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”).

Special Report: How to Make Money in the Midwest

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

Solect Energy acquires Northeast division of solar provider Brightergy

solect energyTwo big-time solar installers have entered into a transaction to allow both to focus more on their core markets and strengths. Solect Energy, a leading commercial developer and installer in Massachussets, acquired the Boston operations of Brightergy, a solar and energy services provider based in Kansas City. Solect acquired Brightergy’s Northeast sales and project management operations in addition to some of Brightergy’s intellectual property developed around commercial solar lead generation.

“We’re very excited to welcome Brightergy’s Northeast division to Solect,” says Ken Driscoll, Co-founder and CEO of Solect Energy. “This move will strengthen Solect’s expertise in commercial solar and energy management, deepen our service offerings, and help the company continue to deliver smart clean energy solutions and cost savings to businesses and institutions across New England.”

With more than 1,500 completed commercial solar projects, Brightergy is one of the most experienced commercial solar companies in the United States. The sale of the Northeast division is part of a broader plan to narrow Brightergy’s focus on serving electric utility clients nationwide and commercial clients in the Midwest.

”We were very impressed with Solect’s company culture and the similarities to ours. Once we decided to sell our Northeast division, it was a no-brainer to partner with Solect,” said Adam Blake, Brightergy’s CEO.

Solect growth facts

Earlier this month, Solect announced achieving a record-breaking year in 2016, completing 115 sites and installing more than 26 megawatts (MW) in total solar output. Additionally, 2016 saw the official launch of the company’s Solar Services division, as well as expansion into the neighboring states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Since the company’s inception in 2009, Solect Energy has grown from a three-person operation to having a core staff of 60 people in 2016. With the acquisition of Brightergy’s Northeast division, Solect has added 15 new employees bringing Solect’s total roster to 75.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solect Energy has record-breaking solar installation year in 2016

Solect-LogoI don’t know if you need more evidence to show how great 2016 was for the solar industry, but here’s some more anyway. Solect Energy, a leading commercial developer and installer of solar energy systems, achieved a record-breaking year in 2016, completing 115 sites and installing more than 26 MW in total solar output. In 2015, the company celebrated hitting its 20th MW of installations over five years of service, and in 2016 it surpassed that milestone installing 26.3 MW in a single year.

Solect’s 57 MW of commercial-scale solar installations makes it Massachusetts’ leading commercial-scale solar provider.

“Matching and then exceeding our previous five year 20 megawatt milestone in just one year is very exciting for us,” said Ken Driscoll, Founder and CEO of Solect. “This is yet another exciting achievement, not only for Solect, but also for the hundreds of commercial businesses, schools and municipalities that are benefiting from solar energy and helping to shape Massachusetts’ future in renewable energy.”

But wait, there is more

This year, Solect also launched its Solar Service program, which offers a comprehensive suite of operations & maintenance (O&M) and warranty services including scheduled and preventative maintenance, production monitoring and reporting, net metering support, and SREC management. The company currently maintains over 67 MW of commercial-scale installations in New England through its services division.

Since the company’s inception in 2009, Solect Energy has grown from a three-person operation to having a core staff of 60 people today, while providing jobs for another 200 plus installers and contractors throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The company’s market growth and expansion is significant given regulatory issues that have frequent-ly injected uncertainty into the market, often stalling or slowing down key projects.

In addition, Solect’s success in the Massachusetts market enabled the company to expand into the neighboring states of Rhode Island and Connecticut offering commercial, industrial, institutional and municipal customers smart solar and energy management solutions. The company’s venture into new solar markets demonstrates Solect’s increasing momentum in the region.

— Solar Builder magazine

Technical school in Massachusetts adds 663-kW solar canopy via Solect Energy

Ribbon-Cutting-UCT

Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School (UCT), a public vocational-technical high school in Bourne, Mass., partnered with Solect Energy and Green Seal Environmental to develop and install a 663 kW solar canopy in the school’s existing parking lot. In addition to powering the school, the Bourne Rec Authority will also be drawing power from the solar array, which will provide meaningful savings over their current costs. The array became a reality thanks to a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Solect Energy.

“We are thrilled about the addition of the new solar canopy to our school,” said Bob Dutch, Superintendent at UCT. “The solar array marks a new venture for Upper Cape Cod Tech’s students and staff, who will be able to utilize the technology as part of their curriculum. We are especially thankful to Solect for enabling our school to experience significant savings on our energy costs.”

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Financing

Upper Cape Cod Regional Tech worked with Green Seal Environmental to develop, design and permit the array, in collaboration with Solect who financed and constructed the system through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Solect owns and operates the solar array, and sells the power generated back to UCT at a reduced, fixed rate for the duration of the agreement. The entire project was completed and commissioned at zero cost to UCT and the clean energy provided to them and the Bourne Rec Authority will reduce their current energy costs.

“It was a pleasure partnering with Upper Cape Cod Tech on this project,” said Ken Driscoll, CEO at Solect Energy. “It is a wonderful thing to provide schools with solar energy, as the benefits are plentiful to the school, its students and staff, and the environment—even more so with UCT, as the array is helping to power Bourne’s Recreation Authority as well.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

Top Solar Projects of the Week (Nov. 14 – Nov. 18)

Adhesives company shows solar commitment with display panel

chemique adhesives solar projectThe 30 kW solar installation created by Velo Solar on the roof of Chemique Adhesives in Kennesaw, Ga., has begun operation. The array sits atop the North American headquarters of Chemique Adhesives, a company with revenues of about $17.5 million per year and customers throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America. Chemique, based in the U.K., makes industrial adhesives, sealants and adhesive application equipment.

The solar installation designed and built by Atlanta-based Velo Solar will reduce Chemique’s CO2 emissions by 30.6 tons annually, the equivalent of planting 784 trees.

In addition to the solar panels on the roof, the system installed by Velo Solar at Chemique Adhesives in Kennesaw includes a display panel in the lobby that will show the real-time output of the solar resource through the proprietary PowerEnfo analytical platform. Developed by Velo Solar’s parent company, PowerEnfo provides a constant information stream on energy consumption to facilitate effective energy management. It tracks asset performance and issues alerts on unusual events to keep them from becoming costly.

RELATED: Report: Rooftop solar provides even more value than retail rate metering 


New York auto dealer adds rooftop, carport

Yonkers, NY-based auto dealer Smith Cairns Ford Lincoln Mazda Subaru is turning to solar to save on its energy bills. Working with leading solar energy company, Standard Solar, the dealer installed a 1,272 panel, 394 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. In addition to the 253kW array on its rooftop, the system also features two solar carports totaling 141 kW. The system was completed in October.

The rooftop and carport arrays, expected to produce approximately 472,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year, cover 100 percent of the dealer’s energy needs. The V-shaped carport arrays are rain and snow-proof, protecting the dealership’s auto inventory and providing a clean and dry environment for prospective buyers. The project also includes an electric vehicle (EV) charging station to support its EV inventory and EV customers.

RELATED: Best practices for constructing cost-effective carport projects 

 


Cool solar+storage microgrid solution gets up and running

solar+storage microgrid

Pure Power Solutions has completed a plug-and-play approach to solar+storage microgrids for remote locations with a system using standard shipping containers and energy dense, non-toxic battery technology from SimpliPhi Power. The first system is now operational at Vacherie Ranch, a 450-acre agricultural and recreational retreat located in Western Sonoma County, Calif.

Get all the details and look at a bunch of photos here.


Solect’s latest commercial install in New England

North Atlantic Corp (NAC), one of the largest millwork distributors and custom manufacturer of windows, doors, kitchens and stairs to the residential and commercial markets in New England, has partnered with Solect Energy of Hopkinton, Mass., to install a 1551 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system on the roof of its Somerset location. The solar array is projected to cover 90% of North Atlantic Corp’s annual electricity bill and will contribute to substantial savings on the company’s energy expenditures.

The installation comes at a particularly important time in NAC’s development, as their energy demands were expected to rise steeply with the completion of a 45,000 sq. ft. addition to their manufacturing facility. Now, they expect to see solar offset that increase dramatically.

RELATED: Northeast Solar Boom: Untapped commercial deals are about to pay off in New England 


EnterSolar to develop ground-mount for insurance giant

EnterSolar, a provider of solar photovoltaic solutions to the commercial marketplace, has been selected by Swiss Re to develop a 2-MW ground mounted solar system for the wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Construction will begin this fall with expected completion in the spring of 2017.

The system is designed to offset 60% of the power utilized by the Armonk campus, and will provide significant environmental benefits to the Westchester County community.

RELATED: The value of a team approach to fixed-tilt ground-mount projects 


 

Idaho’s new community solar push

Idaho community solar

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is approving an Idaho Power application to build a 500-kilowatt community solar project in southeast Boise. The $1.16 million single-axis solar project on the southwest corner of Amity and Holcomb roads will allow up to 1,093 residential customers and 470 non-residential customers to buy one or more subscriptions (one subscription is a 320-watt panel) for the solar farm’s anticipated 25- year life.

Get the inside scoop here.

— Solar Builder magazine