Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If you're hiring a solar contractor ...

... Make sure they are properly licensed! If they give you a proposal, it should have their license number, expiration date, class of contractor and their speciality.
  • Class A contractors can perform unlimited size jobs. 
  • Class B contractors can perform most residential-size retrofit jobs up to $120,000.
  • Class C contractors are only allowed to do individual jobs up to $10,000. 
If they are installing a solar water heater, they may have an Alternate Energy Systems classification (AES), but they must also have a Plumbing (PLB) or Master Mechanics (HVA) license to perform the work and obtain permits. Likewise, if a contracor is going to install a solar electric (PV) system, they may have an AES classification, but they must have an Electrical license (ELE) as well. If they are licensed as a general contractor (BLD), they may employ subcontractors such as electricians, plumbers and other trades to perform work at your location.

System installed by Solar Services in Hampton Roads

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Grandy Village Learning Center Selected as Central Site for Southside Solar Tour

The Hampton Roads Solar Group has chosen Grandy Village Learning Center as its central site for the 2013 Hampton Roads Solar Tour, Oct. 5, 2013. Grandy Village Learning Center is a LEED Gold-certified building (the first in Norfolk to achieve this) owned by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority located at 2971 Kimball Loop in Norfolk. The Southside Tour will kick off from there, and it will be used all day for a series of presentations and educational sessions on solar power in homes.

During construction, approximately 70 percent of the building materials were recycled. The building also uses structural insulated panels, which contain a core of rigid foam insulation between two structural pieces of oriented strand board. This coupled with four inches of expanded foam in all the exterior walls, double-glazed low-E windows, help the Grandy Village Learning Center lower heating and cooling costs and create a healthy environment for the building occupants.

Grandy Village Learning Center has a parking lot out front as well as on the nearby streets. The walkways and parking areas are permeable surfaces to reduce runoff.

Enter (from the doors on the right) into a large, bright foyer which could hold a dozen or so tables for displays.

The conference room will seat at least 50 people and has overhead projection capability. In the other direction you have views of the East Branch of the Elizabeth River.

Outdoors, a path leads to the waterfront (the Elizabeth River).

The building has a solar hot-water system and large roof overhangs over concrete walkways that provide space for outdoor displays if the weather is nice.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Notice from Jim Jacobs about solar hot-water systems

As you might know, I was going to start a business importing and selling solar hot-water heaters. For a variety of reasons that didn't happen. Now I'm selling the few remaining solar water heaters at my cost which is about $600 for this type:

These are evacuated tube, thermosiphon type heaters. Mostly, they're 40-gallon tanks, but I do have one 50-gallon tank which is a little more expensive. They're designed to last 15 years outside, though they come "as is" without any warranty. We have three which have been up for three years now and have all been trouble-free except for a broken tube which was easily replaced without having to drain the system or even turn the water pressure off.

Although all are of the ground-mount, tank-on-top type, I have one or two color combinations besides the green with white. 

There's brown/white, blue/gray (similar to Ford tractor blue),
light blue/white and 

In addition, I have some pump stations and thermal controllers which vary in cost from $100 to $200 or so, should anyone want to use these solar collectors in an active, rather than passive, mode.

I'd like to give club members first shot at these new solar collectors before I place an ad on Craigslist. They really are very good quality, and the price will be hard to beat. Once they're gone, I don't intend to order any more.

If anyone is interested, they can contact me at: 


Jim Jacobs

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 16 Meeting

  • Tuesday | July 16 | 7:30 p.m.

Our next meeting will be held at:

Clark Nexsen
6160 Kempsville Circle
Norfolk, VA

We can do an Internet meeting from here (it will be quieter than The Taphouse!) for anyone who requests it. Our agenda will be:

- Solar Tour planning
- Announcements

If anyone wants to add a topic, please let us know: