AMP Solar hires new CFO to prep for U.S. launch

Ontario-based AMP Solar Group Inc. just brought aboard Phil Henson as Chief Financial Officer. An integral part of AMP Solar’s global senior leadership team, Henson will oversee all project finance initiatives, in addition to leading corporate finance and accounting operations at the firm.

Canada Solar industryHenson joins AMP Solar from AES Distributed Energy Inc. where he was the Chief Financial Officer. He is an experienced energy finance executive having held senior roles at Main Street Power Company Inc. (the predecessor of AES Distributed Energy), Solar Power Partners, Inc. and XL Capital Assurance Inc.

“Phil’s experience and track record is unparalleled in the industry,” said Paul Ezekiel, AMP Solar’s Executive Chairman. “He will play a key leadership role as we continue our growth in project and corporate finance, and is a welcome addition to our world-class team.”

“I am very excited to join the AMP Solar team,” Henson said. “The company has been successful in each of the markets it has entered, and I am confident that we will be equally successful as we launch our platform in the U.S.”

Today’s announcement comes a week after the company publicized the appointment of another solar industry veteran, Jorge Vargas, formerly of Morgan Stanley, as the Executive Vice President and Head of the Americas.

— Solar Builder magazine

DEGERtrackers fill out massive Solar Gardens project in Canada


Since the start of the construction of Solar Gardens in Ontario, Canada, more than 1,900 DEGERtracker D100 systems (20 MWp) have already been successfully installed. A further 300 DEGERtracker D100 systems (4 MWp) will be released in the coming weeks and make the conclusion of the project portfolio. This project is particularly cool because the Solar Gardens are in 36 different locations in the Canadian province of Ontario, all together with the latest technology of DEGER. The number of installed systems in each solar park varied between 30 to 60 DEGERtrackers.

The sensor-controlled tracking systems of DEGERenergie are optimally equipped for Canadian weather. Unique to these systems are the advantages in cloudy and snowy conditions. When the amount of cloud cover is high, solar modules can achieve the highest yield in horizontal position, and snow is handled in a way that is specific to tracking solar installations.

In contrast to fixed systems, each DEGERtracker has a snow sensor that continuously measures the snow accumulation. When snow covers the solar modules, the DEGERtracker will be moved to the maximum vertical position so that snow and ice slides down. After the modules are freed from snow, the MLD*sensor moves the DEGERtracker back into the most advantageous position. Because of the sensor, tracking systems of DEGERenergie the Solar Gardens in Canada will achieve a higher yield even in the winter months.

“The successful implementation of the individual Solar Garden projects required excellent organization from all stakeholders. Through the good teamwork of DEGER Germany and the establishment DEGER Canada Inc. each project could be implemented efficiently. Because of the Canadian office in Ontario, the DEGER team can offer a high level of service and on-site support. To serve the North American market better and to expand the service quality the DEGER Canada Inc. team will grow up and advance new projects. The MLD technology ‘made in Germany ‘ created a sensation and enjoys an excellent reputation amongst experts. After the enormous resonance, further projects in North America are in the development stage.” says Adam Jan Glapiak – Area Sales Manager North America.

— Solar Builder magazine

SunEdison signs big commercial solar+storage deal with Ontario IESO

SunEdison signed a 10-year agreement with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator to supply 5 MW — 20 MWh — of battery storage to the province. The Ontario IESO works at the heart of Ontario’s power system and is responsible for making sure everyone in the province gets the electricity they need, when they need it.

Sun EdisonIn addition to leveraging the battery’s storage capability, the IESO intends to use data from this energy storage project to analyze how storage can be used to smooth the power flow from wind and solar, defer expensive system upgrades and ultimately shape the future of its grid. This project is SunEdison’s first commercial large scale grid-connected energy storage project, and is one of the first commercial applications of flow batteries in Canada.

“By integrating energy storage into their grid, the Ontario IESO gains access to a powerful new tool that has the potential to transform how it operates the power system,” said Tim Derrick, SunEdison’s general manager of Advanced Solutions. “Batteries can be used to reduce grid congestion, smooth out power flow from solar and wind sources, and may help the IESO defer or avoid expensive upgrades to the grid.”

RELATED: Solar+storage: What’s holding back solar systems with energy storage? 

“SunEdison’s energy storage project is one of several projects that will support reliability in Ontario by providing much needed quick response capacity and operational flexibility,” said Bruce Campbell, Ontario IESO’s president and chief executive officer. “We congratulate SunEdison on the success of their proposal and look forward to working with them to implement this project.”

SunEdison is working with flow battery technology leader Imergy to deliver the project. Imergy’s vanadium redox flow battery technology provides a cost effective and durable way to store energy for hours at a time.

“The Ontario IESO is the real winner in this latest collaboration between SunEdison and Imergy,” said Bill Watkins, Imergy’s chief executive officer. “By combining SunEdison’s renewable energy project development expertise with Imergy’s vanadium flow battery technology, Ontario will get a durable and efficient energy storage system.

SunEdison plans to start construction of the project during the first half of 2017, with completion targeted for later that year. Operation and maintenance of the battery systems will be performed by SunEdison Services, which provides global asset management, monitoring and reporting services.

— Solar Builder magazine

One Canadian province announces ambitious renewable goals

Canada solar

Alberta, Canada, has a plan to tackle climate change. Premier Rachel Notley’s plan includes an accelerated phase-out of coal and an emphasis on tripling the share of renewable energies such as solar and wind in the province’s electricity mix to 30 percent.

Obviously this move makes sense for most places you could point to on a map. For Alberta, it makes a ton of sense because of its abundant sunshine, making it potentially the largest solar resource in Canada. To this point, Alberta has the highest rate of coal-fired electricity of any province, contributing to its greenhouse gas emissions, air quality issues, and health impacts on Albertans.

The Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) weighed in on the proposed plans and expressed its support: “We’re ready to put solar on the rooftops and in the communities of Alberta,” says John Gorman, President and CEO of CanSIA. “The province has a tremendous solar resource and has barely tapped the potential.”

Solar energy is rapidly becoming cost-competitive with other forms of electricity generation. Manufacturing costs have fallen by 50 percent over the last five years; and capital costs are forecast to fall by another 40 percent over the next five years, according to a Deutsche Bank study.

“With equipment costs expected to continue to fall, ‘grid parity’ – or price-competitiveness with other fuel sources – is, for the first time, an achievable goal for solar energy,” Gorman says.

“Premier Notley’s government has provided a ‘Made in Alberta’ plan to address climate change in a province with a fossil-fuel intense economy,” Gorman says. “For too long, discussions about climate change have focused on what we can’t do. But we have tremendous renewable energy resources, technology costs keep falling, and it’s time to focus on what we can do. Solar energy is ready to be a big contributor to a strong and clean Alberta economy.”

Canada today has a total installed solar generation capacity approaching 3,000 MW. Alberta’s electricity generation capacity is just over 16,000 MW, most of it fossil-fuel based.

— Solar Builder magazine

Utility leads the way by installing solar+storage system for residential customers


Solar+storage is still on the fringes of the market and looking for a champion. Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation in Ontario, Canada, is now one of these champions. The utility is one of the first in North America to lead the installation of grid-friendly residential solar-plus-storage systems, and will be installing the solar+storage system from Tabuchi Electric.

Under the program, Tabuchi is installing solar+storage systems in homes across Oshawa Power’s service territory to generate solar energy and store it onsite for use at any time. Oshawa Power’s customers participating in this pilot will be able to generate and use all of the clean solar energy produced at their home with the help of solar panels and a sophisticated storage system.

Despite the fact that a wide spread deployment of such a technology could be disruptive to its business model, Oshawa Power is leading the charge.

WATCH: The storage+inverter system of Tabuchi explained #SPI 

“Because, we are in the 21st century and there are technologies now available for us to serve the customer’s needs better,” says Atul Mahajan, CEO of Oshawa Power. “We are excited to bring these advanced energy solutions that provide increased reliability with storage back up while generating energy efficiently and sustainably on-site through solar power, right where our customers need it. Integrating solar and storage with the grid in select homes across Oshawa will allow us to study the technology closely and most importantly develop innovative business models on our path to creating the utility of the future.”

The project is funded by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and is designed to deliver compelling energy management benefits to Oshawa Power and its residential customers. This initiative also supports Ontario’s clean energy efficiency policies already considered to be leading in North America.

“Our partnership is a testament to how utilities and solar-plus-storage technology companies can successfully bridge the gap,” said Harumi McClure, Tabuchi Electric Managing Director and General Manager. “We designed our grid-friendly system to help utilities like Oshawa Power capture the benefits of solar power while also improving customer reliability during power outages, especially during extreme weather. We are committed to helping Oshawa and Ontario continue to lead the way in bringing solar and storage to its residents.”


— Solar Builder magazine