Abengoa to Build 30-MW PV Project in California

Abengoa, an international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, has been chosen by EDP Renovaveis to carry out the engineering, building and implementation of a 30-MW photovoltaic project in California.

stock - panelsAbengoa will build the project in San Bernardino County, Calif. It will supply enough clean energy to power around 5,000 homes, reducing energy and fuel consumption as well as carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Energias de Portugal, S.A. (EDP), a vertically-integrated utility company, headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, is the majority shareholder of EDP Renovaveis. EDP Group is Portugal’s largest industrial group and one of Europe’s primary energy companies. Currently, it is the Iberian peninsula’s third largest energy operator with business interests in generation, distribution and supply of electricity and gas in Portugal and Spain.

This new project consolidates Abengoa within the solar sector in the USA. Currently the company is participating in the construction of Mount Signal, a 265=MW photovoltaic plant that Abengoa is constructing for AES Solar in California.

— Solar Builder magazine

Largest Install of Trinasmart Solar Panels Complete in California

Palo Alto’s second largest solar roof system has been installed at the Oshman Family JCC (OFJCC) campus to reduce energy costs and further its green building credentials. Developed through a partnership with THiNKnrg, the 397.5 kW system is also the largest installation of Trinasmart solar panels to date. The OFJCC will celebrate its new solar rooftop with a ribbon cutting on March 18.

THINKNRG OSHMAN FAMILY JCC“Our Campus was built to be environmentally sensitive with many advanced features that earned us a Silver LEED certification,” said OFJCC CEO Zack Bodner. “By installing this solar rooftop, we are furthering our goal of being an ecologically progressive organization, reducing both our carbon footprint and our energy costs.”

The OFJCC solar array encompasses 1,840 solar panels spread across the rooftops of the 12 buildings of the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life (TKCJL), which also includes Moldaw Family Residences for senior living.

“This is one of the more innovative deals we have done,” said Zach Rubin, CEO of THiNKnrg. “Solar is advantageous in Palo Alto, but it still has to make sense financially. We identified that the Taube Koret Campus had enough quality roof space to facilitate a large installation that could take advantage of incentives and be attractive to investors. We are thrilled this project was a success and look forward to working with other organizations who could benefit from similar electricity cost savings.”

This solar project was financed by a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which required no capital cost to the OFJCC and utilized all available incentives. Conergy, a leading global solar photovoltaic downstream company, along with its owner Kawa Capital Management, structured the PPA to supply the OFJCC with renewable energy at less than half the current energy rate. The campus is expected to save $26,000 in the first year and an estimated $1.5 million in energy savings over the 20-year contract. The solar roof system will supply approximately 20 percent of the OFJCC’s energy needs.

“Trina Solar is committed to strong partnerships with leading companies to successfully complete installations of our high-quality panels for customers like the OFJCC,” said Mark Mendenhall, President of Trina Solar Americas. “Our new Trinasmart panels provide a significant benefit to the project economics for our partners and to the communities where they are installed.  We look forward to installing many more such systems in the future.”

The OFJCC solar installation is expected to generate 616,920 kilowatt-hours of electricity and reduce the TKCJL’s carbon footprint by approximately over 9,500 tons of CO2 over the next 20 years, the equivalent of growing over 223,000 tree seedlings or removing 1,814 passenger cars from the road.

— Solar Builder magazine

Canadian Solar to Power Five Strata Solar Projects in North Carolina

Canadian Solar Inc., one of the world’s largest solar power companies, today announced it was selected by Strata Solar to power five utility scale projects totaling 30 MW. 

canadian-solarThe five North Carolina projects are located in Orange, Lincoln, Union, Rockingham and Caswell counties. The power plants will power approximately 3,750 households, many of which are located in agricultural areas.

Strata Solar anticipates that collectively, the systems will eliminate 21,120 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of removing 3,900 vehicles from the road. Farming families, in particular, can benefit from adopting solar energy, as it helps offset energy costs, which can impact operational profitability.

“These solar farms continue to showcase the capabilities of Canadian Solar products in our portfolio of utility projects,” said Markus Wilhelm, Chief Executive Officer of Strata Solar.

“We have been very impressed with Canadian Solar; from product to personnel. Canadian Solar delivers on its promises, which is the kind of partner you need when you are constructing solar energy farms on tight deadlines to exacting standards,” he added.

118,860 Canadian Solar polycrystalline modules were used for the projects. Furthermore, Canadian Solar’s polycrystalline modules were awarded the highest PTC ratings in the solar industry. PTC Ratings, calculated by the California Energy Commission (CEC), are universally accepted as the most accurate determination of a solar module’s power output performance.

“The scale and sheer impact of these five projects is a testament to the dynamic partnership between Canadian Solar and Strata Solar. Our team is particularly honored by the fact that one of the projects is located in the home-county, Orange of Strata Solar and is the largest installation in their neighborhood,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar Inc.

— Solar Builder magazine

Newman Solar, El Paso Electric Co. to Build 10-MW Solar Farm in Texas

El Paso Electric Company (EPE) and Newman Solar LLC, owned by Colorado-based juwi solar Inc. (JSI), have signed an agreement to build a 10-MW solar energy facility in Northeast El Paso, Texas, next to EPE’s Newman Generation Station. JSI will be responsible for developing, designing, building and operating the Newman Solar project. The design phase will begin in early summer of this year, shortly followed by construction and final completion of the project tentatively scheduled for the end of 2014.

stock - solarclouds“Our commitment to building a portfolio that includes renewable energy technologies in order to complement our local, clean burning natural gas units help make overall power in our region dependable, safe and cleaner,” said Tom Shockley, Chief Executive Officer at EPE. “We continue to look for opportunities to add cost effective solar energy such as the Newman Solar project, which in the long run helps reduce emissions and provide cleaner air. EPE is at the forefront in the solar energy industry, which is fitting given our location and abundance of the solar resources. We continue to look for the most cost-effective and reliable resources for our customers which today is led by natural gas resources that support and enable us to expand our solar portfolio.”

The construction of the new solar facility will help power over 3,800 homes throughout the year. The facility will be built on approximately 100 acres. EPE will sublease the land in partnership with the El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) and currently leased to EPE for the Newman Generation Station.

“At EPWU, we believe strongly in creating a sustainable future for El Paso — that’s why it is important for us to support solar project initiatives,” said John Balliew, President and CEO at EPWU. “EPWU is pleased to be involved with this project as it will provide clean energy for our communities and will contribute to the development of renewable energy resources in the region.”

The Newman Solar project in Northeast El Paso will be constructed by Newman Solar LLC. The energy from the project is being secured through a cost competitive PPA when considered from a total resource cost basis. The PV system will be comprised of photovoltaic modules.

“We are incredibly excited to be working with El Paso Electric and others in the El Paso community to provide clean, reliable solar power to EPE customers in a cost-effective manner,” said Michael Martin, CEO of juwi solar. “We also eagerly anticipate breaking ground and completing our second utility-scale solar project in the state of Texas.”

EPE and JSI signed a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 10 megawatts (AC) of solar photovoltaic energy in which EPE will purchase all of the solar energy, renewable energy credits and associated attributes. The 10 MW AC ground mounted PV system will interconnect to EPE’s new Patriot Substation via a dedicated 13.8 kV distribution feeder. The contractual Commercial Operation Date (COD) for the solar facility is December 2014.

— Solar Builder magazine

Aircraft Parts Supplier Installs 1-MW Solar System at Headquarters

Unical Aviation Inc., a leading global aircraft parts supplier that boosted its workforce by nearly 25 percent over the past year, will help fuel that breakneck growth with savings it expects from making an unusual move for its industry: going solar. The company, whose clients include the Boeing Company, most major airlines and the military, hired SolarCity to install a sprawling series of solar arrays on its roof in City of Industry, Calif., that will provide more than 1 MW of generation capacity. Unical expects the solar systems to cut its mushrooming monthly electricity bill by as much as 80 percent.

solarcity“We went solar first and foremost for environmental reasons,” says Unical executive vice president Leonardus Karsana. “But financially, it was a no brainer. Our electricity bill rises every year and we’re consuming much more electricity because we’re growing so rapidly. We hired 70 people over the past year and now have a total of 370 employees. We also opened a new MRO, maintenance, repair and overhaul division, which requires the purchase of a lot of machinery and is consuming a lot of electricity.”

Unical expects to save $200,000 on utility costs in the first year alone, and millions more over the solar power system’s lifetime. “Everyone is going to switch to solar, especially in sun-drenched states,” Karsana said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Environmentally, the new solar array will prevent more than 27 million pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere over its lifetime, which is equivalent to planting about 1 million trees or taking more than 2,300 gasoline-powered cars off the road.*

SolarCity, a leading national solar provider, designed and installed Unical’s solar system.

“One day, the roof of every industrial warehouse across the Southland will gleam with solar panels generating electricity from the most affordable source in the world–the sun,” said Jim Cahill, SolarCity’s regional vice president for Southern California. “Innovators like Unical Aviation are leading the way to that inevitable future, which will bring economic and environmental benefits that our state and nation still so sorely need.”

— Solar Builder magazine