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National Teen Driver Safety Week! October 16-22, 2016

8 Danger Zones All Teen Drivers Need to Know

Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for teens. It’s an accomplishment that takes months or even years to achieve. Preparing for and earning a driver’s license is an exciting time. And, it’s important for teens to understand and remember that responsibility that comes along with the right to drive.

Share a safe driving tip, save a life.

Check out these resources provided by The Boys & Girls Clubs of America:

Toolkit for Teens

In-House Counsel Profile:
Ray Angelini Inc.’s James Merkins

 James J. Merkins, Jr., general counsel of Ray Angelini, Inc.

James J. Merkins, Jr., general counsel of Ray Angelini, Inc.

COMPANY PROFILE

Ray Angelini Inc. (RAI) is a privately held electrical contracting company and solar energy provider based in Sewell, New Jersey. Its clients include data centers, hospitals and utility substations.

Among its projects, the company built and installed a solar- and wind-power system for the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. It provides LED lighting design and retrofits; wireless infrastructure services such as distributed antenna systems and cell tower construction and modifications; and power systems testing and commissioning.

LEGAL TEAM

General counsel James Merkins is the company’s sole attorney, although he presides over administrative staff, project coordinators and the human-resources department.

His work day breaks down into a mix of contract review and negotiation, management of outside counsel and overseeing the company’s insurance program. He is a member of the senior leadership team.

He estimates that he handles about 70 percent of the work in-house, farming out mostly litigation.

OUTSIDE COUNSEL

Merkins has engaged Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young (general corporate and succession planning) and Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman (construction litigation and employment law services.) When looking for outside counsel, Merkins seeks “excellent service at reasonable rates.” He’s also used alternative billing to set price caps on projects.

DAILY DUTIES

Merkins typically arrives at the office by 8 a.m. and does his best to return home by 7 p.m., sometimes with laptop in tow to finish emails or other projects. “Most of my time is spent on contracts and the contract-review process,” he said. “When I joined RAI, I instituted a formal contract review process to streamline activities for better speed, accuracy, and reduction of risk.”

He travels on business less than 10 percent of the time, usually involving dispute resolution, new business presentation or biannual meetings. He reports to founder and president Ray Angelini. He enjoys advising management and negotiating contracts. “I take an active role in all of the company’s litigation.”

ROUTE TO THE TOP

Merkins wanted to be a lawyer since the fourth grade, when a teacher complimented him on his efforts to stay out of trouble. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University and earned his J.D. at Widener University School of Law in 2002. While in law school, Merkins interned at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and after graduation clerked for then Delaware Chief Justice Myron Steele.

He joined Blank Rome, practicing corporate and commercial law, and in 2008 moved to Bouchard Margules & Friedlander in Wilming­ton, Delaware. He joined RAI in 2010 as general counsel. “I had a lunch meeting with Ray Angelini, pitching him for litigation work,” Merkins said, “and it turned into a job offer.”

PERSONAL

The Aston, Pennsylvania, native’s hobbies include jogging, Penn State football and time with the family. He and wife Suzy are parents to Annie (11) and Jimmy (10).

LAST BOOK AND MOVIE

“Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father,” by Jay Paterno. The last movie he caught was “Home.”

By Richard Acello, The National Law Journal. August 17, 2015

 

Planning and Training Is The Bottom Line

Much has been written about a recent fire at a warehouse in Burlington County, NJ.  In particular, the fact that the roof was covered with solar panels and its impact on firefighters’ abilities to fight that fire.  While Ray Angelini, Inc. (RAI) did not design or install that particular solar energy system, we have installed many other similar systems.  We believe it is incumbent on the solar industry to help the fire service community with education around this alternative energy technology.  Hence, RAI is committed to working with authorities to help them understand the unique mechanics of a solar energy system, so that in the event of a fire, they can do their jobs safely and with confidence.

The analysis into that fire is ongoing, but the bottom line is, with a good plan and training this fire or any fire can be successfully fought.

As a leading commercial solar PV design, construction and maintenance company and a major part of the solar industry in New Jersey, RAI is reaching out to the firefighting community statewide and offering to assist in training their members in understanding the unique mechanics of solar energy systems.  In fact, we’ve already completed training in a few townships.  We count several firefighters among our team members.  Their combined backgrounds as firefighters and solar PV engineers enable a deep understanding of the issues, technologies and cultures that are involved.

Planning and training.  That’s the solution.  We can help. Call us at 856.228.5566.

Renewables and Efficiency…Perfect Together

Remember the old New Jersey Tourism commercials where former Governor Tom Kean used to recite the slogan, “New Jersey and you…perfect together?” Well, in 2013 here in New Jersey, there’s a pretty good partnership between the value of renewable energy (solar PV) and the value of energy efficiency.

We look at it the following way:

  1. The least costly energy (to your budget and to the environment) is energy you don’t use. There are programs available through the NJ Clean Energy Program that offer incentives for you to replace old, energy-inefficient systems with modern, highly efficient systems. We can help guide you through the maze of programs, incentives and products.
  2. For your remaining energy requirements, nothing beats renewables. New Jersey once again has a strong environment for solar. Investments you make in solar will produce returns for you for over 25 years, so take a longer term view of things. You’ll see the value – not only in budget savings but also to the environment. And telling everyone what you’re doing to help preserve our environment is also good business.

Many of us while growing up were told something to this effect by our parents… ”don’t just sit there and complain…go do something about it.” Apply that to the cost of energy here in New Jersey.

The Solar Business Is Growing Up

The solar business continues to evolve. We’re starting to see some really interesting technologies that offer great promise. RAI has long been at the forefront of bringing innovative energy technologies to our customers. We explore those things that we think might enable us to enhance the value we bring.

Lately, we’ve been involved with some projects where new energy storage technology is involved. Early returns show real promise. Of course, any new technology needs to quickly evolve to meet the needs of the customer and we’re helping guide that, working hand in hand with the developers and manufacturers of that technology.

We’re now seeing RFPs for renewable energy projects that include not only solar, but also wind, storage, sophisticated software systems, fuel cells and a whole host of other technologies.

We commit to continuing to enthusiastically and responsibly explore promising technologies. The innovation in the energy business is exciting…we’re pleased to be a part of it. If you’d like to learn more, please give us a call.

Things are Positive in NJ Solar, But Patience is Needed

In the past few weeks, there have been a number of news items regarding the increase in the spot market value of NJ SRECs. After hitting lows of around $70, they’re now back up to around $120. 3 year forward contracts can be found. These are welcome developments. We’d like to see 5 year contracts because that gives lenders and investors the certainty of SREC values they need for their ROI calculations.

Commercial solar is coming back steadily. We’ve seen several public sector projects in the past few months. We’ve built a number of them and are building more. We’re hopeful the private sector picks up speed.

Patience is essential. We expected the utility SREC financing programs to come back online sometime in the 2nd quarter. That would be just shy of a year since Governor Christie signed the law. However, the Board of Public Utilities has granted the utilities a 6 month extension before the programs need to be in place. We’re now looking at the end of the year at the earliest for those programs. And we need them. They provide the certainty and stability of SREC values that investors need. We’re hoping these programs actually do come online this year.

So there’s reason for optimism. The SREC financing programs are coming, they’re just going to take a little longer than we would have liked. But they’ll get here.

Bonus Depreciation for Solar Still Exists!

Buried in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ legislation that was recently passed is the extension of 50% first year Bonus Depreciation for commercial solar installations. Projects have to be placed into service no later than December 31, 2013 and is eligible for commercial taxable entities (no residential, not-for-profit or government agencies).

We’re witnessing the return of the New Jersey solar business (slow but steady). The anticipation of the utility SREC financing programs (at whatever price level) is bringing back confidence. Equipment prices are now more affordable. The industry has gone back to being mainly serious solar players. ALL GOOD THINGS FOR ALL OF US.

Think about it – you get to depreciate half of the project in the first year then enjoy fully writing it off over the next 5 years. Add the 30% federal investment tax credit and the ability to sell SRECs. Now is the time to start re-thinking solar at your business. We can help.

A New Year’s Resolution That Can Help Us All

Americans have just received untold numbers of new iPhones, iPads, video game consoles and flat screen TVs as holiday presents. All of these devices require electricity. It’s got to come from somewhere.

RAI has been involved in the solar business for quite awhile. The implementation of renewable energy projects is, by itself, a great stride for our society and economy. Stewardship of our environment is a responsibility we all share, and we’re proud to be doing our part to assist our customers to do just that.

While wind and solar projects carry with them a certain level of excitement – they use ‘cool’ technology, they’re very visible and fun to talk about – there are also some other ways in which organizations can be good to the environment. Have you taken a look at how energy efficient you are?

The coupling of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects is a real winner – first, reduce how much energy you really need to use, then get that energy from renewable sources.

Make that a New Year’s resolution – to explore all of the ways in which you can be the best consumer of energy you can be. We’re here to help you do so.

What Happened to Commercial Solar?

After months of little new activity, we’ve been incredibly busy in solar. In the past 4 months we have been building over 12 MW of net-metered commercial solar projects, putting over 150 people back to work. With New Jersey SREC values currently near their lowest point, how is this possible? Through a combination of hard work, patience, strong, performing team members.

It’s no secret that there has been a dramatic reduction in the volume of new commercial solar projects in New Jersey. The huge solar farms that were planned have been particularly affected. Many organizations interested in solar have ‘been standing on the sidelines.’

So who has been ‘greenlighting’ solar projects of late?
• Public sector customers like school districts and municipalities
• Privately-held companies that own their own buildings
• Energy investors and independent power producers with a long term view

Now is a good time to take another look at solar. SREC values are expected to turn up beginning next summer, when the new RPS requirements from the solar law signed last summer take hold. Prices of components have continued to slide, making systems less expensive than they were. All things that point to solar being a solid investment. Key questions:
1. Are you committed to ‘going green?’
2. What is your tolerance for payback on your green investment?
3. Are you willing to pay for your system to be ‘built to last?’

Commercial solar is coming back. This time, the recovery will be gradual but lasting. Be a part of it! Give us a call.

Reducing Energy Costs is Good for the Community

In the truest sense, doing net-metering projects and allowing businesses and homes to reduce their energy cost make the most sense and bring the most value back to the community. Creating lower energy costs allow for business to be more competitive, stable, and keep jobs intact. Jobs pay taxes, jobs purchase commodities, food, clothing, appliances, houses, etc., and flow money back into the economy. Residential solar increases the value of the property and allows for property owner to have more spending, allowing more money to flow as well.

Master plan for Brownfield’s and Landfills also makes sense with bonus S-REC credit amounts due to the higher cost of constructing these projects. We in the industry are still unsure if these particular projects can get done in any great number. There are many hurdles that have to be overcome, environmental regulatory, etc.

Contact Us

  • NJ Electrical Contractor Lic. #34EI00502000
  • NJ Electrical Bus. Permit #34EB00502000
  • DE Licensed Eletrician #T1-0002011
  • Philadelphia Electrical Lic. #3516-14759
  • Maryland License #8337
  • Bonding Capacity $175,000,000
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