CleanChoice Energy Community Solar opens new solar farm in Prince George’s County, Maryland

CCE-Solar Wind Logo

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that empowers people and businesses to cut emissions and live cleaner lives, has opened 3 MW of community solar capacity for Prince George’s County residents. The Simba Community Solar Farm broke ground earlier this year in Cheltenham, Md., and is nearing completion. Residents that sign-up for the new farm through CleanChoice Energy Community Solar can expect to save approximately 10% off their utility bills. The new community solar project will generate about 4,500,000 kWh of electricity in its first year.

Maryland’s Community Solar program offers landowners and farmers the opportunity to create predictable, long-term revenue through hosting solar projects, while opening the benefits of solar to the hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents that either do not own their own home or do not have a roof that works for solar. Simba Community Solar Farm subscribers can see up to a 10% savings on their utility bills with no upfront investment, setup fees, or installation.

The CleanChoice Energy Community Solar platform connects people to local Community Solar projects, allowing residents and businesses to sign-up to support local solar in minutes.

Interested residents can sign-up here.

— Solar Builder magazine

CleanChoice Energy Community Solar opens new solar farm in Prince George’s County, Maryland

CCE-Solar Wind Logo

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that empowers people and businesses to cut emissions and live cleaner lives, has opened 3 MW of community solar capacity for Prince George’s County residents. The Simba Community Solar Farm broke ground earlier this year in Cheltenham, Md., and is nearing completion. Residents that sign-up for the new farm through CleanChoice Energy Community Solar can expect to save approximately 10% off their utility bills. The new community solar project will generate about 4,500,000 kWh of electricity in its first year.

Maryland’s Community Solar program offers landowners and farmers the opportunity to create predictable, long-term revenue through hosting solar projects, while opening the benefits of solar to the hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents that either do not own their own home or do not have a roof that works for solar. Simba Community Solar Farm subscribers can see up to a 10% savings on their utility bills with no upfront investment, setup fees, or installation.

The CleanChoice Energy Community Solar platform connects people to local Community Solar projects, allowing residents and businesses to sign-up to support local solar in minutes.

Interested residents can sign-up here.

— Solar Builder magazine

Madison Gas and Electric looks to expand its Shared Solar program with 5-MW project

madison gas and electric

Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to expand its popular Shared Solar program with a second, large-scale solar installation in the City of Middleton.

“Our Shared Solar program is fully subscribed with a waiting list of customers who want to participate,” MGE Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler said. “We have significant customer interest in Shared Solar, and by proposing this expansion, we are meeting the needs of our customers who want affordable and locally sourced solar energy.”

The 5-megawatt (MW) solar project would be built in partnership with the City of Middleton at the Middleton Municipal Airport, also known as Morey Field. The proposed expansion gives residential and business customers throughout MGE’s electric service territory the option of powering their home or business with locally generated solar energy. Subscribers to the voluntary program can purchase up to half of their annual electricity use through the Shared Solar program.

“This project builds on the success of our first Shared Solar project,” Keebler added. “It also advances the City of Middleton’s and MGE’s clean energy goals. We look forward to working with our customers and the City of Middleton in growing our Shared Solar program with this new, large-scale project.”

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Renewable Energy Rider

A 1 MW share of the 5-MW solar array will serve the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District under MGE’s Renewable Energy Rider (RER). A 0.5-MW share will serve the City of Middleton under a separate RER agreement.

Under a Renewable Energy Rider, MGE partners with a large energy user to tailor a renewable energy solution to meet that customer’s energy needs. The model advances shared sustainability goals and grows clean energy in our community.

Construction is expected to begin this summer, with the solar array producing electricity for customers later this fall. Interested customers should visit mge.com/SharedSolar to learn more.

This proposal follows MGE’s first Shared Solar project, a 500-kilowatt array on the roof of Middleton’s Municipal Operations Center. The array came online in January 2017 fully subscribed.

— Solar Builder magazine

Community solar project developed on a brownfield at Long View Forest’s Vermont headquarters

encore renewable community solar long view forest vermont

Long View Forest, Inc. and Encore Renewable Energy announced the commissioning of a 745 kWp community solar array on three acres at the new Long View headquarters and woodyard on Ferry Road in Hartland, VT. The project is on a 28-acre remediated “brownfield” property formerly used as a saw mill and lumber treatment facility. Brownfields, because of prior environmental contamination, are deemed prime solar sites under Vermont regulations.

The project is expected to produce approximately 900,000 kWh per year, enough to power approximately 125 homes annually. Long View, an employee-owned forest management and contracting company, selected Encore as its turnkey partner to develop and construct the project based on Encore’s proven track record of reclaiming undervalued real estate for community-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Mascoma Bank, a local leader in sustainability, provided the debt-financing for the project and entered into a long-term agreement to purchase the net metering credits generated by the project. The project first generated electricity in December, and is now generating savings for Mascoma as well as the Montshire Museum of Science located in Norwich, VT. Together, Mascoma and the Montshire Museum of Science will realize approximately $700,000 of savings on their electricity bills over the 25-year term of the agreement.

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The Renewable Energy Certificates produced by the project will be conveyed to Green Mountain Power to help meet Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to produce 75% of the state’s electric generation with renewables by 2032.

“The solar array was a critical part of Long View’s plan to redevelop the brownfield site as a ‘forestry business park,’” said Jack Bell, General Manager of Long View. “The Ferry Road site is a prime location for our headquarters, log merchandizing yard, and other businesses that support jobs and sustainable forestry in the Upper Valley and beyond. We’re excited to continue our work to redevelop the Ferry Road site and generate renewable power.”

“As a 120 year-old mutually owned bank and a Certified B Corporation®, Mascoma Bank is committed to being a force for positive change,” said Clay Adams, President, Mascoma Bank. “We feel that with this project, right here in our backyard, we can both inspire other funders to consider investing in renewable energy and show energy consumers how they can close the loop and save money by committing to purchase energy from renewable sources. It’s been a fantastic experience to work with both Encore Renewable Energy and Long View Forest and we look forward to continued partnerships with both companies.”

“Developing solar projects on undervalued real estate is an emerging market for community-scale solar systems because it’s a good deal for everyone involved,” said Chad Farrell, CEO of Encore Renewable Energy. “It turns land that has previously been neglected into an economic driver for the community, supports Vermont’s transition to a clean energy economy, and saves customers money long-term. It’s a win-win-win proposition.”


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The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine

Florida Power & Light proposes new community solar program that would largest in the United States

community solar

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a new community solar program that would offer FPL customers the opportunity to directly participate in Florida’s transformation to a world leader in solar energy. Through this voluntary program, participating customers will help accelerate the growth of solar in Florida by subscribing to a portion of new solar power capacity, and in return, they will receive credits that are expected to reduce their monthly bills over time. This will be another piece of the utility’s 30 by 30 plan.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s executive director Dr. Stephen A. Smith offered this statement:

“We believe this will be a significant move to provide low-cost solar power to a wider range of customers throughout Florida. We believe that this program, coupled with FPL’s previously announced 30 x 30 commitment to utility-scale solar, shows that the utility is serious about advancing solar power in Florida. This program appears to make clean, solar power more widely available in the Sunshine State.”

SolarTogether

FPL SolarTogether will significantly expand solar energy in Florida. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 megawatts of new universal solar at 20 new solar power plants across FPL’s service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program. Built cost-effectively, the new solar power plants attributed to the program are projected to generate an estimated $139 million in net savings for customers over the long term, primarily from avoided fuel and other system savings. Participating customers will receive direct credits for the savings on their monthly bills, and the program is designed to also contribute a portion of the savings to all customers, which will help keep fuel costs low for everyone.

If approved, FPL SolarTogether will be the largest community solar program in the United States. According to the Solar Energy Industry of America’s latest information, a total of 1,298 megawatts of community solar has been installed in the U.S. through the third quarter of last year.

“This program will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the U.S.,” said Silagy. “More importantly, FPL SolarTogether will allow individual customers to personally support Florida’s affordable, clean energy revolution while lowering their electric rates and bills over the long term.”

Key program design points

FPL studied community solar programs offered throughout the country, including Florida. The result is a next generation solar option for customers that offers flexibility, convenience and is not subject to the confines of their location. Program participants will not be tied to a long-term contract and can terminate or reduce their subscription at any time.

In addition, because the subscription is associated with a customer account and not a physical address, program participants who move within FPL’s service area can maintain their subscription benefits. FPL expects program participants to achieve a simple payback on their subscription within seven years. FPL also will retire Renewable Energy Certificates or RECs on behalf of participants who are looking to meet sustainability goals.

In order to gauge potential customer interest in a program like this, FPL has been working with its largest energy users, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. More than 200 of FPL’s largest energy users – including municipalities, large national retail chains, universities, banks, restaurants and schools – have committed to participate, providing the foundation for such a large program.

The first six solar plants, each of which will have about 300,000 solar panels and be capable of generating 74.5 megawatts of solar, are scheduled to be operational in early 2020, with the remaining 14 facilities planned for 2021. FPL has already secured enough land to build all of these plants and the company plans to announce the individual locations in the future.

“FPL’s SolarTogether program provides an innovative approach to addressing business and residential needs for embracing clean energy in Florida and cost-effectively expanding the Sunshine State’s renewable energy footprint,” said Tim Center, executive director of Tallahassee-based, Sustainable Florida. “This initiative chalks up major wins for Florida’s environment and sustainability.”

— Solar Builder magazine