Daily Business Report-Feb. 11, 2016
Daniel Sullivan and Sullivan Solar Power electricians installing solar panels at the Port of San Diego Cruise Terminal. (Photo: Bob Hoffman Photography)
California Solar Jobs Top 75,000
• Growth up 38 percent over previous year
• Continued growth is projected
California’s solar employment ranks grew 38 percent in 2015, adding over 20,000 new jobs and hitting an all-time of high of 75,598 solar jobs, according to the latest report by The Solar Foundation, “California Solar Jobs Census 2015.”
The California solar industry praised local policy makers for their continued support of this new clean energy market, pointing to recent decisions around net energy metering, extension of the federal investment tax credit, and the state’s 50 percent by 2030 renewable portfolio standard in SB 350 — all that help create certainty and consumer adoption of alternative ways of generating power.
“Solar power is a bright spot in California’s economy, bringing jobs and economic development to every corner of the state,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association . “While conventional energy industries are losing jobs, we are seeing record growth, and bringing clean air and climate solutions along the way.”
Sullivan Solar Power, one of the major solar companies in Southern California, installed 1,197 solar power systems in San Diego County in 2015, according to a spokeswoman. Its San Diego Couny office employs 113 people.
The Solar Foundation also studied the job growth in other states and concluded that while California is by far the nation’s leader in solar development and job growth, there are other markets worth watching. In fact, 33 states, including the District of Columbia, saw positive solar jobs growth over the past year, and many states experienced double‐digit growth.
“Solar job creation is booming across the country. California’s 20,000 new jobs marks an industry milestone — but states like Utah, Colorado, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia demonstrate the regional diversity of the industry’s growth,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation. “Our data since 2012 show that half the states in the country have at least doubled their solar workforce.”
Other California solar jobs facts:
• Installation companies, driven mainly by the “customer-side of the meter,” i.e. “rooftop” sector, are responsible for 54 percent of all solar jobs in California, totaling 40,597, and saw a 29 percent growth rate in 2015.
• Sales and distribution jobs were the second most numerous, with 11,223 jobs statewide, and showing a nearly 50 percent growth over the previous year.
• A very close third, in-state solar manufacturing sector jobs also grew in 2015, with 11,183 solar jobs in California.
• Last but not least, jobs within the project development sector, typically focused on large commercial projects, grew at the fastest rate, adding nearly 6,000 solar workers in 2015. Such growth may have been driven by fears around the reduction in the federal tax credit.
To put 75,000 solar jobs into perspective, according to CALSEIA, it is more than the state’s five largest utilities combined.
The full report can be found at www.SolarStates.org.
Reduced-Price Water-Efficient Plants
Offered at Garden Friendly Plant Fairs
The San Diego County Water Authority and 11 member agencies are partnering with several local The Home Depot stores to offer discounts on water-efficient plants ideal for springtime planting. The San Diego County Garden Friendly Plant Fairs run from Feb. 20 to May 21 at Home Depot stores from Chula Vista to Oceanside.
The upcoming plant fairs at select The Home Depot locations will feature marked containers of water-wise plants such as lavender, bougainvillea, geranium and rosemary at discounted prices. Industry experts will provide information about water-efficient irrigation supplies and how to select and grow low-water-use plants. Certified nursery consultants from The Home Depot will host how-to workshops, and local retail water agency staff will be available to provide information about water conservation programs and services.
For details about plant fairs and other water conservation resources, go to WaterSmartSD.org.
Scripps Research Study Reveals New Link
Between Brain and Fat-Burning Circuit
A new study in animal models, led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), is the first to show that oxygen sensing in the brain has a role in metabolism and sensing an organism’s internal state.
In a roundworm called C. elegans, cues picked up from the environment –specifically, the sensing of oxygen by the brain — determined how quickly the intestine burns fat. Surprisingly, this communication worked both ways, and fat reserves in the intestine could also influence the strength of the fat-burning signal from the nervous system.
“The implications for this are interesting,” said TSRI Assistant Professor Supriya Srinivasan, who was senior author of the new study. “If oxygen-sensing neurons change their activity based on how much fat there is in an animal, what other neuronal functions can fat modulate?”
The findings raise the possibility of a similar mechanism in humans that may be dysregulated in diseases such as Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, in which patients with extreme obesity appear to have dysfunctional sensory perception. However, the oxygen sensors in humans are not yet known.
The study was published Feb. 11, 2016 by the journal Cell Reports.
Administrator of John A. McColl
Family Health Center Honored
Bill McBee, administrator of St. Paul’s John A. McColl Family Health Center, has been awarded an Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award from the American College of Health Care Administrators.
The national organization said a facility’s excellence is a direct reflection of leadership excellence and that is why McBee has received the award. Fewer than 9 percent of facilities nationwide qualify.
“This award serves as an impressive acknowledgement of the excellent work that our employees perform daily,” said McBee. “It’s clear it is about more than just a paycheck here, it is because we are truly committed to caring for those we serve. I could not be more proud or thankful of my team for being honored as one of America’s top performing skilled nursing facilities.”
ViaCyte Acquires Rights to BetaLogics Assets
ViaCyte Inc., a privately-held regenerative medicine company with the first pluripotent stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in clinical-stage development, announced that ViaCyte and Janssen Biotech Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to consolidate the assets of the Janssen BetaLogics group into ViaCyte.
Nextech Adds San Diego’s Supramed
To its Medical Practice Business
Nextech, a company in Palm Beach, Fla., that develops software used to manage physicians’ medical practices, has acquired San Diego-based Supramed, which specializes in medical practice management software for plastic surgeons. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Supramed CEO Bob Nascenzi was upbeat about the deal, saying Nextech plans to expand Supramed’s development team in San Diego as it expands its cloud-based software. By hiring six software developers over the next six months, Nascenzi said Supramed would double its current headcount — and he counts that as a victory.
“Here’s a tech company that’s being bought in San Diego, but rather than closing us down, they want to build the company in San Diego,” Nascenzi said. “I see so often that we’re like a farm club city here. As soon as something gets bought, (the buyers) want to move it out of town.”
Scripps Enlists Private Boaters
To Help With Ocean Research
Times of San Diego
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography plans to work with private boaters in future ocean research after signing an agreement with the Florida-based International SeaKeepers Society.
The deal calls for SeaKeepers — a yachting society with a mission to promote oceanographic research, conservation, and education — to tap into its database of yachting vessel owners willing to offer their ships for marine research and exploration.
When a need arises from a Scripps scientist, engineer, or student, a match will be made with a yachter, giving the researcher an opportunity to collect samples, deploy instruments, and further their science.
“This agreement provides a way for citizens — yacht owners — to participate in scientific research in a meaningful way,” said Bruce Appelgate, associate director of Scripps Oceanography.
“It affords the opportunity for interested and motivated nonscientists to make real connections with scientists and their institutions, and to make tangible contributions to ocean science,” Appelgate said. “Through this program, scientists and nonscientists alike can share the experience of understanding and protecting the planet.”
Scripps Oceanography has its own fleet of vessels, but the Discovery Yachts program extends its reach even more.
The organizations have been working together on an informal basis for about five years, and the new agreement formalizes the arrangement. Patty Elkus, a member of the Scripps Director’s Council, is one of the founders of the yachter’s group.
“My motivation was to connect two exemplary ocean organizations that I support, and align them into a synergistic relationship that will advance oceanographic science,” said Elkus.
“As a citizen scientist, I understand firsthand that the Discovery Yachts program is a valuable platform for providing our Scripps scientists with crucial ocean access,” Elkus said. “It introduces them to SeaKeepers citizen scientists who have the interest and means to support their work in a tangible way and are interested in daring exploration.”
According to Scripps, graduate student Natalya Gallo has been investigating the impact of declining subsurface oxygen levels off California, which are known to have dropped some 20-30 percent over the last 25 years. She’s been assisted in her studies by the San Diego Yacht Club and a local boat owner.
Gallo is looking to deploy oxygen-measuring devices in Southern California’s deep-sea environments in an effort to evaluate how frequently such areas are exposed to low-oxygen conditions and how fish respond to the changes.
This spring, she’ll deploy an oxygen sensor package and camera system in the Scripps Coastal Reserve off La Jolla, from a boat owned by Rodney Moll, a Yacht Club member, according to Scripps. The device, developed by retired Scripps engineer Kevin Hardy and called a “nanolander,” will focus on depths between 300 and 1,200 feet, and be retrieved a few months later.
— City News Service contributed to this article.
Coastal Commission Fires Executive Director
The California Coastal Commission fired its executive director Wednesday — a decision made despite an overwhelming show of public support for the land use agency’s top official. The panel disclosed that it voted 7 to 5 in a private session to dismiss Charles Lester, touching off an emotional scene unique in the agency’s 44-year history. — Los Angeles Times
Museum of Art to Unveil New Public Art Showcase
The San Diego Museum of Art today will unveil a new public art showcase in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama. The display, titled Art of the Open Air, will feature seven large-scale sculptures from the museum’s sculpture collection. It will be unveiled at 11 a.m.
The collaborative project between the museum and the city of San Diego will feature sculptures from world renowned artists including Auguste Rodin, Joan Miró, Lynn Chadwick, and Tony Rosenthal. These priceless sculptures were previously confined to storage but were restored as part of this effort. Over $250,000 was raised for conservation, installation, security, and lighting for the sculptures from crowdfunding and other philanthropic giving.
Meredith Stumpo Joins BNBuilders
Meredith A. Stumpo has joined the San Diego office of BNBuilders as senior cost estimator.
Stumpo has nearly two decades of experience, specializing in preconstruction services on a variety of projects. She is part of a preconstruction team that has evolved due to its expanding operations that will double in size during 2016 and expand further into Los Angeles and Orange County.
Throughout her career, Stumpo has served as the lead estimator for several multi-million dollar projects. As a senior cost estimator, she creates detailed estimates. She describes it as a collaborative effort with the subcontractors, comparing their information with BNBuilders’ in-house estimates based on market research.
Stumpo’s recent projects include the 174,000-square-foot Landmark Aviation at San Diego International Airport, and the new 16-story Sempra Energy Headquarters.
Luxtheon Names Chief Financial Officer
Luxtheon Lighting Corp., a manufacturer of plasma and LED lighting fixtures for industrial & commercial use, has named Joseph Earle as its first
chief financial officer.
A management and executive-level professional with more than 25 years of experience, Earle will be responsible for ensuring the company’s capital structure, financial systems, controls and forecasting models support growth, as well as securing and managing funding.
Earle has previously served as CEO, CFO and EVP with multiple companies in various industry segments.
Former Black Hawk Pilot
Lands Women’s Week Keynote
Decorated former U.S. Army Black Hawk Pilot Elizabeth McCormick has landed a speaking engagement at San Diego Women’s Week in March. Attendees of Women’s Week’s Inspiration Conference on Friday, March 18, will glean relatable lessons from harrowing stories of air assault and top-secret intelligence missions.
McCormick is a renowned speaker who has written several books on leadership, and frequently appears in the media as an authority on veterans’ issues.
Military personnel and their dependents are invited to attend Opening Day on Monday, March 14.
Click here for details.