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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 4, 2013, 5:00 am

Business News: Week of Feb. 4, 2013

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    Awards

    The Department of Child Support Services of the county of Napa is one of the top 10 in the state for federal fiscal year 2012, according to the California Department of Child Support Services. On Jan. 16, the county department received the Most Improved Performance Award for a small county and placed 10th in overall performance. The program is evaluated according to federal performance measures that include the percentage of children in the caseload where parentage was established, the percentage of cases where a court order was established, the percentage of current support collected as compared to the amount owed, percentage of cases with a payment in arrears and cost effectiveness. Napa County Child Support Services distributes close to $10 million each year, and serves about 5,000 children.

    Banking

    A coalition of Napa County banks and nonprofit organizations are taking part in a new initiative called Bank on Napa Valley. Bank on Napa Valley is a countywide program aimed at bringing more Napa families into the financial mainstream by providing access to everyday financial services. It currently includes Community Trust a Division of Self-Help FCU, Umpqua Bank, Mechanics Bank, Bank of Napa, Bank of the West and Rabobank. Nonprofit organizations include Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center, Cope Family Center, St. Helena Family Center, On The Move and Calistoga Family Center. Participating banks commit to make it easier to open and maintain an account through significantly reducing or eliminating account fees, waiving monthly minimum balance requirements, opening accounts if insufficient fund or overdraft incidents occurred more than a year in the past and waiving one set of those fees annually. Some participating banks will accept Matricula Consular Cards and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers as ID, as well. A cornerstone of the initiative is basic financial education for families and individual participants. As many as one in four Napa families lacks or has only limited access to traditional banking services, forcing them to rely on expensive fringe services such as prepaid debit cards and cash checking services.

    Energy

    Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENPH) announced the availability of the Enphase Microinverter System to the Australian solar market in February. The company will showcase its AC-based approach to solar energy systems to Australian solar professionals at local events beginning Feb. 6. Enphase Energy is partnering with RFI Solar to distribute the Enphase Microinverter System. RFI Solar is a leading distributor of solar photovoltaic products in Australia, serving the solar market for over 30 years. Through the RFI Solar network, the Enphase product line and accessories will be available throughout Australia.

    Retail

    Mollie Stone’s Markets announced the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at several of its Bay Area locations. The unveiling will take place at Mollie Stone’s Sausalito store (100 Harbor Dr.) at 11 a.m. on Feb. 7. Installations at the Palo Alto and Burlingame locations will follow. They are the first grocery chain in the Bay Area to offer charging stations, and will provide one hour free charging to service its customers’ electric vehicles. In an effort to support the growing community of electric vehicle drivers, Mollie Stone’s is partnering with ChargePoint to offer those drivers more services that will make grocery shopping convenient while supporting a green environment. The charging station is designed to charge two electric vehicles simultaneously.

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