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Monday, July 14, 2008

Johnson Controls develops solar kits, ‘green’ design

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Glendale - Tapping the sun's rays for electricity has remained a small niche in the alternative energy arena.

But with industry forecasts showing the market tripling or more over the next decade, Wisconsin's largest company wants to help shift perceptions so that energy from the sun is cast in a new, and more mainstream, light.

Johnson Controls Inc. is rolling out new solar kits designed to make it easy for a school district or other customer to add some solar to their energy mix.

"This is our attempt just to take the mystery out of it" for customers, said Don Albinger, director of renewable energy programs for Johnson Controls. "It's meant to give them their first taste" of solar and their first chance to see their utility electric meter spinning in reverse, he said.

The kits will target colleges, school districts and local governments that are looking to showcase their renewable energy efforts.

The company is also looking to highlight renewable power at its revamped headquarters campus in Glendale and possibly at its downtown Milwaukee office.

The headquarters expansion is part of a broader drive by Johnson Controls to tap demand for energy-saving technologies in buildings and vehicles. The company is forecasting it will add 60,000 jobs worldwide over the next five years - and expand its local work force by 16%, or 450 jobs.

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