The latest deal from distributed energy resources (DER) developer EnSync Energy Systems cracked the code on multi-family residential PV projects, which is one of toughest segments to sell. The 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) is for a 792-kW solar project for a residential community in Hawaii to an undisclosed buyer. The project will serve over 200 individual meters — with the flexibility to add more meters — and is grid-tied, exporting unused energy to the grid under the Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) tariff.
How did they do it?
Using its proprietary modeling technology, EnSync Energy performed significant technical and financial analyses to optimize project sizing and setup for delivering the least expensive and most reliable electricity. For example, EnSync Energy modeled how unit vacancy interacts with residential load volatility and concluded that a grid-tied project design could protect the value generated by the solar project. The resulting design, execution and successful PPA balanced load needs, special permitting requirements and CGS utility arrangements to maximize savings. EnSync Energy’s modular technology approach also enables the residential complex to easily scale capacity in the future.
“The many complexities of creating a PPA for this large residential development project, with so many units and individual load and production profiles, are indicators of the challenges our solutions address and the value we bring to the residential market-place,” said Brad Hansen, CEO and president of EnSync Energy. “Our capability to perform increasingly intricate analysis and modeling, in addition to applying expertise in policy implications, enables us to construct a customized PPA that benefits all stakeholders economically.”
EnSync Energy, with its suite of integrated project development services that merge design modeling with financial analysis and system implementation, is equipped to manage the future of energy complexity. This site is one of more than 22 contracted commercial projects in Hawaii, which will account for more than $33.4 million in electricity sales over the terms of the agreements.
Construction will commence in the coming months.
— Solar Builder magazine
Here’s a commercial install from Solect Solar.
Commercial solar has a ton of potential, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) wants to make that potential clearer for customers and investors, today making two documents available to spur investment.
The first document is a contract that combines the benefits of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) to provide customers with a valuable new financing option.
“The PACE PPA further builds out SEIA’s suite of model contracts so all solar transactions can be efficiently negotiated and financed,” said Mike Mendelsohn, SEIA’s senior director of project finance & capital markets. “Our goal is to broadly open the U.S. commercial real estate sector for solar deployment, and the PACE PPA is a valuable tool to allow that progress to happen.”
You can learn more about these financing plans here.
The second document, co-authored by SolarKal, is an educational report designed to explain the value of on-site solar to commercial property owners. According to the report, Solar Energy and Commercial Real Estate (CRE): Insights for Your Investment Property, solar systems can allow commercial property owners to raise rents, lower operating expenses, negotiate lease extensions, and increase the net present value, or NPV, of their buildings.
Both documents were developed by SEIA’s C&I Working Group, which is focused on creating solutions for the commercial and industrial sectors.
Download the PACE PPA document here.
— Solar Builder magazine
If you need a reminder of the booming solar + school trend, Gilroy Unified School District (GUSD), a K-12 school district with more than 11,300 students, just completed a 1.6 MW PV system PPA expected to save $1.5 million in energy costs over 25 years. The three solar shade structure installations at Christopher High and Gilroy High will offset approximately 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually.
“Our District chose to finance the solar project via a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). We were fortunate to be able to create utility bill savings with the PPA in addition to financing the Gilroy High School parking lot remodel project,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah A. Flores. “Borrego Solar was chosen because they offered seamless, turnkey solutions for us with PPA financing, project design, building the commercial solar systems, and managing the parking lot construction project. We felt confident in Borrego Solar’s ability to meet our project deadlines because of their in-depth experience with school districts.”
Borrego Solar Systems, a top commercial solar company, developed, designed, and built GUSD’s solar projects: 447 kilowatts (kW) and 322 kW at Christopher High and 788 kW at Gilroy High. Borrego Solar has completed more than 14 MW of commercial solar installations across 70 sites for K-12 schools in California. The projects will produce about 2.7 million kWh of energy in the first year, which is the equivalent to the amount needed to power approximately 375 average homes annually. The solar systems are sized to offset approximately 77 percent of the current electricity usage at those two schools.
“We were impressed with GUSD’s leadership throughout the development and construction process. They worked to ensure that we could get on-site and complete the project quickly, so the district could start saving on energy sooner,” said Kyle Kearney, VP of project development, Western U.S. at Borrego Solar. “As a result, we’re celebrating the operation after just about five months of construction. Congrats to GUSD for joining a growing number of K-12 Districts in California taking advantage of solar.”
SunRaise Investments owns the installations and will sell the power to GUSD over th 25-year PPA term. Through a PPA, GUSD was able to deploy solar without any upfront capital outlay or additional costs over the system’s lifetime, while having control over their energy costs long-term.
— Solar Builder magazine
SolRiver Capital, a Colorado-based solar investment fund, announced the launch of its free PPA Rate Finder tool for solar developers. Developers enter a desired purchase price for their solar project into the Rate Finder. Then it tells them the PPA rate needed to get that price.
“Solar developers often ask us what PPA price per kilowatt hour they need to hit a certain funding amount for their project. The Rate Finder is a tool that gives them that number,” said Brandon Conard, Managing Partner of SolRiver Capital.
How it works
To use the Rate Finder, developers provide basic information about a project. The inputs include basic system specs, a few operating costs, and any project incentives. From there, the Rate Finder combines the developer’s assumptions and desired purchase price with SolRiver’s financial model. The Rate Finder then displays the power purchase agreement rate needed for the developer to get their desired purchase price from SolRiver.
The Rate Finder is free to use. SolRiver hopes that having no-cost access to its financial model helps developers confidently bid on clean energy RFP’s or negotiate PPA rates with off-takers.
“We know that coming up with a PPA rate for a bid is a critical and sometimes stressful process. The Rate Finder is a simple way for developers to easily estimate what PPA rates allow them to achieve their goals,” explained Conard.
Financing beyond FICO: Using asset-backed loans, PACE to get solar deals done
— Solar Builder magazine
Financier Greenwood Energy and installer Borrego Solar Systems completed a 2.9-MW remote-net-metered solar array for Ithaca College. Borrego Solar co-developed, designed and built the array while Greenwood Energy will own and operate it. Located approximately 40 miles from campus on 15 acres of land in the Ontario County Town of Seneca, the solar array is one of the largest for a higher education institution in New York State.
The solar farm will generate an estimated 3.5 million kWh of electricity in its first year, which will provide roughly 10 percent of the campus’ electricity needs. This amount is equal to powering the Gannett Center, Dillingham Center and Williams Hall academic buildings, along with the Emerson residence Hall.
“I offer my thanks to our public and private partners for helping us make this project a reality,” said Ithaca College President Tom Rochon.
RELATED: New York utilities, SolarCity propose landmark partnership
The project is financed through a Power Purchase Agreement, which covered all upfront costs and allows the college to purchase the solar energy produced from the owner, Greenwood Energy, at a set price over the 25-year term of the agreement through remote net energy metering (RNEM). Ithaca’s project is the recipient of a $1.6 million New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant.
“Greenwood Energy is proud of making this private-public partnership a reality. An exciting outcome thanks to a concerted effort of multiple parties from policy all the way to project construction. We can only hope for more,” said Camilo Patrignani, Greenwood Energy CEO.
The NY-SUN initiative is making it possible for all New Yorkers to invest in solar energy by providing financial incentives and solar-friendly utility programs. One key program utilized for Ithaca College’s installation is RNEM, which allows for entities to install solar at an off-site location and receive credits for the energy fed onto the grid. Thanks to RNEM, the installation will save Ithaca College an estimated $10,000 to $50,000 annually, depending on the future price of electricity.
— Solar Builder magazine