Solar carport at Massachusetts Comcast call center enough to offset 95 percent of consumption

Nexamp carports

Kim Willingham, Senior Manager of Safety for Comcast’s Greater Boston Region plugs in an electric vehicle (EV) for charging at the newly completed solar carport installation in Plymouth, MA.

Comcast completed a 1,170-panel carport solar installation that will help power its regional call center at 35 Resnik Road in Plymouth, Mass.. The system will generate enough onsite clean energy – as much as 600,000 kilowatt hours of power annually, or the equivalent of 60 homes’ worth of electricity – to offset more than 95% of the facility’s annual energy consumption.

Comcast worked with Sunpower to install the parking lot-based solar array, also enabling the installation of two dual-port EV charging stations beneath the solar panel canopy, with the ability to charge four vehicles simultaneously. The system provides the added benefit of providing covered parking spots for employees during inclement and hot weather conditions. Local residents are also welcomed to use available EV car charging stations as well.

Leading up to the solar system installation, Comcast converted its Plymouth facility to LED lighting, as it has done at numerous New England sites. This holistic approach to energy management delivered increased efficiency and eliminated more than 200,000 kilowatt hours of power usage annually at Plymouth.

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

“Technology, innovation and talent are at the core of everything Comcast does, and generating clean energy on site at our Plymouth facility demonstrates our commitment to a culture of sustainability to promote a cleaner, healthier environment,” said Tracy Pitcher, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Greater Boston Region, which serves customers throughout eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The Plymouth solar project is the latest in an ongoing series of sustainability efforts implemented in Comcast’s New England footprint. Just a few examples include upgrading to high-efficiency equipment and cooling systems in data centers and installation of LED lights and fixtures at dozens of its largest offices and call centers including Manchester and Hudson locations in New Hampshire as well as Massachusetts facilities in Chelmsford, Malden, and Plymouth. Also, five EV charging station sites have been installed across the area with more planned for 2019, and the company is expanding its use of single-stream recycling and kitchen waste com-posting.

“Our sustainability efforts also touch the products and experiences we offer our customers,” added Pitcher. “We have made it a priority to provide the most innovative ser-vices in the home and extend energy efficiency options as an added benefit.”
For example, the company’s X1 platform enables customers to say “Go Green” into their voice remotes, leading them to a settings menu that launches a power-saving mode to power down the TV box when not in use. This helps customers reduce their energy consumption and saves money on their utility bills.

— Solar Builder magazine

Former SolarWorld U.S. production facility now producing SunPower P-Series panels

SunPower

In October 2018, SunPower acquired the SolarWorld Americas facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, making good on its commitment to invest in American manufacturing. Just four months later, SunPower is assembling its 19 percent efficient Performance Series solar panel (P19 or P-Series) for commercial customers in the U.S. factory, leveraging U.S.-made automated stringing equipment and a workforce of about 200.

“Today we celebrate the revival of American solar panel manufacturing as SunPower’s high-quality P19 product starts coming off the line in Oregon,” said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and chairman of the board. “Now that we’re in full production, we look forward to meeting our strong U.S. commercial market demand with these high-performance American-assembled panels.”

Don’t miss our Solar Installer Issue in March — subscribe to Solar Builder magazine (print or digital) for FREE today

SunPower will begin fulfilling commercial customer orders and shipping P19 solar panels from Oregon in the coming weeks. Several high-ranking Fortune 500 companies, an auto dealer in Texas, and a church in Missouri are just some of the customers who will soon benefit from SunPower panels that were assembled in America.

Incorporating P19 into a comprehensive high-efficiency product portfolio that includes SunPower’s Maxeon®-based X- and E-Series solar panels – as well as the company’s newly-developed Next Generation Technology coming this year – will enable SunPower to stay at the forefront of PV technology production.

SunPower’s P19 solar panel architecture leverages a unique cell interconnect technology developed by a U.S.-based company called Cogenra Solar and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative. SunPower acquired Cogenra in 2015 and introduced P-Series solar panels that same year.

— Solar Builder magazine

Caterpillar to start selling Cat-branded SunPower solar panels through its distribution network

Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions - Shingled Cell Solar Panels
SunPower is now providing high-efficiency SunPower Performance Series (P-Series) solar panels under the Caterpillar brand. Offered as part of the Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions suite, the monocrystalline, shingled-cell Cat PVC395 MP solar panels are currently available through the Cat dealer network in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

Providing efficiency, performance and dependability, Cat PVC395 MP solar panels are rated at 395 watts per panel and achieve efficiencies of over 19 percent through an innovative shingled-cell design with multiple redundant paths for electricity flow. This eliminates many of the reliability challenges of traditional front-contact solar panels. Additionally, the panels use a unique parallel circuit architecture that significantly limits power loss from shade and soiling.

“Backed by SunPower’s product and power warranty, the P-Series solar panel technology offered through our relationship with Caterpillar can generate up to 32 percent more energy than conventional panels in the same space over 25 years,” said Peter Aschenbrenner, executive vice president for SunPower. “Our technology is the most sold shingled-cell solar panel in the world, maximizing production and delivering long-term value. We’re pleased to collaborate with Caterpillar, an exceptional brand with a strong commitment to sustainability.”

Check out the 2018 Solar Builder Projects of the Year!

Cat PVC395 MP solar panels are the latest addition to the Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions suite, an innovative lineup of power systems that combines environmentally friendly solar panels, state-of-the-art energy conversion and storage technologies, and advanced monitoring and control systems with Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment.

“SunPower shares Caterpillar’s commitment to developing an impressive portfolio of technologies with proven durability and performance in the field,” said Joel Feucht, general manager in Caterpillar’s Global Power Solutions Division. “By expanding our global solar offering, the world-class Cat dealer network can better serve the growing customer demand for cost-effective solar energy, backed by the reliable power of Cat standby- or prime-rated generator sets.”

The Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions, and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy resiliency in even the most challenging environments. Key offerings in the Cat Hybrid Energy Solutions suite include:

• The Cat Master Microgrid Controller (MMC), which keeps loads continuously energized with high-quality power at the lowest cost by managing the flow of power from every source in the system;

• Cat Connect Remote Asset Monitoring, which offers real-time collection and remote monitoring of site performance data in Cat Microgrid applications; and

• Cat Bi-Directional Power (BDP) inverters, which provide real and reactive power with grid-forming and grid-following capabilities.

— Solar Builder magazine

SunPower cells, modules to be excluded from the Trump tariffs

sunpower logo

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative filed a decision to exclude certain interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells and modules within specific size and power ranges from the Trump solar tariffs imposed in January, which includes SunPower’s IBC cells and modules. SunPower Chairman and CEO Tom Werner had this to say:

“With today’s decision that SunPower’s highly differentiated IBC cells and modules are excluded from tariffs, we are able to turn the page.

“SunPower can now fully focus our resources to deliver the best solar solutions to our customers, develop the next wave of solar technology through American research and development and invest in American solar manufacturing. This will support U.S. solar technology leadership and preserve American jobs. To this end, we are continuing with our planned acquisition of the SolarWorld Americas manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon and expect the transaction to close before the end of the quarter.

“SunPower’s 33 years of technology innovation and solar industry leadership are an integral part of the story around America’s energy evolution. We appreciate the Administration’s thorough review and consideration on this matter, and believe this outcome supports common goals of technology innovation, economic prosperity, energy independence, and U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

sb-econference-web-post

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar coaster news roundup: SolarCity layoffs, SunPower exits utility-scale, Enphase in trouble?

solar industry layoffs

The solar installer base has strengthened across the country, but the largest companies still loom largest. When they sneeze, the industry catches a cold. Here are some of the latest comings and goings at the top of the market following first-half earnings calls.

SolarCity cut backs

Tesla closed a dozen solar installation facilities around the country as part of a round of layoffs this summer, according to Reuters, in California, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Arizona, and Delaware. The installation facility closures leave the company with about 60 solar installation facilities nationwide. The laid off workforce includes installers, telemarketers, and customer service personnel. Tesla is also pulling out of its Home Depot deal.

Does this spell trouble for SolarCity / Tesla? Well, not necessarily. The company is saying this is part of its reorganization efforts after acquiring SolarCity last year – the closings are all SolarCity-specific locations. Since the acquisition, Tesla has been streamlining and combining more of the two companies’ portfolios.

SunPower leaves utility-scale, Enphase acquires microinveter business

The SunPower fit in the utility-scale market never made a ton of sense, and with PPA prices falling as far as they have, SunPower announced it was leaving that space to focus on residential and commercial and industrial projects, with an eye on growth in both storage and services.

“We see the North American distributed generation market really evolving over the next two years, from just solar, to solar-plus-storage, then eventually to solar-plus-storage-plus-services,” said CEO Tom Werner.

The company also sold its microinverter business to Enphase Energy, Inc. for a total of $25 million in cash. This is going to boost the AC Modules market with SunPower’s Equinox Home Solar System now coming with a custom line of Enphase’s IQ microinverters.

“We are excited to close the acquisition of SunPower’s microinverter business ahead of plan,” said Badri Kothandaraman, president and CEO of Enphase Energy. “We now expect volume shipments of IQ 7XS microinverters in the fourth quarter of 2018 and an acceleration of the ramp throughout 2019. The business is on track to achieve its full revenue and gross margin potential. ACM is a significant component of our profitable top line growth strategy. We look forward to being a strong innovation partner for SunPower.”

Speaking of Enphase…

Prescience Point Capital Management, a private investment manager that focuses on investigations of public companies, published a negative follow-up report to support its short position on Enphase. Since the release of its initial report on Enphase, Prescience Point has identified numerous additional red flags which further call into question the reliability of the company’s financial statements. Here are the bullets from the report:

  • Our analysis of ENPH’s Q2’18 results indicates further doubt on the reliability of its financial statements.
  • Management tried to explain away some of the red flags highlighted in our Initiation Report; however, management’s explanations in some cases conflict with statements previously made on the record and in other cases defy logic.
  • Despite our doubts about the reliability of its accounting, ENPH still missed Q2 consensus estimates and whiffed on guidance. The 12.9% and 8.9% YoY decline in ENPH’s Q2’18 inverter volume and adjusted revenue, respectively, indicate that its business is deteriorating at a faster pace than we initially thought.
  • According to sources, former SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila is currently working for ENPH. ENPH appears to have adopted many of the same practices which ultimately led to SUNE’s downfall.
  • Prescience Point reiterates our estimate that Enphase stock is worth ~$1/share on a fundamental basis, implying 80% downside.

— Solar Builder magazine