State funding paves way for solar plus storage system at New York college campus

A solar energy and battery storage system was completed on The State University of New York at New Paltz campus. The battery storage unit will be used at times of high electric demand and during emergencies or power outages to support the college’s designated emergency shelter for the campus and community at the college’s Elting Gymnasium. The project supports N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to increase the transmission of clean and renewable energy to meet an energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts in New York State by 2025.

“New Yorkers know all too well the devastating impact of climate change, and we have taken bold action to slow its effects and invest in the energies of tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “This renewable energy and storage project will greatly enhance the college’s resiliency in the event of an emergency while also reducing the state’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer dollars year-round.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who was present at the ribbon-cutting event, said, “This innovative project advances New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient and affordable for all New Yorkers. Thanks to a significant investment from New York State, this project will provide great benefits to both SUNY New Paltz and the state’s electric grid.”

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Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of Governor Cuomo said, “Energy storage, especially when paired with renewable energy sources, makes up the building blocks of the Governor’s ambitious energy goals for the state. This partnership of state government entities will provide the road map to success for these rapidly emerging technologies.”

From planned research on this system, New York State utilities will be able to optimize the amount of renewable energy utilized on the state’s power grid, supporting the Governor’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

The $1.37 million project will install solar panels for the 217-kilowatt project on the gym’s roof and on the roof of the nearby Sojourner Truth Library to support the battery storage system. This will allow the college to utilize stored solar power during emergencies and times of peak energy demand. NYPA implemented the renewable energy and resiliency upgrades.

More than $580,000 in funding for the project from Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. $272,000 in additional funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for the solar portion of this project through NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. An additional $189,000 came from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the college’s local utility. The additional costs for the project were financed by NYPA and will be repaid by the college.

This project was led by NYPA in partnership with SUNY New Paltz. NYPA, NYSERDA and the Electric Power Research Institute are utilizing this project to research additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative.

— Solar Builder magazine

HelioPower installs 70-kW solar system at San Diego County church

heliopower solar install

The First Lutheran Church of Vista (FLC) in San Diego County is now the proud owner of a 70 kWdc system designed by HelioPower to greatly reduce its levelized cost of energy.

“Being a longtime advocate of sustainable technologies, we wanted to encourage the development of renewable energy for our church.” Said Bob Schoup, President of the Vista congregation. “The solar power system is a powerful statement to the community of what the church stands for and what our values are.”

Peak demand charges are the fastest growing part of utility bills for many commercial and non-profit organizations and can represent up to 50% of their monthly utility bill. A solar photovoltaic system could not only provide most or all the electricity, but it would also provide the same environmental benefits as planting over 1,100 trees each year.

The installation consists of 204 Silfab 345-watt PV modules and an SMA TripPower inverter that is designed to help offset expensive demand charges on FLC’s utility bills. This will provide them approximately 120,000kWh – 124,000kWh of solar production. This will meet up to 90% of their average annual electrical needs and is expected to save about thousands of dollars per year in estimated utility savings.

HelioPower arranged the financing, design and installation of the system and will provide ongoing asset management and operations and maintenance.

— Solar Builder magazine

Dynamic Energy completes 243-kW solar system for Klear Vu

solar Massachusetts

Klear Vu’s rooftop solar array in Fall River, MA. (PRNewsfoto/Dynamic Energy Solutions, LLC)

Klear Vu Corporation, a Massachusetts manufacturer of chair pads and rocker sets, recently invested in a 243-kW solar system that will supply over 35 percent of its annual electricity consumption. By partnering with Dynamic Energy Solutions LLC, a full-service solar energy solutions provider, the system is expected to provide Klear Vu with over $320,000 in after-tax value over the life of the panels.

“Klear Vu’s solar installation represents a significant investment in improving the environment while also saving money on electricity costs,” said Ben Cooper, President.

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The solar array will generate over 300,000 kWh of energy in its first year, enough to offset approximately 233 metric tons (492,215 pounds) of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing 43 cars from Massachusetts roads, or the amount of carbon sequestered by 263 acres of U.S. forest each year. The solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) generated by the system are being sold into MA solar market.

“Dynamic Energy is honored to work with Klear Vu on the development and installation of their solar system. Klear Vu’s solar investment provides a positive example for MA manufacturers who want to benefit the environment while improving the bottom line,” said Brett Thibodeau, President & COO of Dynamic Energy.

Klear Vu continually seeks process improvements and solar is the latest step in optimizing their operations. It is a win for Klear Vu, the environment, and Massachusetts.

— Solar Builder magazine

Creative financing completes 530-kW solar + storage install at San Diego retirement community

Paradise Village Retirement solar

Generations LLC added an expansive 527.8 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar + storage system on its resort style independent, assisted living and memory care community, Paradise Village, in San Diego’s South Bay. Combining solar with a behind the meter energy storage system, the energy enhancing project will produce approximately 1 million kWh of electricity per year, approximately 40 percent of the campus’ annual electricity usage. In addition, an estimated cost savings of $250,000 in both regular and peak demand usage will be provided from the hybrid solar and low-cost battery storage system.

Financing details

Generations LLC and NW Photon Energy (NWPE), both of Portland, Ore., partnered on the pro-ject which has been in development for three years. According to Kirk Cameron, President of NW Photon Energy, this project became viable as a result of four key factors.

1. The foremost was a healthy ROI with a payback of less than 5 years.
2. Helping Paradise Village gain control of its energy expenses and eliminate rising utility in-creases was the second factor.
3. Paradise Village’s qualification for a CPUC Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) rebate covered approximately 5 percent of the total project cost and
4. The final factor was Generation’s 10-year refinance of a previous $82 million construction loan through Fannie Mae’s Green Rewards program – the first Green Rewards loan backed by a sen-ior housing property. This refinance provided exceptional terms and a reduced interest rate which contributed to the aggressive ROI.

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According to Chip Gabriel, President of Development for Generations LLC, the business case for solar was clear to them from both a financial and environmental sense.

“With a large percentage of a residential housing community’s operating expenses originating from its energy usage, a sustainable approach to property management is crucial for the long term,” says Gabriel. “Adding solar was not only a financial decision but also one framed by the environmental impact that taking care of more than 400 residents creates.”

Generation’s commitment to solar is a continued example of their foresight and approach to property management. They have identified solar as a means to leverage underutilized roof space to improve operating efficiencies for their buildings.

The next phase in Generations’ energy management plan involves identifying additional solar project opportunities. The company recently contracted a third solar system to be installed by NW Photon Energy at its Linfield Village senior living community in Temecula, California.

Paradise Village System Overview

System General Contractor: NW Photon Energy
Solar System Installer: Horizon Solar Power (San Diego, CA)
Location: National City, CA
Layout: 394 units in seven four-story residential buildings
Array Capacity: 527.8 kW
Number of Panels: 1,466
Average Annual Production: 1,000,000 kWh
Tile Roof Mounting/Racking System: Quick Rack Rail-Free Mounting Systems
Flat Roof Mounting/Racking Systems: UniRac Ballast Flat Mount and Iron Ridge Attached

BTM Energy Storage System: Sharp Electronics Corporation’s Energy Systems and Services Group’s (Sharp ESSG’s) SmartStorage System. Capacity: 240 kW/324 kWh

— Solar Builder magazine

Massachusetts’ first community solar plus storage project now operational

Massachusetts community solar

Sterling, MA residents, elected officials and solar and energy storage professionals joined Origis Energy USA and Sterling Municipal Light Department at today’s Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage project dedication event. The project marked the first solar plus storage project in operation in Massachusetts. (Photo: Business Wire)

Origis Energy USA and Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) serving the Town of Sterling, Mass., completed the Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage project, which is the first community solar plus storage and the first operational solar plus storage installation in Massachusetts, the project couples a 1 MWac rooftop solar installation with a 1 MW/2 MWh energy storage system to deliver an annual base load of 1.7 MWh in dispatchable clean energy to the town’s ratepayers. It was developed and is owned by Origis Energy USA, delivering power and storage benefits to SMLD through a Power Purchase Agreement.

Sterling, Mass., residents, elected officials and solar and energy storage professionals joined the two companies at the celebration under a “Community First” theme, highlighting the collaborative effort the project represents for the Town of Sterling and the many professionals involved with its completion. The dedication of permanent signage marking the installation location served as a focal point for the event.

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A strong proponent of the project, Matt Stelmach, Chairman of the SMLD Board of Commissioners, said, “The Town of Sterling embodies the independent spirit of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Through the leadership of the Sterling Municipal Light Department, we now mark another milestone in our renewable energy leadership. We thank our ratepayers for their continued support and thank the Light Department staff and all of the professionals, led by the Origis Energy team, who have worked to install this important energy system.”

The Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage project utilized community solar program guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to craft a subscription program for ratepayers in line with state policy.

“We are so pleased to offer residential customers this opportunity to participate in our new Community Solar Program,” said Sean Hamilton, Manager, Sterling Municipal Light Department. “This program allows them to receive up to 25% of solar kwhr’s based on their total bill at a rate that will be protected for 25 years. We have achieved our goal with the Sterling Community Solar + Energy Storage of competitive electricity rates while tapping the grid benefits of battery storage technology.”

Construction on the solar plus storage facility began in January and was completed the end of March. Just over 4000 Tier 1 solar panels are now located on commercial property owned by RockBreakers LLC and managed by Vincent J. CampoBasso, a resident of Sterling, MA. The battery system, Tier 1 lithium ion equipment, is located at ground level onsite.

“Every step of the way the Sterling team empowered our team and all those working with us to ensure we met the accelerated construction deadlines of this project” said Josh Teigiser, Director of Development & Energy Storage, Origis Energy. “Again, SMLD is providing a leadership example of renewable energy deployment. This progressive solar plus storage project demonstrates the viability of this technology for other municipalities in Massachusetts and leaders throughout the country and abroad.”

— Solar Builder magazine