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Nextek to Benefit from $750,000 EDA Grant to NextEnergy

One of Nextek Power System’s closest collaborators, NextEnergy of Detroit, has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The grant positions NextEnergy as an Advanced Energy Innovation Center for Southeast Michigan and ensures continued participation in joint projects between the two companies. The grant will give the Southeast Michigan region, and specifically Detroit’s Alternative Energy Renaissance Zone, a continued competitive advantage in the development of renewable energy technologies, such as Nextek’s application of low-cost, reliable Direct Current (DC) power in buildings and campuses.

The Innovation Center designation allows NextEnergy to provide an applied research facility that combines research and development with the production of advanced energy technologies in a variety of fields. In addition to Nextek, NextEnergy collaborates with other innovative companies such as Ilumisys, A123 Systems, Clipper Creek and Rapid Electric Vehicles, which work in renewable energy-based technologies like smart grid, electric vehicles and data centers. These rapidly growing sectors are expected to provide significant job growth in Southeast Michigan as their technologies become more widely accepted.

“This investment from the EDA will assist us in the development and commercialization of our products and demonstrate NextEnergy’s power infrastructure as one of the largest, most diverse DC microgrids in the world,” said Paul Savage, CEO of Nextek Power Systems.

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Nextek Receives New UL Classification for Ballast Retrofit:Change Lets Customers Save by Switching to DC Ballasts

Nextek Power Systems Inc. has received a new Underwriters Laboratories classification that makes it possible to quickly and easily retrofit AC ballasts with safe, low-cost DC ballasts. The new classification, UL 2108, replaces UL 1598. A team of Nextek engineers and employees authored the document, with guidance from UL regarding safety certification requirements for this innovative retrofit product. The classification and Nextek’s instructions make it easy for building owners and managers to switch out AC ballasts and replace them with DC ballasts, which can reduce the cost of operating luminaires significantly.

Usually, no other changes to the luminaires or the lamps are necessary to accommodate the DC ballasts.

Paul Savage, Nextek Power System’s CEO, said, “We believe our low voltage DC lighting ballasts are the most efficient dimming fluorescent ballasts in the world. Connecting them to our Direct Coupling® Power Server Module (PSM) makes the total system the most efficient commercially available anywhere.

Nextek manufactures ballasts and power supplies for multiple types of T8, T5, CFL and Biax lamps, Emergency Ballasts, and DC Ceiling Fans.  All products are registered with the EMerge Alliance and compatible with that organization’s 24V DC Occupied Space standard.

To view the press release in its entirety, please see this article.

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Nextek Power Systems Appoints Advertising and Communications Agency

Nextek Power Systems has appointed JWT Worldwide (formerly the J. Walter Thompson Company) as its advertising and brand communications agency.  JWT Worldwide has over 145 years of marketing experience and its clients include global brand leaders like Nike, Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, Nestle, Unilever and thousands more globally.  We are looking forward to working with them on our first project, a press release launching the EMerge Alliance.

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Emerge Alliance Forms Advisory Council

SAN RAMON, CALIF. (April 7, 2009) – The EMerge Alliance – an open industry association promoting the rapid adoption of safe, low-voltage direct-current (DC) power distribution and use in commercial building interiors – today announced that eight professionals representing a broad spectrum of organizations with interests in the design, construction, energy efficiency and use of commercial facilities will serve on a newly created EMerge Advisory Council. Download the PDF to read all the details..

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Nextek Power Adds Ultra Efficient Ceiling Fans to Lighting Products in its Solar‐Ready Systems

March 30, 2009 Detroit, Michigan – Nextek Power Systems, Inc. announces the acquisition of RCH Fanworks, the leading DC ceiling fan company. “The market for Direct Current (DC) powered appliances of every sort has been growing rapidly for high efficiency buildings, and solar photovoltaic installations. “This welltested product fits right into our strategy to deliver the key elements customers need to build renewable‐ready DC‐powered networks using DC‐devices and matched Direct Coupling® power supplies,” stated Nextek CEO, Paul Savage. To read all the details Download the PDF.

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EMerge Alliance Launched to Create a New Standard for Power Distribution and Device Control in Commercial Buildings

New, Broad-Based Consortium Assembling Expertise in Architecture, Engineering and Construction Practices to Establish a Common Platform for Building Interiors of the Future SAN RAMON, Calif. -- In a move aimed at increasing the flexibility, efficiency and sustainability of commercial buildings, a group of visionaries today are announcing the EMerge Alliance™. The Alliance will lead the creation and deployment of a new power, control and device-level technology standard for commercial interiors, developed around the use of safe, low-voltage direct-current (DC) power.

“This provides sustainability-minded building owners on the leading edge of power technologies with a faster return on their investment in clean energy.”

Founding Members of the Alliance at the Governing level include Armstrong World Industries, Johnson Controls, Nextek Power Systems, OSRAM SYLVANIA and WAVE.

Participating Members include Crestron Electronics, Delta Power, Finelite, Kanepi Innovations, Lighting Science Group, Steelcase, WattStopper and Zumtobel. Eden Park Illumination is a General Member, and Supporting Members include AVP, Brinjac Engineering, CleanTech Commercialization, EdCampus, Green Plug, Houston Advanced Research Center, JB Electrical, Los Angeles Community College District, Paladino and Company, Sensor Switch, Southern California Edison and Webcor Builders.

Today’s workplace is dominated by fixed overhead lighting and a wide variety of electrical devices that are typically wired for a building’s lifetime rather than occupants’ changing needs. Building designers and owners increasingly have been seeking systems to make buildings more adaptable and integration of infrastructure, equipment and furnishings that can improve energy efficiency. Addressing these widespread needs for greater flexibility, efficiency, and sustainability is the focus of the EMerge Alliance, according to Alliance Chairman Brian Patterson of Armstrong World Industries.

“While the ways in which we use electricity have changed dramatically, the manner in which electricity is distributed for interior devices and control purposes remains largely unchanged since the beginning of the 20th century,” said Patterson. “The EMerge Alliance is drawing from a broad and deep pool of leaders involved in the design, construction, and management of commercial buildings to create an enabling infrastructure that future proofs the workplace through the use of DC power. The standard is a revolutionary approach to the layout and re-use of interior space.”

The central feature of the proposed EMerge standard is the selective and scaleable distribution of low-voltage DC power within common infrastructures already present in commercial interiors. For example, DC power is ideally suited for integration into the ceiling plane, providing facility managers with the ability to readily arrange and rearrange lighting, sensors, actuators, and other devices without the need for rewiring.

The EMerge standard also embraces the trend toward using on-site alternative energy, by providing a means of direct and more efficient connection between these new energy sources and interior electrical loads, like lighting and controls.

EMerge Alliance’s Patterson sees the development of this new commercial technology standard as providing a platform for innovation to create even more energy-efficient and individually controllable devices for the future, such as Light-Emitting Diode (LED) or other solid-state general lighting devices.

“In creating a long-reaching, ‘plug and play’ standard for integrated management and control of lighting and the many digital devices found in commercial buildings, the Alliance is focused on the nexus of today’s top priorities for building owners – energy savings and adaptability. One of the most intriguing aspects is the ability to seamlessly connect a low voltage DC infrastructure to on-site generated alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power,” said Patterson. “This provides sustainability-minded building owners on the leading edge of power technologies with a faster return on their investment in clean energy.“

The EMerge Alliance is accepting new members interested in developing or supporting the EMerge standard. Membership is open and available at a variety of levels, from those interested in contributing to or making products compatible with the new standard, to companies and organizations supporting the overall development of this new platform. The Alliance is professionally managed by Global Inventures.

About the EMerge Alliance

The EMerge Alliance is an open industry association promoting the rapid adoption of safe, low-voltage DC power distribution and use in commercial building interiors. EMerge is focused on developing a global standard that integrates interior infrastructures, power, controls and a wide variety of peripheral devices, such as lighting, in a common platform. Building owners can gain unprecedented design and space flexibility along with reduced energy usage and improved sustainability. Alliance membership is broad-based in nature, comprised of entities such as architects, interior designers, consultants, engineering firms, government and code groups, academic and industry groups, product manufacturers, and building owners. For more information, or to find out how your organization can join the Alliance, please visit www.EMergeAlliance.org.

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Clinton Global Initiative announces that Nextek will provide systems to schools in Africa

Nextek will design, build, test and install a solar-assisted lighting system for the Moringe Sokoine Secondary School, a secondary school in Monduli, Tanzania. Using this solar-assisted lighting system as a model, Nextek will do the same with local partners in 10 schools across the country. In neighboring Rwanda, a school will be selected for such a system which Nextek will again design, build, test and install. Read More...

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Distributed Generation Microgrids Must be Predominantly DC to Succeed

Users of a ‘microgrid’ - a system that supplies and manages power for a physical entity such as a store or factory - would be better off if most of the power used was direct current (DC) electricity generated locally, argues Paul Savage. When it comes to Direct Current (DC), confusion reigns about where to draw the line around the concept of a microgrid. For utilities, the idea is a subset in the system, encompassing many customers. For customers, it is often all the equipment on their side of the meter. For regulators, it is an issue that needs definition due to the pressing need to get the most out of DC for the benefit of the entire system. Read More...

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A Symbol of Unique Collaboration

The lineup of solar panels peering from near the southwest edge of the rooftop of Rockford Lutheran High School is not just another solar setup in town, it’s the symbol of a unique collaboration. This collaboration includes the high school, an electric utility company, a department of the State of Illinois, an environmental foundation, a community college, two retired professors from Northern Illinois University (NIU), Nextek Power Systems’s cutting-edge technology in renewable energy, and a local energy contractor.

The solar panel array provides about 1.0 kilowatts (kW) of electricity for 18 fluorescent fixtures in the Physics classroom of instructor Trey Fisk. When the sun is blocked by clouds, the supplemental electricity is provided by ComEd.

ComEd initiated the solar PV program, now in its fifth year, as the ComEd Solar Schools initiative. The program was created to raise student awareness of renewable energy resources. ComEd’s solar efforts, including more than 50 solar PV installations in Chicago alone, rank Illinois fifth in the U.S. in installed PV capacity.

Bob Lindstrom, Regional Energy Program grant manager for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), provided Principal Donald Kortze with initial consultation and recommendations. Then Bob connected Mr. Kortze with Len Salvig, owner of Hybrid Renewables, Inc. for management and completion of the project. The Rock Valley College, Business and Professional Institute, has supported the DCEO by providing office space and coordination of local efforts in energy efficiency.

The Illinois Clean Energy Foundation (ICECF) provided the $10,000 grant for the project. ICECF is developing a web site that will highlight the real-time generation data of each of the solar power systems in the program. Teachers will be able to use this real-time data in lessons on renewable energy in science, math, physics, and other related disciplines.

Drs. Bob and Sonia Vogl of Oregon, Illinois, authored the Solar Energy Education Kit (SEEK) written program that will be used in the Physics class taught by Trey Fisk, Physics Instructor. Nextek Power Systems developed the highly efficient electric power gateway that takes the sun-generated electricity and pipes it to the fluorescent fixtures in the classroom. The company was recently recognized by the body that sets the standard for Direct Current (DC) inter­connection with the power grid, called the California Rule 21 Work Group, as the only CEC-approved energy interfacing appliance that does not require a Utility Interconnection Agreement.

Hybrid Renewables, Inc. installed and verified the operation of the system. Hybrid Renewables is an electrical contractor and represents other renewable energy products for wind generators, swimming pool heaters, and SunWize Technologies, the largest distributor of products for renewable energy in the U.S.

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Nextek Power Systems' New Solar Power Application Approaches 100% Efficiency for the Town of Hempstead

May 4, 2006 - Long Island, New York - Nextek Power Systems, Inc. and the Town of Hempstead have announced the commissioning of the first commercial-scale installation of solar electricity Direct Coupled to Allen-Bradley PowerFlex 700 series motor drives, integrated in the Town Hall's HVAC system. Allen-Bradley and PowerFlex are trademarks of Rockwell Automation Inc. On the southern face of Hempstead's Town Hall a 256-panel, 40-kilowatt solar energy system is supporting Allen-Bradley motor drives without any hardware modification.  The solar PV contribution carries 2 motors (a 40hp and a 25hp) during the peak of the day, seamlessly changing the power source to grid-supplied Alternating Current (AC) as the sun goes down, watt for watt.  The electrical efficiency of the Nextek Power Gateway PV interface is 98%; this improves the capacity utilization of the solar by about 10% when compared to conventional systems, thereby producing out-sized results over the 20-year life of the solar array.  A smaller PV array can now be used to generate the desired number of kW hours than ever before.  This reduced up-front capital expenditure, combined with the benefit of the avoided grid power purchases, lower demand charges and other control benefits improve the Town's Return on Investment (ROI) by 30% to 40%, Nextek says.

Hempstead Town continues to lead the way in implementing environmentally friendly technology, stated Supervisor Kate Murray.  We are proud to have installed a solar energy system at town hall that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and we are committed to incorporating alternative energy systems in to our overall power scheme.

The solar energy system was powered up at town hall through $260,000 in funding from the settlement of a clean air lawsuit by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer against the Virginia Electric Power Company in 2003.  Under the settlement, the power company was required to pay $2.1 million for air pollution mitigation projects in New York State.  The $2.1 million is being administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to install solar energy equipment on government-owned buildings in the state.

For more information about solar power at the Town of Hempstead, please call the Department of Conservation and Waterways at 431-9200.

The Nextek Power Gateway directly connects locally generated power and grid power to electronic loads in a building. Nextek's Direct Coupling technology creates highly efficient, flexible, uninterruptible Direct Current (DC) power networks in buildings.

With 23 installations in 13 states, Nextek is the key interface for alternative energy sources in the stationary environment.

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GreenSource First Solution: California's Perfect Electric Storm Waiting to Happen!

The GreenSource First Solution is a strategy for using energy produced onsite with solar for lighting and air conditioning before accessing the utility grid, especially since the bulk of the peak summer demand is for cooling and lighting. This is Application Specific Generation and is the most efficient way to use locally generated power. California utilities are vulnerable to a perfect electric storm waiting to happen during hot summer days when the lights and air conditioning systems are turned on high, and the transmission freeway grid goes down due to earthquakes, terrorists attacks, power shortages or accidents caused by fire, wind or computer glitches. The confluence of threats such as the increasing annual electricity demand of 1,500 megawatts; the limited and congested urban transmission grid; the limited gas pipeline capacity and volatile natural gas price; and the unpredictable climate changes created by Global Warming are compounding the problems for utilities to manage the risk of a 'perfect electric storm' from happening.

An innovative solution to avoid the 'perfect electric storm is the GreenSource First Solution that SUN Utility Network, Inc. has packaged. The solution is to design a 'hybrid building' with multiple sources of power from the utility grid, solar energy, and batteries as well as solar absorption cooling application and solar lighting direct coupling strategies. In this case, the site uses the locally generated power first, and draws from the grid only when additional power is needed. This reduces the power demand, especially during expensive peak power times and provides uninterruptible backup power from the local sources; solar power, batteries, and solar thermal storage.

TheGreenSource First Solution provides the grid with the necessary headroom to provide the power during hot summer days; reduces the customer's peak energy cost and demand charges; saves maintenance service cost for the Distributed Generation service company; reduces CO2 emissions and participate in the Global Warming/Climate Change Accord; and replaces fossil fuel with free solar energy.

RealEnergy, the bankrupt distributed generation company, may have had a business proposition, but not a value proposition to compete with the utility monopolies. RealEnergy's business proposition was to compete with the utilities with a distributed generation strategy that was based primarily on high maintenance micro turbines and volatile natural gas costs. To compound the problem, they were competing with the utilities on delivering base load electricity that cost them more to produce than that from the utility. The company was producing electricity to run the compression chillers that required ninety percent (90%) more electricity to operate than the solar absorption chillers. A significant percentage of energy produced by the photovoltaic panels (15 to 40 percent) was lost due to inverter and converter losses. These combinations of high maintenance and service requirements, volatile fuel prices, and inefficient use of solar energy can only spell disaster for a $75 million startup business. In order for DG companies to succeed in the utility monopoly game, they must understand the critical problems and vulnerability of the central power grid delivery system strategy that the utility companies business propositions are dependent on. In order for DG companies to compete with utilities, they have to bank on using free or inexpensive fuel source, provide more efficient power, and save the customers money. They have to use equipment with minimum moving parts to reduce service and maintenance costs, access to a free energy source like the sun, and reduce the customers high cost of energy during peak summer periods, where the utilities are most vulnerable.

What Would Thomas Edison Do?

The following is excerpted from an article by the president of Nextek, Paul Savage 'What Would Edison Do?' The article appeared in Energy Pulse News.

"The opportunity for the country today to improve the delivery system for power lies in the hidden inefficiency that the AC/DC status quo represents.  Because nearly all the distributed generation technologies (solar, wind, fuel cell, etc.) intrinsically produce direct current, and not the alternating current found in the electric grid, we need to directly connect those sources to DC-consuming loads in our buildings.  By skipping the step where this DC power is converted to AC power and then converted back again to DC at the device, large efficiencies (of 15 to 40 percent) can be realized.  This new kind of power-and-use interface would act like a router, providing a direct path for DC sources to service DC loads, as well as providing connectivity to the grid.  The country would immediately see, not only increased capacity in the conventional grid, but also greater intrinsic reliability for customers through the redundancy such an interface would bring.  We are suggesting a path exactly parallel to what happened in the PC revolution.  Personal computers disbursed to the individual desktop the computing power formerly resident in mainframes standing in glass rooms.   This massive improvement in connectivity that the PC brought to users is exactly what electricity customers are calling for.  Like the PC, "the DC solution" fosters more choice and ultimately more energy independence.  By supporting the connectivity of customers to multiple sources of electricity, we can help the grid reclaim some of the headroom it needs so badly.  Also, by inserting an interface for power delivery that customers can safely have access to, another benefit is created:  it would make end-users look more closely at the appliances they buy, and consider the power needed to run them.

Audubon Center:The Perfect GreenSource First Solution Showcase The off-grid Audubon Solar Center (5,023 sq. ft.) in Los Angeles is a perfect showcase of an ultimate Distributed Generation onsite solar power system for an office and conference center in the City of Los Angeles. The Center integrates solar-thermal, solar-electric, and passive solar, and bioclimatic design to create a zero fossil energy building. The major inefficiency of the overall system is that the solar DC power source must be inverted to AC power to accommodate the AC motors to run the air and water pumps. The AC power must than be converted to DC power to run the electronic equipment, the domain of DC power.

The GreenSource First Solution is a sensible and simple strategy to avoid the 'Perfect Electric Storm' from happening in California.Ultimately, the central power system will migrate to the on-site power generations system with solar and hydrogen. Just as we have seen the transition of the communications technology from wired Ma Bell phones to wireless cell phones and the transition of the information technology from wired mainframe computers to wireless laptop and hand-held computers. We must come to realize the only sensible infinite energy source is the sun. The faster we start to build a Green Economy based on solar energy and hydrogen, and deconstruct the Gray Economy based on fossil energy, we will be able to create a sustainable future in the 21st century.

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