Category Archives: Legislation

Reserve Your Piece of $5 Million in New Energy Rebates Today

Important news! The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has opened the Virginia Home Efficiency Rebate Program. Approximately $5 million will be available.

Rebates are available now for up to 20 percent of the cost for the following eligible project items, up to $595 per residential property address:

  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Replacement windows and exterior doors
  • Storm doors

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funding has been reserved.  Once all funds are reserved, additional applicants will go onto a waiting list in case all reservation funds are not claimed. The on-line application is available on the DMME website:

Applicants have 60 days to complete a project once a reservation is approved. Qualifying energy efficient equipment and items purchased and installed on or after March 26, 2010 will be considered for a rebate if all other eligibility requirements are met.

If you received a rebate for specific equipment and items under the previous Energy Efficiency Rebate Program, you cannot apply for a rebate for the same equipment or item under the new Home Efficiency Rebate Program.  However, if for example, you previously received a rebate for 10 windows, and want to install 4 more windows purchased after March 26, 2010, you can apply for a rebate for the additional windows that were not included in the previous rebate.

Virginia residents can learn how to apply for either rebate program on DMME’s Division of Energy web page:

To schedule your energy audit or for more information, please call 703-354-0262 or email

Legislation update from CES President Kent Baake

Continuum Energy Solutions has been influential in the recent progress of solar legislation in Virginia. This week both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed the Voluntary Solar Resource Fund Bill (HB 2191 and SB 975), which aims to set up a revolving loan fund for residential solar energy projects. The loan program will promote economic development and the production of clean, renewable energy at no cost to the state.

The bill is a win-win-win for all major parties involved: the citizens of Virginia who will receive the loans, the commonwealth’s solar energy industry, and utilities with an interest in distributed solar power.

I have been in Richmond often these last few weeks and will continue to update you as the legislation proceeds.

– Kent Baake

Renewable Energy Backers Lobby VA Lawmakers



In an era where new power plants cost billions and the huge components of offshore wind farms require an industrial base to manufacture, solar power proponent Kent Baake came to the Capitol on Thursday backing two low-key alternative energy bills.

One would create a state fund for homeowners to finance solar power installations. The other would loosen homeowner association covenants that restrict rooftop solar collection panels.

Baake said the bills’ passage would encourage more residents to try solar, and enrich the state’s economy.

“This renewable energy stuff creates jobs,” Baake said during a one-day drive by dozens of alternative energy proponents to win the support of legislators. “There are success stories out there.”

His company, Continuum Energy Solutions of Alexandria, has seen its small work force multiply by 500 percent in the past year designing and installing solar technology and other energy efficiencies. Continuum employs 25.

Baake was among the more than 40 proponents of solar, wind and biomass energy who met with legislators in what was billed the first renewable energy lobbying day at the legislature.

“We feel it is critically important that the renewable energy story be told to legislators who otherwise hear from the utilities every day,” said Glen Besa, director of the Sierra Club of Virginia. He added that Virginia leaders “need to appreciate that coal, gas and nuclear are no longer the only ways to generate electricity.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell has pushed energy to the forefront of his Republican administration, creating the climate for a robust discussion of how the state will meet its energy needs in the future. He also has been criticized by some on the alternative front for investing too much political capital in fossil fuels, such as offshore oil and gas exploration.

The Obama administration put Atlantic Coast oil and gas exploration off limits following the BP Gulf oil disaster.

Some big energy players were also among the biomass and solar proponents pitching their energy plans to legislators.

They included Robert Mitchell, acting chief executive of Atlantic Wind Connection. The company has attracted Google Inc. as an investor in its proposal to build a backbone transmission line running from the New Jersey coast down to Virginia, with the potential of delivering 6,600 megawatts of offshore wind power.

The development of wind farms off the East Coast could create more than a quarter-million jobs manufacturing the huge components of wind turbines and in related industries, Mitchell said.

“Virginia is very, very well suited to be one of the prime recipients of factories locating here,” Mitchell said. “You have what many of the other states don’t have, and that is ports that have access to the ocean without the encumbrances of bridges.”

Ocean-based wind farms rise 400 feet from the ocean floor with blades the length of football fields.

Besides job creation, wind power would have a huge reduction in carbon emissions: a reduction of 16 million tons annually, or the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road.

“We’ve got a great opportunity here, and besides that it’s the right thing to do,” said Robert Mathias, a member of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority and assistant to the Virginia Beach city manager.

He said Hampton Roads has the potential to become the Silicon Valley of wind power.

For Baake, the bill aimed at restrictive housing covenants would mean more business for his small company, and more jobs. He left Richmond after winning over a couple legislators, he said.

“We definitely made some progress,” he said.

Support Solar in Virginia!

An excellent bill to stimulate solar: The Solar Resource Development Fund,  has been offered in the Virginia General Assembly, HB2191 also SB975.  This would establish a fund where citizens could borrow money at low interest to get solar installed on their home.  Please write your state representative today to express support for this bill! 

Kent Baake

Founder & CEO Continuum Solar

Cell 703-906-7388

House Passes Home Star Bill

House Passage of ‘Home Star’ Sets Stage for Creation of More than 168,000 U.S. Construction Jobs, Alliance Says

Washington, D.C., May 6, 2010 – The Alliance to Save Energy today praised the House of Representative’s passage of the Home Star Energy Retrofits Act (H.R. 5019), legislation that would provide on-the-spot rebates for homeowners who make energy efficiency home improvements and create as many as 168,000 American construction jobs over the next two years.

“Today’s House passage of the Home Star program brings us one day closer to putting American construction workers back to work and helping millions of cash-strapped Americans make cost-saving energy efficiency improvements to their homes,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan.

Home Star would provide rebates to homeowners who retrofit their homes with energy efficient equipment and materials, including insulation, windows and heating and cooling equipment. The legislation would create two rebate programs, one for such specific improvements and one for whole-home energy-use reductions. The first category of rebates would be for up to $3,000 per home, the second for up to $8,000. More information at

The Solar Bill of Rights!

Mr. Rhone Resch of the Solar Energy Industries Association has produced a definitive article on the current state of the Solar Industry as it stands within the entire political spectrum.  By signing the Solar Bill of Rights, you can learn about the forces our industry is up against, and join thousands of other Americans in urging lawmakers in Washington to give the U.S. solar industry a fair competitive environment.

He’s not asking for a handout, just a fair playing field for an industry that doesn’t remove mountain tops, trap miners, or destroy coastlines and fisheries despite best efforts to avoid such catastrophes.

Retrofit Materials Mostly Made in the U.S.A.

Great News for America! Citing a study published by the Home Performance Resource Center — the nonprofit research arm of Efficiency First — New York Times blogger Kate Galbraith has posted an article about how the vast majority of building materials and appliances used in energy retrofits are produced by American factories.

More info here:

HB881 Removing covenant restrictions on solar

Down in Richmond for the commitee meeting on hb881. It will likely get moved to next Thursday’s meeting. I’ll post info if that is not the case along with new info on the bill’s progress as I become aware of it. -Kent Baake

Mandatory RPS for VA to be discussed in Richmond General Assembly

SB 450 will likely be discussed in committee this Monday morning Feb. 1, 2010.  Many studies have shown that many sustainable jobs can be created and have been created by states who have adopted a mandatory RPS.  Check out the studies below and let’s start the discussion on the pros and cons of mandatory RPS.  Most important of all, by Friday let Senator Saslaw, the committee chair and the senate majority leader, know you have seen the RPS studies his Legislative aide has seen and feel that this bill can be a big job creator in Virginia. 

Virginia has mandatory RPS proposed in the current session:

These three links are detailed studies regarding job creation from Mandatory RPS implementation.

Contact Senator Saslaw to let him know you support this bill.

Constituent Hotline:

(800) 889-0229


Richmond Office:

Office of Senator Richard L. Saslaw

P.O. Box 396

Richmond, VA 23218

Phone: (804) 698-7535

Scott Surovell, our 44th District Delegate Gets a CES Energy Audit

This weekend, CES provided an energy audit for Mr. Surovell. Afterward, he blogged about his experience:

Scott did an excellent job of detailing exactly what an energy audit entails, and the benefits that can be gained from the remediating/weatherization opportunities identified in an audit. As with most of our clients, he was surprised to know how many safety hazards existed and how many significant energy saving improvements were identified.