CleanTech Meetup – Rate Payers and the Grid

CleanTech Meetup – Rate Payers and the Grid

Join us for our monthly CleanTech Meetup, a technology-focused monthly gathering that features presentations about products and technologies from companies that are already in operation as well as early-stage startups. Because of the pandemic, we will be meeting online via Zoom.

This month, we will focus on Rate Payers and the Grid.


Tanya Barham, CEO and Founder, Community Energy Labs

Community Energy Labs uses modern technology and machine learning to bridge the needs of net-zero energy communities and customers with energy technology companies and utilities.

Karen Herter PhD, Founder and Director of Herter Energy Research Solutions

Dr. Herter has consulted for SMUD on research around technology and consumer behaviour. Since 1995, Dr. Herter has worked with government, utilities, universities, national labs, non-profits and technology vendors to push the envelope in smart, sustainable energy production and consumption through research, technology development, and customer education.

Ryan Braas Senior Product Design & Development Specialist, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Ryan is part of the Customer & Community group at SMUD, and is the Product Manager for SMUD’s ecommerce site, SMUD Energy Sore. Ryan also supports SMUD’s Community Energy Services group, consulting Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) in California as they launch customer programs and services. In his role on SMUD Energy Store, Ryan leads the daily operations, planning and execution of product enhancements, and strategic partnerships. Most recently, Ryan helped Silicon Valley Clean Energy develop and launch their ‘eHub’ website, which engages customers in the adoption of clean energy and electrification.

Keep your Electronics Running

Keep your Electronics Running

Ever wondered what would happen to all your communication devices, smart home devices or refrigerator when power is lost from the grid. You no longer need to worry about losing access to those devices when using Off The Wall Energy’s Personal Energy Platform. 

Bob Guimarin of Off The Wall Energy is creating the Personal Energy Platform, a portable micro-energy storage system with real-time awareness of grid and off-grid availability. It works much like a mini-Tesla power wall, but located inside your home at each wall outlet, maintaining power to your most critical devices.

The Personal Energy Platform is a power management system that can be charged at night and discharged during the day, negating the use of grid power when rates are high. It can be plugged into a 120V/240V AC wall outlet and directly connects to your AC and DC devices. It has a unique approach to lower energy waste by connecting native DC devices directly to the Personal Energy Platform without the use of individual device AC/DC inverter power cords. Current plans are for two models, a 440W CommHub unit that can be used to power your home communication devices and a 2000W (2kWh) PowerPlus unit that can power refrigerators and more. 

The Personal Energy Platform is an attractive consumer-oriented product designed for maximum flexibility and ease of use.  All the while operating autonomously to support your critical communications, security systems, food preservation, and home medical devices without the need to swap power cords or impacting your lifestyle choices.

If you want to learn more about Off The Wall Energy, make sure you come to our meetup on February 27, 2020

Packed Crowd Hears about Rising Stars of Solar

Packed Crowd Hears about Rising Stars of Solar

It was standing room only on December 5 at our last MeetUp of the year.  The theme centered on some new products in solar—our regional “Rising Stars”.   First was Erica Lindstrom of Sustainable Technologies with their Facet product, a clever anchoring system to put PV racks on flat roofs on commercial buildings without causing leaks. Since over 80% of the cost of rooftop solar is in the racking, labor and power electronics, Facet is cutting costs where it counts the most.  It may not be obvious, but putting PV panels on a commercial building roof is not so easy. Usually the racks are just laid on the roof and ballasted with concrete blocks to prevent them from moving, or a system must be engineered to anchor where there are beams underneath one can bolt into. Using Facet reduces this part of the installation cost by 40-50% and provides more assurance that the roof remains leakproof.  Erica Lindstrom said the Facet anchors are catching on rapidly, and being approved by more and more building departments, leading to rapid growth. Facet was a runner up in the recent regional Sustainability Innovation Awards. We have profiled them in another blog

Facet Design

Second up was Kevin Logue with Spotlight Solar.  His product is a “solar tree”. It is a mounting system for putting panels on “branches” off a central “trunk”.   The result provides shade, a placed to sit and USB outlets for charging as well as 115 V AC outlets. A typical installation provides 3.6 kW of power.  It is not as economical as a ground mount or roof top solar, but that is not the point. The idea is to make people more aware of solar PV and use it in parks and plazas.  It is as much a piece of art as a power generator. Kevin is based in Fair Oaks as the West Coast salesman for Spotlight based in North Carolina. He already has several projects underway in the area, some funded in part by SMUD.  As a part of their approach, they train local workers to install these systems. They are looking for more sites.

Then Al Rich of ACR Solar presenting his innovation the MegaMat.   Al has been in the solar business for 45+ years. He got his start in selling solar thermal systems when PV was too expensive.  Now he does both kinds of installations since PV became economic. But his real passion is for collecting the heat from the PV panel so that two products are harvested from the same area of sunshine.  His MegaMat is attached to the back of a PV panel and circulates water. The water gets hot and the panel gets cooled so that it actually puts out more electricity. Heat is the enemy of PV efficiency. On a hot summer day, the PV panel may reach 150° F.  The MegaMat could lower that temp by 40°. As a rule of thumb, PV panel output decreases by about 0.25% for every degree F above 77°F, so dropping the temp by 40°F would add 10% to the output. The MegaMat is composed of an extruded high-density polymer with a lifetime of 50 years in direct sun.  Since it installs under the PV panel, lifetime should be better. Al has the MegaMat on a test home now to confirm the concept.  


Al Rich shares his ACR Solar experience and MegaMat 

These were really unique presentations, and demonstrated how diverse our solar clean tech companies are in the region.  Our next MeetUp is planned for the third week in January. Keep a watch for the announcement.

Thomas Hall


Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives, Greenberg Traurig LLP

BlueTech Valley, Buchalter, Moss Adams, PowerSoft.biz

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

Follow us on Social Media to keep upto date!

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Website developed by Ryan McBride for Ellington Marketing Solutions