First Solar sells Moapa Southern Paiute Solar project to Capital Dynamics

First Solar completed the sale of the cash equity interests in the 250 MW AC Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project in Nevada to global private asset manager Capital Dynamics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

You may recall that this was one of our Projects of the Year for 2016.


Minority tax equity interests in the project are shared by GE unit GE Energy Financial Services, and an affiliate of the Goldman Sachs Group.

Located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation approximately 30 miles north of Las Vegas, this facility is the first-ever utility-scale solar power plant to be built on tribal land, and has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with LADWP to bring clean, renewable energy to Los Angeles residents. The solar power plant is capable of generating enough clean energy to power approximately 111,000 homes.


First Solar Energy Services will operate and maintain the power plant for Capital Dynamics.

By using renewable energy from the sun, the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project will avoid approximately 341,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions that would have been produced if the electricity had been generated using fossil fuels – the equivalent of taking nearly 73,000 cars off the road. First Solar’s technology creates no air or water pollution and uses no water to generate electricity.

— Solar Builder magazine

New tool launches in Illinois to open community solar market

West Monroe Partners, a full-service North American business and technology consultancy, and Elevate Energy, a non-profit organization focused on delivering smarter energy use for all, launched what they are calling the Community Solar Business Case Tool, a flexible financial model that projects the costs and benefits to the system developer and subscriber of a community solar project. The tool is part of Cook County, Illinois’ Solar Market Pathways project and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

Elevate EnergyThe Community Solar Business Case Tool incorporates the construction and maintenance, customer acquisition and transactional costs for community solar projects into a publicly available model. Key metrics analyzed include net present value, internal rate of return, return on investment, and simple payback period. The tool is intended to provide interested parties across the country with insights about the economic viability of community solar in their region and the implications of alternative project configurations.

“Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is committed to reducing the County’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050,” said Deborah Stone, Director of the Cook County Department of Environmental Control. “Community-supported solar installations hold the promise of giving many of our Cook County residents access to clean electricity and moving us closer to that goal.”

RELATED: Community Solar Legal Primer: From project structure to consumer protection 

The model includes some fixed inputs based on data gathered from published reports and studies and validated by stakeholder multiple groups. It also allows the flexibility to evaluate different system types (ground mount, rooftop, parking-lot canopy), ownership models, subscription models (panel purchase, panel lease), payment structures, and applicable credit rates.


— Solar Builder magazine

Resilient Power Project — a pilot program to install solar+storage in low-income communities

Seven community-based nonprofits and affordable housing developers have been selected to receive grants from Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Leadership Initiative, as part of the Resilient Power Project, to build their organizational capacity on the benefits of solar and energy storage (solar+storage) technologies.

Resilient power solar storage

The Resilient Power Project, a joint initiative of Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute, works to deploy solar+storage projects in affordable housing and critical community facilities, with the goal of ensuring that the most vulnerable communities have access to the economic, health and resiliency benefits that solar+storage can provide.

“Incorporating a resilient strategy is a key component of creating healthy, efficient, and affordable housing,” said Julie Klump, Vice President of Design and Building Performance at POAH. “The grant will help us focus on the incorporation of resilient strategies at one or more current projects and across our portfolio.”

For this pilot program, Resilient Power Leadership Grants have been made to the following organizations working in the areas of affordable community housing, environmental justice, energy equity, and sustainability:

California Environmental Justice Alliance, Oakland and Huntington Park, CA
The Greenlining Institute, Oakland, CA
LINC Housing Corporation, Long Beach, CA
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Boston, MA
Sustāinable Molokai, Kaunakakai, HI
THE POINT Community Development Corporation, Bronx, NY
WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York, NY

The work of these organizations and how they will use their awards can be found here.

“Low-income communities often experience disproportionately negative impacts from dirty power generation such as diesel generators during power outages,” said Dana Bourland, Vice President of JPB’s Environment Program. “By increasing clean energy generation, through solar+storage, these populations are not only protected from power outages, but they will also experience a reduction in harmful emissions.”

“There are hundreds of resilient solar+storage projects now in development or deployed in the U.S., as more companies and consumers are becoming aware of the benefits that solar+storage systems can offer,” said Seth Mullendore, Project Director at Clean Energy Group. “Unfortunately, very few community-based organizations have the internal capacity to move solar+storage projects forward or to advocate for policies that could lead to greater resilient power deployment in their communities. This is particularly true for nonprofits that serve low-income communities, which are most in need of cost savings and resiliency benefits from solar+storage, but often have limited resources available to access new technology solutions.”


— Solar Builder magazine

IGS Solar partners with financial group to work on new portfolio of solar projects

Financial services group ORIX USA formed a partnership with IGS Solar (IGS), a turnkey commercial and residential solar provider. Together, ORIX and IGS will develop, acquire and operate a nationwide portfolio of commercial and industrial solar energy generation products across the United States.

IGS SolarCommitted to growing its renewable energy business in the United States, ORIX has partnered with IGS to invest in an initial group of assets that includes 13 solar energy projects across seven states that are either in operation or currently under construction.

The two companies expect to continue to grow the portfolio, making additional investments in projects within the coming months.

“Together with IGS, we are well-positioned to rapidly expand our portfolio of renewable energy assets,” said Barry Gold, Managing Director and Head of ORIX Infrastructure and Renewable Energy. “ORIX has a long history of investing in a broad array of infrastructure assets—specifically renewable energy generation. Investing in solar projects is especially attractive given our ability to utilize both the tax and cash benefits directly. Being part of the ORIX Corporation group, we have substantial resources, capital and industry expertise to put behind infrastructure and renewable energy assets.”

Scott White, President and CEO of IGS, said, “Our alignment with ORIX fits closely with our long-term approach. We share the same culture of innovation, commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences and dedication to making solar accessible, particularly to organizations that haven’t previously been able to consider it due to the upfront costs.”


— Solar Builder magazine

New York provides $11 million in funds for 11 microgrid projects

UGE microgrid best practices

Here’s an already installed microgrid in NY, developed by UGE.

New York State is going to fund 11 microgrid projects for $11 million as part of the second stage of the NY Prize Community Microgrid competition, says the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Microgrids provide critical power backup for homes, businesses, hospitals and other vital facilities during extreme weather events and emergencies, while supporting development of on-site cutting edge renewable energy technologies. Additionally, microgrids support New York State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

“It’s critical that communities across New York have reliable power to provide vital services when they are needed the most,” Governor Cuomo said. “These awards will help local government modernize and harden their power infrastructure, as well as join this administration’s fight against climate change, and create a cleaner, greener, Empire State for all.”

As part of the competition, each Stage 2 winner will receive $1 million through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administers NY Prize, to conduct detailed engineering designs and business plans for a microgrid to bring local clean energy generation and backup power to their communities. In addition, winners advancing to Stage 3 of the competition will have access to financing for microgrid construction through NY Green Bank.

RELATED: Microgrids: Why are they gaining in popularity, what part does storage play? 

Since community microgrids and clean energy projects are not easily financed through traditional capital providers like banks, access to NY Green Bank financing will be especially important to the completion of these critical projects. NY Green Bank is prepared to facilitate up to $50 million in financing assistance per project to Stage 3 winners subject to its investment criteria, due diligence and financial analysis. This announcement represents a significant increase in financial support for the build-out of project designs in Stage 3 of NY Prize, in addition to the $20 million available through NY Prize. Stage 3 winners are expected to be announced by the end of 2018.

NYSERDA awarded over $8 million for Stage 1 of the competition to 83 communities across the State to conduct microgrid feasibility studies in 2015. Nearly 150 communities had applied for the initial stage of the competition. Utilities played an active role in Stage 1 of the competition by identifying “grid opportunity zones,” or geographic areas where microgrids may reduce utility system constraints, and defer expensive infrastructure investment costs. Utilities also assisted communities and other partners with submission of their applications. Funding for Stage 1 and Stage 2 totals nearly $20 million.

NY Prize applications came in from combinations of community organizations, local governments, non-profit entities, developers, for-profit companies and municipally owned utilities. The 11 projects receiving funding are in the following locations:

Capital Region: Empire State Plaza; University Heights
Central New York: City of Syracuse
Long Island: Town of Huntington; Rockville Centre; Village of Freeport
New York City: East Bronx; Clarkson Avenue; Sunnyside Yards
Southern Tier: City of Binghamton
Western New York: Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus
The Town of Huntington microgrid project partners include TRC Energy Services, National Grid, PSEG Long Island, and the New York Power Authority. NYPA will provide financing directly for projects designated and implemented by the Power Authority.

— Solar Builder magazine