City in Kansas developing 6-MW solar farm with Inovateus Solar

Inovateus Solar

Inovateus Solar, Kenyon Energy and the City of Pratt, Kansas, announced the development of 6-MW solar farm project located on the North East Corner of town. The awarded project will produce 12.6 MWh annually, enough to power 10,000 homes and offsetting over 23 million tons of CO2 emissions.

“The City of Pratt is a highly diverse community moving in a progressive direction, supporting extensive growth and business opportunities. For these reasons, we are very pleased to announce our partnership with Inovateus Solar to lead in our region with the utilization of clean energy sources,” said Doug Meyer, Mayor of Pratt.

The construction of the solar project will start in June and is expected to begin commercial operation in January, 2019. The project is contracted under a 15-year power purchase agreement, with Pratt’s utility power plant for 100% of the array’s output. Construction will be managed by Inovateus.

RELATED: How to sell solar in the Midwest with Inovateus Solar President TJ Kanczuzewski

“Kenyon Energy is very pleased to partner with Inovateus Solar and the City of Pratt on this exciting solar energy project,” said Clay Biddinger, Chairman & CEO of Kenyon Energy. “This project is creating tangible economic and environmental benefits for Pratt’s citizens and local businesses. We continue to develop solar energy projects similar to this throughout Kansas and encourage other cities and municipalities across Kansas to reach out if they are interested in benefiting from solar energy.”

Another benefit from this project is to provide Pratt Community College with assistance in the development of a solar program. “We are impressed by the enthusiasm expressed by city officials as well as Pratt Community College in the creation of a solar program. This aligns really well with our core values to continue educating and promoting the use of solar technologies,” said Jordan Richardson, Business Development Manager at Inovateus Solar.

— Solar Builder magazine

Podcast: How to sell solar in the Midwest with Inovateus Solar President TJ Kanczuzewski

Inovateus solar buzz

Outside of the solar hotbeds on the coasts, a solar company might need to be even more passionate to succeed. Inovateus Solar, for example, has carved out a sizable solar development market in the Midwest – a journey that has required a ton of customer education and a deep corporate belief in the mission of advancing renewable energy. We stopped by the company’s South Bend, Ind., offices to chat with President TJ Kanczuzewski about how they’ve done it, the book he wrote about it, the role of solar + storage going forward and the company’s new energy fund.

Listen (or subscribe!) at the bottom of this post. Here are some highlights:

First important note: I successfully pronounce TJ’s last name.

We start with TJ’s book, Building a Brilliant Tomorrow, and dive into the history of the company, which I find fascinating for how nimble Inovateus has been — never settling on one business model – but always staying true to its core purpose of pursuing solar business, wherever that leads them. This mission started with TJ, after he left a large company to pitch his dad on a wacky idea he had for expanding his company into solar.

“I didn’t get a sense of purpose working for the second largest mall owner-operator in the country,” he says. “I wanted to do something meaningful … and renewables is something our country needed and was something I was passionate about.”

This is the passion that was needed to jump start a dormant solar market in the middle of the country.

“We are solar evangelists,” he says of the company’s approach. “Sometimes we are just meeting with someone, establishing a relationship and teaching them about solar, and it might take 3, 4, 5 years before they do something, but when they are ready and looking for information, they’re going to call us up.”

This brings us into meta topic of “the psychology of renewables” which undergirds this entire business strategy.

TJ’s hot take: Not enough people working in solar practice what they preach. “I wanted to drive an electric car so that I could think like someone who drives an electric car.”

Our second favorite term after solar evangelist: Professional opportunist.

“We have to be professional opportunists because of where we are located. If a job pops up, we have to go after it whether it’s small or large.”

Finally, as usual on the Solar Builder Buzz, drinking a beer leads to an actual segue to solar business discussion, including why solar + storage, in more and more cases, is creating a better investment opportunity than just solar on its own. This leads me to get excited and fumble my way through a retelling of why our Project of the Year for 2017 was so awesome. Do yourselves a favor and just read what I wrote on it here instead of listening to me babble.

We end with some news on a new energy fund the company is launching. TJ also references a Michigan State carport project, which we covered here, and in this feature we did on the carport opportunity in the market.

— Solar Builder magazine

Huge Michigan State University solar carport project now complete

inovateus solar

Alterra Power Corp. and Inovateus Solar LLC are pleased to announce that the 11 MW Spartan solar project commenced full commercial operations on December 21, 2017. The Spartan project is located above 45 acres of carports at the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Michigan, covering over 4,500 parking spaces.

Separately, the project’s $19.8 million construction loan was retired on December 22 via a $10.2 million 10-year term loan and a $9.7 million tax equity investment, both provided by 1st Source Bank, a subsidiary of 1st Source Corporation (NASDAQ: SRCE). Under an agreement with Inovateus, Alterra now holds a 100% sponsor equity interest in the project.

Alterra will manage the project, which sells 100% of its power under a 25-year agreement with the Board of Trustees of Michigan State University. Inovateus managed the construction of the project and will also provide operation and maintenance services under a long-term contract.

Jon Schintler, VP of Project Finance & Development at Alterra, said, “We’re pleased to complete this project within 2017 – with tremendous thanks to our partners at Michigan State University, 1st Source and Inovateus. We’re looking forward to further growth of our US solar business and many successful years delivering clean power to MSU.”

“We’re excited to reach commercial operations at this project, a culmination of hard work by our entire team and each of our partners,” said TJ Kanczuzewski, President of Inovateus.

The ‘Carportunity’: How our electric vehicle future means big things for solar carports

— Solar Builder magazine

Financial details on Michigan State University solar project revealed

inovateus solar

Alterra Power Corp. and Inovateus Solar LLC closed $19.9 million construction loan facility for the Spartan solar project, an 11 MW solar project located on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Michigan.

The loan facility is supplied by 1st Source Bank, a subsidiary of 1st Source Corporation  and consists of a $19.8 million construction loan plus a $500,000 letter of credit. Concurrently with the construction loan, 1st Source will provide a $9.7 million tax equity investment commitment and a $10.2 million term loan commitment, both of which will be used to retire the construction loan facility upon achievement of commercial operations (each subject to typical conditions precedent). The term loan will have a balloon payment based on a 6-year maturity and 20-year amortization.

Separately, Alterra completed a partnership agreement with Inovateus, under which Alterra will manage the project and hold a majority interest of at least 85% (final partnership allocations are subject to final project economics and other factors).

Alterra expects the Spartan project (currently under construction) to achieve commercial operations in December 2017. Spartan is contracted under a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Board of Trustees of Michigan State University for 100% of plant output. Construction is being managed by Inovateus, who will also provide operations and maintenance services.

Special Report: How to Make Money in the Midwest

“We’re pleased to complete this second project with our solar partner Inovateus, and to complete another financing with 1st Source,” said Jon Schintler, VP of Project Finance & Development at Alterra. “We look forward to serving Michigan State University for many years and hopefully expanding our Midwest solar operations.

“We are very proud of our entire team on the development of the Spartan project. A special thank you to Michigan State University, along with our partners 1st Source Bank and Alterra for joining us in building a brilliant tomorrow,” said TJ Kanczuzewski, President of Inovateus.

— Solar Builder magazine

Universities adding solar: Update on PV projects at Notre Dame, University of Virginia

Notre Dame goes solar

notre dame inovateus solar

Inovateus Solar has completed a 144.72-kW solar photovoltaic installation for the University of Notre Dame. The ground-mounted system is located at the Kenmore Warehouse storage facility and is the largest solar array built by the university to date as well as the biggest PV installation in South Bend.

The Kenmore solar system is connected to the main electric power feed for the building and will generate approximately 194,000 kWh of electricity annually, offsetting nearly one-third of the total electricity used by the facility. A net-metering agreement signed between the university and Indiana Michigan Power calls for any power generated in excess of the building’s immediate demand to be fed into the local grid for use by the utility and credited to Notre Dame.

The system is estimated to reduce the university’s carbon dioxide emissions by some 296,000 pounds the first year, and nearly 2000 tons over its lifespan of some 20 years.

Inovateus is developing and building several other major projects in the Midwest and adjacent regions, including a multi-site solar parking canopy installation at Michigan State University, which will be completed later this year and become the largest solar carport in North America.

UVA partners with Dominion Energy on solar facility

dominion solar power

The University of Virginia continues to expand its portfolio of carbon-free generation and achieve key sustainability targets with another partnership announced today with Dominion Energy.

Under a 25-year agreement, the University will purchase the entire output of a proposed 120-acre solar facility in Middlesex County. The solar facility, developed by Coronal Energy, will be constructed and owned by Dominion Energy. It will produce an estimated 15 megawatts of alternating current, or about 9 percent of the University’s electric demand.

The UVA Puller Solar facility joins the previously announced UVA Hollyfield Solar facility. In total, the two sites will produce 32 megawatts of solar energy and will offset about 21 percent of the University’s electric demand.

The UVA Puller Solar Facility was acquired as a development asset from Coronal Energy, a solar development company with regional headquarters in Charlottesville, Va. The facility will feature approximately 58,800 solar panels, enough to power about 3,750 homes at peak output. Construction is slated to start in late 2017, with commercial operations occurring by the end of 2018.

Coronal Energy, powered by Panasonic, is a leading independent power producer and provider of turnkey solar energy solutions tailored for diverse enterprise customers across North America, including utilities, corporations, and the public sector.

— Solar Builder magazine