EnSync Energy sells PPA for California fire training facility solar install to Standard Solar

Ensync energy systems

EnSync Energy Systems sold a project under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to Standard Solar — a deal that marks EnSync Energy’s entry into the California marketplace.

EnSync Energy is building a 600-kilowatt solar installation at the CAL FIRE training facility in Ione, Calif., under the agreement. The installation will consist of a solar system on the classroom roof and solar canopy built over the parking lot of the new dormitory in the training facility. The canopy will keep parked cars cool and reduce the heat island effect while generating clean energy for the facility, which achieves Governor Brown’s 2012 executive order (B-18-12) mandating green building practices at State buildings.

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“The CAL FIRE solar PPA marks an important milestone for EnSync Energy as our first large project sale in the state,” said Brad Hansen, the company’s chief executive officer and president. “We are proud to build on our record of deploying holistic DER and financing solutions in this key market, while also supporting an agency that fights wildfires in California.”

“As a company dedicated to removing financing barriers for commercial solar projects, we appreciate the opportunity to provide the financing to help support CAL FIRE’s mission to protect the public safety of Californians,” said Standard Solar president and CEO Scott Wiater. “Costs often remain a barrier to adopting solar, and this PPA offers a win-win solution that facilitates deployment of renewable energy.”

Construction of the installation is expected to be completed in 2018.

— Solar Builder magazine

Standard Solar teams with CI Labs to boost access to C&I capital

Standard Solar

In its continuing efforts to streamline the efficiency of commercial solar financing for businesses, organizations, municipalities, educational institutions and other entities, Standard Solar is teaming with CI Labs, a commercial and industrial underwriting, engineering and financing analytic platforms, to significantly increase transaction efficiency for solar projects and provide faster and easier access to its in-house capital.

As described in Standard Solar’s commercial financing primer “Commercial Solar Financing – The Definitive Guide,” solar customers face multiple challenges when it comes to project financing, including operating in a complicated market where customized solar financing solutions are increasingly paramount.

The CI Labs Platform, when paired with access to Standard Solar’s capital resources, will give the industry a means to evaluate options for customers in a more efficient manner and provide faster funding for projects should the customer decide to move forward.

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“Traditionally, the solar project space has been murky in terms of the ability of finance providers to give solid guidance on the necessary blend of credit underwriting criteria and independent engineering requirements for a viable fund portfolio,” explained Shaun Laughlin, Head of US Strategic Development for Standard Solar. “Our work with CI Labs will allow us to compress and clarify the process for developers and increase the velocity of our capital deployment.”

The team from CI Labs has more than 20 years combined solar industry experience, and Nathan Homan, Co-Founder of CI Labs, helped to create one of the solar industry’s leading commercial & industrial underwriting and analytic financing platforms.

“We believe that our industry experience, combined with the leverage of Standard Solar’s low-cost project finance options, will enable capital providers, developers and solar investors to close projects with much greater ease and efficiency,” said Homan.

— Solar Builder magazine

Upgrading C&I rooftop solar installations with spray polyurethane foam

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SPF acts not only as an additional barrier to the elements, but it is also incredibly insulative.

As we have continued our expansion in the commercial and industrial solar market (which includes commercial, industrial, municipal, university, school, cold storage, food-processing and hospital buildings), we’ve discovered something. If commercial building owners are not overly familiar with how solar arrays are installed, they have legitimate concerns about the potential effects solar arrays could have on their roofs. For example:

  • Will the racking system, which holds the solar modules in place, harm the roof?
  • Will it have to be penetrated, creating potential pathways for the elements to enter?
  • Will it shorten the longevity of the roof?
  • Will it void the warranty?

In addition, we’ve discovered it’s often not just solar that these building owners want. They are often looking for energy-efficiency measures, too, particularly as property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs allow them to pay for both kinds of upgrades through their property taxes.

At Standard Solar, we take those concerns and desires seriously, and we’ve been searching for an all-encompassing solution — and we believe we have found one in spray polyurethane foam (SPF).

SPF acts not only as an additional barrier to the elements, but it is also incredibly insulative. As a result, building owners who use SPF as an underlayment to their current roofing will reduce energy consumption and save money on their energy bills.

Let’s take a closer look at how SPF works and how it will help you reach your solar and energy efficiencies goals.

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Longevity match

One of the strongest arguments for installing a rooftop solar array on a commercial building is to provide electricity for the building for at least 25 years. Many roofing materials can’t match that lifespan, but SPF can — and reduce energy bills by 20 to 50 percent more than fiberglass insulation in the process. When the proper roofing material is wedded to a rooftop solar array, the building owner can stop worrying about either. Instead, they can spend their time counting the savings the electrical system and energy-efficient roof will provide them.

Penetrating protection

In areas with high winds, on metal buildings and other external factors that could adversely affect solar arrays (think earthquakes), arrays must be attached to the roof. To accomplish this, solar installers are often forced to penetrate the roof membrane.

Penetrating installations are the cause of sleepless nights for building owners. After all, the solar installer is asking to poke holes through part of a structure that costs significant money. Any poorly sealed holes will cause problems for the roof itself and potentially allow rain or wind to reach beneath the roof and damage the inside of the building.

Unfortunately, some solar installers don’t know what it takes to seal the penetrations properly, and as anyone who’s ever had a leaky roof knows, locating the problem is difficult by the time the damage is discovered.

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That’s where SPF can help. We often use SPF to restore roofs under the arrays we install. When you combine SPF with a quality liquid membrane, not only do they self-flash, but they provide a double measure of protection from the weather. Finally, having a sturdy underlayment adds even more strength to the roof, making it an even better investment for the building owner.

The best use of SPF roofing we’ve seen, however, is at building conception. If the long-term plan is always to add a solar array to the roof at some point, SPF roofs allow the construction company to make the building “solar ready” by installing solar stanchions (legs).

Building owners can speed solar installations with such advance planning and get to the fun part of having a solar array — saving money — more quickly.

Perfect pairing

Like a perfectly prepared filet and a well-rounded pinot noir, SPF roofs and solar arrays beautifully complement each other. Combined, they allow commercial building owners to save through solar electricity production and improved energy efficiency with the outstanding insulative properties of SPF and the reflective characteristics of a quality liquid membrane. This collective approach will help companies reach their sustainability goals faster and with greater success.

Though SPF is currently something of a niche product, we believe it is gaining a much wider following with each successful installation, among both solar installers and commercial building owners. In time, we believe it will displace conventional insulation methods, which will be good news for building owners and solar installers alike.

Daryl A. Pilon, M.E., is director of business development for Standard Solar.

— Solar Builder magazine

Standard Solar installing 1.1-MW of solar across seven Michigan schools

standard solar

Seven schools within the Flushing Community Schools district in Flushing, Mich., will all be adding solar arrays, designed, built, financed, operated and maintained by Standard Solar. The renewable energy, generated by the 1.1 megawatt (MW) of combined arrays, is estimated to save the school district $45,000 annually.

Roof mounted arrays will be installed on Springview Elementary, Central Elementary, Seymour Elementary, Early Child Center and Flushing Middle School. Ground-mount arrays will be installed at Elms Elementary and Flushing High School. The energy produced by these seven arrays will offset nearly 100% of the district’s entire current electric loads.

“Public-private partnerships are an ideal option for educational facilities and municipal governments looking to reduce their energy costs and be stewards of the environment,” said Daryl A. Pilon, M.E. at Standard Solar. “We are excited about this project and appreciate the great partnerships in place to make this project a reality for the school district.”

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“The Board of Education and the administration take stewardship very seriously, whether it’s stewardship of taxpayer money or natural resources,” said Flushing Community Schools Finance Director Kelly Stearns. “This transaction will save the district $45,000 every year. That’s $45,000 more in our general fund, which can be spent in the classrooms. At the same time, our students will have the opportunity to learn about renewable energy, and to have a very up-close relationship with its productions, which enhances our STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.”

Miller Canfield’s Renewable Energy Finance team acted as legal counsel for the school district.

— Solar Builder magazine

Standard Solar to finance 15 new rooftop projects for DC Department of General Services

Standard Solar DC solar finance

Standard Solar CEO Scott Wiater told us about the company’s plans to start owning and financing more projects, and they are hitting the ground running, announcing financing for solar arrays on 15 new sites for the DC Department of General Services (DGS). This group of projects will be about 2,000 MWh of additional onsite solar generation per year. DC Solar, a CBE JV with headquarters in the District of Columbia, developed the project and Standard Solar will own and operate the facilities. Construction on the first site is already under way and the project sites are expected to be completed and in-service in the spring 2018.

The solar arrays join the city’s rapidly growing solar portfolio which helped the District be designated the first city in the world to become a LEED Platinum city. In the past two years, with Standard Solar’s support, DGS has engineered and installed solar arrays on the roofs of 30+ public schools, other educational buildings (including administrative offices), police and fire facilities. Those projects are now producing solar electricity totaling more than 7MW, or approximately 20 percent of the buildings’ electricity consumption. With the added 15 sites, onsite solar generation capacity will total more than 11MW on 50+ buildings in the District.

Through its new in-house financing capabilities, Standard Solar is able to provide a ready source of funding for solar PV projects nationally. In addition, Standard Solar is providing mentoring services to District firms for development, engineering and construction, sharing the experience gained from installing more than 9.5MWs in the District since 2009.

“We’re thrilled to help move our nation’s capital even further along in its mission to lead the rest of the world with its commitment to renewable energy,” said Tony Clifford, Chief Development Officer, Standard Solar. “For us, it was an easy decision to provide project funding for this round of projects and add to the city’s sterling reputation for climate-change leadership.”

— Solar Builder magazine