This Pason Power tool simplifies energy storage economic modeling

Pason Power Storage system

A new tool enabling the solar and energy storage industries to deploy with confidence is now available via Pason Power. The Storage Architect modeling software for energy storage project development puts economics first by forecasting a project’s economic value with the same optimization algorithm that runs autonomous energy storage systems in the field. With Storage Architect, Pason Power believes it can significantly reduce the risks to asset owners, installers, and financiers of overbuilding or underbuilding systems.

“With our platform, you don’t have to be a data scientist to get your solar plus storage projects from pencil-out to power-on,” said Bryce Evans, Success Manager at Pason Power. “Storage Architect gives energy project developers a precise projection of how much storage a site will require, what the payback period will be, and what the net present value of the system is. This enables energy project developers to zero-in on opportunities and deploy storage and solar plus storage projects with confidence.”

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Meet Pason Power

Pason Power Storage

Storage Architect is powered by an advanced machine learning platform built by a company with a legacy of over 24 years in the management and security of energy data. Pason Power is backed by its parent company, Pason Systems Inc., and leverages robust, industrial technology which has provided data acquisition and management for over 600,000 drilling sites worldwide, representing over $1 trillion in drilling operations globally. Pason enjoys one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry and has a 40-year track record of adding value through energy data.

“A major hurdle solar and storage installers face in project and proposal design is the inconsistency between the benefits that estimation tools predict customers will see from their renewable energy and storage projects, and how the completed systems actually perform in the field,” said Brent Harris, CTO of energy storage manufacturer Eguana Technologies Inc. “Pason Power offers a platform for storage estimation and operations that is powered by the same underlying analytics engine, which enables installers to present the cost and performance of several installation options to their customers with confidence.”

Storage Architect puts the power of advanced battery optimization and control algorithms into the hands of system integrators, project developers, as well as energy sustainability and efficiency consultants; enabling users to identify the economic viability of energy storage systems to perform demand charge management in concert with renewable energy generation. Upon system commissioning, the project configuration developed in Storage Architect is transferred to the advanced energy storage system providing a seamless transition from pencil-out to power-on.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York to fund $40 million in solar + storage projects

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is making $40 million in funding available to support solar projects that integrate energy storage, accelerating progress toward New York’s energy storage target of 1,500-megawatts by 2025. These projects will build toward Governor Cuomo’s mandate that 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 to combat climate change and build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system.

“As we continue our aggressive pursuit of clean, renewable technologies, funding for projects like this will ensure New York remains at the forefront of the global fight against climate change,” Governor Cuomo said. “The strategic pairing of energy storage and solar technologies moves us closer to building a clean energy economy that protects critical natural resources and benefits all New Yorkers.”

These funds will be the first storage incentive funds made available since the release of the New York State Energy Storage Roadmap in June. By offering a new incentive for solar-plus-storage projects for the commercial and industrial sectors, including community solar gardens, the storage component will ensure that renewable energy is shifted to times of highest customer usage, such as afternoon hours on summer days. Solar-plus-storage helps reduce consumer energy bills and improves the value of renewable energy to the grid. In addition, paired solar and storage systems can deliver lower costs to consumers by taking advantage of expiring federal tax credits, combining the permitting and interconnection processes, and utilizing less space by co-locating on the same sites.

— Solar Builder magazine

ForeFront Power gets SDG&E approval for community solar project as part of EcoShare

Forefront power

ForeFront Power says its community solar project in San Diego County is now the first to be approved for San Diego Gas and Electric’s (SDG&E) EcoShare program. The program allows SDG&E customers, including those who rent or cannot install on-site solar, the option of purchasing up to 100 percent renewable energy from an off-site location.

Approximately half of U.S. households and businesses are unable to install rooftop solar due to space, lack of sun exposure or ownership limitations, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). SDG&E’s EcoShare program gives residential and business customers – including those who rent – an easy way to participate in solar without installing or maintaining solar panels.

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“We are thrilled to be pioneers of this important community solar program for SDG&E customers,” said Vice President of Sales, Rachel McLaughlin. “For customers who are unable to benefit from on-site solar energy, we now have a solution to extend the benefits of renewable energy to them.”

ForeFront Power is developing the inaugural EcoShare program community solar project in Campo, California. Participating customers will sign a contract directly with ForeFront Power to subscribe to a portion of the energy produced from the 2.4-megawatt solar project. In turn, customers will receive a program credit from SDG&E on their monthly energy statement based on the kilowatt-hour output of their subscription with the developer.

Both residential and business customers may now express their interest in the project to ForeFront Power in order to start their subscription upon project completion in spring 2020.

— Solar Builder magazine

Minnesota approves 1.5 center adder for residential community solar subscribers — is it enough?

Geronimo Energy

Geronimo Energy celebrating another community solar install in Minnesota.

Minnesota has cemented its status as the community solar state, but a design flaw in its program design has left many in the community as non-subscribers — namely, homeowners. Last week the Minnesota Public Utility took action to try and broaden the base, voting unanimously to approve an incentive to residential community solar garden customers of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 2019 and 2020.

Currently, residents make up about 81 percent of the 9,405 solar garden subscriptions but comprise only 10 percent of the gardens’ power subscription capacity. The commercial to residential ratio in community solar capacity distribution is around 9:1 right now, and this new incentive will certain make a dent, but solar advocates are questioning how much, having advocated for a 2.5 cent kicker.

RELATED: Expand the growth of community solar with factory-direct systems

“My fear is that it’s not going to be enough to move the needle in driving the market toward more residential,” Ross Abbey, of solar garden developer U.S. Solar, said after the vote. “It’s disappointing.”

Often solar advocates have to settle for “beggars can’t be choosers” outcomes because of things like the Minnesota Tribune reporting the state attorney general’s office, which represents ratepayers at the PUC, had opposed a residential incentive. Seen in that light, this incentive is seen as a step forward. David Amster-Olszewski, SunShare founder and CEO, shares his perspective on it:

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“This decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is a huge win for Minnesota residents that want to contribute to the growth of solar energy without having to install rooftop panels,” he said. “The previously thriving residential community solar market in Minnesota was dealt a strong setback by the value of solar (VOS) tariff when it was first introduced several years ago because the rate was lower than the old rates and only sufficient for the low cost of service of commercial customers.

“As the cost of obtaining and serving thousands of residential subscribers is naturally higher, the market was not able to support residential participation, which is the backbone of the community solar movement. Now that the Minnesota PUC has responded positively to the industry’s recommendation to implement a higher rate for serving residential customers, companies can afford to sell to residential customers again. I expect this decision to have a very significant and rapid impact on SunShare’s ability to develop new community solar projects in Minnesota, creating local, good-paying green jobs and enabling more Minnesotans to choose a clean source of power.”

SunShare was instrumental in the PUC’s decision – its comment paper filed May 11, 2018 (for PUC Docket No. E-002/M-13-867) introduced significant data around how imperative the adder would be to the growth of the industry in MN for residential subscribers.

— Solar Builder magazine

Two community solar gardens coming online in Colorado via Black Hills Energy, Greenskies

Black Hills Energy community solar

Black Hills Energy, in partnership with Greenskies Renewable Energy, a Clean Focus company, delivers new renewable energy sources to customers in Southern Colorado with the completion of two fully-subscribed community solar gardens – a 500-kilowatt garden in Rocky Ford, Colorado, and a 2-megawatt facility in Ordway, Colo.

Black Hills Energy has partnered with Greenskies Renewable Energy, a Clean Focus company, to maintain and operate these gardens, which will allow subscribers to reap the benefits of clean, sustainable energy. Clean Focus Yield Limited will own the arrays as part of its large portfolio of commercial, industrial, small utility and community solar projects.

“We are excited to deliver a solution to the growing interest in solar energy from both customers and community leaders and expand our renewable portfolio at the same time with the construction of these new community solar gardens,” said Vance Crocker, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of Colorado’s electric utility operations. “We are fortunate to live in a state where sunshine is abundant, and we can convert sunny days into renewable energy for our customers.”

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“The Rocky Ford and Crowley County community solar projects provide clean energy to local housing authorities, schools, community colleges and city governments and enable customers to benefit from solar without any equipment on their roofs or property,” said Stanley Chin, President and CEO of Greenskies and Clean Focus Group. “We are pleased to partner with Black Hills Energy and look forward to a long relationship with subscribers over the lifetime of these projects.”

Early next year, construction of the new 60 MW Busch Ranch II wind farm will begin in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties. With this addition, Black Hills will meet Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, requiring 30 percent renewable energy resources by 2020.

In keeping with Black Hills’ commitment to bring more renewable energy to Southern Colorado, the company will continue to invest in solar power in the coming years. Subscriptions are now available at two community solar gardens under construction in Pueblo and Fremont Counties and the utility plans for an additional 2.5 MW of community solar garden power each year over the next four years, including space reserved exclusively for low-income customers.

Black Hills will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 15 in Rocky Ford to celebrate the launch of the new community solar gardens.

— Solar Builder magazine