Massachusetts-based Solect Energy expanding operations into Illinois

solect energy

Solect Energy, a leading commercial-scale developer and installer of solar energy systems in Massachusetts, is expanding operations into Illinois. Solect’s Illinois operations will be based in Aurora, and will be led by General Manager, Steve Gregory, and backed by an experienced team of business development executives. The primary focus of Solect’s Illinois operations will be on delivering rooftop solar solutions to the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector, and on building both rooftop and ground-mount community solar projects.

In late 2016 Illinois passed the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), comprehensive legislation designed to jumpstart a renewable energy industry in the state. Previously, most of Illinois’ renewable energy was purchased from other states. As part of the legislation, Illinois adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires utilities to source 25% of their energy mix from renewable sources by 2025. This is expected to drive development of up to 3,000 MW of new solar energy projects by 2030.

“We commend Illinois on its comprehensive commitment to renewable energy, and applaud the compelling incentives the state has put in place to help businesses and communities pursue solar energy,” said Ken Driscoll, Founder and CEO of Solect Energy. “Our expertise in working with commercial and community organizations in Massachusetts will be an enormous asset in Illinois. Solect is the clear market leader in the C&I solar space, and we bring a deep understanding of the economics, incentives and financing that are critical components of making the decision to move forward with solar.”

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“Illinois is a huge market with a broad spectrum of community solar, and commercial and industrial customers that are well positioned to take advantage of solar energy,” said Steve Gregory, Solect Energy’s General Manager, Illinois. “Our research indicates there are more than 40,000 buildings in Illinois that could support a 100 KW solar system. We look forward to delivering the benefits of solar to Illinois customers, including substantially lower energy costs, attractive tax and financial incentives, and the satisfaction of knowing they are contributing to a more sustainable environment.”

Meet Solect’s Illinois operations team

Steve Gregory, General Manager. The Illinois office will be run by General Manager Steve Gregory. He currently oversees a team of 30 solar professionals and will be responsible for the company’s design, construction and project management activities. Steve brings 40 years of construction operations, land entitlement and development and real estate management experience.

Peter Maros – VP of Business Development. As VP of Business Development in Illinois Peter Marcos will be responsible for leading Solect’s efforts to become the leading solar company in the Illinois market. Peter has worked at several solar and renewable energy companies, and most recently served as a Managing Director at a global renewable energy company where he worked on acquisitions in both renewable energy and finance, and was responsible for the company’s solar PV design and installation business in North America.

Paul Montes – Business Development Director. Paul Montes, Director of Business Development in Illinois, brings to Solect more than 25 years of entrepreneurial-based experience in commercial real estate and relationship sales. In Illinois Paul will take a lead role in building trusted, long-term energy partnerships with individual property owners, business operators, corporations and municipalities. Most recently he was a Senior Vice President of Commercial Investment Sales for a national real estate entity.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solect Energy launches commercial energy storage division

NEC Storage systems

Solect Energy, one of Massachusetts’ top commercial-scale solar developers with over 400 installed projects, is now launching an energy storage division. In launching the new division, Solect has signed an agreement with NEC Energy Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, to sell NEC’s DSS (Distributed Storage Solution) product line for commercial customers. NEC is one of the world’s leading energy storage solutions providers with more than 250 MW (megawatts) of projects installed or currently under construction.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our collaboration with NEC and the opportunity to bring tremendous additional value to both our existing and new customers,” said Ken Driscoll, CEO of Solect Energy. “We are at the doorstep of the energy storage boom and Solect is extremely well positioned to bring these new solutions to our commercial customers, saving them money and building resiliency.”

Since Massachusetts has some of the highest demand charges in the US, accounting for up to 70% of a commercial customer’s electricity bill, both Solect and NEC anticipate that Massachusetts will be one of the next major markets to see commercial-scale energy storage rapidly grow the way it has in California. Demand charges are based on a customer’s monthly peak load and, according to Solect’s market analysis, up to 70,000 commercial customers in Massachusetts currently pay high enough rates to economically justify installing a storage system to even out their energy load profile and lower their demand charges. When paired with solar, the economics are even better due to tax advantages and other ways to monetize the benefits of both systems working together.

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“As Massachusetts’ leading commercial-scale solar energy provider, we are delighted to be working with Solect as a Qualified DSS Partner. There’s no doubt they are well positioned to become one of the leaders in the solar+storage market here in the Commonwealth,” said Steve Fludder, NEC Energy Solutions CEO. “Over the next few years, we expect energy storage to rapidly expand in Massachusetts as commercial customers look for additional ways to cut costs, reduce emissions and enhance resiliency. We look forward to working with the Solect team to capitalize on that growth.”

As a Qualified DSS Partner for NEC, Solect will act as a reseller and independent contractor, installing, operating and maintaining DSS energy storage units. The DSS platform is scalable from 85 kWh to 510 kWh of energy storage capacity and offers from 100 kW up to 710 kW of power capability. As a standardized, UL safety-certified, AC-ready system including power conversion system, the DSS product is preconfigured in outdoor-rated enclosures, compliant with all relevant regulatory and environmental requirements and is backed by up to a 10-year product warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine

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”).

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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