Solar market nearly doubles in 2016, industry boosts jobs 25%

The U.S. installed  14,626 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) last year, up 95 percent from 2015 levels, according to  GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). As a result, the U.S. is now home to more than 1.3 million solar PV installations with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts. That’s 40 million kilowatts. A typical residential rooftop installation is 5 kW to 10 kW while commercial installs range from 10 kW to 50 kW on average. For the first time ever, solar ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity — it accounted for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuels. On average, a new megawatt of solar PV capacity came on-line every 32 minutes in Q3 2016. Tennessee ranked 25th among states for solar installed in Q3. “It’s no surprise that more and more people, communities and businesses are going solar,” said Harvey Abouelata, ARiES Solar president. “Free, clean, renewable energy from the sun translates into immediate savings on your electric bill, predictable energy costs and offers a hedge against future price increases.” Solar grew in all areas, but the biggest increase was seen in the utility-scale sector, which can be partly attributed to projects initiated due to doubts for the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit, said report authors. The ITC offers businesses and consumers a 30 percent tax credit on renewable energy installs. Utilities are becoming more interested in solar, which is now competitive with natural gas alternatives, said Cory Honeyman, GTM Research’s associate director of U.S. solar research. They are also often leaders in the booming  community solar movement, which added more...

Energy Mentor Network needs YOU to help grow TN startups!

Starting last year, ARiES President Harvey Abouelata committed to mentoring a Tennessee-based energy startup through our membership in the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council. As a mentor, Harvey was paired with Solar Site Design, a cloud-based content management platform that offers customer acquisition and project development for solar professionals.  Solar Site Design was founded in January 2013 by Jason and Samantha Loyet. They have participated in multiple startup accelerator programs and the company was chosen as a winner of the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. ARiES would not be where it is today without help from the Knoxville entrepreneurial community — lookin’ at you Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Pecha Kucha, Startup Day and many more! So we take paying it forward pretty seriously. TAEBC’s mentor program welcomes a wide range of mentors who have varying amounts of time to devote to the program (Usually about 1-5 hours a week). They don’t just need energy company founders — Mentors are also asked to serve based upon experience  raising capital, growing successful companies or as marketing, finance, or technical experts. TAEBC still has openings available – be a mentor like Harvey! Check out the program...

ARiES Solar welcomes two veterans to staff

Knoxville, Tenn. — ARiES Solar , a Knoxville-based alternative energy installer, announced today that it has added two veteran professionals to its roster.  Jonathan Hamilton and Robert Lang will support the company’s expansion in the Southeast. Hamilton has joined as the firm’s customer service manager. He will apply his extensive project management and recruitment skills to boost ARiES’ sales department, particularly in training new staff the company intends to hire in the coming months. “Jon’s mission is to improve our customer experience,” said Harvey Abouelata, ARiES president. “We pride ourselves on being a turnkey company and he’ll work between our sales and production departments to make sure our customers have the absolute best experience in all phases of the project.” Prior to joining ARiES, Hamilton served as a strategic analyst for the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Thinking about life after the Marine Corps, my family knew we wanted to come back to East Tennessee where my wife and I grew up,” Hamilton said. “I wanted to find an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned during my career to purposeful work, and I wanted to work with a team committed to adding value to the community. ARiES is doing that by providing clients throughout the region with clean energy solutions that align with their values and interests … Given the pace of technological change, I believe renewable and clean energy will become a norm for homes and business and I want to help make that happen.” He has more than 15 years of organizational leadership, recruitment and project management experience with the Marine Corps. Lang, an electrician,...

ARiES Solar installed a 27.36 KW system at Dry Ridge Farm in Loudon, Tennessee, in August 2015. Owner Paul Green sat down with ARiES Solar to discuss his decision to go solar.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? I am married, have three kids, own a farm in Loudon, and manage high net worth family’s finances. That is what I have done for a living for 31 years.   What led you to choose solar? It’s the craziest story. My son Daniel was starting in the financial management business, and he cold called Harvey Abouelata (President of ARiES Solar ) from LinkedIn to discuss investment opportunities.   I spoke with Harvey, and he told me, “I’ll send someone out to look at your farm.”  That’s how it all came to be; it all started with Daniel’s cold call. It was real easy because ARiES did everything: they did all the USDA grant work, they even got me all the information that was online for my CPA, for the tax credits and for the accelerated depreciation on the system. They also put me in touch with Teddy Wampler, Jr. for a reference. He is a big fan of ARiES Solar . What was the process of going solar like? It was easy because ARiES did it all. I signed a few documents and met with Chuck, the gentleman who works on the grants with the USDA.   He gave me a lot of forms, and I remember telling him, “Are you serious?  I can’t do all of that; I’m not going to.” But Chuck told me, “Well you don’t have to, ARiES will do all of it.” Chuck explained every form, which there are about 10-15 of them, then ARiES completed the paperwork, and I just signed where I...