Simple Energy Works Awarded Solar Innovation Grant from TSI

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Simple Energy Works, a Tennessee solar system designer and installer, has been awarded a Solar Innovation Grant from the Tennessee Solar Institute to further its growth and innovative energy efficient products and services.

Simple Energy Works

Tennessee Solar Energy System Design & Installation Custom Solar Kits | Home Energy Monitor

We are relentlessly educating ourselves and improving our products and services to provide the very best solar energy solutions and energy efficiency products.

Simple Energy Works (, a Tennessee based solar system designer and installer, is growing its solar and energy efficiency business by utilizing a Solar Innovation Grant from the Tennessee Solar Institute to purchase vital solar business tools, expand its marketing efforts, and continue to bring innovative products to market.

Simple Energy Works is a young, innovative and growing green energy company that focuses on three core product and service areas: Tennessee solar energy system incentives, funding, design and installation; customized solar energy kits that are sold online on a national basis; and, home energy monitors that are also sold online nationally. When hearing of the Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) Solar Innovation Grant, which obtained funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Randy and Renee Velker, owners of Simple Energy Works, jumped at the opportunity to apply for the grant. Randy Velker said, “This opportunity was too good to pass up. When TSI offered this grant, which would leverage our existing solar business, we knew we should apply. And we are so excited that we did!" The overall purpose of the TSI grant is to foster the development and growth of solar energy and solar companies throughout the state of Tennessee.

The TSI grant provides funding for Simple Energy Works to purchase business tools to run a more successful business. These tools include Google SketchUp Pro to better design and layout solar projects. The grant also provided funding for a vital solar survey and installation tool, called a Solmetric SunEye to use on Tennessee solar system installation. The SunEye is an integrated shade analysis tool for solar site assessment, allowing the professional solar designer and installer to record and compute shading and solar access percentages. Randy Velker of Simple Energy Works has also taken advantage of grant funding to become certified with Google SketchUp, as well as, obtain certification as a NABCEP Certified PV Technical Salesperson and work toward certification as a NABCEP Solar PV Installer.

The NABCEP certification is recognized as the gold standard for renewable energy installation and sales. Solar Certification is only achieved when the professional salesperson and/or installer have very specialized solar training and on the job experience which culminates in taking and passing a very rigorous examination. When a solar system project is implemented by a NABCEP certified professional, the solar project is going to be done right by professionals who have the necessary capability and know how.

As important as having good tools to run a successful solar business, so too must a business grow and succeed for grant funding to be really worthwhile. With this in mind, the TSI Solar Innovation Grant provided Simple Energy Works funding to hire an experienced business consulting firm, ABC Business Consulting, to assist in key business development areas, which include: a detailed business plan and marketing plan; a new website; and an online marketing strategy.

Simple Energy Works is a unique solar energy company. It not only has the experience and skills to design and install a residential or commercial photovoltaic (PV) Tennessee solar system, but also, Randy Velker, Co-Owner, has a lot of expertise and experience in Tennessee and Federal solar incentives and funding. This is a huge edge for Simple Energy Works customers as they will know what funding can be obtained to offset their project costs, making the ROI for a their solar energy project more substantial and quicker to realize.

So Begs the Question: Does solar energy make financial sense (on top of being environmentally responsible)? Take the Simple Energy Works customer, Camp Nakanawa, case study into consideration...The system Simple Energy Works installed in the kid's camp in Middle Tennessee features a 13.34 kW Photovoltaic Array using Sharp 230w Modules and Enphase Microinverters. The camp was able to take advantage of the USDA Rural Energy for America twenty-five percent cost share Grant and also the thirty percent cost share 1603 US Treasury Grant. Furthermore, Camp Nakanawa will be able to use bonus accelerated depreciation on the whole cost basis of the system. The PV solar system will pay for itself in about six years. From then on the camp owners will be enjoying “FREE” energy for the life of the system, which has a warrantee of twenty-five years but useful life may be closer to forty years. The solar energy system generates over 17,000 kWh per year. Because of the contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), who is buying all of the electricity produced by the array at a premium price, this accounts for close to 50% of the camp's electrical bills.

Another growth area for Simple Energy Works involves selling custom PV solar system kits online on a national basis to Do It Yourselfers and Contractors. All a person needs to do is contact Simple Energy Works, and they will figure out exactly what PV solar system is needed for the location and provide the customer with a fully customized, premium, state-of-the-art solar system which is often fifty to sixty percent less than the average price. According to Simple Energy Works solar kit customer, Ted Polczynski, "Randy Velker at Simple Energy Works was very helpful. After purchasing a 1.84 kW photovoltaic solar system kit that features seven 235 watt Schott Solar modules from Simple Energy Works, the solar power kit was very easy to install. I had to call Randy with a question, and our problem was solved 1,2,3! Now I'm expanding our system three fold to a 4.9 kW system, and Simple Energy Works will definitely get our business again!" The Polczynski's are participants in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) generation partners program and have locked in a contract with TVA for the next 10 years at $.12 above retail per kW hour for all energy produced by their PV solar system.

A tertiary growth area for Simple Energy Works is the Energy Efficiency product line that features the Current Cost EnviR Whole House Energy Monitor. This premium quality home energy monitor tracks a family's energy usage in six second intervals, and it quickly and easily shows the energy usage cost per day and cost per month. The display keeps up to 7 years of energy usage data available so the homeowner can quickly and easily analyze electrical usage patterns. Studies have shown that by simply monitoring electrical usage a person can automatically (and unconsciously) reduce energy use by five to fifteen percent, and even more when a family accordingly adjusts their energy usage habits.

Will Fischer, Sustainability Director at Washington University in St Louis, used the Current Cost home energy monitor supplied through Simple Energy Works in a very unique way: "Their Current Cost Energy Monitor allowed us at Washington University to run a low-budget dorm energy competition amongst our students!”. Now Simple Energy Works plans on offering the energy monitor to more colleges, universities and organizations who are trying to bring awareness to energy conservation and sustainable energy. These organizations can purchase the monitor in bulk for substantially reduced per unit pricing.

This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy under Award Number DE-EE0000160. CDFA 81.041

About Simple Energy Works

Simple Energy Works designs, sells and installs complete photovoltaic solar systems throughout Tennessee, including the cities of Crossville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, as well as, in Cumberland County, and many other Tennessee areas. Simple Energy Works also sells complete solar photovoltaic custom kits online on a national basis to residential and commercial customers. Additionally, Simple Energy Works offers the Current Cost Whole House Energy Monitor online through its website,

Randy Velker, Co-Owner, provides services and resources concerning the finance and funding of solar systems, both commercial and residential. Randy is president of the Cumberland County Solar Energy Association, and he is a NABCEP certified Solar PV Technical Sales Professional. Simple Energy Works supports the use of energy efficient products that are made in the USA and offer a competitive advantage over offshore produced products.


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