A little about Energize, LLC
Jim's work with renewable energy technology started 35 years ago in 1982 while working to earn his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). His first interest was photovoltaics (PV) or solar electric cells, where Jim learned how a PV cell works on the inside. He continued to study and work with PV technology, while accumulating extensive experience in his professional career in electrical and electronic design, customer service, project manufacturing and operations management in the electronic industry. In addition to this experience, Jim has strengthened his knowledge and credentials via graduate studies in engineering/management.
In 2002, Energize, LLC was formed and is located in Winneconne, Wisconsin. With Jim's engineering degree, training and experience with both wind and solar electric systems, including his national certification as a NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, Inc.) Certified Solar PV Installation Professional, our customers benefit from the highest level of attention to detail that you can get. He is also certified for performing both Solar PV and Wind site assessments for residential and commercial sites though the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA). Jim also increases public knowledge and awareness and promotes the use of renewable energy through speaking, presentations and teaching seminars and workshops across the state.
Jim has also been an active member of RENEW Wisconsin and a Board Member for the last several years. To learn more about what RENEW Wisconsin is all about check out their link on our Favorites tab above.
28th annual Energy Fair June 16-18, 2017
Mark your calendars! We will have a booth and Jim will be teaching once again this year. We have attended this event so many years now, that we've lost count! This is the best educational event and its a lot of fun! Updates will be coming soon!
2017 Home & Outdoor Living Show with Answers to Energy January 20-22, Sunnyview Expo
We exhibited at this event this year. Many attendee's at our seminar, "Intro to Solar/Being a Smart Solar Electric Consumer". Lots of traffic in the booth on Saturday. LOTS of good questions! It's great to see peoples interest in Solar Electric are changing with the times.
Renew Wisconsin's 6th Annual Energy Summit January 19, 2017
Renewable energy has reached a turning point. In the past few years, more wind and solar power capacity has been built in the US than fossil fuel generation capacity. More than 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set clean energy goals. There are over 1 million solar electric installations nationally, and another million are expected within the next two years. Throughout the country and the world, clean energy is now mainstream.
This was a great conference that generated a lot of excitement among the attendees. Wisconsin is moving forward at a quick pace with solar installations. Visit www.renewwisconsin.org to learn about the speakers.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Federal 30% solar tax credit has helped many businesses and individuals to turn their renewable energy interests into a reality. This credit is currently available through 2019, with a reduction in credit for 2020 and 2021 at which point the credit returns to its prior 10% level. For businesses, accelerated depreciation is available, allowing the customer to depreciate the project cost over a roughly 5 year period. See your finance/tax professional for details on how you can best take advantage of this credit based on your own circumstances. Combined with reduced system costs, and other incentives including USDA grants for qualifying farms and small rural businesses, solar PV systems are more cost effective than ever! Call us now at 920-203-9555.
Appleton, WI home going off grid
We have been working very closely with a family in Appleton for a couple of years now. They have made a very important decision to produce all of their electrical usage with a 3.84kW solar system, which includes a bank of batteries that they will use as storage. They will no longer be supported by the utility. They are removing themselves from the grid and becoming totally energy independent!
Dave & Lila, What was your motivation for going off grid?
"Our motivation for going off the electric grid was driven mainly by the trends we see developing in the production, sale, and consumption of electricity. On the photovoltaic side prices continue to drop even as products improve. New battery technology is entering the market constantly and though the prices are high enough to scare most people off, at this point we felt the long term advantages of lithium batteries was worth it. Battery prices should also continue to drop which will encourage others into the PV market.
On the utility side of the electric equation we have been disturbed by a couple of developments in the last few years. 1) The huge build up of high voltage transmission line construction now happening in spite of flat energy demand. 2) The billions of dollars in high interest debt being placed on rate payers for the next 30 - 40 years to pay for this growth. This has forced local utilities to raise rates and unfortunately change their rate structures as well. Utilities are in near constant battle to raise monthly connection fees while at the same time lowering or holding the line on cost per kilowatt. This restructuring in effect discourages energy efficiency and also increases pay back times for grid tied solar. These factors and our desire to live a more sustainable life style made the idea of going off grid a viable option. No regrets yet."
Was there any process of load reduction on your part? How did you monitor and how important was it to get your usage down to fit your system size?
"Before going off grid we did take a good look at our electric usage and made some changes to lower it. We checked out a watt meter from the library to see how much energy different devises use and also to check for phantom loads( energy used in off or standby). We put switches on the biggest phantom loads to eliminate those losses. Five watts here and there, running 24 hours a day year round turns into big numbers. The same goes for lighting. We have been switching to more efficient lights slowly over the years and plan to do more in the future. Our house has an abundance of windows so we don't use much lighting in daytime even on cloudy days. Turn it off if you're not using it is the rule we live by. It is not a hardship, just common sense. Monitoring the drop in energy usage was as simple as looking at the graph on the electric bill month by month. We would encourage everyone to look at their bill each month and share it with the whole family. Just this act of being aware of your usage has been shown to cause it to drop.
The other major thing we did to lower consumption was purchase a new refrigerator and freezer. They are both chest types and super insulated. A chest style refrigerator takes getting used to but efficient upright models are also available. The bottom line is that our electric usage took a major drop and made going off grid much easier."
Can you talk about the importance of finding the right installer.
"Neither one of us are electronic geniuses so it was imperative that we hire professional help to design and install the system. Everyone's needs and situation are different and there are no optimum number of bids necessary to get the results you are seeking. The important factor for us at least was finding someone who could understand what we were looking for and explain back to us what was needed to get there. We only had two contractors look at our situation and ended up going with Energize LLC.
Since we were going off grid the system had to be robust enough to cover our biggest loads. Shop tools, pumps, and water heater were all turned on and graphed one at a time. The system was then designed around these measurements. These are all things that we could not do on our own. We did however, build a foundation for the panels, a wall for the electronics, shelves for the batteries, and dug a trench for wires. "
What was it like working with Energize?
"Jim Funk and Energize LLC were great to work with. Our questions, ideas, and concerns were always promptly addressed. Jim pays great attention to detail and was indispensable in sorting through and analyzing the new battery systems on the market to find a good fit for our needs. It has been a lot of work from all of us but totally worth it. "
Energize attends Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas
SPI is an annual convention that brings together worldwide markets in the Solar Electric industry. The expo hosts hundreds of exhibitors with the newest and innovative products from all over the world. Educational classes are offered as well as discussion panels, keynote speakers and networking sessions. We attended many classes to keep us up to date on the latest technologies. We also visited many of our current vendors to see what new things they have to offer, so we can, in turn, provide the best for our customers.
Energize, LLC has a strong finish in 2015
We helped agricultural, residential and commercial business customers to take control of their energy future and had a strong finish to 2015 doing it. We've worked across the state, and have provided systems for customers from NE Wisconsin, to Sun Prairie near Madison, to Milwaukee and Waukesha areas. The strong finish for 2015 featured the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company project noted below, currently the largest system in the Fox Cities. Thank you to all of our customers from 2015 and since we started in 2002. We look forward to helping everyone who wants to take control of their energy future with high quality, high performing, high value solar PV system that lasts.
Energize, LLC commissions largest solar electric system in the Fox Cities
A 128.5kW DC STC rated solar electric system was commissioned on November 23, 2015 at the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company's main office in Neenah, WI. This system is on the upper flat roof of their building at their beautifully wooded campus. Electric energy generation is provided by the sun and 408 photovoltaic (PV) modules rated at 315W DC STC each. We carefully sized this system so that all or nearly all energy from it will be used on site, so all savings are at their retail rates. We're proud to have been chosen to design, provide and install this system to help Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company meet its financial and environmental objectives.
Focus on Energy residential systems incentives are back on!
Wisconsin's Focus on Energy Program has re-started the residential incentive offering for systems installed from January 1st through December 31st, 2016. This up to $2,400 incentive is available while funds last. Experience from recent years has been that this very popular incentive has ended early. Customers interested in securing this incentive for their project should call us now so we can answer your questions, understand your needs and objectives, and define the system to met these so we can reserve your incentive now for installation in the spring! Combined with the significant Federal Investment Tax Credit, and reduce system costs, systems are more affordable and cost effective that ever! Call Energize, LLC now at 920-203-9555.
USDA Farm Bill REAP program makes funds available to qualifying rural small businesses ad farms through grants and loans
The USDA Farm Bill continues the grant and loan program that the USDA offers to qualifying rural small businesses and farms. Rural small businesses and farmers have the best set of incentives available, resulting in the best financial returns. The grant typically covers 25% of the system cost, with from $10,000 to $500,000 limits for small to large projects. There are application deadlines. Please call us to find out if you qualify, so we can help you move forward with you solar PV project. Once approved for a grant, customers have up to 2 years to complete the project, so secure your incentive now. Combined with the Federal Investment Tax Credit and reduces system costs, systems are more affordable and cost effective than ever! Call Energize, LLC now at 920-203-9555.
Energize, LLC energizes the Little Farmer in Malone, WI, Northeast of Fond du Lac
We provided the Little Farmer with an 11kW PV system that will help them mitigate the impacts of drought by providing a system that will cover the power needs of a planned large pond and it associated pumps and aerators. The farm experienced a tough year with the drought for their 2012 season. They plan to implement the pond to help them work through the challenges that droughts present, so they can care for their farm even when mother nature throws them a curveball.
New 15kW residential system featuring 3 roof orientations completed in Green Bay
We completed a 15kW residential system in De Pere in November that features three roof mounted arrays, each with its own orientation, using three highly efficient new transformer-less inverters and mono-crystal PV modules. The home was built with energy efficiency throughout and includes a hybrid heating system that included geo-thermal, which is the largest load for the home on an annual basis.
Energize, LLC Founder, Jim Funk, elected to Board of Directors of RENEW Wisconsin
In 2012, Jim was elected to the Board of Directors of RENEW Wisconsin, a Wisconsin non-profit that leads and represents businesses, organizations and individuals who seek more clean, renewable energy in Wisconsin. After being a member and working on RENEW initiatives for years, Jim joined the Board to provide his leadership and business experience, along with extensive experience an expertise with clean renewable energy technologies. He will help RENEW to leverage the overwhelming support of Wisconsinites for more clean renewable energy so that this support can be channeled to transform energy generation in Wisconsin. Serving in his second year on the Board, in addition to regular Board business, Jim is active in multiple committees and is excited about the bright future he sees for RENEW Wisconsin and for renewable energy in Wisconsin.
Neenah Parking Garage saving energy with biggest Solar PV system in Fox Valley
In January 2011 the City of Neenah released ad RFP for the provision of a renewable energy system that would cover 25% of the City Garage's annual electrical energy consumption, which was equivalent to 50,000kWh. This was open to all renewable energy technology. The Tullar Road site visit was attended by more companies than we've ever seen at one of these. Competing against all technologies and competitors, Energize. LLC won the bid by proposing the best and most cost effective solution. Another one of our high quality, high performing solar PV systems that last. The solar PV system, commissioned on October 2011, in its first full year of operation, provided 58,074kWh or 116% of the 50,000kWh objective, and 114% of the 51,030kWh estimated production of the system as installed, using Focus on Energy's standard historical estimation methods. We are proud to be helping the City of Neenah meet its energy cost saving objectives!
Solar parking canopy system powering business in Appleton, WI
Something unexpected is on the Northeast side of Appleton. If you're driving (for safety reasons of course) and look to the north from Hwy 4` just east of the Ballard exit on the westbound side, you might catch a view of it. If you're in the area its on Lightning Drive just north of Evergreen, off Ballard and Hwy 41. For more info, give us a call or email.