Canadian Solar sells three SoCal solar projects (235 MW) to Korean electric utility

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Canadian Solar’s wholly owned subsidiary Recurrent Energy finalized the sale of three Southern California solar projects totaling 235 MWac to The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), South Korea’s largest electric utility with an installed capacity of 79 GW. The acquired assets are located in the Astoria (100 MWac), Astoria 2 (75 MWac), and Barren Ridge (60 MWac) projects located in southern California.

This transaction marks KEPCO’s largest investment in the U.S. solar market. KEPCO partnered with the Corporate Partnership Fund, a Korean private equity fund also known as COPA Fund, to make the acquisition.

“These high-quality solar assets are a strategic addition to our renewable energy holdings and will allow us to further diversify our generation portfolio,” said Mr. Bong-soo Ha, executive vice president and chief global business officer, KEPCO. “We expect further cooperation with Canadian Solar and are also pleased to be working with an industry-leading developer like Recurrent Energy as we grow our presence in the attractive U.S. solar market.”

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Recurrent Energy developed the three projects, all of which reached commercial operation in 2016 and have long-term power purchase agreements. Recurrent Energy will continue to provide asset management services to support the projects as KEPCO transitions into its ownership role. Additional details on the three projects are available at recurrentenergy.com/portfolio.

“Traditional investors increasingly view utility-scale solar as a strategic investment, and this transaction with a global energy leader highlights that trend,” said Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “The Recurrent Energy team continues to create value through deals with world-class investors that monetize our quality U.S. solar project assets.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Southern Power acquires 20 MW Gaskell West 1 Solar Facility

Southern Power Company

Southern Power, the wholesale subsidiary of Southern Company, has acquired the 20 MWac/28 MWp Gaskell West 1 Solar Facility, located in southern California in Kern County, via Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc.

“We are pleased to partner with an energy industry leader like Southern Power on this transaction,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “Recurrent Energy’s growing portfolio of U.S. solar assets continues to create value for our customers and shareholders.”

The Gaskell West 1 Solar Facility is expected to reach commercial operation in spring of 2018 and has a long-term power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison. The project represents Southern Power and Recurrent Energy’s fourth transaction.

This project uses Canadian Solar’s MaxPower 1500-volt polycrystalline CS6U-P modules, which deliver excellent module efficiency and performance in a variety of conditions. The project is currently under construction and is expected to create over 200 peak construction jobs.

— Solar Builder magazine

Fifth largest public transit system in the country signs 45-MW power purchase agreement

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Recurrent Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, signed a 20-year power purchase agreement  for 45 MWac of solar power with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the fifth largest public transit network in the country and one of the largest consumers of electric power in Northern California. The BART Board of Directors approved the PPA on December 7, 2017.

This contract, BART’s first-ever PPA for utility-scale solar power, resulted from a renewable energy procurement process that BART launched in May 2017 as part of the organization’s Wholesale Electricity Portfolio Policy. The Policy requires 100 percent of BART’s power to come from renewable resources by 2045 while maintaining low and stable BART operating costs.

“Utility-scale solar power is a vital part of cost-effectively meeting our sustainability commitments,” said BART Sustainability Director Holly Gordon. “It is very important to us to work with an experienced development partner like Recurrent Energy who will help us achieve our goals.”

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Power will be supplied to BART from Recurrent Energy’s 45 MWac Gaskell West 2 solar photovoltaic project located in southern California. The project is scheduled to reach commercial operation in 2020.

“Solar power is a perfect match for BART’s commitment to using cost-effective and clean energy,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “We are proud to support BART’s progress towards 100 percent renewable energy while also diversifying Recurrent Energy’s customer base.”

BART is the first U.S. metro-rail entity to sign a utility-scale solar PPA this year.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on an optimized 343-kW PV system completed at a California sports facility

HelioPower completed two commercial PV systems at a state-of-the-art Southern California sports center in Ladera Ranch. The 63,000 sq-ft gym now sports a 343 kW system optimized with SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverter solution, coupled with the PredictEnergy Commercial Energy Management System. This represents a significant milestone in Ladera’s sustainability program and their ability to reduce their electricity costs. Canadian Solar’s high-performing PV modules and HelioPower’s distributed generation strategies work together to maximally reduce the levelized cost of energy for Ladera Sports Center.

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System details

The system was split into two meters, consisting of two points of connections: the sports center and the office. The installation consists of 1,100 Canadian Solar 310 PV modules with 8 SolarEdge SE33.3KUS Three Phase inverters and 550 SolarEdge P700 power optimizers. By utilizing SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverter solution, Ladera Sports Center’s energy output increases from the PV System, constantly tracking the maximum power point at the module level. The power optimizers provide performance reporting through the SolarEdge monitoring portal for enhanced, cost-effective, module-level maintenance. SolarEdge technology meets advanced safety requirements, including NEC2017, and is designed to de-energize the DC voltage in the PV wires whenever the PV system is disconnected from the grid or the inverter is turned off for increased safety during installation, maintenance, and emergencies.

heliopower installation

“As a leading global PV inverter company, SolarEdge is committed to delivering innovative and cost-effective commercial solutions,” said Peter Mathews, North America General Manager for SolarEdge. “Offering value added products and services, we see ourselves as a partner to installers and EPCs and as such offer support throughout the entire PV system lifetime.”

“HelioPower’s mission is to work with our clients to find the most cost-effective solution to all of their energy needs,” said Mike Murray, Director of Commercial Operations, HelioPower, “PredictEnergyTM identified demand-side energy reduction opportunities that enabled Ladera Sports Center to complete the initial phase of their clean energy initiative on time, on budget with on-going energy savings.”

Ladera Sports Center is LEED Certified. LEED is a process framework that project teams apply to create highly efficient, economical and sustainable buildings. Ladera Sports Center will deliver at least 35% of the building’s electricity from renewable sources. Together, HelioPower’s integrated energy solutions and energy analytics profiling tools work to deliver a financially viable project, reducing Ladera’s energy costs and supporting their sustainability strategy.

— Solar Builder magazine

Investor outlook: Four solar companies to watch as the industry matures

The following perspective was shared with us via Financialbuzz.com

Over the course of the last several years the solar industry has finally gone mainstream. A recent research published on December 12, 2016 by The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) shows how much progress has been made. The U.S. installed 4,143 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in the third quarter of 2016 to reach 35.8 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 6.5 million American homes. With more than 1 million residential solar installations nationwide and record-breaking growth in the utility-scale sector, the industry is projected to nearly double year-over-year.

Despite the encouraging numbers however, the industry still faces the challenges that are so familiar to businesses reaching maturity – improving efficiency and cutting costs. Thanks to technological innovations, the solar market is combating these challenges. Solarwindow Technologies, Corning Incorporated, Tesla, Canadian Solar, First Solar.

The innovations ahead

Nevada solar utility

Most solar companies today manufacture solar panels using large portions of silicon, called ingots, and cut it into small rectangular shapes. These silicon components account for approximately 40% of the cost of production for solar panels. While some companies have been finding ways to manufacture panels for cheaper using the same materials, the expectations are now somewhat different.

According to a report by Fortune, “today as the industry matures, much more of the expected lowered production costs will come from new components that plug into traditional silicon solar panels, new ways to manage the electrons from panels, or new ways to finance and sell the panels.” In addition, some innovative companies are coming up with entire new techniques to salvage the sun’s energy.

Solarwindow Technologies creates transparent electricity-generating liquid coatings. When applied to glass or plastics, these coatings convert passive windows and other materials into electricity generators under natural, artificial, low, shaded, and even reflected light conditions. Earlier this week, Solarwindow Technologies announced that, “it has been named a winner in the 2017 BIG Innovation Awards presented by the Business Intelligence Group.

Unlike conventional solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the company’s coatings can be applied to all sides of tall towers, generating electricity using natural and artificial light, as well from diffused and reflected light, and in shaded areas.

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When applied to a 50-story building, SolarWindow could avoid more than two million miles of equivalent carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles on the road, reduce electricity costs by as much as 50 percent per year, provide 15-times the environmental benefits over other roof-top solar PV systems, and according to independently-validated engineering modeling, could achieve a one-year financial payback.”

On Jan. 18, Solarwindow Technologies revealed that the company’s “scientists and engineers recently applied layers of the company’s liquid coatings on to Corning Willow Glass and laminated them under conditions that simulate the high pressure and temperatures of the manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers. The result is a bendable glass ‘veneer’, as thin as a business card, which generates electricity.” The Corning Willow Glass is developed by Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW), a company with expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics.

American automaker and energy storage company, Tesla Inc., showcased it’s at-home battery, the Powerwall 2, for homes and small businesses that stores the sun’s energy and delivers clean, reliable electricity when the sun isn’t shining. Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, emphasizes that homes can capture this free, abundant energy source through rooftop solar tiles, turning sunlight into electricity for immediate use or storage in a Powerwall battery. The new Tesla Powerwall 2 will cost around $5,500, which consist of a built-in inverter and twice the storage capacity of the first ever Powerwall battery. The product is not yet available out in the market.

Canadian Solar Inc. announced that it has completed the sale of the outstanding shares of 3 utility-scale solar farm holding companies, SSM 1 Solar ULC, SSM 2 Solar ULC, and SSM 3 Solar ULC, totaling 59.8 MW AC to Fengate SSM Holdco LP, an affiliate of Fengate Real Asset Investments for over $195.32 Million. Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar, commented, “We are delighted to announce the successful sale of 3 additional solar power plants. To this point, we have sold all of our operating plants of 100 MWdc in Canada, including the BeamLight and Alfred projects sold in December 2016. We value our partnership with Fengate and look forward to deepening our cooperation while we continue to monetize our solar power plants in other countries.”

First Solar Inc. has been awarded the module supply contract for the 140-megawatt Sun Metals Solar Farm in North Queensland, Australia. The project marks the largest solar initiative by the country and, once constructed, is set to utilize more than 1.16 million First Solar advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules to produce approximately 270,000 megawatt-hours of energy in its first year of operation.

“Large-scale solar is fast becoming one of the most cost-effective sources of energy generation in Australia. This project represents the viability of the commercial and industrial solar market in Australia, and the growing trend of major energy consumers owning and operating renewable energy assets,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s regional manager for Asia Pacific.

— Solar Builder magazine