Sun, Solar Energy and Saran Wrap… well, sort of!

July 5th, 2011: grist (an environmental news source) published an article about solar panels that are only 60 NANOMETERS thick! These soalr panels have the potential of making big strides for the solar energy world. If you are interested in learning more about this product and its implementation, take a moment to read the article below, courtesy of grist:

‘Cling-film’ solar panels are 1/200th the thickness of Saran Wrap


5 JUL 2011 12:11 PM

New ‘cling-film’ solar panels can be printed like newspapers, and then self-organize into layers of plastics that can turn sunlight into electricity. The result is a useful solar panel that’s only 60 nanometers thick — or 1/200th the thickness of saran wrap.

Using the same roll-to-roll printing techniques used to mass-manufacture dead tree media, scientists propose to print layers of plastics suffused with “buckyballs,” the soccer ball-like cages of carbon atoms whose discovery led to the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996.

Manufacturers already print solar cells, sometimes called thin-film solar cells, but the race is on to make them more efficient, so they can be ever more cost-competitive with both traditional solar cells and fossil fuels. Ultra-efficient, ultra-thin solar cells will be able to cover large areas easily and affordably.

Energy Audits, Energy Audits, Energy Audits!!!!

The Conundrum: You’re a building owner and you want to reduce your property’s energy consumption and costs… What to do? What to do?

The Solution: Get an ENERGY AUDIT!

An energy audit is an inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building or system. An Energy Audit  is conducted in order to reduce the amount of energy input into the building system without negatively affecting the output(s).

Reducing energy consumption while improving human comfort, health and safety are the chief goals of an energy audit. An energy audit seeks to prioritize the energy uses of a building according to the most cost effective opportunities for energy savings.

Energy Audits will determine which energy efficiency measures will help you reach your target energy reduction goals and meet your capital investment return criteria.  Partner Energy engineers will conduct an on-site field visit to evaluate various building systems and present the following for each energy efficiency measure recommended:

  • Scope of Work
  • Estimated Complete Installation Cost
  • Estimated energy and operating savings
  • Greenhouse gas emission reduction
  • Available rebates and incentives
  • Payback period and Internal Rate of Return

If you are interested in learning more about the Energy Auditing process, please feel free to check out Partner Energy’s website: or contact Partner Energy @ (888) 826-1216.

Parking Garages and Tax Deductions!

At this point, it is pretty well known that the federal government is offering large tax incentives/saving opportunities for energy efficient buildings. But, did you know that the federal government has made it clear, by IRS Notice 2008-40 Sec. 6, that Parking Garages are an eligible building category for Section 179D tax deductions?

With parking garages being recognized as an eligible building category for tax deductions, building and parking garage owners have the potential to save a great deal of money by implementing energy efficient building lighting retrofits.

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please take a moment and read Charles Goulding’s informative article, “Multiple Lighting Technologies: Drive Large EPAct Tax Deductions for Parking Garages.”

Click Here To Read More

Some Additional Details On The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) 504 Energy Efficiency Loan Program

The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) 504 energy efficiency loan program has been regarded as one of the few consistent sources of capital for real estate construction and acquisition projects, yet has been under-utilized since its  inception.
In an attempt to further illustrate SBA 504’s financing potential, I searched in Partner Energy’s archives and found the following piece that was published by Partner Energy’s President, Tony Liou. In this brief article, Mr. Liou discusses what business borrowers can expect when carrying out an SBA 504 financed project:
Tony Liou, September 16th, 2009

I wanted to provide some additional details on the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) 504 energy efficiency loan program that was first referenced by Sibley Fleming on June 4th, 2009 since many borrowers and mortgage brokers have asked about it lately.
Over the past couple of months, two small business borrowers have been able to obtain real estate financing through the SBA 504 loan program by reducing their energy consumption. Financing was obtained for the new construction of a retail center totaling approximately $9 million and the acquisition of an existing warehouse totaling approximately $8 million using the SBA 504 loan program.
The SBA 504 loan program is one of the few consistent sources of capital for real estate construction and acquisition projects today and because of recent changes to the program, project sizes can now be up to $10 million if an energy efficiency or renewable energy generation project is implemented as part of the business plan.
In general, the SBA 504 loan program provides small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings. A Certified Development Company (CDCs) is a nonprofit corporation set up to contribute to the economic development of its community. CDCs work with the SBA and private-sector lenders to provide financing to small businesses.
Typically, a project financed using the SBA 504 loan program includes a loan secured with a senior lien from a private lender, e.g., Wells Fargo or Bank of America, covering up to 50 percent of the project cost, a loan secured with a junior lien from the CDC (backed by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed debenture) covering up to 40 percent of the cost, and a contribution of at least 10 percent equity from the small business. Private banks benefit from the program because they lend on only 50 percent of the project and are in a more secured position. Borrowers benefit by being required to provide only 10% equity.
Proceeds from SBA 504 loans must be used for fixed asset projects such as: purchasing land and improvements, including existing buildings, construction of new facilities, or modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities.
With recent changes to the loan program, borrowers are able to qualify for up a $4 million SBA loan debenture. At this SBA loan size, qualified borrowers can utilize the SBA 504 loan program for projects up to $10 million if an energy efficiency or renewable energy generation project is implemented as part of the business plan. Otherwise, without the energy efficiency project, the maximum SBA 504 exposure is $1,500,000.
Interest rates on SBA 504 loans are based on a spread above the current market rate for five-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury issues. Maturities of 10 and 20 years are available. Fees total approximately 2.15 percent of the debenture and are financed with the loan. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has reduced these fees for a limited time.
To be eligible, the borrower’s business must be operated for profit and fall within the size standards set by the SBA. The business qualifies as small if it does not have a tangible net worth in excess of $8.5 million and does not have an average net income in excess of $3 million after taxes for the preceding two years. The business must occupy at least 51% of the building being purchased, if existing; or for ground up construction, 60% now and 80% within the near future. Loans cannot be made to businesses engaged in speculation or investment in rental real estate. Hotels are allowable.
For more information on SBA 504 energy efficiency loan program qualification visit:

Tony Liou is the president of Partner Energy ( a nationwide provider of building energy audits, energy efficiency and renewable energy consulting and implementation services.

Commercial Real Estate Energy Disclosure Laws

In recent years, an energy disclosure has become necessary for buyers of commercial buildings to adequately understand if they are buying an energy efficient or inefficient building. Energy ratings enable the market to asses a building’s energy performance and to identify buildings where energy costs are lower, thus creating a higher demand for efficient buildings. Once buyers, lessors and lenders understand the relative energy efficiency of buildings, they will then be able to take advantage of the various rebates/tax incentives that the government offers to efficient buildings.

Partner Energy’s Business Development Manager, Jason Mandler, recently hosted a webinar on Commercial Real Estate Energy Disclosure Laws. Feel free to take a look at his Commercial Real Estate Energy Disclosure presentation, ask questions, start a discussion and/or take a look at the rebates/tax incentives that the government is offering in order to make the Energy Disclosure Law transition as smooth/financially efficient as possible.

*Mr. Mandler will be hosting 2 more Green Real Estate/Energy Efficiency webinars (May 4th and June 1st. If you are interested in calling into one of these presentations, please RSVP to with your name, company, contact information and desired presentation date(s).  Prior to each webinar, you will be sent an email with a registration link that must be completed prior to each webinar.

WATTS Going On In The Energy Efficiency World?!!

This is a (work in progress) blog that Partner Energy has designed to act as a platform for discussing  engineering, construction, architecture and real estate as it relates to the energy efficiency world. Times and the environment are changing and energy efficiency/conservation has taken on prominence in the political, public and private sectors alike. In a serious attempt to reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government and individual states have begun to offer tax incentives/rebates (  for residencies, municipalities and businesses that incorporate Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) into their daily operations.

Whether you are a an engineer, architect, property owner or are just curious about WATT is going on in the energy efficiency world… please feel free to follow this blog, comment on the posts and/or suggest new topics for discussion.