Freedom Solar installs two PV systems for Texas candy company

Freedom Solar

Those sour green apple candies at Alamo Candy Company are getting a lot greener. Freedom Solar Power recently designed and installed two new solar projects for Alamo Candy, one of the largest candy manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers in San Antonio.

Freedom Solar completed a 100.8-kilowatt solar array comprised of 280 panels on the rooftop of Alamo Candy’s popular retail shop at 2738 Blanco Rd. and an 86.4-kilowatt system comprised of 240 panels on the company’s office at 1149 W. Hildebrand Ave.

The retail storefront’s solar array will offset 73 percent of Alamo Candy’s energy needs, and the office’s solar array will offset 100 percent of the building’s energy needs. Each system will pay for itself in roughly five years. Over the 25-year guaranteed lifetime of the systems, Alamo Candy Company will save a combined total of nearly $750K.

Combined, Alamo Candy’s solar arrays will produce 271,606 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year—the equivalent of 70 tons of waste being recycled instead of landfilled or 22,745 gallons of gasoline consumed.

Kyle Frazier, director of sales for Freedom Solar, says: “Alamo Candy has built a name for itself carrying hard-to-find candies that its customers aren’t able to get anywhere else. They have exactly what you’re looking for, no matter how rare it is. This is how Freedom Solar approaches each and every one of its new solar projects— designing the system to fit the customer’s unique needs. We’re also one of the few Central Texas companies that carry SunPower panels.”

Alamo Candy’s solar projects feature 327-watt high-efficiency SunPower solar panels, which are the most efficient available today and unmatched in reliability with an expected useful life of more than 40 years. Freedom Solar is a SunPower Master Dealer, the only company with that distinction in Texas.

“More and more business owners like Alamo Candy Company are looking at their energy needs with a long-term perspective. Solar reduces long-term operating costs and paves the way for businesses to be more profitable and environmentally friendly. Alamo Candy has joined a growing list of visionary companies that have the foresight to plan ahead for the future of their businesses, customers and employees, and our environment,” says Frazier.

Felix and Juana Samame, co-founders, and current president and vice president of Alamo Candy Company, say: “As our veteran-owned family business continues to grow, we are excited to also be a part of the growing energy conservation effort in San Antonio. We strongly believe switching to solar energy, with the help of Freedom Solar, is just one more way we can better serve our customers, employees, and hometown.”

To date, Freedom Solar has completed thousands of residential and commercial installations in Texas for clients including Whole Foods, Tejas Rodeo, and CubeSmart, among others.

— Solar Builder magazine

Largest solar rooftop project in Illinois installed atop IKEA distribution center

IKEA_Joliet_Solar_Completion

The largest solar rooftop project in Illinois is now complete, sitting atop IKEA’s Midwest distribution center in Joliet, Ill. Combined with arrays atop the Chicago-area IKEA stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg, this third project will make IKEA the owner of three of the state’s largest solar rooftop installations.

The distribution center’s 268,920-square-foot solar array consists of a 2.85 MW system, built with 9,036 panels, and will produce approximately 3,377,000 kWh of electricity annually for the facility, the equivalent of reducing 2,513 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equal to the emissions of 538 cars or providing electricity for 377 homes yearly.

“Investing in sustainable solutions is a vital part of our business model,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president. “IKEA aims to create a sustainable life for communities where we are located, and the Joliet distribution center is a shining example of that goal.”

2017 Solar Builder Project of the Year Winners

IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and globally has allocated $2.5 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2020, reinforcing its confidence and investment in solar photovoltaic technology. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, IKEA has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns approximately 300 wind turbines, including 104 in the U.S. – 49 of which are in Hoopeston, IL.

Under construction on 72 acres at the Laraway Crossings Business Park, the future 1.25-million-square-foot distribution center in Joliet will enhance the IKEA distribution network with a central location allowing goods to be received at coastal ports from both Asia and Europe and then transported inland to the Joliet facility. The proximity to a nearby railroad intermodal will represent additional long-term transportation options too. IKEA is also planning another, similarly-sized facility on 62 acres adjacent to the one currently being built. (The timing for construction of the second building remains to be determined).

— Solar Builder magazine

H&H Solar completes largest solar project in Iowa

H&H Solar completed two of their latest solar energy projects in Iowa. For both projects, H&H Solar provided the design, engineering, construction and final installation.

H and H solar projects

The West Dubuque project, now the largest and most powerful solar energy location in Iowa, is a 5 MWdc ground mount installation sitting on a 22 acre parcel utilizing AP-Alternatives Fixed Tilt Ground Mounted Racking, Canadian Solar Modules and Canadian Solar Inverters. In addition to the design, engineering and construction services provided by H&H Solar, the company also handled the procurement and permitting for the project. Because accessibility to the site was a challenge, the construction of 2,000 feet of service roads was required for a successful installation.

Officially named the Port of Dubuque Solar Garden, the second project’s 1.2 MW capacity is located on a 5 acre parcel that was originally an industrial site which created a litany of problems and challenges.

According to Dave Garner, Project Developer for H&H Solar, “This was an extremely challenging project, not because of its scope, but because it was an industrial site located adjacent to downtown Dubuque. Thoughtful consideration by our engineers and designers was required to workaround factors of density, bike and pedestrian paths, and ornamental fencing, for instance, and these types of issues aren’t necessarily what we deal with in many other solar projects we design and construct.”

2017 Solar Builder Project of the Year Winners

The Port of Dubuque Solar Garden features ground-mounted, fixed tilt ballasted racking from Solar Flex and Solar Modules and Inverters from Canadian Solar. The installation provides power to the grid at 13.8 kV and features a Learning Center that offers information about the site to the public.

Combined, these two projects are expected to power 850 homes from their 19,160 panels that rest on a total of 27 acres. These sites will be the catalyst for additional solar projects throughout Iowa which has traditionally relied on wind energy as their primary source for alternative energy.

— Solar Builder magazine

Fifth largest public transit system in the country signs 45-MW power purchase agreement

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Recurrent Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, signed a 20-year power purchase agreement  for 45 MWac of solar power with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the fifth largest public transit network in the country and one of the largest consumers of electric power in Northern California. The BART Board of Directors approved the PPA on December 7, 2017.

This contract, BART’s first-ever PPA for utility-scale solar power, resulted from a renewable energy procurement process that BART launched in May 2017 as part of the organization’s Wholesale Electricity Portfolio Policy. The Policy requires 100 percent of BART’s power to come from renewable resources by 2045 while maintaining low and stable BART operating costs.

“Utility-scale solar power is a vital part of cost-effectively meeting our sustainability commitments,” said BART Sustainability Director Holly Gordon. “It is very important to us to work with an experienced development partner like Recurrent Energy who will help us achieve our goals.”

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Power will be supplied to BART from Recurrent Energy’s 45 MWac Gaskell West 2 solar photovoltaic project located in southern California. The project is scheduled to reach commercial operation in 2020.

“Solar power is a perfect match for BART’s commitment to using cost-effective and clean energy,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canadian Solar. “We are proud to support BART’s progress towards 100 percent renewable energy while also diversifying Recurrent Energy’s customer base.”

BART is the first U.S. metro-rail entity to sign a utility-scale solar PPA this year.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Check out this 1.6-MW solar install for California’s Gilroy Unified School District

solar system gilroy school

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.”

carport school borrego solar

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