California Solar Project is First for New Net Energy Metering Program

A new solar project in Silver Lakes, a planned community of more than 3,000 residences in San Bernardino County, Calif., will be the first to take advantage of Southern California Edison’s new NEMA program. A revolutionary step forward for distributed solar generation, this program allows a utility customer, such as Silver Lakes’ homeowners association, to use electricity from a solar facility on its property to offset electricity usage from multiple meters located on contiguous properties owned or leased by the customer.

stock - skypanelsClean power generated by the 831-kW PV system will offset electricity consumed by Silver Lakes’ community amenities, such as pools, clubhouses, restaurants and sports facilities. Construction will commence in October, with completion expected by the end of the year.

The project was developed by SK Solar, who gave shape to the unique net metering opportunity, pulling together various partners to create a viable solution for engineering, permitting, financing and ultimately, construction. As one important piece of the puzzle, Silver Lakes has entered a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Pacific Power Renewables, which will allow the homeowners association to see savings in the first year of solar production. Throughout the life of the PPA, Silver Lakes will experience total estimated savings of over $3 million thanks to this innovative net metering program and PPA set-up.

“Pacific Power Renewables is proud to be part of this unique project, pioneering a new aggregate metering tariff with SCE,” stated Dan Powell, CEO of Pacific Power Renewables. “PPR is providing the construction finance, long term ownership and management of this high tech solar array and we’re looking forward to a long term PPA partnership with the great community of Silver Lakes.”

“The Silver Lakes Association is excited to partner with SK Solar, and our investment partner Pacific Power Renewables, to insure energy reliability and affordability into the future,” stated Greg Heldreth, President of Silver Lakes Association (SLA). “Following the solar project installation and interconnection, the reduction in current and projected future electricity bills are estimated conservatively to be $1.5M to $3.5M over 20 years. These savings represent an important opportunity for SLA to control future assessment increases by offsetting increasing electrical energy costs with clean, quiet, and efficient solar energy.”

Leading solar development company SK Solar will also build the project, which will feature 315-watt Sunmodule XL 72-cell solar panels from SolarWorld mounted on DuraTrack HZ single-axis trackers, customized with a 60° range of motion, from Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI).

Boris von Bormann, CEO of SK Solar, Inc., said, “We at SK Solar are excited to stand behind this great project for the community of Silver Lakes. We are thrilled in bringing all the pieces together to make this project a success, starting with Silver Lakes Association as the client who will be benefiting of the solar installation’s yearly energy output to cover almost 80% of their energy usage, involving Pacific Power Renewables as the financing arm of the project and ultimately getting quality partners involved such as SolarWorld and Array Technologies to ensure reliable and excellent equipment. This project has proven to be a great step for everyone involved. We are thrilled to serve the community of Silver Lakes and proud to be bringing them closer to producing clean energy for the next generation to come.”

Silver Lakes Solar Project will become a highly visible symbol of California’s commitment to an economy propelled by competitive, reliable, and clean energy resources. The power plant will serve as an instrument for learning how to integrate solar energy into a complex power system via net aggregate metering.

“This revolutionary aggregate net metering program will allow cutting-edge companies and associations, such as Silver Lakes Association, to take advantage of electricity cost savings provided by solar energy at a long-term levelized cost of electricity,” indicated Ron Corio, CEO and Founder of ATI. “Array Technologies is pleased to be a part of this project and contributing the solar trackers that will provide smooth and continuous production throughout the day, including high-energy demand hours.”

The solar arrays at the Silver Lakes site are capable of generating over 1.8 million kilowatt-hours per year, more than enough to power over 300 homes and to offset  2,887,121 lbs of CO2 annually for the next 20 years. The system is scheduled to be interconnected by the end of the year.

— Solar Builder magazine

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