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Financing and technology packaged in solar product

BY Ken Clark

Fremont, Calif.-based EchoFirst launched its newest Echo solar system and the nation’s first combined solar electric and solar thermal lease for the residential market.

The newest Echo solar system builds on the success of the Echo+ solar system, which has been installed in more than 1,000 homes. While basic solar electric or “PV” systems only provide electricity, Echo and Echo+ provide electricity and thermal energy. 

Echo provides electricity and hot water, while Echo+ provides electricity, hot water, home heating and home cooling. 

The latest product includes patented technology that make it even more powerful — Echo delivers up to 25% more thermal energy than the industry’s leading flat plate collectors. Integrating solar electric and solar thermal energy capture in the same system increases energy capture when compared with existing solar-electric-only systems. And the system is engineered to be easy to install on existing homes, so now even homeowners with small or difficult-to-install-on roofs can realize significant energy savings on both their electricity and water heating bills.

“We’re bringing more than a technology breakthrough to the market,” said Vikas Desai, the CEO of EchoFirst. “We’re bringing superior financing solutions to our customers as well. The newest Echo solar system is powered the Echo CompleteLease, the only residential solar lease that also harnesses the power of solar thermal technology for added utility savings. The Echo CompleteLease translates both electricity and thermal energy to savings, so homeowners can realize all the benefits of Echo in a lease. And with a dedicated fund of $50 million, just as our first step, we’ve got the financial strength to service our customers across the country.”

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Lennox points to strength in residential business

BY Ken Clark

Heating and air-conditioning giant Lennox International reported second-quarter revenue of $934 million, up 2% from the same quarter last year.

Adjusted income from continuing operations in the second quarter was $49.6 million, up from $46.8 million in the same quarter last year.

The figures reflect the company’s sale of its Hearth business in April 2010.

"Continued strong execution drove 11% revenue growth and 19% profit growth in our residential business in the second quarter," said Todd Bluedorn, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Lennox International. "Residential again realized strong growth in both new construction and replacement business, with warm weather comparable overall to the second quarter a year ago." 

Despite a cautious attitude about the macroeconomic environment, Bluedorn said the company raised its guidance for 2012 and plan a minimum of $50 million of stock repurchases in the second half of the year.

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Former Sears interim CEO Johnson named CEO of spun-off unit

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Holdings Corp. said that former interim CEO Bruce Johnson will serve as president and CEO of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores once the unit is spun off from the retailer.

Johnson served as interim CEO of Sears Holdings from 2008 to early 2011.

Last February, Sears Holdings announced it would spin off its Sears Hometown and Outlet businesses in an effort to raise an expected $400 million to $500 million.

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