funds will go to 10 nonprofits (among them, Green Worker Cooperatives and the Center for Family Life). The groups must create “234 jobs in worker cooperative businesses, reach 920 cooperative entrepreneurs, provide for the start up of 28 new worker cooperative small businesses, and [assist] another 20 existing co-ops.”
With so few co-ops in existence, creating more is better, says Hilary Abell, author of a new study from the Democracy Collaborative titled “Pathways to Scale.” More is better. Co-ops thrive in a mutually supportive ecosystem. “But the biggest need right now is certainly for larger businesses, capable of hiring 100 workers and up,” she says, adding that start-ups may not be the best path to scale: “There are 200,000 small businesses in the U.S. today, employing half of all America’s workers. Most have no succession plan.” Might some be ripe, she asks, for takeover by their workers?
After 92 years of the Federation’s fight against poverty, its leaders are clear: “Making sure that a safety net exists is not enough to help New Yorkers have satisfying lives. We needed a new approach to workforce development that would not only reduce poverty but also promote upward mobility, and that’s where co-ops can be an anchor,” says Wayne Ho, FPWA’s chief program and policy officer.
Funding for supportive nonprofits is not the only thing co-ops need from cities. In Spain, Northern Italy, Quebec, and France, robust worker co-ops benefit from laws that help co-ops access capital and public contracts. In New York, even as public dollars flow to big businesses as incentives, public spending is on the chopping block. The first city-sponsored trainings with a new, cooperative-inclusive curriculum started this summer, but passing co-op-friendly laws is going to take political power—of the sort that elected today’s progressive city leadership.
This $1.2 million won’t end poverty, but it’s a step in the right direction, says Christopher Michael of the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives. “We have all the raw ingredients of a successful policy initiative: engaged groups, a bit of a track record and support in the city council…
“This is just a start.”

Low-Power Hydrogen Fuel Extraction

Sovereign technologies [link]

"Stanford scientists develop a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery"
2014-08-22 from Stanford University [http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/august/splitter-clean-fuel-082014.html]:
Stanford CA -
A video describing the experiment is available here.
Stanford graduate student Ming Gong (left) and Professor Hongjie Dai have developed a low-cost electrolytic device that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen at room temperature. The device is powered by an ordinary AAA battery. Image courtesy Mark Shwartz/Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy.

In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Now scientists at Stanford University have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis.
The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron.
"Using nickel and iron, which are cheap materials, we were able to make the electrocatalysts active enough to split water at room temperature with a single 1.5-volt battery," said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford.
"This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low. It's quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage."

In addition to producing hydrogen, the novel water splitter could be used to make chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide, another important industrial chemical, according to Dai. He and his colleagues describe the new device in a study published in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The promise of hydrogen -
Automakers have long considered the hydrogen fuel cell a promising alternative to the gasoline engine. Fuel cell technology is essentially water splitting in reverse. A fuel cell combines stored hydrogen gas with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, which powers the car. The only byproduct is water - unlike gasoline combustion, which emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Earlier this year, Hyundai began leasing fuel cell vehicles in Southern California. Toyota and Honda will begin selling fuel cell cars in 2015. Most of these vehicles will run on fuel manufactured at large industrial plants that produce hydrogen by combining very hot steam and natural gas, an energy-intensive process that releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
Splitting water to make hydrogen requires no fossil fuels and emits no greenhouse gases. But scientists have yet to develop an affordable, active water splitter with catalysts capable of working at industrial scales.
"It's been a constant pursuit for decades to make low-cost electrocatalysts with high activity and long durability," Dai said. "When we found out that a nickel-based catalyst is as effective as platinum, it came as a complete surprise."

Saving energy and money -
The discovery was made by Stanford graduate student Ming Gong, co-lead author of the study. "Ming discovered a nickel-metal/nickel-oxide structure that turns out to be more active than pure nickel metal or pure nickel oxide alone," Dai said. "This novel structure favors hydrogen electrocatalysis, but we still don't fully understand the science behind it."
The nickel/nickel-oxide catalyst significantly lowers the voltage required to split water, which could eventually save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs, according to Gong. His next goal is to improve the durability of the device.
"The electrodes are fairly stable, but they do slowly decay over time," he said. "The current device would probably run for days, but weeks or months would be preferable. That goal is achievable based on my most recent results."
The researchers also plan to develop a water splitter than runs on electricity produced by solar energy.
"Hydrogen is an ideal fuel for powering vehicles, buildings and storing renewable energy on the grid," said Dai. "We're very glad that we were able to make a catalyst that's very active and low cost. This shows that through nanoscale engineering of materials we can really make a difference in how we make fuels and consume energy."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Community-Owned Solar Power in Rehoboth, Mass

"Massachusetts Welcomes Community-Owned Solar Project"
2014-08-21 [http://cleaneasyenergy.com/cecblog/index.php/massachusetts-welcomes-community-owned-solar-project/]:
Rehoboth MA -
With the aim of bringing accessibility and affordability to the state's renewable energy initiatives, key players in Massachusetts renewable energy arena joined Clean Energy Collective (CEC) to celebrate the grand opening of Massachusetts newest utility-scale community-shared solar facility.

The 1 MW Southeastern Massachusetts Community Solar Array in Rehoboth, Mass. is now open to all ratepayers in the NGRID territory.
"I am excited to congratulate NGRID and our Massachusetts team on bringing this project to fruition," said Clean Energy Collective's CEO, Paul Spencer.
"Never before has large-scale, economic solar been accessible to so many, including renters and those with shaded properties. We're proud to have been able to bring this solution to such a solar-progressive state as Massachusetts and look forward to delivering much more."
The event featured commentaries from Jeffrey Ritter, Town Administrator for the Town of Rehoboth; Meg Lusardi, Acting Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources; Robert Terravecchia, CEO Weymouth Bank; and Paul Spencer, Founder and CEO of Clean Energy Collective.
CEC's community solar model provides the opportunity for residential and business customers in a participating utility territory to benefit from solar through a shared utility-scale array without having to install a stand-alone system at their home or business.
Community solar customers receive many of the same rebates and incentives as residential system owners, and credit for the power produced appears directly on an owners' monthly utility bills. The array is sited and maintained to operate at peak efficiency, delivering clean, dependable power for decades.
Following the grand opening of the Rehoboth array is a string of new CEC community solar facilities coming online in Massachusetts, including the 997-kW Western Massachusetts Community Solar Array in Hadley, Mass. that will begin serving WMECo ratepayers in September.

Hydrogen fuel manufactured from natural photosynthesis

Sovereign technologies [link]

"Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel"
2014-08-21 from [http://news.anu.edu.au/2014/08/21/water-and-sunlight-the-formula-for-sustainable-fuel/]:
Canberra, Australia -
Dr. Kastoori Hingorani and Professor Ron Pace are at Australian National University. Image courtesy Stuart Hay and ANU.

An Australian National University (ANU) team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen as a fuel.
"Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely," said Dr Kastoori Hingorani, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis in the ANU Research School of Biology.
Hydrogen offers potential as a zero-carbon replacement for petroleum products, and is already used for launching space craft. However, until this work, the way that plants produce hydrogen by splitting water has been poorly understood.
The team created a protein which, when exposed to light, displays the electrical heartbeat that is the key to photosynthesis.
The system uses a naturally-occurring protein and does not need batteries or expensive metals, meaning it could be affordable in developing countries, Dr Hingorani said.
Co-researcher Professor Ron Pace said the research opened up new possibilities for manufacturing hydrogen as a cheap and clean source of fuel.
"This is the first time we have replicated the primary capture of energy from sunlight," Professor Pace said.
"It's the beginning of a whole suite of possibilities, such as creating a highly efficient fuel, or to trapping atmospheric carbon."
Professor Pace said large amounts of hydrogen fuel produced by artificial photosynthesis could transform the economy.
"That carbon-free cycle is essentially indefinitely sustainable. Sunlight is extraordinarily abundant, water is everywhere - the raw materials we need to make the fuel. And at the end of the usage cycle it goes back to water," he said.
The team modified a much-researched and ubiquitous protein, Ferritin, which is present in almost all living organisms.
Ferritin's usual role is to store iron, but the team removed the iron and replaced it with the abundant metal, manganese, to closely resemble the water splitting site in photosynthesis.
The protein also binds a haem group, which the researchers replaced with a light-sensitive pigment, Zinc Chlorin.
When they shone light onto the modified ferritin, there was a clear indication of charge transfer just like in natural photosynthesis.
The possibilities inspired visionary researcher Associate Professor Warwick Hillier, who led the research group until his death from brain cancer, earlier this year.
"Associate Professor Hillier imagined modifying E. coli so that it expresses the gene to create ready-made artificial photosynthetic proteins. It would be a self-replicating system - all you need to do is shine light on it," Dr Hingorani said.