Sonnen partners with homebuilder to develop Net-Zero-Plus community in Florida

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Pearl Homes’ Hunters Point Net-Zero Energy home using the sonnen intelligent energy management system.

Sonnen has partnered with Pearl Homes, the U.S. leader in LEED residential development, to bring the vision of solar + storage, home automation and homebuilding to life, resulting in a ‘Net-Zero-Plus and Climate-Positive’ community. The network of homes, dubbed ‘Hunters Point — Pearl Homes Community and Marina,’ is the first community implemented by the sonnen-Pearl Homes partnership, one designed to help decarbonize Manatee County and surrounding regions of Florida by making green living affordable to a broader market.

The second sonnenCommunity to launch in the U.S. market will be installed at Hunters Point in the small fishing village of Cortez, FL. It is comprised of 148 homes pursuing LEED Platinum certification that empower residents to be pioneers in energy and join a movement creating net-zero energy communities. Each home will be equipped with rooftop solar panels, a new and affordable sonnen energy storage system designed for mass market appeal, a smart thermostat and an EV charger – all controlled by way of sonnen’s powerful new energy automation and artificial intelligence (AI) software platform.

Hunter’s Point sonnenCommunity represents the first time an energy storage system has worked in concert with Google Home in a master-planned development, capable of maximizing the intelligent use of each household’s renewable energy. In initial tests, it was determined that the already-built homes are generating approximately 96% of their own clean power, with the goal of being fully net-zero. In total, the Hunter’s Point sonnenCommunity projects represent 9 MWh of storage capacity and 7.2 MW of power.

RELATED: The Holistic Home: We peer into the future of home energy generation, usage

Following the installment of the first 148 homes, Pearl Homes will commence a second development comprised of 720 apartments, making additional living options possible for those who don’t currently own a home, but wish to make a difference for the environment. It will be the first net-zero rental community of this size, with cost-affordable pricing designed to provide people of varying income levels with the opportunity to live in a greener residence.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pearl Homes, the unparalleled leader in building LEED Platinum homes in the U.S., as we upend the traditional homebuilding vision and replace it with one based on decarbonizing the grid and establishing a complete solution for green living that is affordable for a much broader market,” said Blake Richetta, Senior Vice President and head of sonnen’s U.S. operations. “Together with our partners at Pearl Homes and Google Home, we are effectively demonstrating the intersection between renewable energy, home automation and homebuilding, establishing a blueprint for the affordable clean energy home of the future.”

The first-of-its-kind community is designed to decongest the wires of the local utility grid, providing load- shaping throughout the day to support intelligent demand management; establish smart configurable backup that provides resiliency and peace of mind for homeowners in the face of storms and other natural disasters; and the ability to live a cleaner lifestyle than any other development in the country.

“For years, energy experts have sought an answer to the solar conundrum: how to generate and store enough solar for our homes,” said Marshall Gobuty, President of Sarasota, FL-based Pearl Homes. “sonnen’s technology in combination with our LEED Platinum home design has changed the equation for the ability to truly optimize smart homes using solar plus storage to the point where we are capable of building sustainable communities that share solar and decarbonize the region, one Pearl Home at a time.”

— Solar Builder magazine

KDC Solar to construct 5-MW solar project for glass manufacturer in New Jersey

KDC SOLAR

KDC Solar is kicking off construction on a 5.5 megawatt solar power system located in the Bridgeton and Fairfield Townships, New Jersey. The solar project will supply electricity to the adjacent Ardagh Group glass manufacturing facility, producing approximately 7.5 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity in its first year.

Debt financing for the project was provided by Seminole Financial Services through a construction and a permanent loan facility. Development capital and project equity were arranged by GoldenSet Capital Partners in its role as sub-advisor to the North Sky Capital Alliance Fund II.

“This represents our second project with KDC Solar in New Jersey. Alan and the KDC team are experienced developers and we look forward to further expanding our project portfolio with them” said Everett Smith, Managing Partner of GoldenSet Capital.

“We’re delighted to have provided the financing for another large net metered solar project with KDC Solar and GoldenSet Capital,” said Bob Banks, CEO of Seminole Financial Services. “Repeat business is a tenet of our organizational philosophy and this execution proved to be extremely efficient. We look forward to many more successful projects together.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Kansas community college adds solar to curriculum and campus via RP Construction Services

RPCS cloud county community college

As part of Kansas’ Cloud County Community College’s Solar Energy Technology program, new solar energy courses — spurred by the installation of a new on-campus solar site — will train students for high-tech, high-wage jobs in the exciting, emerging solar industry through innovative teaching and educational partnerships.

The site will service the campus’s energy needs, and will be installed by students enrolled in the program. Historically focusing on wind energy, solar was a natural transition. The program is centered around hands-on training for solar projects, including construction and electrical training for both residential and commercial solar.

“The curriculum blends on-campus, on-line and distance learning, land-lab, and field training opportunities for traditional and non-traditional students,” the college’s website states. This educational program will produce a qualified workforce to serve the emerging solar industry throughout Kansas and the nation.

Founded in 1965, Cloud County Community College is dedicated to delivering high quality, innovative, and accessible educational opportunities and services that prepare a diverse population to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners who can meet the challenges of an ever-changing global community.

Students, faculty, and staff of the college formed an active, volunteer-based group that has named itself the “Go Green Committee,” which has distinguished itself on campus with numerous environmentally-friendly efforts. The college earned a Green Power Partnership, awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a voluntary program encouraging organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

The 200-kW site features LONGi 340W solar panels on Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 single-axis solar trackers. Array’s mounting technology keeps the modules following the sun on its course throughout the day, ensuring up to a 20 to 25% increase in energy production over fixed-tilt systems. RP Construction Services Inc. (RPCS), California-based solar construction contractor and Array Technologies’ trusted partner, helped supply the project

Andrew Clark, Cloud County Community College Renewable Energy Technology instructor and also the project’s construction manager, used his experience as a local solar installer to help students with the installation process and guide them in overcoming challenges posed by snowy weather.

“It was my dream when I started teaching at Cloud to introduce solar to the program offerings,” says Clark. “Once I found out that was possible, I decided the program needed a solar project, so I imagined a small solar array to get their feet wet. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we were going to be able to secure funding for the project and finish it the very next year. It really has blown my mind all that we were able to accomplish in a short amount of time. I have to thank everyone who was involved; they helped make it possible.”

The program hopes to complete the project in a few weeks, celebrating with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

— Solar Builder magazine

ForeFront Power develops solar carport, storage system for University of California, Santa Cruz

Forefront power

The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) has partnered with ForeFront Power to develop a 2-MW solar parking canopy structure plus energy storage system that will provide clean, reliable electricity to the campus over a 20-year term. UCSC procured renewable energy with ForeFront Power through a streamlined procurement process via School Project for Utility Rate Reduction (SPURR). By utilizing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) framework with no upfront cost through ForeFront Power and SPURR, the University will benefit from $6 million in electricity savings during the project term.

“We considered a number of options and the partnership for this project was determined to be the most expedient and the best and the cleanest solution,” said Traci Ferdolage, Associate Vice Chancellor of UCSC. “ForeFront Power and SPURR have been very responsive and supportive of the University’s renewable goals.”

The solar parking canopy project will contribute to the University’s Campus Sustainability Plan, which includes the goal of installing 4 MW of solar photovoltaic technology on the main campus. Moreover, this project is part of the campus’ strategy to meet the UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and partnerships like this project, will be a key component to meet this 2025 goal.1 Over 3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity from the project will result in more than 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent avoided from the grid.

In addition to the benefits of on-site solar energy, the project will include 1.2 MW of energy storage to reduce peak demand and shift load to times of day when electricity is cheaper. The intelligent use of energy from the storage units combined with on-site solar energy generation helps maximize clean energy generation and enhance on-site sustainability.

“The inclusion of energy storage increases the value of the on-site solar project to the University,” said Go Mizoguchi, Co-CEO of ForeFront Power. “The University is able to save even more money while incurring no upfront cost.”

Since 2015, the SPURR Renewable Energy Aggregated Procurement (REAP) program and the ForeFront Power team have helped over 20 school districts, colleges, and municipalities procure more than 50 MW of clean solar power across more than 100 sites.

“It is exciting to see our program extended to the UC System at Santa Cruz so that more public organizations can benefit from the saved time, effort, and money by using our procurement process,” said Michael Rochman, Managing Director of SPURR. “SPURR strives to offer clear, fair, and competitively-sourced terms and conditions that allow for easy sourcing.”

ForeFront Power will be working with local Santa Cruz based companies to complete the installation. Together, ForeFront Power and UC Santa Cruz will engage in a phased construction approach to minimize impact on students and faculty. Engineers have already begun working closely with UCSC staff to ensure a safe connection to a complex campus grid that includes a natural gas fueled cogeneration plant.

The schools will also receive free post-secondary level lesson plans from Schools Power, a leading national education organization that provides schools and colleges with standards-based renewable energy curriculum packages. ForeFront Power and Schools Power announced their partnership in July 2017.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sunfinity installs 200-kW solar system on Texas-based infrastructure development company building

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LBJ Infrastructure Group and NTE Mobility Partners have created some of the most sophisticated traffic tollways in the United States, including nearly $7 billion in three North Texas projects. Neat, huh?

What’s this have to do with Solar Builder?

Well, their parent company Cintra, a leader in P3 infrastructure development, is going to power its North Texas headquarters with a 200-kW DCp solar system, designed, engineered and installed by Dallas-based Sunfinity Renewable Energy. The project takes advantage of federal tax credits and rebates to greatly reduce the total overall cost of the system.

“Cintra is always on the cutting edge of industry innovation, and that’s why we started looking at solar energy,” said Roberto Carrasco, COO of LBJIG. “Our campus is growing, and we will now be able to maximize our operational cost effectiveness while contributing to cleaner air in North Texas.”

Solar power will meet as much as 30% of the power needs of the corporate headquarters, resulting in significant carbon and cost savings — electricity savings are projected to be more than nine times the net cost of the project. The system is comprised of 588 premium panels spread across four buildings at their LBJ Freeway campus in Farmers Branch, where more than 100 people are employed.

— Solar Builder magazine