Solar Electric Bonsai Tree for the Home

Here’s an update to an old article about a tree-shaped charger powered by solar energy. Vivien Muller’s Electree+ is on Kickstarter seeking to raise $200,000 to mass-produce these little home/office gadgets here in the USA. The new prototype will be made with an 14,000 mAh internal battery, 27 amorphous silicon solar cells (each about 3.7 inches), and an easy-to-assemble tree structure that can be customized. In case you’re interested, the early bird gets in at the ground level for ~$199.00.

[+] More about the solar bonsai tree called electree+.

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2.5 kW Ground-Mount Solar Kit by Schletter

It’s surprising how easy it is these days to line up all the components necessary for a residential-scale photovoltaic array.  Solar panels can be purchased on Amazon (among other places) and tracking systems are readily available, too.  If you have the land or your roof isn’t right for your needs, Arizona-based Schletter makes a ground-mount kit for up to 2.5 kW of solar PV and it can be purchased for under $1,000.

The 2.5 kW FS Kit — introduced this year in response to customer feedback — includes all the solar mounting hardware, posts, rails, and clamps for $892 (standard load) or $953 (high load), plus shipping. Orders before noon ship the same day.

Schletter says they have the first complete ground mount system to meet UL 2703 and UL 1703 requirements.  The system requires two concrete foundations, and Schletter can provide a stamped permit package for most states.

[+] More about Schletter 2.5 kW FS ground-mount kit.

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Boots on the Roof rings in the new year with a new Partnership

Unirac! Wow these guys are tough! Not only are they tough… they are fast too. Boots on the Roof is excited to announce our partnership with Unirac, and the addition of their ISYS Ground Mount  to our Mega Lab! Lots of our students have requested training on larger ground mounts, which is one reason we are happy to be incorporating this system into our classes. This system is said to be one of the fastest systems to install with the least amount of labor. Unirac claims an installation time of more than 10 modules per man-hour, making it a great option to teach our commercial students!

Why do we like Unirac for our students? Ground mount systems are a growing part of solar in North America. Unirac is always looking for ways to improve the design of their products, with the intention of reducing installation time.  For this reason, the ISYS Ground Mount is an ideal option for large scale commercial projects that we are proud to offer as an option to our students. Thank you Unirac!


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Urban Atlantic And A&R Development Corp. Break Ground On $107 Million Transit-Oriented Development In Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 18, 2010

Urban Atlantic and A&R Development Corp., national leaders in real estate development and investment in urban markets, have broken ground on Rhode Island Station, a $ 107 million public-private, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will bring 274 Class A apartments, 70,000 square feet of main street retail, and a new Metro commuter garage to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Championed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the District of Columbia City Council, Rhode Island Station is a precedent-setting public-private partnership. It is the first mixed-use residential and retail development in the nation to combine U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) multifamily financing with U.S. Department of the Treasury New Markets Tax Credit equity.

The May 18th groundbreaking event highlighted the collaborative nature of the public-private partnership with remarks from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager Richard Sarles. Also attending were senior representatives of HUD and the Treasury, additional City Council members, District agency heads, local community advocates, smart growth proponents, and private sector project participants.

Urban Atlantic President Vicki Davis emphasized the importance of this partnership, stating: “We are thrilled to announce the start of construction at Rhode Island Station and are grateful to the many public and private partners who came together to accomplish a truly remarkable project in an historically challenging economic climate.”

The joint venture was awarded rights to the site in 2001 through a competitive solicitation by WMATA. The development process included rezoning and designing the 8.5-acre site to meet the needs of multiple partners, including local community residents, WMATA, the District of Columbia, and regional smart growth organizations. Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. (D-Ward 5) played a key role in promoting the redevelopment. “I am pleased that the development team was able to secure financing for this very important project that will spur the revitalization of Rhode Island Avenue and bring much-needed retail to Ward 5,” said Thomas.

“Metro will literally open doors for many more riders as a result of this project,” said WMATA’s Sarles. “It represents the kind of ‘Smart Growth’ that WMATA has been encouraging for many years as we work to provide our customers with better service and improved facilities.” As part of this project, Metro will receive a new secure parking structure for Metro patrons. In addition, funds from the long-term lease of this property will be contributed to WMATA’s Transit Investment Infrastructure Fund to assist local governments with transit-related improvements near the Metrobus and Metrorail system.

The project will create a 24-7 town center in the heart of the Rhode Island Avenue corridor on Metro’s Red Line. With 70,000 square feet of retail space, Rhode Island Station builds on the success of the adjacent Home Depot-Giant Foods shopping center with a mix of national and local restaurants, neighborhood convenience stores, and a satellite office of the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles. The developers designated ten percent of the retail space to be leased to local businesses in order to ensure that community retailers are able to take advantage of the area’s newest retail opportunity. The apartments at Rhode Island Station will offer Class A finishes and amenities, and will include 20 percent affordable units, without any housing subsidies. Two private garages will be constructed along with a new garage for Metro commuters.

This transit-oriented project has been recognized for its smart growth and green design, including immediate access to public transportation, innovative shared parking, walkability and connectivity, a green roof, and energy-efficient systems and building materials. Construction is underway, with the Metro garage expected to open in the summer of 2011 and the retail and residential expected to begin opening in the spring of 2012.

Rhode Island Station is financed by the HUD FHA program; U.S. Department of the Treasury New Markets Tax Credits program; District of Columbia – PILOT financing; US Bank; the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF); Mid-City Community CDE, an affiliate of Urban Atlantic; and sponsor equity.

Project Team: The project developer is a joint venture of Urban Atlantic and A&R Development Corp. The general contractor is Bozzuto Construction, whose track record in local and minority hiring will help ensure that the project hits its District of Columbia First Source hiring (50 percent) and CBE contracting (35 percent) goals. The retail leasing broker is Asadoorian Retail Solutions; please contact Jeff Handler with leasing inquiries (703.425.0605).

About Urban Atlantic: Strategically focused on urban development, Urban Atlantic has a strong track record of completing complex, large-scale developments. The company has completed real estate developments totaling over $ 1.1 billion in value, and has placed over $ 1.3 billion in real estate investments. With one of the largest New Markets Tax Credits allocations in the Mid-Atlantic, Urban Atlantic affiliate Mid-City Community CDE is an investor in Rhode Island Station. Visit

About A&R Development Corp.: A&R Development Corp., part of the A&R family of companies, has created more than $ 1 billion in residential, commercial and mixed-use real estate projects in the mid-Atlantic region since its inception. The firm is known for its careful planning, superior design, architectural and engineering excellence, and relentless attention to detail. Visit

News Media Contact:

Leslie Braunstein



Company Contact:

Vicki Davis, President

Urban Atlantic Development



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Free Point Inside Mobile App Now Helps Travelers Navigate Over 50 Airports, While on the Ground or in the Air

Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) May 28, 2010

Point Inside™, Inc. ( today announced the release of version 2.0 of its free, industry-leading Indoor Smart Map™ application for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. For the first time, consumers have free access to interactive, searchable maps of over 50 airports in the U.S. and Canada, all with extensive Point of Interest directory listings. These maps are in addition to the previously available maps and directories for over 500 shopping centers. Unlike paper maps or wall-mounted directories, Point Inside’s Indoor Smart Maps allow users to search by free-form text and directory lists, or interact directly with the map to get more information. Once a destination is selected, it’s highlighted by a pin on the map, like users have come to expect from “outdoor” mobile maps. This highlighting allows each person to “customize” the map based on his or her immediate need, whether that’s quickly finding the nearest restroom, or determining what restaurants are on the way to their specific connecting gate.

Point Inside users can also see their own true positions on the indoor maps by using SmartFix™, Point Inside’s proprietary indoor location method. SmartFix determines the user’s location by using GPS, cell towers or WiFi. However, if these methods are inaccurate, as is often the case indoors, SmartFix prompts the user to provide her own position by selecting a nearby landmark. Knowing where you are relative to where you need to go can help you plan better and ease the anxiety of travel. And knowing what amenities are nearby or on your way can help you make better, faster decisions.