Automation and instrumentation manufacturer Endress+Hauser will be saving big with a 1.3 MW behind-the-meter solar project in Indiana. Castillo Engineering and RPG Energy Group recently completed what will be the last net metered project in the state. Located in Greenwood, Indiana, the project uses bifacial solar panels and ballasted racking, and will provide operational savings of $140,000 for Endress+Hauser in the first year alone.
“After successfully partnering with Castillo Engineering on a solar project for the world’s largest tool company, we knew we could trust their extensive expertise to help us meet the tight timeline for delivery of both the electrical engineering for interconnection and structural feasibility analysis required for this project,” said Colton Cooper, VP of design and engineering at RPG Energy. “Together we were able to ensure that this project was completed on time, all while providing significant savings to our customer.”
Finding ways to provide solar energy customers with savings through site optimization are more important than ever in Indiana, which recently phased out net metering. Since 2004, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission had required the state’s five investor-owned utility companies to offer net metering to all electric customers. The policy allowed those customers to sell their excess energy back to utilities at the same rate utilities charged customers for electricity. However, a bill approved by legislators in 2017 started to phase out net metering, with the official end date recently having taken place. As a result, what customers could have earned for selling solar power back to the grid dropped by around 70%.
RPG and Castillo were able to work together to meet the necessary deadlines, both regulatory and operational, to enable this project to be grandfathered in for retail net metering. In order to meet the net metering deadlines, the companies had to submit the interconnection application and receive approvals within six months of project completion.
“We are thrilled with how this project went,” said Al Bacon, VP of operations and engineering at Endress+Hauser. “We had several companies bid on this installation and RPG Energy was the only one that was confident they could meet the tight deadlines for achieving the net metering requirement, we went from initial proposal to completion in eight months. They have provided great and timely support throughout the entire project.”
In addition to meeting the strict deadlines to enable the manufacturing company to have its solar system grandfathered in to receive retail net metering, the project also resulted in 53% net energy offset of the plant. The instrumentation manufacturer customer, which produces flow meters for liquid, gas and steam systems, can now offset the production of thousands of flow meters per year as a result of the solar energy system.
“We are grateful to have had this additional opportunity to work alongside RPG to deliver substantial long-term savings to this business,” said Christopher Castillo, CEO at Castillo Engineering. “RPG’s expertise in industrial scale, behind-the-meter solar projects was crucial in the success of this project, which had two separate electrical services and meters that had to be assessed to maximize energy offset and utility bill savings.”
— Solar Builder magazine