I have spent my life dedicated to renewable energy. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it really means to be “renewable.”
Growing up in southern Vermont, I lived within hiking distance of the world’s first utility-scale wind turbine at Grandpa’s Knob. Inspired by Grandpa’s Knob, I became fascinated with wind and solar energy at an early age. At 14, I built my first wind turbine to power a light in the small sugarhouse where my family boiled sap into maple syrup. As a student at the University of Vermont, I built yet another wind turbine. I’ve been in the renewable energy business ever since. For almost four decades my companies have proven themselves to be innovative leaders in the industry. We strive to enable everyone to engage in renewable energy generation at any scale.
At my companies, we have started very important conversations about how we might make a more positive impact with our under-utilized renewable energy equipment. We don’t think quality renewable energy equipment should sit in a warehouse — or worse, go to a landfill. We think there’s a better way. Re-use. We want these resources in the hands of people who can put them to good use as soon as possible.
Every renewable energy company acquires assets that are useful at one time, but as the company evolves, they no longer serve a purpose. Over the last four decades, my companies have acquired a variety of wind and solar equipment that still has value but isn’t getting used. Some of it was used for a time but is still in great shape, some of it didn’t end up getting used for a project as it was originally planned. Other times, the site didn’t work out, the developer fell through, or things didn’t work out for permitting.
We noticed that there wasn’t a good marketplace out there for this kind of used and pre-owned wind and solar equipment. So, we decided to do something about it. We started RENewed Wind and Solar (www.RENewedwindandsolar.com), an online portal for eco-conscious individuals interested in buying and selling underutilized renewable assets.
For the launch of RENewed, we selected assets from our inventory that perform well over time and have been well-cared-for, everything from recalibrated anemometers to pre-owned photovoltaic panels.
Data shows that solar panels will last for over 50 years, they just have slightly less output every year. It would be horrible for society to landfill them. They can be used over and over in new ways; it’s a different way of looking at things. In 50 years, they may only put out 60% of the original power. But by re-deploying them into other applications, you can still use them.
The wind measurement systems we are selling have a proven record of success. They have previously been deployed and redeployed around the region to aid in the development of \new wind farms, including the 10MW Georgia Mountain Community Wind development we built here in Vermont.
We are coming to a time when there is a critical mass of used products available in the renewable’s marketplace, so it is feasible for a company like ours to begin a venture like this. We will continue to obtain and distribute high quality renewable assets to increase the productive life. We live in a resource-limited world, so we hope to minimize the unnecessary manufacturing of items that are already in existence and, instead, create opportunities for productive re-use.
In the renewable energy business, we care deeply about reducing waste. We know quality renewable energy equipment shouldn’t sit around gathering dust. Instead, these resources need to be out in the world helping to reduce carbon emissions and produce clean energy for our planet.
We hope you will join us in this effort. Please visit www.RENewedwindandsolar.com. We may have just the product that you’ve been looking for.
David Blittersdorf is an entrepreneur and engineer from Vermont with nearly four decades of experience as an innovative leader in the wind and solar energy industry. David founded NRG Systems in 1982 and AllEarth Renewables in 2004. AllEarth Renewables is dedicated to bringing clean, renewable energy to businesses, farms, municipalities and homeowners to help lessen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.