Ecolibrium Solar makes list of fastest-growing private companies in the country

Ecolibrium Solar, maker of simple racking solutions for commercial and residential solar, was named to the 36th annual Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America.

Inc. Magazine ranked Ecolibrium Solar the 443rd fastest-growing private company in the country. To make the list, Ecolibrium Solar grew 989 percent over the past three years, during a period when the economy grew just 6.7 percent.

Ecolibrium ranks No. 22 among energy companies on the Inc. 5000. Many energy companies listed are solar installers, but Ecolibrium is the sole solar racking manufacturer listed. The company also ranked No. 12 among the top Ohio companies named to the Inc. 5000.

“Ecolibrium Solar is honored to be among the outstanding companies in the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000,” said Jan Willem van der Werff, Ecolibrium Solar’s CEO. “We’re passionate about making solar racking better, simpler and more cost-effective to mount solar panels on every type of roof. I’m grateful to our customers, who have supported and challenged us, to the Ecolibrium Solar team, which continues to create and deliver the simplest and fastest solar mounting technology out there, and to our investors who believed in us from day one and who are ready and look forward to the next wave of growth.”

ecolibrium

Ecolibrium’s growth

Ecolibrium Solar’s growth story speaks for itself, with more than 600 MW installed over five years.
The company conducts ongoing product innovation, development and testing at its TUV-accredited R&D lab and offices in Boulder, Colorado. But Ecolibrium is headquartered in Ohio where it originated and remains deeply rooted in the Ohio technology and investment community.

“The Ohio investment community is deeply committed to the businesses it invests in,” says investor and Ecolibrium Board Member Ted Capossela. “Next to looking for healthy financial returns, the long-term success of portfolio companies and creation of jobs in the Ohio region are top priorities. It is this longer view and loyalty that create the success and growth rate like we have seen with Ecolibirum. We look forward to many more years of above market growth rates.”

Ecolibrium is the No. 1 independent manufacturer in the fast-growing rail-less residential racking market and No. 2 in the market when SolarCity’s racking provider is factored in, reports GTM Research. As an independent manufacturer, Ecolibrium provides racking to distributors and solar installers nationwide, helping regional and national installers gain an edge in an increasingly competitive environment. The company offers its EcoX Rail-less Racking System. Rail-less is predicted to see 64 percent growth from 2016-2022.

In commercial low-slope or flat-roof racking, Ecolibrium Solar maintains the No. 4 position with the popular EcoFoot Modular Platform that today has more than 200MW installed. Further growth is expected with the addition of the just launched EcoFoot5D High Density 5-Degree Racking System. The high-density system delivers 18.4 percent more power than 10-degree systems.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolAmerica Energy completes 1.35 MW for MTU America

sol america energy install

MTU America (a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce) held a ceremony on August 9 in Graniteville, South Carolina, to celebrate a 1.35 MW (DC) ground-mounted solar array installed on a 7-acre site. SolAmerica Energy of Atlanta designed and installed the system and will maintain the project for MTU America. The project will generate energy income for MTU America through a Bill Credit Program with South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), and was financed under an agreement with Key Equipment Finance, a division of KeyBank.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and Congressman Joe Wilson attended the ceremony, along with other government and business leaders, and participated in “flipping the switch” with MTU America to officially launch the project.

Speaking on behalf of MTU America, Joerg Klisch, Director of Operations of MTU America, stated, “This is a very exciting project for MTU. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of technology in the power solutions we provide to our customers, and solar projects like this will be an important part of the power mix in the future. SolAmerica has been a valuable partner in making this project a reality.”

SolAmerica Energy develops, finances, and constructs commercial and utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, SolAmerica Energy has built solar projects for many of the leading companies in the Southeast and has developed projects for nationally recognized investors and owner-operators.

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on how Sunwealth’s Solar Impact Fund looks to scale commercial solar

Sunwealth

Sunwealth is an innovative clean energy investment firm looking to bring commercial solar to scale with its Solar Impact Fund. The fund offers investors two compelling ways to invest – via tax equity or a bond offering – in the vastly untapped commercial solar asset class.

Sunwealth seeks to create wider-reaching social and environmental impact – without sacrificing finan-cial return – by combining commercial solar projects for credit-worthy businesses, municipalities, and non-profit organizations into a single investment vehicle.

The first tranche in the fund is comprised of six projects providing renewable solar energy to fire departments, schools, and businesses in New York and New England, including Sika Sarnafil’s U.S. headquarters in Canton, Mass., and the Montessori School of Northampton, Mass. All six projects were recently placed in service, and to date the Solar Impact Fund has exceeded performance expectations.

The second tranche, with a bond offering of $1.5M and tax equity offering of $1M, will include nine additional projects to build on the Solar Impact Fund’s initial success.

“Commercial solar is built on proven technology, high technical potential, and is a driving force in the decentralization, de-carbonization, and democratization of our energy grid,” said Jonathan Abe, Chief Executive Officer at Sunwealth. “The Solar Impact Fund provides investors with a simple, transparent, and predictable investment. They know which projects they are funding and can track the measurable impact they are delivering.”

The Fund’s first two tranches will produce more than 1,691 metric tons of carbon offsets per annum, over $2,115,000 in energy savings for power purchasers, and generate more than 50 job years for so-phisticated positions among locally-based solar firms.

Sunwealth invests alongside its investors by owning and operating each project within the Solar Impact Fund. The firm’s technology-driven insight paired with a proprietary underwriting process identifies high-performing projects that can generate meaningful financial returns. The standardized and pooled-project approach dramatically reduces transaction costs and gives investors access to a diverse set of projects that combat climate change and strengthen communities through job creation and access to clean energy.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Tennessee denies request to lift cap on solar system size in GPP program

tenneseia solar system program

More like ‘NO Sun’ Studio, amirite?

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has decided against making a widely supported improvement to its small scale solar energy program, Green Power Providers (GPP). TVA’s GPP program allows homeowners, businesses, municipalities, and other property owners to invest, install and safely interconnect solar energy systems to the grid and be compensated by TVA for the clean electricity they generate at the same electricity rate that the customer pays for power.

Since 2012, TVA has capped participation in the GPP program and reduced the amount it is willing to pay for power supplied by GPP subscribers. Over the years, these changes have resulted in less consumer and private industry demand for the once-popular program.

TenneSEIA’s request for raised limits

Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) represents over 35 member organizations including solar installers, project developers, and manufacturers across the Valley. In response to the decline in program participation, TenneSEIA filed a formal written request to TVA asking it to consider an increase to the size limit for systems applying for the GPP program from 50 kilowatts to 200 kilowatts. The intent of this proposal is to realize greater participation in the program without any increase to the program’s overall budget that was approved by the TVA Board in 2016.

TenneSEIA says the request would have no impact on TVA’s budget, but would allow for larger system sizes under the program’s existing 10 MW cap. TenneSEIA based this recommendation on customer feedback that revealed larger system sizes provide greater benefit to small businesses interested in clean energy solutions.

On June 30, TVA informed TenneSEIA of its decision not to allow larger systems in the 2017 program. TenneSEIA President Matt Beasley says TVA’s decision is disappointing: “We worked in good faith to collaborate with TVA staff with the goal of introducing tangible program improvements. Despite our reasonable proposal, TVA has elected to reject industry stakeholder recommendations that we based on the realities of the marketplace. We are concerned that this decision indicates a genuine lack of commitment by TVA to its own program.”

 

Industry stakeholders say increasing the system size limit would address the market more effectively given the program’s application slowdown over the last year and a half, as well as the lack of a viable option for businesses who want to install a system in the 50-200kW range. They also say it would have no impact on TVA’s budget since TVA caps the solar program at 10MW for the year.

Energy regulation news round up: Massachusetts, Montana, Rhode Island and Idaho

“TVA has not seen its Green Power Providers program fully subscribed since 2015,” says Johnson. “If it truly wants a more successful program, with no increase to the program’s budget, then allowing larger systems within the existing capacity should have been an easy choice that benefits everyone,” says Johnson. “The fact that TVA rejected this reasonable proposal has to question how committed TVA is to offering this program for its customers.”

TenneSEIA representatives say that TVA’s increasingly restrictive stance toward the small scale solar industry is perplexing, given the enormous growth solar is seeing in the rest of the country and around the world.

— Solar Builder magazine

New PV module testing guidelines published by CSA Group

sunpower modules (2)

Photo of Sunpower’s new testing facility

North American testing, certification and standards development organization CSA Group sent word about the development of C450 – currently available as an Express Document (EXP450) – new guidelines that help to address the lack of uniform testing requirements in the Photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing industry.

To best ensure the level of quality required for PV modules to last to an upward of 20 years, manufacturers have often had to rely on their own set of protocols. This lack of a uniform set of requirements in the industry often creates ambiguity and can lead to decreased functionality, greater costs for manufacturers and a lack of consumer confidence.

CSA Group addressed these significant issues by facilitating the development of C450 – Photovoltaic (PV) Module Testing Protocol for Quality Assurance Programs which consolidates all of the protocols into one comprehensive guide. CSA Group is actively working on gaining an ANSI standard (C450) for the testing protocol, to demonstrate further consensus into the need and importance of such a program.

Replacing multiple protocols with one test brings significant benefits to manufacturers including: reduced costs; ease in comparing data; and potential reduction in test backlogs. In addition, the document is designed to be flexible and can be quickly updated as new test methods are developed and validated, so any advances in PV testing technology can quickly be incorporated.

C450 was developed using a bi-national committee of stakeholder experts – representing manufacturers, testing bodies, research firms and financiers from both the United States and Canada. It establishes testing requirements based on industry best practices, helps identify potential problems with new manufacturing equipment and facilities and provides data for ongoing quality monitoring programs after validation testing.

CSA Group’s testing capabilities are designed to provide full scope testing of PV modules to latest testing protocols. Testing programs based on C450 are offered through in its state-of-the-art solar labs in Albuquerque, NM and Kunshan, China.

 

— Solar Builder magazine