Monday, February 5, 2018

Rebates on solar panels decline but still a growing trend

Financial incentives may be scarce but solar panels still have their luster.

Alternative energy made a grand entrance five years ago as Northwest Missouri was booming with solar panel installations. City records in St. Joseph, for example, showed 51 permits issued between four contractors for both commercial and residential projects in 2012. And the permits kept coming in for at least two years following.

JR Cheek jumped on the opportunity to cut down his $650 a month electric bill at his business, JR's T.B.A. and Service, 405 S. 36th St.

“In the peak of summer, when there's the most rays, it's saving me over $450 a month,” Cheek said. “I've had a low bill of $57 and that's the business talking.”

During the winter, when the sun is limited and he uses more electricity, his bill was $309, which is still less than half of what it was.

If a customer is using the acquired panel electricity, it's free, but the electricity garnered from the panels can roll over with Kansas City Power & Light and create a credit. At Cheek's home, his family doesn't use as much electricity as those panels generate. Therefore, his residential bill usually has a credit.

“But when you use (their electricity), you have to pay (the bill),” Cheek said.

At home, Cheek's average bill was anywhere from $175 to $200 before installing solar panels. (like RENOGY 100 WATT SOLAR PANEL KIT ) The family generated a lot of credits before putting up a swimming pool. That uses more electricity so there's not as much rollover, Cheek said. But they still don't use all the credits.

“When we went into winter we had $283 in credits earned so that took out October, November, took out some December but I expect a bill soon,” he said. “Last year he had only two bills. One for $25 and one for $50. So a total of $75 out-of-pocket.”

Just three and a half years after installing solar panels at his home and business, Cheek said he has recouped all of his out-of-pocket money for the system. And that doesn't include the tax credits he earned for the installation.

Government subsidies are a large part of the appeal. While there are still federal tax credits available, the rebates through Kansas City Power & Light are spoken for.

In 2011, the utility's rebate was set at $2 per watt with a maximum rebate of $50,000. That rate was good through 2014. The rebate has since gone down to 50 cents per watt for those receiving it now.

“We have committed all of our rebates,” said Drew Robinson, sustainability products manager with KCP&L. We've come to the end of about $86.5 million in rebates given out and there are no plans to extend anymore.”

Missouri law established the amount per watt used to calculate rebate payments every year until 2020, when the rebate program will end.

Today, the only federal tax credits for energy efficiency improvements that remain in effect are for solar energy systems (solar water heaters and solar panels). These federal tax credits remain in effect through December 2021.

Yet Robinson doesn't feel it's an end to alternative energy initiatives.

“I see it more as a potential partnership moving forward,” he said. “We are very aware of societal opinions to move away from fossil fuels. We have efficient coal plants but we're starting to look at other renewable resources.”

While in their infancy, Robinson said there are two alternatives on the horizon.

There is a proposed community solar program where the utility would build large-scale installations of solar panels and customers could subscribe to that. Another project is a green subscription geared toward larger customers to aggregate their interests to wind farms.

Both concepts went public this week.

“We're trying to create programs,” Robinson said.

Solar panel businesses were profitable and still are.

Brightergy, one of the local contractors, has continued to double their revenue in the last decade. The company with offices in St. Joseph, St. Louis and Kansas City, grew from just one employee to a staff of more than 60 in 2013.

Jeff Collins of Solar Energy in St. Joseph has installed around 9,000 solar panels throughout the area. His business also sells the components of the system to other companies.

Last week, the Trump administration unveiled tariffs of up to 30 percent on imports of solar panels. The move sparked another announcement. JinkoSolar, China's largest manufacturer of solar panels, stated Monday that it is finalizing plans to construct a solar manufacturing facility in the United States. By making their products in the U.S., the company could avoid tariffs on its products sold in the country.

Collins said he thinks it's great news that the change, which he said won't impact his business, could create jobs in the U.S. And make the solar panel industry more affordable and efficient.

“Panel prices have gone down so much,” Collins said.

When he first started back in 2011, panels cost about 80 to 85 cents per watt. Now it's just over 50 cents. With the tariffs in place, Collins figures it will increase his spending by about 10 to 15 percent, which is still less than what it cost him when he first started.

“They keep getting more and more efficient,” Collins said of the solar panels. “And it's driving down the prices.”

Collins company is still installing solar panels but not as much as he did, by his own choosing. Instead, Solar Energy works to service the converter component to the solar panel systems. This accounts for the systems his company installed as well as his competitors that are no longer in business.

Friday, August 25, 2017


The Fenix Chronos is Garmin’s attempt to cater to the upmarket outdoor crowd. With the core function of a Fenix, the Chronos features a metal housing topped by a sapphire glass and polishes the EXO Antenna with a Tachymeter. The appearance is something we’d associate with luxury watches but the functionality is downright Garmin. This is a watch that’d have no issues accompanying you on all your activities from the sweaty outdoors to the sombre meeting boardroom.

Garmin is selling three variations of the watch, one with leather strap ($899.99), a brushed stainless steel strap version ($999.99) and the priciest titanium versionretailing for $1499.99 USD.

I had the GARMIN WATCH Chronos with brushed stainless steel band for 3 weeks and here’s what I have to say.

The Fenix Chronos was provided by Garmin Singapore for the purpose of this review. The staff were extremely helpful with the software updates and provided answers to my queries about the Fenix Chronos where possible.
24/7 fitness tracker. Tracks steps, distance, calories, floors climbed and sleep
Optical heart rate sensors measure all day heart rate and heart rate during tracked activity sessions
Plethora of activity profiles with option to customise and create more, including multi-sport modes
Altimeter, barometer, electronic compass and in built temperature sensor
EXO antenna GPS+GlONASS inscribed with Tachymeter
Full metal casing with stainless steel bezel
Sunlight readable Chroma display with LED back light and sapphire lens
3D Speed and Distance with customisable auto lap distance
Vibration and audio beeps enabled for smart notifications, alarms, move alerts
Expand and read messages on display
Pick up phone calls from watch
Heavily customisable in terms of display fields and usage within each activity profile
Garmin Connect IQ compatible for apps, widgets and watch face downloads
VO2 Max score, recovery advisor, race time predictor, stress score, performance indicator, lactate threshold, odometer.
Navigation functions
Training functions such as intervals, Virtual racer, racing past activityand more.
Water resistant to 10 ATM
Up to 1 week worth of use in watch mode, 13 hours in GPS mode and 25 hours in Ultratac mode.
Create workouts, plan training on Garmin Connect web platform
Compatible with Vector power meter for cycling
ANT+ and Bluetooth enabled
Plays music, controls VIRB camera and Dog Track
No record of stress test or recovery HR tracked over time
Lack of variety in changeable watch straps
Light vibrations which is unadjustable
Small fonts in certain aspects such as review of activity

The Fenix Chronos ships in a wooden box that slides to reveal the prized watch within. Whichever variation you purchase, Garmin will throw in a silicon band which is necessary for workouts. Beautiful isn’t it?

I like the look of the Fenix Chronos. It’s slightly smaller than a Fenix 3 and weighs a tad heavier but it’s definitely manageable. You need to strap up real tight as the weight of the watch will cause it to sag to the edge of your wrist during runs.

Due to the nature of my work, I use the silicon band for all day wear which comes in particularly useful during exercise.

The Chronos should fit people with smaller wrists like without eliciting looks of bewilderment from onlookers. It’s also got that luxury look usually associated with watches that costs thousands but retains that ruggedness you get from that $50 bucks Casio G-Shock from 1995.

Plus it will survive the High Altitude High Opening Parachute jumps, the occasional non extreme mountaineering trips you might have in mind and some sunny sailing dinghy expeditions. (Water resistant to 10 ATM) Anything else you fancy doing?

The display is identical to that of the Fenix 3 but the fonts differ. It appears sharper and gives the impression of a larger screen. Sapphire screen appears gorgeous under bright sunlight and back light with adjustable levels of brightness ensures ease of use in the night.

There’s some inconsistency in the fonts which can get ridiculously tiny and faint such as when I wanted to view the details of my run. It isn’t un-viewable but bigger fonts would have enhanced the experience. Ironically fonts for smart notifications appear larger than than for training details.

Controls and scrolling are much more responsive on the Fenix Chronos compared to the Fenix 3. It’s nowhere near that of smart watches such as the Apple Watch Series 2 but it’s a welcomed improvement nonetheless. I understand this speed boost came up a faster processor.

The tachymeter inscribed on the EXO antenna gives the watch another avenue to appear luxurious. Even the rumoured Fenix 5 doesn’t feature tachymeter.

The back of the Fenix Chronos houses the optical heart rate sensor (OHR) which is identical to that found in more recent series of Garmin watches. In this edition, it appears more flush compared to its predecessor. The orientation of the OHR has also changed and interestingly, the orientation is switched again in the Fenix 5series.

Here’s a press picture of the Fenx 5 series OHR for comparison. Perhaps Garmin is experimenting with the OHR position with regard to accuracy.

I was told by the Garmin product manager that despite the difference in appearance of the OHR, the innards essentially feature the same algorithm.

Watch straps are fitted with a quick release latch, a first for Garmin. I’ve read rumours that the company is also in the process of finalising a QUICKFIT clasp system for watch straps. This has been confirmed with the Fenix 5 announcement. This should make changing of the straps even easier in future.

Whichever version you purchase, an extra silicon strap will be provided; the strap of choice for workouts with the slight stretch ideal for the optical heart rate sensors.

Like all Fenix series, there are a total of 5 buttons which fulfil different functions. You can also designate 2 of the buttons as hot keys, offering quick access to a few select features such as chronograph, saved location and more. These are the functions of the buttons:
Top right: START/ ENTER (Hot Key possibility)
Bottom right: BACK (Hot Key possibility)
Top left: Back light/ Power
Center left: SCROLL UP/ Long hold to expand for more functions
Bottom left: SCROLL DOWN

All Day Activity Tracker
As with all Garmin fitness devices, the Fenix Chronos comes backed by years of activity tracking experience.

Basic stats such as step count, calories burned, intensity minutes, floors climbed and sleep form the staple of this capable all day activity tracking GPS watch.

The tracked stats are then synced to the Garmin Connect mobile app for further scrutiny. The manual sleep function is available in the Fenix Chronos so naps can be tracked.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Where to Find Great Paycheck Stub Templates sample templates supply users with a consistent format for presenting their cover advice, and while some companies accept composed for income verification, more often than not a professional is required. Today, most businesses provide their workers with with every payment that's made, however, freelance and self-employed employees often do not have this luxury. For some, finding to make acceptable is their only option. This report presents a brief list of options for those looking to

Print and Click Stub Generators:

Users that are seeking to just enter the crucial components of their employer and salary information and print out a stub may find online websites to be their very best value. The good thing about this option is that there isn't any software to download, and they're usually cheap enough to be used when required without breaking the bank.

Software Downloads:

Employers and those that must print out multiple may use one of several software companies that provide this service. The cost of the software varies based on the features included, and you should make certain to check that the program is both compatible with your computer and it is going to satisfy all your requirements. By way of instance, be certain to make sure state wage rates are updated to reflect current values. The downsides of the alternative are that unless you are doing a lot of, it could be a terrible investment, and of course the threat of downloading and installing software on your machine. Only purchase from a reputable dealer.

Paycheck Stub Sample Software

At the time of this writing, templates were in short supply on the internet. Regrettably, only a few companies provide users with the capacity to download an Excel, Word, etc and get started creating their own Microsoft templates did have a few that could be modified and used for free. Additionally, there are templates available on sites like As always, be sure to use a trusted source before downloading any templates.

As the need for expert templates increases, so too will their availability online. These three options provide an excellent starting point for anyone who needs quickly. The click and print users have been benefited with the instant, while the template and software users gain from that capability to reproduce whenever needed. It's our hope that this article can help you decide on the ideal option for your situation.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How to Create a Strong and Lasting Cement Sidewalk

There are many things that you can do if you wish to replace or add a pavement on your premises. A very long time past, many sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York were made of stone slabs which lasted quite a while. Even those, however, broke after a time out of tear and wear and general exposure to the components. As time progressed, new materials were used for sidewalk repair contractor Bronx. Some of the most common nowadays are cement sidewalk repair Bronx NY. These can have a very long life if you know how to make them and care for them the perfect way. You don't need to replace all of them at the time. Do it right the first time.
sidewalk repair bronx

You are not likely to acquire sidewalk repair Bronx that lasts indefinitely, but you could have one that will last longer than some that are made quickly and cheaply. Cement is sold by the square yard in many cases, or maybe by the square foot, so people try to save cash by using the least amount that they can when they're deciding how to believe they wish to make their slabs for every section of the cement DOT sidewalk violation Bronx. If you simply use an inch or two, you aren't going to have a very strong pavement and you can expect to replace it rather short.

Instead, make your cement Bronx sidewalk repair thick. Go at least six inches deep if you're able to. That requires more work and far more cement, but you are likely to spend less in the long term. If you're getting your cement from a truck, you might save yourself a little per square foot or yard if you're buying more. If you are mixing it all on your own, make certain that you get enough, and learn what the best mix would be for a long lasting and robust cement Bronx sidewalk repair. This is more important for along the street if you live in town, as others are going to use your DOT sidewalk violation Bronx as well as your family.

After you have your new cement sidewalk repair Bronx laid down, look out for those that want to come along and add their own special touch. They may leave hand or foot prints in your new cement sidewalk repair Bronx, or they may add their initials. If you don't mind this, there is nothing to fret about. However, if you do worry and want your sidewalk repair Bronx to be as you laid it down, keep an eye out and smooth over whatever you see pop up in your cement. This is a bigger problem in high traffic areas, but your own children many find the temptation too strong to resist.

For the longevity of your cement sidewalk repair Bronx either existing or new, look out for weeds. When there is a tiny crack in your cement, a plant will come across a way to grow up through it. If that weed continues to grow, it can and will make the crack bigger. Once that happens, water and other weeds will find their way through your sidewalk repair Bronx and the damage will quickly build up. Pull any weeds you see as soon as you notice them, seal up any cracks that develop to avoid additional damage to your new cement sidewalk repair Bronx.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Brief Overview of Amish

Many individuals across America motivation Amish quilts because of its standing of toughness and different fashion. When thinking of this form of furniture, most think about Amish quilting in Iowa or Amish quilts for sale in Indiana, however, handmade Amish quilts settlers are available in the areas of the United States, providing customers using their stunning, wooden items.

How come this kind of furniture so popular? The merchandise is made from one hundred percent lumber as well as the meticulous detail directed at each item. Employees hand-select the wood in relation to each intended piece of handmade patchwork quilts. The Amish quilt patterns to their art and their intention for your furniture to become used for years are two more reasons many individuals opt to find Amish quilt designs.
handmade patchwork quilts

Historians place the popularity of Amish applique quilts around the 1920's. American folk art was hugely famed providing attention to the wonder, quality, and variation of Amish log cabin quilts platforms, baby quilts, as well as other items. As well as Iowa and Indiana, many individuals consider baby quilts in California; this really is as a result of undeniable fact that many 'faculties' of Amish-place furniture began within the condition.

The Amish quilts for sale practices have become distinctive. Most baby quilts beliefs forbid the use of energy, therefore a different way of strength are used to travel the tools. The convenience of heavy electricity is a lot associated with large suppliers and an Assembly line process, nevertheless, Amish carpenters try to lose no sophistication or beauty of type in terms of functioning mainly using their hands - especially to offer intensive aspect towards the parts.

Woodwork often becomes a history for that Amish log cabin quilts; some youngsters are apprenticed and then proceed their family's furniture enterprise. Since baby quilts are indeed associated with depth, many woodworkers fall under niches and incredibly unique variations. As an example, some just generate Amish quilts for sale, etc.

Amish-produced furniture stands as you of present-day ironies. In a period when suppliers are continually rushing to control technology to provide fresh, advanced products to consumers, Amish-place furniture, having its traditional tactics and awareness of detail, stays highly-coveted and recognized by American consumers.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Mighty Mule Single Swing Gate Opener Kit For a Single Swing Gate Up To 12 Ft. or 300 Lbs. The MIGHTY MULE FM200 Single Opener can be used in residential applications including automating gates made of farm tubing, steel, aluminum, wood, and chain link, along with many other gate types. This opener can be set on the left or right and is used in the standard pull-to-open operation.


Designed for gates up to 12 ft (3.7m) long or 300 lbs (136.1kg)
AC or Solar powered to meet the needs of 100% of the market
Designed for optimum solar performance with 5 Watt solar panel
Works with an automotive or marine battery (not included) which optimizes performance in cold weather
FM200 Mighty Mule Kit Includes:

One FM200 opener for single gate
One entry transmitter

Installation hardware
10 ft. batery harness

Installation manual (English & Spanish)
Plug-in transformer
2 Warning signs

The Mighty Mule FM200 Single Gate Opener can be used in residential applications including automating gates made of farm tubing, steel, aluminum, wood, and chain link, along with many other gate types. This opener can be set on the left or right and is used in the standard pull-to-open operation.

The Mighty Mule FM200 Single Gate Opener is a low voltage system, eliminating the need to run 110 AC to your gate. Simply run 16-gauge low voltage to a household outlet within 1000’ of the operator or use a solar panel. The Mighty Mule FM200 runs off of a deep cycle marine battery (battery and housing for battery not included). The large battery allows for a large storage capacity of cycles (Provides up to 1,500 back-up cycles with fully charged battery). This unit also has a small control box, easy to mount in many locations.

The Mighty Mule FM200 Single Gate Opener can be used with GTO Inc.’s complete line of accessories including keypads, transmitters, exit wands, gate locks, solar panels, and more.

Closing Timer – Set your gate to close between 0 and 120 seconds after reaching the full open position or turn this option off to leave it open until an entry device activates closing motion.

Learn Mode – With the Mighty Mule FM200 the learning process, the end points are determined by the user via remote. A simple press of the transmitter tells the opener where to stop and when the opener is set to the desired stop points, save the settings on the board.

Economical Price – The Mighty Mule FM250 is the most cost effective gate oepner on the market today

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How I got 2.3 million app downloads (without spending a cent on marketing)

Creating A Story
Rewind back to May 2013 and I was co-founder of a music app startup called Discovr. We had managed to achieve over 4 million downloads, raised over $1m and were perceived as ‘successful’ (unfortunately things didn’t end up that way) in our home town of Perth, Australia.

It was very common for people to come up to me and ask what the magic was to make a successful app. We’d fudged our way through and somehow made something people wanted to download, but could I recreate it?

I was lucky enough to be reading an advance copy of the amazing book The Fortune Cookie Principle which really opened my eyes to storytelling and products.

I was also inspired by reading this advice from the One More Thing conference about how to write a press release. Surely it’s impossible to stand out with a press release like that?
Hatching An Idea

I wanted to build an app in one night, not tell a single person about it and run some experiments on it to see if I could get it to some level of success. I thought maybe I could get a few thousand downloads and make a couple of hundred bucks.

I wanted an idea that I had no domain advantage in at all, so what better for a chair-bound developer than a fitness app. The 7 Minute Workout was getting a lot of press (and buzz) at the time on sites like the New York Times and Hacker News, so I already had some customer validation around the idea.

There were a couple of key goals for the app:
Explaining the 12 exercises (I had been digging around in Google, I had no idea what a plank was).
Adding a voice prompted timer for when it was time to swap exercises and to tell you and what was up next.

Many other ideas and features ran through my head, including:iPad support.
Adjustable durations.
Randomise exercises.
Adjustable repeats / sets.
Log book.
Social sharing.

Given a short time frame all this had to be cut (for now).

The Build
Five hours later I emerged with a couple of screens (dynamically filled with different data) and some text to speech. I’m no designer so there were no graphics, all flat views.

Another hour (yep I went over) was spent throwing together an icon (again a flat colour with the number 7, as my design skills are limited) taking some screenshots and writing up a basic description.

I was amazed that the name “7 Minute Workout” was still available, I assumed there were other apps waiting for review, I was right.

Built and submitted in 6 hours. The wait begins.

Version 1.0 Approval
After 6 days and a couple of minutes review time it was approved. Nobody else knew I had made it (I didn’t even tell my wife).

By this time there were several other 7 Minute Workout apps in the store. So the aim in the first week was to just let it run without telling anyone and to make no attempt to get press.

I was expecting very little, but was surprised to see that it actually sold a few copies with a steady rank.