Top 6 solar projects from last week

First Illinois school district to go solar hosts ribbon cutting

solar school project illinois

Lake Park High School District 108 hosted a ribbon cutting event on June 15 to celebrate completion of two solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, making it one of the first public school districts in Illinois to adopt solar power on a large scale. The declining installed cost of solar has made this cost effective for the District and will result in an estimated net savings of $5.1 million over 25 years. Both Lake Park West and Lake Park East high schools now have roof-mounted solar panels expected to generate 1.86 megawatts of clean energy. The solar array will provide 2,215,247 kilowatt hours of power to the grid. The project was completed and solar system energized in March of this year.

Implemented in two phases, energy conservation measures at the high schools included new energy efficient vertical classroom units, lighting upgrades and a cooling tower replacement. The Phase One project was completed in August of 2016.

Roof-Mount Project of the Year: Bishop O’Dowd High School

To further reduce energy costs, the District pursued the use of solar power and is now distinguished as one of the largest public school solar installations with net metering in Illinois. Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) will become an income source for the District as they sell excess solar credits to utility companies that need them to meet certain energy use requirements. Expected revenue from excess solar renewable energy credits is projected to exceed $5.1 million over 25 years.

dynamic energy solar project

Western, Pa.’s Estes Express Lines completes 688-kW rooftop project

Estes Express Lines and Dynamic Energy, a turnkey solar project developer, are pleased to announce the completion of a 688 kW solar project on the roof of Estes’ terminal in West Middlesex, PA. The system is expected to produce 777,400 kilowatt hours of power each year, which will offset 56% of the West Middlesex terminal’s annual consumption.

This project was supported by a state grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA). PEDA is an independent public financing authority with a mission to finance clean, advanced energy projects in Pennsylvania. Estes previously partnered with Dynamic Energy to complete 2 solar installations totaling 583 kW at their terminals in Elkton, MD, and Baltimore, MD.

Panasonic

Denver ‘smart city’ development named ESNA Innovation Awards finalist

A Panasonic-led solar-plus-storage microgrid at Peña Station NEXT, a 382-acre smart city development in Denver, has been named an Energy Storage North America (ESNA) 2017 Innovation Awards finalist. This industry accolade follows on the heels of the microgrid earning an Environmental Leader 2017 Top Project of the Year award earlier this month.

Project partners include Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, Xcel Energy, Denver International Airport, LC Fulenwider, Inc., and Younicos. Partners share microgrid assets and benefits in a multi-stakeholder “portfolio” model that helps the utility modernize and manage its electricity grid with innovative technologies, aids grid integration of solar PV, strengthens resilience (including through backup power) for customers and critical loads, and supports the sustainability goals of diverse organizations.

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

Where many microgrids are utilized by a single entity (e.g., military, corporate, or college campuses), the portfolio microgrid at Peña includes a set of assets that are shared between stakeholders:

• 1.6 MWdc carport solar photovoltaic (PV) system
• 259 kWdc rooftop solar PV array atop Panasonic’s facility
• Anchor electricity load at Panasonic’s Technology and Business Solutions Center
• 1 MW / 2MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS)
• Switching/control systems to operate the BESS and microgrid functionality

As an example of the portfolio model for sharing microgrid assets, Denver International Airport owns the parking lot and carport structure at Peña; Xcel Energy owns and operates the solar PV system atop the structure under a long-term lease; and Panasonic performs the operations and maintenance on the system.

BlueRock Solar Logo

BlueRock Solar paves way for largest community solar project in New York

BlueRock Solar announced plans for a community solar project just outside Buffalo, N.Y. in Grand Island after the town board voted unanimously to approve the project. It will be completed in partnership with Active Solar Development. BlueRock Solar expects to break ground later this summer and complete the installation within 2-3 months.

The 18-acre solar array will be the largest New York State community solar installation project in the state and will power up to 400 homes and businesses. At least 60 percent of the power generation will be allocated for residential customers with a guaranteed savings as compared to the incumbent utility. The project will consist of approximately 12,000 solar panels installed off I-190 between Bedell Road and Industrial Drive.

This will be BlueRock Solar’s second community solar project and one of only a few in the state. Earlier this year, the company successfully completed installation and interconnection of a community solar project in Millport, NY, in a partnership with Ithaca, NY-based Renovus Solar.

SunPower and UC Merced

The University’s Second SunPower Project on Campus to Support its Zero Net Energy by 2020 Goal (PRNewsfoto/SunPower Corp.)

‘Triple Zero Commitment’ project aided by SunPower PV system

The University of California, Merced’s precedent-setting Triple Zero Commitment aims for zero net energy use, the creation of zero net landfill waste and climate neutrality on campus by 2020, a goal that coincides with the university’s expansion project to nearly double the campus’s physical capacity by that same year.

The university is working with SunPower Corp. to install a 5-MW solar power system featuring a carport-and-rooftop installation, complemented by a 500-kilowatt energy storage solution from Stem. The system will be UC Merced’s second featuring SunPower solar technology. A 1-megawatt ground-mounted tracker system has been in operation and exceeding performance expectations since 2009, and the two systems combined are expected to supply more than 50 percent of the campus’s energy needs. UC Merced will own the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the new solar energy system, which is estimated to generate clean electricity equal to removing approximately 30,000 cars from the road every year for 25 years. The 5-megawatt photovoltaic system and 500-kilowatt battery storage system will be financed by a power purchase agreement (PPA).

sunation pv install

SUNation installs 2,500th PV system on 14th anniversary

Ronkonkoma-based solar design and installation company, SUNation Solar Systems, is celebrating its 14th anniversary as a company this month, which coincides with their 2,500th solar photovoltaic (PV) system installation on Long Island. SUNation’s installation team completed the milestone installation today at the home of Holbrook resident, Chris Cirneanu. The 8,829 watt SunPower system is expected to produce 9,949 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually, offsetting over 100% of the homeowner’s annual electricity expense.
SUNation Co-Founder and CEO Scott Maskin says, “We are proud to be celebrating 14 years of providing our friends and neighbors with a better way to create electricity. In that time, we’ve grown a work family of over 100 people and played a major role in building a local solar industry on Long Island.”

Since its inception in 2003, SUNation has installed 27,535,971 watts and over 94,000 modules for Long Island customers. SUNation Solar Systems’ customers have produced an accumulated lifetime total of 103,528,268 kWh and saved over $20.7 million dollars over the last 14 years.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Enter Zayed Future Energy awards for chance at $1.5 million top prize

Zayed energy prize

The Zayed Future Energy Prize, a global prize for innovation in renewable energy, will accept applications for its 10th anniversary awards until July 6, 2017. Categories for consideration include: small and medium enterprises, non-profit organizations, and global high schools. Companies and non-profits are eligible for a $1.5 million prize; high schools can be awarded grants of up to $100,000.

Nominations can also be made for recognition for the large corporation and lifetime achievement categories. Past winners in these categories include former Vice President Al Gore, General Electric, Panasonic and Siemens.

You should probably also submit to our Project of the Year awards.

“In January 2018, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Zayed Future Energy Prize,” said Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. “Since its inception, the Prize has continuously recognized and empowered those striving to deliver a sustainable future for all – hence the extraordinary impact we have seen over the previous nine years.”

“We call on all those who want to join our international community of pioneers positively changing the lives of millions of people to enter the Zayed Future Energy Prize today,” Dr. Al-Hosany continued. “From providing access to energy in Africa to innovative storage solutions in Europe, our winners have been pushing the boundaries of what is achievable in terms of clean energy solutions and sustainable practices across the world.”

The Zayed Future Energy Prize has received over 10,000 nominations and submissions across more than 100 countries since its founding in 2008. In 2016 alone, the prize received a record 1,676 entries from 103 different nations, a 22 percent increase on the previous record set the year before.

At the 2017 awards ceremony, Li Junfeng, Director General of China’s National Center of Climate Strategy Research, won the lifetime achievement award for his unwavering commitment to the adoption of renewable energy in China. General Electric (GE) won the large corporation award for leadership in the wind and solar energy markets. Sonnen was awarded the prize in the small and medium enterprise category for leadership in providing battery storage technology solutions. In the non-profit organization category, UK-based Practical Action was recognized for its work in providing deprived communities with clean energy across the globe.

— Solar Builder magazine

Cornell Tech’s new campus installs Solaria PowerXT PV modules

solaria

Solaria Corp. provided 2,300 PowerXT and customized PowerView modules to buildings on Cornell Tech’s innovative new campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Combined, the Bloomberg Center – designed by mOrphosis Architects – and the Bridge building – designed by WEISS/ MANFREDI/ Architecture/ Urbanism/ Landscape – uses 47,000 sq ft of Solaria PV panels, the equivalent of a 900-kW system, part of a strategy to generate all of the power needed for the Bloomberg Center on campus.

The Bloomberg Center is the first academic building on the Roosevelt Island campus and is scheduled to open in September. It plans to achieve NZE by employing multiple strategies including solar power, geothermal ground source heat pumps, an energy-efficient façade balancing the ratio between transparency and opaqueness to maximize building insulation and decrease energy demand, and smart building features monitoring lighting. This strategy prioritizes reduction in energy demand through load reductions as well as maximizing passive and energy efficient design, and using renewable energy to power the building systems.

Why high-efficiency modules are the best value for installers, homeowners

Solaria’s rooftop solar solutions provide high-performance solar panels that produce up to 20 percent more energy than conventional modules. These high-density solar panels are optimized for rooftop applications and leverage a highly refined manufacturing process which results in a significantly higher energy yield than typical PV modules. It not only delivers high power but also improved shading tolerance, premium appearance and durability. Solaria’s architectural glass solutions that deliver the unique combination of high performance and high power density. This enables the optimization of thermal performance, effective daylighting, glare control and power generation. Solaria’s solar windows are easily customizable and offer design flexibility to adjust for a wide variety of sizes, glass type dimensions, coatings, Vt, and voltage.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar Builder 2017-06-19 16:15:39

Historic funeral business leaps into 21st century with rooftop solar arrays on seven locations

freedom solar installation

Freedom Solar recently installed more than 530 kilowatts of solar power on seven locations of Mission Park Funeral Chapels and Cemeteries, the largest and oldest privately owned funeral company in San Antonio.

Powered by 1,634 high-efficiency solar panels, the new solar projects will offset more than 55 percent of Mission Park’s electricity needs at the seven locations: two mortuaries (Oak Hill and Palm Heights), its corporate office, three funeral chapels and cemeteries (North, South, and Dominion), and its funeral home (Brookehill).

The entire system is expected to pay for itself in less than four and a half years. A generous local utility rebate covered roughly 46 percent of total system costs. Mission Park will also receive the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for 30 percent of the project’s total cost, saving the company a total of 76 percent.

Annually, Mission Park’s solar arrays will produce 778,735 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which will offset more than 547 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. Because funeral homes operate 24 hours a day seven days a week, electric bills are a large portion of their operating costs. Mission Park’s project features SunPower 327-watt solar panels, which are the most efficient available today, with unmatched reliability and an expected life of more than 40 years. Freedom Solar Power is a SunPower Master Dealer, the only company with that distinction in Texas.

Once the first phase (the initial seven locations) of Mission Park’s solar project has paid for itself, Tips will begin phase two and have Freedom Solar design and install solar arrays on another set of its locations.

Austin Independent School District adds 600 kW rooftop system

PCI Solar is installing a 600 kilowatt portfolio of rooftop solar for Austin Independent School District (AISD), as well as providing classroom instruction to Austin High School engineering students interested in careers in solar. Austin High is one of the AISD schools receiving a solar energy system, and invited PCI to speak with interested students, some of whom have solar on their homes. PCI Solar staff provided an overview of how solar energy works, the economic case for solar, and the various types of careers in solar energy.

PV in schools: Education sector is one of solar’s best opportunities

“We were really impressed at the knowledge level of these students regarding energy in general and solar specifically,” said Mark Hilpert with PCI. “They asked good questions and had a knowledge far beyond what I had at their age. If these sorts of kids join our industry, we will be fortunate.”

PCI staff and the students discussed a variety of issues including the differences between ground mount, rooftop and carport solar, and the different market opportunities between residential, commercial, and utility scale solar. An informal poll of the students indicated that at least 25 percent of them were actively considering a career in renewable energy.

PCI is nearing completion on the AISD portfolio, which was won through a public competitive bid process. AISD valued PCI’s experience building solar for other school districts, including Alamo Heights Independent School District in San Antonio, TX and Petaluma City Schools in California.

 

ReVision Energy, Quest Renewables design solar canopy atop Portland, Maine garage

revision parking canopy

ReVision Energy, in partnership with Quest Renewables, recently completed the installation of a 193.63-kW QuadPod solar canopy system atop Portland, Maine’s Fore Street Garage. The system has been producing power since late May. Fore Street Garage is owned by ReVision Energy’s customer, East Brown Cow Management Company.

The installation marks the first commercial solar parking garage canopy in the state of Maine. The solar parking garage canopy on the top level of the Fore Street Garage provides shaded parking and cover from the elements for vehicles and provides clean, local, renewable energy to the Hyatt Place. The 193.63kW solar array consists of 578 individual panels wired to seven grid tied inverters and mounted to an advanced long span solar canopy structure.

Park-onomics: Best practices for constructing cost-effective carport projects

The system was designed by Quest Renewables and features seven of their QuadPod solar canopies. To accommodate the addition of the system atop the parking garage, engineers designed it to integrate into the garage with minimal disruption during construction. 90% of QuadPod’s construction activity, including assembly, wiring and lighting, takes place on the ground. After assembly, wiring and lighting, the solar canopies are lifted by crane for final installation, minimizing overhead work and optimizing worksite safety. Worksites are safer and more efficient with construction crews working on the ground.

The power generated by the system will offset energy used by the garage and the Hyatt Place, also owned by East Brown Cow Management Company. The 578 solar panels atop the system will produce an estimated 232,235 kWh of clean, renewable energy each year for decades to come, offsetting over 23 percentof the hotel’s historical electrical consumption. Over its lifetime, this system will eliminate 7 million pounds of CO2 pollution. The array is grid-tied, and feeds into the utility grid anytime it’s making more energy than is being consumed on site. Solar energy is eligible for a federal tax credit, worth 30% of the total project cost.

How Temple Beth Elohim Wellesley financed solar energy for its synagogue

Temple Beth Elohim, a Wellesley-based Reform congregation, has joined with Solect Energy and PowerOptions of Boston, to install a 37-kW solar energy system on the roof of its synagogue. The solar array is a significant addition to the congregation’s efforts toward
sustainability.

As a nonprofit that is unable to benefit from renewable energy federal and state tax incentives, the Temple faced a number of options for financing and installing the solar array. After comparing rooftop solar opportunities from different vendors, a team of congregants, staff and clergy at Temple Beth Elohim selected Solect’s small systems solar program with PowerOptions.

Under the program, Solect installs, owns, and operates the solar arrays on the Temple’s roof, and sells the power generated under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) at a fixed rate for a period of 20 years. However, completing the transaction was not as straightforward as in many other towns. Solar generation works differently under municipal utilities than it does in an investor-owned territory with utilities like Eversource and National Grid. Wellesley is one of 41 towns in Massachusetts that purchase power from the electric utility owned by the municipality, in this case, the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (“WMLP”).

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Massachusetts laws require the utility to be the reseller of power to its customers within the town boundaries. Making the array a reality required a PPA with the WMLP. Under the agreement, the power generated from the array is purchased by the WMLP, who then sells it to the Temple.

“Creating the contractual arrangement with the municipal electric utility requires an understanding of Massachusetts laws and maintaining a focus on value for the customer,” said Kevin Sullivan, Assistant Superintendent for the WMLP. “It required hard work and collaboration from a number of different parties to develop this innovative solution, and I’m thrilled we made it work for the congregation.”

Nexamp Powers Up Community Solar  in Massachusetts

Nexamp logo

Nexamp sent word that it completed a 700-kW facility located in Fitchburg, Mass., that is the first community solar project to serve Unitil customers in Massachusetts and will provide local residents and small businesses with access to the benefits of solar energy for the first time.

Through Nexamp’s innovative Solarize My Bill community solar program, participating Unitil customers, many of whom were previously unable to install solar panels on their own property, are now seeing reduced electricity charges through their subscription to the Fitchburg Solar project. In addition, the neighboring Town of Lunenburg will realize substantial energy cost savings through a long-term agreement to purchase discounted energy credits generated by the project. Together, the Town of Lunenburg and Nexamp’s Solarize My Bill customers are expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars through their participation in the project.

“Lunenburg has enjoyed a very beneficial relationship with Nexamp,” said Phyllis Luck, Board of Selectman, Town of Lunenburg. “In addition to the Town’s net metering agreement, which is expected to generate over $600,000 in utility cost savings over the next 20 years, Nexamp has extended the partnership to include our Town’s residents, who remain keenly interested in community solar. In fact, Nexamp enrolled nearly 40 Lunenburg households in two weeks’ time to theirSolarize My Bill community solar program and these residents should save over $275,000 in electricity costs over the term of their subscriptions with Nexamp.”

The project is situated on land towards the rear of an active apple orchard in Fitchburg, providing the landowners with a reliable source of ground lease income that will help keep the orchard operational and enable it to offset nearly all of its energy needs from local renewable resources.

Fitchburg Solar is one of 17 community solar facilities that Nexamp has constructed and expects to achieve operations in the coming months.

Three takeaways from SEPA’s community solar report

— Solar Builder magazine

Blattner Energy to build 500-MW of new solar in Florida, Minnesota with SunLink

SunLink

Full-scope solar energy solutions provider SunLink Corp. has been selected by Blattner Energy to be the project supplier in connection with projects in the fast-growing solar states of Florida and Minnesota. SunLink will supply Blattner with engineering services and its fixed-tilt mounting solution GeoPro, which boasts the capability to handle any terrain and stand up the conditions in any environment.

“Solar is an integral part of the clean energy strategy for leading utilities across the U.S. and we’re proud to collaborate once again with Blattner,” said Jonathan Eastwood, vice president of business development at SunLink. “SunLink’s vast experience working on large and complex solar projects in the most extreme environments makes us uniquely qualified to meet the demands of these installations – whether it be engineering to withstand Florida’s high winds or Minnesota’s heavy snow loads. Our product and project engineering serve as a reliable foundation for success.”

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While Florida has historically lagged behind many other states in terms of cumulative solar capacity installed, recent political victories in the state by solar energy advocates, new solar plant installations and financial incentives and a 26 percent increase in solar jobs over the previous year are positive signs of future growth. The state of Minnesota is also on track for a power surge as solar energy becomes increasingly adopted driven by the high growth in commercial, community solar and utility-scale projects.

“Continuing to build upon using the sun as a renewable resource to bring more jobs and economic stimulus to communities in Florida and Minnesota, Blattner is gearing up for these projects and it’s great to team up with SunLink again,” said Jamey Widman, purchasing agent at Blattner. “We look forward to continuing on past successes.”

— Solar Builder magazine