February 28, 2006

Napa Valley College dedicates 1.2MW solar electric system

California Congressman Mike Thompson joined Napa Valley College recently in dedicating a 1.2MW solar photovoltaic (PV) system that provides power to meet 40% of the campus’ electricity needs. The system, covering nearly 150,000 square feet on a field near the southern Napa River, was installed as part of the college’s facilities improvement project.

The solar array consists of 5,565 high-efficiency solar modules, and its prime energy output coincides with periods of highest electric demand, enabling the college to substantially reduce utility peak-period energy charges.

February 27, 2006

NEMA Lighting Systems Index drops in fourth quarter of 2005

Rossyln, Va.-based NEMA recently announced that its Lighting Systems Index declined 4.5% during the fourth quarter of 2005. This marks the lowest reading for the index since the first quarter of 2004.

Of the five industry segments found in the index, emergency lighting, luminaire, and ballast recorded declines during the quarter, more than offsetting the gains for miniature and large lamps.

February 23, 2006

Business Briefs for the Week of February 20, 2006

  • For the second year in a row, the Low Voltage Lighting Institute of Americas (LVLIA) honored Cleveland manufacturer Kichler as Manufacturer of the Year. LVLIA recognized Kichler for its dedication to LVLIA, its support of the industry, and its professional service to clients in the business of low-voltage landscape and architectural lighting.

  • Mission Critical Power Systems Inc. (MCPS), formerly of Chino, Calif., recently relocated its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility to Las Vegas, Nev. The move included the MCPS service provider, Computer Auxiliary Product Services Inc.

    February 23, 2006

    IEEE Power Engineering Society calls for papers

    The IEEE Power Engineering Society recently announced its call for papers for its 2006 Power Systems Conference & Exposition to be held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Atlanta. Complete manuscripts are to be submitted electronically through the 2006 Power Systems Conference and Exposition Web site.

    The submission site will be available for paper submissions until the April 28 deadline.

    February 22, 2006

    EPA honors Osram Sylvania fluorescent lamp plant

    The EPA recently recognized the Osram Sylvania fluorescent lamp plant in Versailles, Ken., for joining the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) and committing to significantly reduce the elemental mercury content of its linear fluorescent lamps. According to the company, since the introduction of Osram Sylvania’s T8 fluorescent lamps in North America, use of the lamps has prevented the dissemination of more than 382 million pounds of CO2, 3.5 tons of airborne mercury, and air pollution equivalent to more than 23 million cars.

    The EPA formed the NPEP to pursue the goal of reducing the use or release of 31 highly toxic, priority chemicals, including mercury, found in manufacturing processes.

    February 21, 2006

    Solargenix Energy breaks ground on solar thermal power plant

    On Feb. 11 Solargenix Energy began construction on Nevada Solar One, a 64MW solar thermal plant in the Eldorado Valley of Boulder City, Colo. The $106 million solar project, scheduled for completion in March 2007, will cover 320 acres of desert land.

    The plant will use troughs of mirrors to concentrate heat from the sun and raise the temperature of a special fluid that will then transfer the heat to a steam generator that will produce electricity.

    February 17, 2006

    Business Briefs for the Week of February 13, 2006

  • Paoli, Penn.-based Ametek, Inc., recently acquired Coral Springs, Fla.-based Pulsar Technologies Inc., manufacturer of communications equipment for the electric utility market. Pulsar will become part of Ametek’s Electronic Instruments Group.

  • On Feb. 14, Itron, Inc., Spokane, Wash., reported its financial results for fourth quarter and full year 2005. Fourth quarter 2005 revenues were $160 million, 22% higher than fourth quarter 2004 revenues of $131.4 million. For the full year, revenues were $552.7 million in 2005, compared with $399.2 million in 2004, with growth in 2005 reflecting a full year of Electricity Metering revenues as well as internal growth in all segments.

  • Peachtree City, Ga.-based Cooper Lighting recently announced that it has been selected by a global provider of print and related services to retrofit upwards of 25 domestic facilities by Q2 2006. The lighting retrofit program is in its initial stage of implementation and represents approximately one-quarter of the printer’s U.S. facilities.

    February 13, 2006

    Powered by Renewables announces 18MW PV project

    Las Vegas, Nev.-based Powered by Renewables recently announced it will partner with SunEdison, Baltimore, to develop the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Nevada. The 18MW project almost doubles the current world’s largest PV project located in Germany.

    Construction on the proposed privately owned and operated project is expected to begin in Clark County in July and at other sites in early 2007.

    February 10, 2006

    Business Briefs for the Week of February 6, 2006

  • On Feb. 6 Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy announced that it awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract to the Shaw Stone & Webster unit of Baton Rouge, La.-based The Shaw Group Inc. The new 750MW supercritical coal-fired power plant, with a total cost of $1.35 billion, will be the third unit at Xcel’s Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, Colo.

  • The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design recently selected Little Neck, N.Y.-based Leviton Manufacturing Company’s Acenti Collection as winner of the 2005 Good Design award for electronics. The Acenti Collection consists of more than 40 wiring devices, such as dimmers, switchers, and receptacles.

  • Memphis, Tenn.-based Thomas & Betts Corp., manufacturer of electronics components, posted fourth quarter earnings of $25.8 million, up nearly 11%. Net earnings for 2005 were $1.86 a share. The company expects 2006 earnings to range from $2.35 to $2.45 a share.

  • Tulsa, Okla.-based Hilti Tools recently launched its Lifetime Service program. Under the program, during the initial no-cost period — up to two years depending on tool model — Hilti tools will be serviced at no additional cost. After that time, Hilti tools will have a maximum repair cost of no greater than 30% of the tool’s list price.

  • Meridian Systems, Folsom, Calif.-based project management software developer, recently partnered with Dimension 5 Solutions, Roseville, Calif.-based developers of Encompass software. The companies expect the pairing of Encompass with Meridian’s Prolog Manager and Prolog Web site will automate the collection, verification, and entry of paper-based and electronic project data.

    February 9, 2006

    Tyco Electrical and Metal Products announces winner

    Harvey, Ill.-based Tyco Electrical and Metal Products recently announced the winner of its Allied Tube & Conduit True Colors promotion. The winner, Vitaliy Kupin is an electrician and assistant supervisor at Vandre Electric in Denver.

    The promotion campaigned for easier identification of specific electrical runs in the field by hanging a wind chime made out of actual color-coded EMT in more than 1,000 distributor branch locations.

    February 8, 2006

    Department of Energy awards project to FuelCell Energy

    The Department of Energy recently awarded Danbury, Conn.-based FuelCell Energy, Inc. a five-year, $2.1-million cost-shared competitively bid project, subject to final negotiation, to develop a high-temperature membrane for low-humidity operation of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells. The composite membrane is intended to have the mechanical strength and water retention capability required for efficient operation and reduced system cost.

    The contract is one of 12 projects that will receive a total of $19 million in federal funding for polymer membrane research.

    February 7, 2006

    American Superconductor and Siemens renew strategic alliance

    February 6, 2006

    The Home Safety Council commends Pass & Seymour/Legrand

    The Home Safety Council recently awarded Syracuse, N.Y.-based Pass & Seymour/Legrand’s Tamper-Resistant Receptacles with the Commendation Award for Product Innovation for Consumer Safety. The receptacles include a UL listed, automatic shutter system that prevents objects from being inserted into the receptacle.

    The award will be presented June 8 in Washington, D.C., at the 2006 Salute to Home Safety Awards Dinner.

    February 3, 2006

    Business Briefs for the Week of January 30, 2006

  • Nashville, Tenn.-based Smith Seckman Reid recently announced its plans to acquire Denver-based Gordon, Gumeson and Associates, Inc. With the acquisition, Smith Seckman Reid now has nine office locations throughout the United States.

  • The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce recently selected Forth Worth Electric as a Rising Star 2006 Small Business of the Year finalist. One of three finalists selected from 100 nominees, the electrical contracting firm was recognized for demonstrated “Best Practices” of entrepreneurship.

  • Carrollton, Ga.-based Southwire Company has acquired the wire and cable assets of Essex Electrical Products, including Essex’s plant in Florence. Ala. Southwire will continue to operate the Florence plant, which manufactures building wire used in residential, commercial, and industrial construction.

  • Los Angeles-based Solar Integrated Technologies recently announced the completion of 39 industrial solar roofing projects in 2005. The company’s total for installed projects is 58 aggregating more than 5MW of installed generating capacity.

  • On Jan. 30 American Superconductor Corp., Westborough, Mass., announced the start of production of two SuperVAR dynamic synchronous condensers. The company expects the new systems to be the world’s first commercial high-temperature superconductor product used on the grid.

    February 1, 2006

    Lutron announces Energy Savings sweepstakes

    Coopersburg, Penn.-based Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.recently announced the launch of its Energy Saving sweepstakes, which will run in the United States and Canada from Feb. 1 through May 1. The grand-prize winner will receive $15,000 toward the next 10 years worth of energy bills.

    Entry forms for contractors are available at participating electrical distributors, and consumers can find entry forms at participating lighting showrooms or online at Lutron’s Web site.