Walmart to install SunPower solar systems at 21 locations in Illinois

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Walmart announced that it has reached an agreement with SunPower to have the commercial energy provider install solar systems at 19 stores and two distribution centers in Illinois. As part of the project, a mix of rooftop and ground-mount solar systems are expected to account for 23 MW, with start of construction targeted for the first half of 2019.

Walmart is financing the solar projects through a power purchase agreement (PPA) arranged by SunPower, allowing Walmart to buy power at competitive prices and hedge against future utility rate increases with no upfront capital costs. Walmart will own the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

“We commend Walmart for its leadership in driving corporate renewable energy adoption in the United States and for partnering with SunPower to deliver high-efficiency, high-quality solar to so many of its stores and facilities,” said Nam Nguyen, SunPower Executive Vice President, Commercial Americas. “As the top U.S. commercial solar provider and with over 30 years of experience, SunPower is well positioned to help Walmart increase its renewable energy investments in a cost-effective manner.”

RELATED: Six solar industry storylines to watch from Solar Power International 2018

In Illinois, smart state policy and rising utility rates make solar a smart investment for commercial customers. These installations will represent a 25 percent increase in Illinois’ current solar capacity and will generate enough electricity to power nearly 30,000 homes.

“Illinois Solar Energy Association is committed to advancing solar locally, enabling companies like Walmart – with stores and employees across our great state – to realize the economic and environmental value of renewable energy,” said Lesley McCain, Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “These projects will create hundreds of jobs for Illinois’ growing solar workforce while reducing pollution across the state.”

This commitment moves Walmart closer to its 2025 goal of supplying its global operations with 50 percent renewable energy. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the amount of anticipated annual carbon offset by this initiative will be equal to the amount of carbon sequestered by over 24,000 acres of U.S. forest in one year – the size of Elgin, Ill.

“Solar is a vital component of Walmart’s expanding renewable energy portfolio,” said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart Inc. “Walmart plans to tirelessly pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business and the environment. These planned projects with SunPower are moving us in the right direction toward our renewable energy goals.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Watch: Check out the 4.4-MW solar project at the Campbell Soup headquarters

The world headquarters of the Campbell Soup Company is now home to a 4.4-MW solar system thanks to BNB Renewable Energy Holdings, SunPower Corp. and ORIX USA Corp. Construction began on the Camden-based project in May 2017 and joins four existing renewable energy projects at Campbell facilities in the U.S.

  • A 9.8 MW solar array in Napoleon, Ohio;
  • A 1 MW solar array in Bloomfield, Conn.; and
  • A 1.2 MW fuel cell and 1.4 MW fuel cell in Bloomfield, Conn.

In total, these projects contribute more than 27,000 MWh of renewable energy to the grid annually.

Project details

The Camden project features rooftop, carport and ground-mount solar solutions, with 2.7 MW arrays installed across Campbell’s World Headquarters campus and an additional 1.7 MW ground mount array on an adjacent 4.5-acre remediated brownfield that BNB purchased specifically for the project, making use of otherwise unusable land and increasing the capacity of the system. It is the largest solar array in the City of Camden.

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The system will generate more than 5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, or the equivalent of approximately 20 percent of the annual electricity usage of Campbell’s World Headquarters. Under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), Campbell has agreed to purchase all electricity from the array at a predetermined rate. The fixed PPA rate, which is currently well below the cost of traditional electricity for Campbell, provides the company with significant savings on power as well as a long-term visibility for this portion of its electricity costs.

The project is jointly owned by BNB and ORIX USA. BNB is managing the project under a 20-year management services agreement with the project company, BNB Camden Solar LLC. The debt is being financed through PSE&G’s Solar Loan Program. The project will also feature five electric vehicle-charging stations, provided by PSE&G via its EV Workplace Charging Program, for use by Campbell employees.

— Solar Builder magazine

OGE Energy Corp. brings 10-MW SunPower Oasis solar system online

Covington

10-megawatt (AC) solar power plant in Covington, Oklahoma (PRNewsfoto/SunPower Corp.)

OGE Energy Corp. electric utility subsidiary Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) and SunPower Corp. completed a 10-megawatt (AC) solar photovoltaic power plant in Covington, Okla. A SunPower Oasis Power Plant system was installed at the 80-acre site by Moss Solar, a division of the construction firm Moss.

The Oasis system is a complete power plant solution that installs quickly to maximize value for customers. Product features include 50 percent fewer parts than conventional solar tracking systems, an integrated design that streamlines construction and reduces operations and maintenance costs, and cost-effective, high efficiency SunPower P-Series solar panels, which produce more energy than conventional solar panels over the lifetime of the system.

“With Covington online, we now have 12.5-megawatts of solar generation in our portfolio, all of which has been presold to customers who want the benefits of solar power,” said OG&E Chief Operating Officer Keith Mitchell. “Along with our solar facility in Mustang, Oklahoma, Covington helps us continue to learn how solar can complement our other generation sources to provide reliable and low-cost power to our customers.”

SunPower is now providing operations and maintenance services at the site. OG&E owns the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

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— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower gets approval to use drones in regulated air spaces to survey solar sites

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SunPower Corp. has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) for automatic access to operate a drone in regulated airspace over controlled airports.

The new access category, called Low Altitude Authorization Capability (LAANC), was released this month in a beta test at four airports including San Jose (SJC), Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno (RNO), and Lincoln (LNK). SunPower received LAANC authorization through Skyward, an FAA-approved vendor.

“Leading through innovation, SunPower is proud to be the first company granted the new LAANC access, enabling us to aerially evaluate a broader range of potential project sites for our customers more quickly and comprehensively,” said SunPower CEO and President Tom Werner. “As part of the SunPower Oasis Power Plant platform, drone flights enable us to efficiently generate solar power plant system layouts to optimize site use and reduce project cost.”

SunPower uses drones as part of the SunPower Oasis Power Plant platform to survey potential solar power plant sites for customers. Information and images gathered by the drones is used to quickly develop solar plant layouts to optimize site use and achieve customers’ project goals.

“Digital, automated, free access to controlled airspace, in the form of LAANC, is one of the greatest moment we’ve experienced in the U.S. commercial drone industry so far,” said Skyward Co-President Jonathan Evans. “I’m excited for SunPower and the company’s customers, who will get to benefit from LAANC right away.”

— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower gets approval to use drones in regulated air spaces to survey solar sites

sunpower logo

SunPower Corp. has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) for automatic access to operate a drone in regulated airspace over controlled airports.

The new access category, called Low Altitude Authorization Capability (LAANC), was released this month in a beta test at four airports including San Jose (SJC), Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno (RNO), and Lincoln (LNK). SunPower received LAANC authorization through Skyward, an FAA-approved vendor.

“Leading through innovation, SunPower is proud to be the first company granted the new LAANC access, enabling us to aerially evaluate a broader range of potential project sites for our customers more quickly and comprehensively,” said SunPower CEO and President Tom Werner. “As part of the SunPower Oasis Power Plant platform, drone flights enable us to efficiently generate solar power plant system layouts to optimize site use and reduce project cost.”

SunPower uses drones as part of the SunPower Oasis Power Plant platform to survey potential solar power plant sites for customers. Information and images gathered by the drones is used to quickly develop solar plant layouts to optimize site use and achieve customers’ project goals.

“Digital, automated, free access to controlled airspace, in the form of LAANC, is one of the greatest moment we’ve experienced in the U.S. commercial drone industry so far,” said Skyward Co-President Jonathan Evans. “I’m excited for SunPower and the company’s customers, who will get to benefit from LAANC right away.”

— Solar Builder magazine