A New Bright Idea In Solar: Turnkey Project Management And Financing


As issues of energy independence and climate change persist, renewable energy is not going away. In fact, demand is only growing.

But while sustainability – and solar solutions specifically – continue to gain popularity, many educational institutions, municipalities and commercial enterprises find the task of ‘going solar’ to be somewhat overwhelming. Virtually every solar installation model today requires the engagement of a third-party vendor at each phase of development. This raises barriers to successful implementation, increases costs, causes unnecessary stress, and potentially stunts long-term growth and development.

Removing these barriers to a successful solar installation requires a turnkey model, a comprehensive solution that will allow customers to experience immediate cost-savings without the headaches caused by traditional logistics and financing models. At Panasonic Eco Solutions, we have worked to make this fragmented process more effective.

Joining forces with our financing partner Coronal Management, we are delivering an end-to-end solution to facilitate solar projects from inception and financing through engineering, installation and maintenance. This turnkey model streamlines the entire process, serving as a viable strategic partnership for sustainability officers, facility owners, project developers and power purchasers.
The added efficiency of this technology-agnostic model can be seen in successful installations across a wide spectrum of mid-market applications, including colleges and universities, commercial enterprises, shopping centers, municipalities and utilities.

Roster Of Success
In fall 2012, we implemented a solar solution to supply carbon-free energy for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the primary charitable entity of the Hilton Hotel Corp. The 115 kW photovoltaic installation has reduced the foundation's carbon emissions by 126 metric tons per year and has resulted in the new headquarters achieving LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A unique financing structure allowed the Hilton Foundation to continue to dedicate its resources to charitable efforts during and after construction of the solar system.

In 2013, we partnered with the University of Colorado – Boulder on two separate occasions, helping the institution meet its goal of powering the campus with green energy, reducing energy costs and ultimately developing the campus into a carbon-neutral facility.

The first installation was a ground-mounted 498 kW photovoltaic solar array for the University's Research Park. After the success of this project, we again joined forces with CU-Boulder, delivering a 290 kW system on the university's Coors Events Center, a multi-purpose arena located on the main campus and home to the Colorado Buffaloes basketball and volleyball teams.

The success of this model has been widespread, as large-scale businesses have also turned to us for comprehensive solar solutions. Macerich, an $8 billion real estate investment trust focused on the acquisition, leasing, management, development and redevelopment of regional malls, aligned with us as part of its sustainability initiative. The end result is a portfolio of up to 12 Macerich shopping centers across the country equipped with solar systems totaling 10 MW of installed capacity – enough power for approximately 10,000 homes.

Recently, Panasonic and Coronal began implementation and financing of a 16 MW portfolio of California Renewable Energy Small Tariff projects, further strengthening the state's ability to provide solar solutions to underserved commercial, industrial, municipal and small utility markets.

These are just a few examples of our product-development model in action. We have faced a variety of environments and challenges – from varied roof conditions to short construction windows and limited space. In every case, we achieved successful solar installations.

Sustainability officers, facility owners, developers and power purchasers do not have to be burdened by the aggravation of dealing with logistics, procurement, complex financing or lease agreements. With our comprehensive, integrated solution, we are helping organizations attain renewable energy – effectively and efficiently.

Jamie Evans is managing director and head of U.S. eco solutions for Panasonic Eco Solutions North America, a unit company of Panasonic North America. He can be reached by email at ecosolutions@us.panasonic.com.

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