Top 6 solar projects from last week

First Illinois school district to go solar hosts ribbon cutting

solar school project illinois

Lake Park High School District 108 hosted a ribbon cutting event on June 15 to celebrate completion of two solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, making it one of the first public school districts in Illinois to adopt solar power on a large scale. The declining installed cost of solar has made this cost effective for the District and will result in an estimated net savings of $5.1 million over 25 years. Both Lake Park West and Lake Park East high schools now have roof-mounted solar panels expected to generate 1.86 megawatts of clean energy. The solar array will provide 2,215,247 kilowatt hours of power to the grid. The project was completed and solar system energized in March of this year.

Implemented in two phases, energy conservation measures at the high schools included new energy efficient vertical classroom units, lighting upgrades and a cooling tower replacement. The Phase One project was completed in August of 2016.

Roof-Mount Project of the Year: Bishop O’Dowd High School

To further reduce energy costs, the District pursued the use of solar power and is now distinguished as one of the largest public school solar installations with net metering in Illinois. Solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) will become an income source for the District as they sell excess solar credits to utility companies that need them to meet certain energy use requirements. Expected revenue from excess solar renewable energy credits is projected to exceed $5.1 million over 25 years.

dynamic energy solar project

Western, Pa.’s Estes Express Lines completes 688-kW rooftop project

Estes Express Lines and Dynamic Energy, a turnkey solar project developer, are pleased to announce the completion of a 688 kW solar project on the roof of Estes’ terminal in West Middlesex, PA. The system is expected to produce 777,400 kilowatt hours of power each year, which will offset 56% of the West Middlesex terminal’s annual consumption.

This project was supported by a state grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA). PEDA is an independent public financing authority with a mission to finance clean, advanced energy projects in Pennsylvania. Estes previously partnered with Dynamic Energy to complete 2 solar installations totaling 583 kW at their terminals in Elkton, MD, and Baltimore, MD.

Panasonic

Denver ‘smart city’ development named ESNA Innovation Awards finalist

A Panasonic-led solar-plus-storage microgrid at Peña Station NEXT, a 382-acre smart city development in Denver, has been named an Energy Storage North America (ESNA) 2017 Innovation Awards finalist. This industry accolade follows on the heels of the microgrid earning an Environmental Leader 2017 Top Project of the Year award earlier this month.

Project partners include Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, Xcel Energy, Denver International Airport, LC Fulenwider, Inc., and Younicos. Partners share microgrid assets and benefits in a multi-stakeholder “portfolio” model that helps the utility modernize and manage its electricity grid with innovative technologies, aids grid integration of solar PV, strengthens resilience (including through backup power) for customers and critical loads, and supports the sustainability goals of diverse organizations.

The Holistic Home: We peer into the future of home energy generation, usage

Where many microgrids are utilized by a single entity (e.g., military, corporate, or college campuses), the portfolio microgrid at Peña includes a set of assets that are shared between stakeholders:

• 1.6 MWdc carport solar photovoltaic (PV) system
• 259 kWdc rooftop solar PV array atop Panasonic’s facility
• Anchor electricity load at Panasonic’s Technology and Business Solutions Center
• 1 MW / 2MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS)
• Switching/control systems to operate the BESS and microgrid functionality

As an example of the portfolio model for sharing microgrid assets, Denver International Airport owns the parking lot and carport structure at Peña; Xcel Energy owns and operates the solar PV system atop the structure under a long-term lease; and Panasonic performs the operations and maintenance on the system.

BlueRock Solar Logo

BlueRock Solar paves way for largest community solar project in New York

BlueRock Solar announced plans for a community solar project just outside Buffalo, N.Y. in Grand Island after the town board voted unanimously to approve the project. It will be completed in partnership with Active Solar Development. BlueRock Solar expects to break ground later this summer and complete the installation within 2-3 months.

The 18-acre solar array will be the largest New York State community solar installation project in the state and will power up to 400 homes and businesses. At least 60 percent of the power generation will be allocated for residential customers with a guaranteed savings as compared to the incumbent utility. The project will consist of approximately 12,000 solar panels installed off I-190 between Bedell Road and Industrial Drive.

This will be BlueRock Solar’s second community solar project and one of only a few in the state. Earlier this year, the company successfully completed installation and interconnection of a community solar project in Millport, NY, in a partnership with Ithaca, NY-based Renovus Solar.

SunPower and UC Merced

The University’s Second SunPower Project on Campus to Support its Zero Net Energy by 2020 Goal (PRNewsfoto/SunPower Corp.)

‘Triple Zero Commitment’ project aided by SunPower PV system

The University of California, Merced’s precedent-setting Triple Zero Commitment aims for zero net energy use, the creation of zero net landfill waste and climate neutrality on campus by 2020, a goal that coincides with the university’s expansion project to nearly double the campus’s physical capacity by that same year.

The university is working with SunPower Corp. to install a 5-MW solar power system featuring a carport-and-rooftop installation, complemented by a 500-kilowatt energy storage solution from Stem. The system will be UC Merced’s second featuring SunPower solar technology. A 1-megawatt ground-mounted tracker system has been in operation and exceeding performance expectations since 2009, and the two systems combined are expected to supply more than 50 percent of the campus’s energy needs. UC Merced will own the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the new solar energy system, which is estimated to generate clean electricity equal to removing approximately 30,000 cars from the road every year for 25 years. The 5-megawatt photovoltaic system and 500-kilowatt battery storage system will be financed by a power purchase agreement (PPA).

sunation pv install

SUNation installs 2,500th PV system on 14th anniversary

Ronkonkoma-based solar design and installation company, SUNation Solar Systems, is celebrating its 14th anniversary as a company this month, which coincides with their 2,500th solar photovoltaic (PV) system installation on Long Island. SUNation’s installation team completed the milestone installation today at the home of Holbrook resident, Chris Cirneanu. The 8,829 watt SunPower system is expected to produce 9,949 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually, offsetting over 100% of the homeowner’s annual electricity expense.
SUNation Co-Founder and CEO Scott Maskin says, “We are proud to be celebrating 14 years of providing our friends and neighbors with a better way to create electricity. In that time, we’ve grown a work family of over 100 people and played a major role in building a local solar industry on Long Island.”

Since its inception in 2003, SUNation has installed 27,535,971 watts and over 94,000 modules for Long Island customers. SUNation Solar Systems’ customers have produced an accumulated lifetime total of 103,528,268 kWh and saved over $20.7 million dollars over the last 14 years.

 

— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower starts construction on 56-MW power plant in Oregon

SunPower Corp. started construction on the 56-megawatt (AC) Gala Solar Power Plant in Crook County, Ore. The project, which is expected to be the state’s largest operating solar power plant when it is completed by the end of 2017, is anticipated to create approximately 300 jobs during peak construction.

sunpower logo“I’ve often said that in Oregon, we don’t believe economic development and environmental stewardship are mutually exclusive ideas,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “The approximately 300 jobs expected to be created by the Gala Solar Power Plant are proof we can grow our rural communities and support a vibrant and innovative renewable energy industry.”

SunPower’s third-generation SunPower Oasis platform for solar power plants will be installed on the site to maximize the project’s long-term energy production. The Oasis platform is a complete power plant solution that installs quickly and optimizes site utilization to lower the cost of energy for customers. Product features include 50 percent fewer parts than conventional solar plant systems and an integrated solar tracker design that streamlines construction and reduces operations and maintenance costs.

RELATED: How SunPower’s Helix Platform takes aim at commercial sector 

“While solar is cost-competitive today, SunPower is continuing to drive the cost of energy down through innovation and integrated complete solutions such as our Oasis platform,” said Ty Daul, SunPower vice president, Americas Power Plants. “We’re pleased to contribute to economic development in Oregon with the construction of this milestone project.”

“Solar power projects deliver a range of regional benefits, including job creation and affordable emission-free power,” said Ann Beier, assistant planning director, Crook County Community Development. “We are proud that, working in partnership with SunPower on the Gala Solar Power Plant, Crook County is helping lead the way in Oregon in supporting increased solar development.”

SunPower has contracted with Moss, an award-winning national construction firm ranked among the top building and solar contractors, as the general contractor for the project.

“We are excited about the new generation of SunPower’s revolutionary Oasis tracker system,” said Mike Little, executive vice president at Moss. “This system dramatically simplifies utility scale solar. SunPower has optimized every component of the power plant, reducing not only components costs, but construction installation costs.”

At the Gala site, high efficiency SunPower E-Series panels will be installed on the SunPower Oasis trackers, enabling more megawatt hours per acre to be generated compared to conventional solar technology. SunPower E-Series panels reliably deliver excellent performance to optimize returns, and are backed by SunPower’s industry-leading 25-year Combined Power and Product Warranty.

— Solar Builder magazine

Ross Solar Group cornering the car dealership solar install market in the Northeast

SunPower Helix module mountingThe Ross Solar Group is planning to install a third record-setting solar project for Gengras Motor Cars at the dealership group’s Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep / Ram facility on Connecticut Blvd., in East Hartford, Conn. The SunPower Helix Roof Solution, a fully integrated commercial solar power platform, will feature 954 high efficiency SunPower E-Series solar panels. Upon completion, the installation will be the largest single SunPower rooftop solar installation to date in East Hartford, Conn.

“Solar is an important component of our long-term strategy, helping us to reduce operational expenses and remain competitive, while underscoring our commitment as a responsible corporate partner to grow renewable energy in East Hartford, ” said third-generation Gengras Motor Cars Co-Owner Jonathan Gengras. “Ross Solar’s commitment to quality, customer service, and full transparency, echoes our pledge to our own customers, and once again makes them the clear choice as the right partner for us.”

The project was made possible through awards that Ross Solar secured on Gengras Motor Cars’ behalf through the Connecticut ZREC program.

RELATED: How SunPower’s Helix Platform takes aim at commercial sector 

Prior to this project

In 2015, Ross Solar installed two separate SunPower solar power systems for Gengras Motor Cars at their Volvo and Chevrolet facilities on Connecticut Blvd., totaling 418 kilowatts in size, which at the time were the two largest single SunPower rooftop solar installations in East Hartford.

According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the forthcoming installation will offset 266 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, representing a reduction in Co2 emissions equivalent to not burning 283,559 pounds of coal each year, and equal to the carbon sequestered by 6,887 tree seedlings grown for ten years.

 

“We are proud to partner with Gengras Motor Cars again on this high-profile renewable energy project, and we appreciate the confidence and the level of trust that the Gengras Family continues to place in us,” said Robert Kline, PV Solar Consultant at Ross Solar.

— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower constructs 4.8-MW carport on two California campuses

sunpower helix carport

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) are constructing a 4.8-megawatt SunPower Helix Carport solar power system at two university parking areas. CSULB will purchase the solar power generated by the system under a power purchase agreement that offers competitive rates, enabling the university to offset approximately 15 percent of campus electrical load with clean, renewable solar power.

The SunPower Helix platform is a fully-integrated solar solution for commercial customers. Available for installation as a carport, on the roof, or as a ground-mounted technology, Helix is a pre-engineered, modular solution designed to deliver more energy and greater reliability than conventional solar products. The elegant design of the Helix carport can also enhance the aesthetics on campus. Since launching the product late last year, SunPower has contracted a total of 40 megawatts of Helix Carport to deliver to customers in the commercial and public sectors.

In addition to generating power, the solar carports at CSULB will provide to the campus community needed shade and electric vehicle chargers with the capacity to charge 50 cars. All of the systems are expected to be operational by the end of next year. CSULB will own the renewable energy credits associated with the systems.

RELATED: Solar carports will spread across the country as costs decline 

SunPower estimates that one year of solar energy produced by the CSULB system, once it is operational, could power more than 2,200 electric vehicles for 30 years. According to estimates provided by the Solar Energy Industries Association, the annual power production of the system will be equivalent to the power required by 1,200 average California homes.

CSULB has three operating solar power systems on campus today, but this new SunPower project will be the largest solar power system on campus and within the 23 campus CSU system to date.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, the university’s Sustainability Task Force oversees a range of activities to reduce campus environmental impact, including energy efficiency, water conservation, sustainable food service, and waste reduction and recycling.

— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower CEO on layoffs in power plant segment, focus shift to distributed generation

sunpower

SunPower reports that its distributed generation business performed well — and plans to continue focusing on that segment — but at the cost of its power plant segment, which fell short of its lofty 2016 goals. The company plans to cut 15 percent of its workforce as a result.

As a result of the announced realignment, the company expects the following:

  • Workforce reduction of approximately 15 percent or 1,200 employees, primarily related to its Philippine facility closure
  • Restructuring charges totaling $30 million -$45 million
  • Substantial portion of charges to be incurred in the third quarter of 2016 with more than 50 percent of the total charges to be cash
  • Annual operating expense reductions of approximately 10 percent

Here is the explanation from Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO

“While the long-term fundamentals for solar power remain strong, we see a number of near-term industry challenges, primarily in our power plant segment, that we expect to impact our business and financial performance in the second half of 2016. The extension of the Investment Tax Credit, as well as the bonus depreciation credit, while beneficial to the long-term health of the industry, has reduced the urgency to complete new solar projects by the end of 2016, with many customers adopting a longer-term timeline for project completion. Additionally, near-term economic returns have deteriorated due to aggressive PPA pricing by new market entrants, including a number of large, global independent power companies. We are also seeing customer project IRRs rising in the near term as buyers have increased their hurdle rates due to industry conditions. Finally, the continued market disruption in the YieldCo environment has impacted our assumptions related to monetizing deferred profits.

RELATED: How SunPower’s Helix Platform takes aim at commercial sector 

“As a result, we have proactively decided to streamline our power plant development segment while shifting investment to our distributed generation (DG) segments. We intend to focus our development resources on a limited number of core markets, primarily in the Americas, where we believe we have a sustainable competitive advantage and a project pipeline of over 9 gigawatts (GW). Outside these core markets, we will focus our power plant business on the sale of our new Oasis complete solution incorporating Performance Series panel technology to developers and Engineering, Procurement and Construction companies in global markets, including Total. We also plan to delay the timing of certain projects in our 2016 and 2017 pipeline to take advantage of planned cost reduction efforts over the next two years. We expect these actions to significantly lower operating expense and capital deployment in our power plant business while maintaining leadership in our core markets.

“Additionally, we are realigning our manufacturing operations to increase the relative mix of X-Series capacity due to expected strong customer demand in our DG business as well as adjusting our panel assembly capacity to be closer to our core markets. We plan to utilize equipment from some of our older solar cell manufacturing lines in Fab 2 to debottleneck capacity of our latest generation technology in order to increase the supply of X-Series panels. These initiatives will enable us to increase X-Series output by up to 100 MW by the end of 2017. Additionally, in connection with the realignment of our power plant segment principally around our core markets, we have made the decision to close our Philippine panel assembly facility and transfer the equipment to our latest generation, lower cost facilities in Mexico. This change will optimize our supply chain and move final panel assembly closer to our key markets.

Werner on second quarter results

“Our second quarter execution was solid as we met our financial targets and achieved key milestones across the company. During the quarter we saw significant customer demand for our recently introduced Helix and SunPower Equinox complete commercial and residential solutions, respectively. We are also seeing stronger than anticipated demand and price premium for our highest efficiency, next generation X-21 and X-22 Series solar panels. In our upstream solar cell and panel manufacturing operations, we delivered strong yields and panel output in our fabs, continued our technology leadership with the announcement of our world record 24.1 percent efficient rooftop solar panel and successfully started up our first high volume, Performance Series production lines in Mexico.

“In our distributed generation business for the second quarter, we saw solid execution in both the residential and commercial segments. In commercial, our performance was above plan as we successfully ramped our Helix product deployment to approximately 20 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter while signing over 25 MW of new contracts for customers such as the U.S. Army. We were also pleased to complete the drop down of our Macy’s project to 8point3 Energy Partners, and we continue to believe that 8point3 Energy Partners will be a key strategic vehicle for the company going forward. With a record pipeline of more than $1.3 billion, strong bookings, currently stable pricing and the continued successful ramp of our Helix solution, we are well positioned to gain share in the commercial market. Our residential segment also performed well, with solid fundamentals in the U.S. and improving traction in Europe and Japan. In the U.S., we are seeing a pronounced shift to our new SunPower Equinox complete solution which accounted for 50 percent of bookings by the end of the quarter. Total U.S. residential MW deployment was up approximately 25 percent year-over-year, and we continued to expand our utility channel initiatives, most recently a new solar plus storage partnership with Consolidated Edison.

 
Additionally, second quarter fiscal 2016 non-GAAP results include net adjustments that, in the aggregate, decreased (increased) non-GAAP net loss by $39.9 million, including $18.0 million related to 8point3 Energy Partners, $4.1 million related to utility and power plant projects, $3.0 million related to sale of operating lease assets, $3.0 million related to sale-leaseback transactions, $16.5 million related to stock-based compensation expense, $(2.2) million related to other adjustments, and $(2.5) million related to tax effect.

— Solar Builder magazine