Financial details on Michigan State University solar project revealed

inovateus solar

Alterra Power Corp. and Inovateus Solar LLC closed $19.9 million construction loan facility for the Spartan solar project, an 11 MW solar project located on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Michigan.

The loan facility is supplied by 1st Source Bank, a subsidiary of 1st Source Corporation  and consists of a $19.8 million construction loan plus a $500,000 letter of credit. Concurrently with the construction loan, 1st Source will provide a $9.7 million tax equity investment commitment and a $10.2 million term loan commitment, both of which will be used to retire the construction loan facility upon achievement of commercial operations (each subject to typical conditions precedent). The term loan will have a balloon payment based on a 6-year maturity and 20-year amortization.

Separately, Alterra completed a partnership agreement with Inovateus, under which Alterra will manage the project and hold a majority interest of at least 85% (final partnership allocations are subject to final project economics and other factors).

Alterra expects the Spartan project (currently under construction) to achieve commercial operations in December 2017. Spartan is contracted under a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Board of Trustees of Michigan State University for 100% of plant output. Construction is being managed by Inovateus, who will also provide operations and maintenance services.

Special Report: How to Make Money in the Midwest

“We’re pleased to complete this second project with our solar partner Inovateus, and to complete another financing with 1st Source,” said Jon Schintler, VP of Project Finance & Development at Alterra. “We look forward to serving Michigan State University for many years and hopefully expanding our Midwest solar operations.

“We are very proud of our entire team on the development of the Spartan project. A special thank you to Michigan State University, along with our partners 1st Source Bank and Alterra for joining us in building a brilliant tomorrow,” said TJ Kanczuzewski, President of Inovateus.

— Solar Builder magazine

Case study: How Solar Gain chose the rail-less mounting for a 630-MW commercial project

Solar Gain’s Vice President of Commercial Operations Tim Graunke was looking for a new rooftop mounting solution at the 2016 Intersolar Conference in San Francisco.

“We were about two months away from starting a major project,” Tim said.

In the weeks following InterSolar, Graunke worked with Roof Tech Sales Director Tim Vaughn to finalize a contract. By early September 2016, Solar Gain began using RT E Mount AIR to install an extensive 630-kW system at WorldMark Windsor Resort, a 10-acre vacation ownership property operated by Wyndham Worldwide Corporation in Sonoma County, California.

Roof Tech E Mount Air

The project has nine three-story buildings housing its timeshare units, all with asphalt shingle roofing at varying angles, a fact that made it all the more obvious to choose a rail-less mounting solution.

Between September and late December, when the project was completed, Vaughn continued to be the main point person for Solar Gain, but Roof Tech’s Business Development Manager, Milton Nogueira, also played a big role.

“Milton visited the Windsor project numerous times over those four months to provide us with on-site tech support and guidance,” said Graunke. “All our questions were answered quickly, and overall we had a totally positive experience working with Roof Tech.”

The system experienced a severe weather test early on. “When we began the project last September, California had been in a five-year drought,” he explained, “but over the following months, Sonoma County was hit with record amounts of rainfall.”

Graunke noted that previously, Solar Gain had always used flashing that slides between roof shingles. “That can sometimes compromise the integrity of the roof,” he explained, “but we did our due diligence and felt confident that Roof Tech’s butyl rubber flashing was the right way to go.”

Solar Gain Project Manager Max Chellemi concurred. “Once you install RT E Mount AIR, it’s completely watertight,” he said. “There were times when those rooftops had to be left with only the mounting hardware and no PV panels, but we didn’t have a single leak.”

Mounting with butyl rubber: How Roof Tech gets a leak-proof seal

— Solar Builder magazine

BayWa commissions 28-MW Jacumba Solar Project in San Diego County

BayWa re

BayWa r.e., a global renewable energy developer, wholesaler and energy solutions provider, announced t has commissioned the 28 -MW DC Jacumba Solar Project in San Diego County, Calif.

BayWa r.e. acquired the project in late 2016, and in just seven months, completed the development and turn-key construction. The project was purchased by AEP Renewables, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Electric Power Co. in June. BayWa r.e. will stay involved with the project through a long-term operations & maintenance agreement.

“The commencement of commercial operation at Jacumba is a significant milestone for BayWa r.e. We commissioned Jacumba Solar under an aggressive timeline successfully navigating development and construction in a market with a high standard of execution. This project demonstrates BayWa r.e.’s capability to rapidly develop, finance, construct and commission a utility scale solar project – but we wouldn’t be here today without the hard work and cooperation of all of our partners, including County of San Diego, California Independent System Operator (CAISO), San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE),” explained Jam Attari, CEO of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects, LLC.

To date, BayWa r.e. has successfully delivered over 2.5 GW of renewable energy worldwide and is strongly positioned for further growth in North American energy markets.

— Solar Builder magazine

Kingspan Energy installs 500 PV panels atop Ulbrich Shaped Wire

Kingspan Energy has recently finished installing more than 500 solar panels on the roof at the North Haven, Conn., Ulbrich Shaped Wire, a division of Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals.

kingspan energy

The sustainability of solar energy along with the rising cost of electricity makes the cost of a solar-powered energy system equal to or less than that of traditional energy sources. This fact, coupled with growing concern over pollution from other energy sources, has made clean and renewable energy an increasingly attractive option for customers like Ulbrich.

“What’s especially interesting about this application is that the metal that is produced by Ulbrich is used in the modules themselves, making this a highly collaborative project,” said Gavin Blower, Kingspan Energy General Manager. “We’re working closely with our partners and customers to help facilitate more LED retrofits and solar photovoltaic (PV) installations than ever before, helping businesses across the country realize benefits of reduced energy costs and increased energy security.”

System specs

The 508 Hanwha 72-cell 330W panels were installed on Ulbrich’s existing warehouse (roof space coverage of 18,837 SF), along with four Solectria inverters and a Polar PRR racking system. The building’s conversion to solar power is expected to produce immediate benefits in terms of energy conservation, generating an output of 197,780 kilowatt hours.

According to Kingspan, large-scale rooftop PV installations are an ideal commercial investment, particularly when companies can find the up-front capital. In Ulbrich’s case, the company received Class 1 zero renewable energy credits (ZREC) under the Low & Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit Program. The ZRECs will generate nearly $20,000 in revenue to Ulbrich annually for 15 years.

Installation of Ulbrich’s solar panels was completed in June.

A subsidiary of Ireland-based Kingspan Group, plc, Kingspan Energy is U.S. turnkey provider of rooftop solar PV systems and LED lighting retrofits. The company provides end-to-end service – from design and engineering to construction and financing – with a mission is to insulate and generate in order to create net zero building structures.

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on new shared solar project for low-income customers from Con Edison

New York solar power

The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today approved a large-scale solar project in New York City that will generate clean energy dedicated exclusively to saving low-income customers money on their utility bills while also protecting the environment. This is one of the first “shared solar” systems for low-income residents in New York State and is an important milestone in the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy.

The system will be constructed by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. as a pilot project that could include up to 1,600 customers throughout its service territory. Once operational, the system is expected to save each customer roughly $5 a month from the solar energy sold back to the electric grid.

“This pilot program will not only show how community distributed generation, or CDG, can benefit a low-income neighborhood, it will also contribute to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s visionary Clean Energy Standard adopted by the Commission last year,” said Commission Chair John B. Rhodes. “By serving low-income residents with clean energy, Con Edison is filling a niche that hasn’t been fully served in the state. Furthermore, we believe this project, and the insight gained from this pilot, will lead to market development of other shared solar arrays around the state that will bring the benefits of clean energy to more low-income customers.”

Shared solar systems are an important goal of REV, Gov. Cuomo’s comprehensive strategy to fight climate change and grow New York’s economy by building a cleaner, more-resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. The Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will continue their work with solar energy developers, low-income advocates, utilities and others to develop similar shared solar systems across the state. While the pilot project will initially produce 3 MW of power, Con Edison has proposed an expansion to 11 MW that could serve a total of 6,000 customers if the pilot is deemed successful. The solar panels will be placed on rooftops and property owned by Con Edison. It will help remove barriers that block low-income families in multi-family buildings from participating directly in solar energy projects.

Con Edison will select participants through a lottery process. Invitations will be sent to eligible customers who are enrolled in the company’s electric low-income affordability program, as well as the no-cost, energy-efficiency program offered by either Con Edison or NYSERDA. Support for environmental justice and energy affordability for all New Yorkers are foundational goals of REV.

Last year, the Commission approved the state’s first-ever energy affordability policy, which increases the budget for low-income discounts to $248 million, and provides an additional 550,000 low-income customers in direct cost relief each year. Notably, the new policy seeks to limit energy costs for low income New Yorkers, on average, to no more than six percent of household income — half of what many low-income households are currently paying. Supported by all Con Edison ratepayers, the shared solar pilot program would not require any upfront payments or separate on-going payments for low-income customers to participate, and participants would continue to receive all the benefits of the electric low-income affordability program.

Partnership between Clean Energy Group, Geli to focus on solar+storage for low-income communities

Con Edison believes the pilot program will also increase energy literacy and awareness, spurring additional participation in energy efficiency programs and will bring environmental benefits to communities that have borne the brunt of local air pollution. Statewide, the program will provide valuable lessons for designing future renewable energy programs. Similar benefits are expected from a REV demonstration project in Buffalo where National Grid is installing rooftop solar panels on 170 low- and moderate-income homes, as well as a few community organizations located on Buffalo’s East Side (known as the Fruit Belt).

— Solar Builder magazine