OGE Energy Corp. brings 10-MW SunPower Oasis solar system online


10-megawatt (AC) solar power plant in Covington, Oklahoma (PRNewsfoto/SunPower Corp.)

OGE Energy Corp. electric utility subsidiary Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) and SunPower Corp. completed a 10-megawatt (AC) solar photovoltaic power plant in Covington, Okla. A SunPower Oasis Power Plant system was installed at the 80-acre site by Moss Solar, a division of the construction firm Moss.

The Oasis system is a complete power plant solution that installs quickly to maximize value for customers. Product features include 50 percent fewer parts than conventional solar tracking systems, an integrated design that streamlines construction and reduces operations and maintenance costs, and cost-effective, high efficiency SunPower P-Series solar panels, which produce more energy than conventional solar panels over the lifetime of the system.

“With Covington online, we now have 12.5-megawatts of solar generation in our portfolio, all of which has been presold to customers who want the benefits of solar power,” said OG&E Chief Operating Officer Keith Mitchell. “Along with our solar facility in Mustang, Oklahoma, Covington helps us continue to learn how solar can complement our other generation sources to provide reliable and low-cost power to our customers.”

SunPower is now providing operations and maintenance services at the site. OG&E owns the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

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— Solar Builder magazine

Largest solar rooftop system in downtown Honolulu on the way

Ensync energy systems

EnSync Energy Systems, a distributed energy resources (DERs) developer, is expanding the solar system it is installing on the rooftops of the Aloha Tower Marketplace, which is operated by Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) under a lease with the State of Hawai’i Aloha Tower Development Corporation. The latest expansion more than doubles the capacity of the photovoltaic (PV) system to 660 kW, making it the largest solar installation in downtown Honolulu upon completion.

EnSync Energy will add 350 kw in PV capacity to the system under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) it signed with HPU and an undisclosed investor. The solar energy will power HPU’s revitalized Aloha Tower Marketplace, a mixed-use space featuring university student residences, community spaces, restaurants and shops.

“It’s fitting that the largest PV installation in downtown Honolulu is now located at the landmark Aloha Tower Marketplace,” said Dan Nordloh, executive vice president of EnSync Energy. “EnSync Energy has an active presence in Hawai’i, so we are particularly proud to deliver even more clean, reliable and low-cost energy to an institution that plays a prominent role in the cultural and economic life of the state.”

GRID gone wild: Solar Spring Break connects students, solar jobs and low-income families

EnSync Energy designed the system based on customized analysis of Aloha Tower Marketplace’s current energy consumption patterns and anticipated future energy needs. After conducting energy and price modelling, EnSync Energy found that a grid-ready PV installation would yield the most savings for the University.

“We look forward to expanding our solar energy system with EnSync Energy, which offered us a simple way to further contribute to the state’s renewable energy goals while also reducing our costs,” said Bruce Edwards, chief financial officer for HPU. “The solar panels on Aloha Tower Marketplace’s rooftops showcase our commitment to clean energy, to our students and to the greater Honolulu community.”

Construction of both phases is expected to be completed by early 2019. HPU may consider a third solar installation phase under the terms of the PPA.

— Solar Builder magazine

Origis Energy’s 52-MW solar project in Mississippi officially up and running

Lamar county solar Origis Energy

Cooperative Energy and Origis Energy officially unveiled their joint venture 52-MW solar project in Lamar County, Miss., with elected officials and business leaders joining the two companies at a ribbon cutting. The facility began operation in December.

The 540-acre site, MS Solar 3, includes 206,000 polycrystalline solar panels which gather sunlight and transform it to energy that will power up to 11,400 homes. MS Solar 3 uses the best, most efficient solar technology available. Origis Energy built, owns and operates the facility while Hattiesburg-based Cooperative Energy has agreed to purchase all electricity the plant produces. Cooperative Energy is a not-for-profit, Member-owned generation and transmission cooperative that supplies electricity to 11 Member cooperatives that stretch from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee line.

Cooperative Energy owns a diverse generation portfolio including coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables. It began solar generation in 2016 with the start of five 100-kilowatt solar sites built at Members’ local headquarters. “This new, utility scale solar generator represents a giant step forward for Cooperative Energy in providing solar energy for our members,” said Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy’s president and CEO. “Not only is it one of the largest solar generation plants in Mississippi, it employs the most advanced solar technology available today.”

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Origis Energy is helping to power the solar revolution with the construction of more than 100 operations worldwide. The company broke ground on the Sumrall facility in May 2017 and met its goal of production by year end.

“Solar energy benefits all stakeholders – the companies, the end users, the public and the regulators,” said Guy Vanderhaegen, Origis Energy’s CEO and president. “We firmly believe you will see more electrical utility companies seek to expand their portfolio by adding solar and partnering in projects such as this one. This area geographically benefits from an abundance of sunlight and we know it will be successful in reaching its generation goals.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Green Street Power Partners buys up portfolio of community solar projects in New York via SunPower

SunPower Helix module mounting

Green Street Power Partners LLC (GSPP) has purchased a portfolio of community solar projects all in Con Edison’s service zone, from SunPower. A 918-kilowatt rooftop project in Maspeth, Queens, will be the first completed featuring SunPower Helix technology. The project was originated by SunPower dealer Accord Power, who is also providing development and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services. Construction is set to begin April 1 and expected to be complete by late spring 2018. GSPP will own the system, highlighting the company’s increased focus on project acquisition.

“This project, along with the additional projects we are currently acquiring, will have a profound impact on our company while helping us achieve our goals of being a leader in community solar, and commercial and industrial solar markets,” said Scott Kerner, Co-Founder and CEO. “We are also thrilled about the next chapter in our collaboration with SunPower and its network of dealers, and are hopeful that these projects will be the first of many.”

The SunPower Helix advanced technology which will be used for this 918-kilowatt rooftop solar system is expected to offset approximately 20,496 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the five boroughs over the lifetime of the system, the equivalent of preserving 167 acres of forest. The project will provide power to more than 150 homes in New York City.

“We are thrilled that Green Street Power Partners is taking a leadership position in helping to encourage development of reliable solar energy projects like this one featuring SunPower’s leading-edge solar technology,” said Nam Nguyen, SunPower executive vice president, commercial. “We look forward to building on this shared success in the future, bringing value to even more customers.”

— Solar Builder magazine

GRID gone wild: Solar Spring Break connects students, solar jobs and low-income families

Beloit University students help install community solar array in Colorado_GRID2017_2

Beloit University students help install community solar array in Colorado.

Nearly 200 college students from 19 schools across the country will spend their school break installing no-cost solar for low-income families, gaining hands-on workforce training, and connecting with solar industry careers through GRID Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break program.

GRID Alternatives, a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to disadvantaged communities, will lead teams of students in solar installations across California, Colorado and New Mexico from February 26th through May 25th. Now in its fifth year, the alternative break program is an immersive, service-learning opportunity for students to learn about the energy and environmental issues facing low-income and tribal communities.

Teams of 10-12 students will travel to different project sites around the country and spend the week on a combination of solar installations, neighborhood outreach, renewable energy educational activities and recreation.

“Solar Spring Break gives students who are passionate about renewable energy the chance to see solar technology in action building more resilient communities,” said GRID Alternatives CEO and co-founder Erica Mackie, “We’re helping shape the climate leadership of tomorrow.”

Solar Spring Break has grown from six schools and teams in 2014 to 19 schools represented through 18 teams in 2018. This year’s program includes teams from Arizona State University, Coastal Carolina University, Duke University, Fort Lewis College, Illinois State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Northeastern University, University of California – Berkeley (two teams), University of Michigan (two teams), University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, UNC-CH Presbyterian Campus Ministry, and Villanova University. It also includes an Intercollegiate Team with students from colleges and universities in five different states, and a team from Washington Vet Corps, an AmeriCorps program that helps veterans and their families in Washington State transition from military to civilian life through higher education and training.

“Solar Spring Break gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and work with others for a common cause,” said Chad Kibbe, an undergraduate at North Carolina State University who participated in 2017. “It gave me a new perspective on low income communities and non profit companies. Solar Spring Break has been the best spring break I have ever had.”

Students who complete the program will also have access to educational resources, advocacy networks and solar industry job openings through the Solar Energy Industries Association, which is partnering with GRID Alternatives for the second time this year to help make career connections for students wanting to continue in renewable energy.

Solar Spring Break effort is sponsored by the Wells Fargo Foundation, which has underwritten the program’s expansion with a focus on schools serving diverse populations.

— Solar Builder magazine