In September I wrote about a new initiative we are working on called Building Energy Bottom Lines (B-Lines for short). Now it has come to fruition – it’s ready-to-launch. That will occur at the annual Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) conference – Building Energy 14 – in Boston in early March. You can read about it here. You can apply for membership there too.
I’m pumped up about this new NESEA program. It’s an effort to assemble 30 (for now) of the most progressive and thoughtful architecture, building, and energy companies in the Northeast to share secrets, cross-pollinate, and learn from each other within a rigorous peer group structure.
I’m pleased, too, about the collaboration I’ve been through with my two development partners in this endeavor – old friends and colleagues Jamie Wolf and Paul Eldrencamp. Paul, Jamie and I approach things differently, but we spend a lot of time thinking about the same things (in our somewhat different ways) and our values are remarkably well-aligned. We seem to find our way through every thicket we encounter with an ease that’s sometimes breathtaking. The discussions are forthright, the stumbles are few, the tensions are minor.
Finally, I’m glad for our association with two of our favorite organizations, NESEA and Yestermorrow and the people there (NESEA executive director Jennifer Marrapeese and Program Coordinator Jeremy Koo and Yestermorrow executive director Kate Stephenson) who are working with us on B-Lines.
Can’t wait to get this one underway – we’ve got a tiger by the tail!
Meanwhile, SMCo has recently become involved with another exciting organization.
This month we were officially accepted for membership in Amicus – a national solar buying cooperative. Incorporated in August of 2011, Amicus is an association of independently owned solar companies that have joined forces to provide their customers with industry-best pricing for products & services. Aggregated buying power gives members the ability to match pricing with large national companies in today’s ultra-competitive market – hence the co-op slogan “stronger together.”
“These are 25 of the most successful and forward-looking solar companies in the country, and they are very selective in determining whether or not to accept a company as a member,” says Rob Meyers, our General Manager of Energy Services. “We are very glad to be able to bring the benefits of Amicus membership to our business and to the Vineyard, and honored to be accepted as part of the organization.”
Amicus members also share intelligence and information – they help each other stay up-to-date in today’s rapidly changing technological and policy environment. It’s a peer group network – like BE Bottom Lines – but with a much more focused and limited area of inquiry. For us it’s an opportunity to learn about the solar aspect of our business from companies with which we are philosophically aligned. Amicus is organized as a cooperative – like us – and we have a lot in common with the members. Rob says that when he first met with them last year in Chicago, he felt like he was re-connecting with a group of old friends.
Over the last two years, Amicus members installed approximately 185 Megawatts of solar capacity (enough to power 32,000 homes annually) and generated $550 million in revenue. The average Amicus member has 13 years of successful solar practice, and installs an average of 4 Megawatts annually, which is far more than we do.
The structure of the organization is, as executive director Stephen Irvin says, “Just like SMCo. Same co-op structure, same governance, same patronage system.” We are thrilled to be associated with this fine group.
With all these new endeavors emerging around here, I’m starting to wonder how we’re actually going to keep getting any work done! For openers, I’m gonna kick this blog post off the screen and take a look at my long – and lengthening – To Do List.