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Solect Completes 210 kW Commercial Rooftop With Room To Grow

Hopkinton, Mass.-based solar developer Solect Energy Development has installed a 210 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic energy system at AmeriPride Services Inc.’s facility in Worcester, Mass.

The 840-module array is expected to offset up to 25% of the textile services and supply company’s electricity needs at the location. The installation represents a key demographic for Solect, an example of the type of projects it is focusing on for its future success.

“Our company focuses strictly on the commercial market,” says Steve Bianchi, a partner at Solect. “Anywhere from 50 kW to 500 kW is really our sweet spot.”

Solect has built larger projects, such as the 2.7 MW array at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. However, in terms of core strategy, the company has made an effort to specialize on the commercial space. One of the attractions of this market segment is that Bianchi is able to engage with other business people on the opportunities and benefits of solar power.

“Once you establish a relationship with these business owners, they understand how together you can create a win-win situation with solar power,” he says. “I think being able to convey the value proposition of solar to commercial clients has been a key factor in our success.”

In addition to the cost savings generated at its Worcester location, AmeriPride’s array also enables it to take advantage of state and federal financial and tax incentives, including solar renewable energy certificates, which Massachusetts utilities purchase to help meet their state-mandated renewable energy source goals.

“Financial returns are great, but it’s more than that,” says Cesar Martinez, general manager of AmeriPride’s Worcester branch. “We believe that it’s important to be a leader in environmental sustainability and help facilitate the adoption of new technologies. And when you focus on doing the right thing, good things happen.”

One of AmeriPride’s chief concerns was that the installation process not adversely affect the facility’s operations. The Worcester facility is a regional hub for the company’s uniform rental and linen supply business, with trucks coming and going all the time. Bianchi says it was important to establish a comfort level with AmeriPride so that Solect’s crews and equipment would not be in the way.

“A substantial amount of coordination and communication is required in a job like this,” he says. “AmeriPride placed a lot of value on solar at all approval levels, particularly at the top of the organization. That outlook made the company very easy to work with from a project management perspective.”

Solect designers also worked with the company to incorporate its future growth plans into the project. It turns out that there are mid-range plans to raise a section of the roof, so the array design was altered accordingly to anticipate footprint and shading issues. At the same time, the project anticipates a phase II to extend solar panels to the new section when it is complete. Such decisions also informed inverter sizing so as to accommodate an expansion of 60 kW.

The current array features a Solectria SGI 225 central inverter. The rubber membrane roof has a 170° azimuth facing, which is just about perfect from a southern exposure standpoint. The ET Solar 250 W, 60-cell panels are mounted on Equilibrium Solar EcoFoot 2 ballasted mounting hardware with a 10° tilt.

“We didn’t go with the 72-cell panels in this case because there is a lot of existing equipment on the roof, and the smaller panels gave us the flexibility to get around that,” Bianchi says.

Solect is also providing the operations and maintenance (O&M) services on the project, which it monitors using Solectria’s SolrenView software. Like many companies serving the commercial market, Solect considers O&M services to be an important part of its growth strategy. R


Borrego Starts On 9.1 MW Project For sPower

Borrego Solar Systems Inc. has broken ground on a 9.1 MW photovoltaic project in Riverhead, N.Y., for developer Sustainable Power Group (sPower).

Borrego is serving as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project, which is located in Suffolk County on Long Island. The installation features Canadian Solar and Yingli Solar modules mounted on a fixed-array TerraSmart racking system. The inverters were supplied by Advanced Energy.

The project will supply energy to Public Service Enterprise Group Long Island (PSEG-LI) under the utility’s first Clean Solar Initiative (CSI) feed-in tariff (FIT) program. sPower has a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with PSEG-LI at a fixed rate of $0.22/kWh. The utility’s second CSI FIT program has a more modest rate of less than $0.16/kWh.

Borrego was approached by sPower shortly after the latter inked the PPA with PSEG-LI in 2013. According to Brian von Moos, vice president of utility project development at Borrego, the location of the project is near ideal from both a development and construction perspective.

“The Riverhead project is on industrial land, which our partner owns,” von Moos says. “It’s a big piece of industrial property that is perfect for solar. There were not any neighbors worried about aesthetics or other NIMBY issues.”

While Borrego’s role in the project is as EPC contractor, von Moos says his company tries to add value based on its own experience as a developer. Borrego was involved in the entitlement and land-use process. It had a representative at all of the public hearings.

The location is a former sod farm, which is both flat, treeless and zoned for industrial use. It is on a public road, adjacent to train tracks and will be set back about 100 feet. Furthermore, it is next to a PSEG-LI substation, which simplifies interconnection issues significantly.

“Being this close to a substation allows us to get a little more scale, be a little bigger while keeping the cost of the interconnection facilities very low,” von Moos says.


SunEdison To Develop 350 MW Of Solar In Chile

SunEdison Inc. has received a contract from Chile’s National Energy Commission to supply 570 GWh of electricity per year. SunEdison will develop 350 MW of solar projects to meet this demand.

The company says it expects to spend more than $700 million to develop utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plants throughout the country. The plants will be added to the call right list of TerraForm Power Inc., SunEdison’s yieldco subsidiary.

In a separate deal, SunEdison has closed approximately $146 million in financing on three solar projects in Honduras with a combined capacity of 81.7 MW. The funding arrangements are with International Finance Corp., the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the OPEC Fund for International Development.

SunEdison says its PV power plants in Chile would generate electricity at 10% to 25% lower cost than fossil-fuel sources without subsidies or incentives. The National Energy Commission in Chile recently changed the bidding process used to award electricity supply contracts for the regulated market to create a more level playing field across different kinds of energy.

With these changes, SunEdison was able to bid on and win supply contracts for 190 GWh per year during the daytime block that begins in 2016, and a further provision of 380 GWh per year during the daytime block that will become operational in 2017. The solar energy generated through SunEdison’s projects will be purchased by the National Energy Commission under 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The projects in Honduras include the 23.3 MW Pacifico, 23.3 MW Choluteca I and 35.1 MW Choluteca II facilities. These solar plants will provide energy to the national grid under 20-year PPAs with ENEE, the state-owned electricity generation, transmission and distribution company. The three plants will be constructed in the region of Choluteca, Honduras, and are expected to be interconnected during the second half this year. 


SolarCity Signs Walmart For Solar And Storage

SolarCity has entered into contract with Walmart for the installation of new solar and energy storage projects at facilities in up to 36 states over the next four years.

SolarCity has completed more than 200 solar projects at Walmart locations since 2010. SolarCity has also installed and tested energy storage projects co-located with solar power generation at 13 Walmart facilities since early 2013 and will be incorporating 10 additional storage projects in the next year.

Walmart was a pilot customer for SolarCity’s energy storage system for businesses. Since early 2013, Walmart has tested 13 battery storage projects with solar installations across California. SolarCity says the next 10 solar energy storage projects will each use a larger 200 kW/400 kWh battery.

Walmart is the top commercial solar energy user in the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the largest on-site renewable energy user in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership program.


Dominion Acquires
West Antelope

Dominion has acquired the 28 MW West Antelope Solar Park near Lancaster, Calif., from Canadian Solar Inc.

The project has a 20-year power purchase agreement in place with Pacific Gas & Electric.

With the addition of West Antelope Solar Park, Dominion has 344 MW of solar generating capacity in development, under construction or in operation across six states - of which about 220 MW are in California.

Array Technologies Inc. has signed an agreement to supply its DuraTrack HZ single-axis tracking systems to White Construction Inc. for the West Antelope project.


Algonquin Adding 10 MW To Bakersfield Solar

Ontario-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (APUC) says it intends to proceed with a new 10 MW solar facility project adjacent to its 20 MW Bakersfield I Solar project in Kern County, Calif., which is currently under construction.

The Bakersfield II Solar project executed a 20-year power purchase agreement in September 2014 with a large California-based electric utility. Construction of the project is anticipated to commence in mid-2015 following receipt of local permits and finalization of necessary construction contracts, subject to approval by the APUC board of directors. Commercial operation is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

Construction of Bakersfield I Solar is nearing completion, with commercial operations expected in the first quarter of this year.


Equal Earth Acquiring
5 MW In Ohio

San Diego-based Equal Earth has signed an agreement to acquire a 5 MW photovoltaic solar farm in Ohio.

The project has a long-term power purchase agreement with a municipal utility.

Equal Earth says the acquisition is part of the company’s strategy to assemble a portfolio of long-term, revenue-generating projects with low operational costs to generate predictable cashflows and attractive after-tax returns.


Upsolar Completes
Project At French Airport

Upsolar has commissioned a 545 kW solar project for the Angouleme-Cognac International Airport in France.

Solstyce provided engineering, procurement and construction services on the project, which consists of a 445 kW parking canopy and a 100 kW array on a hangar rooftop. Combined, the systems are expected to produce about 600 MWh of electricity per year, which is approximately 10% of the town’s residential energy consumption.

Upsolar and Solstyce established two joint ventures, Novengo 2 and Novengo 3, to develop the carport and rooftop systems, respectively.


Acciona Fires Up Sishen Plant In South Africa

Spain-based Acciona Energy has completed the 94.3 MW Sishen solar photovoltaic plant in Dibeng, South Africa.

The facility, located in the Northern Cape province, features 319,600 PV modules mounted on 470 single-axis trackers and is expected to produce approximately 216 GWh of electricity per year. The production from the plant will be sent to the South African state-owned power utility Eskom under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Acciona Energy owns 51% of the Sishen project. South Africa-based construction firm Aveg owns 29%. The other partners are the Soul City Broad-Based Empowerment Co. and the Local Community Trust, both of which hold a 10% stake.

The Sishen project was approved by the South African Energy Department in the second round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program, devised to increase the participation of renewables in the country’s energy mix, currently dominated by coal.


Texas Distributor Installs 655 kW Solar Array

Austin, Texas-based engineering firm Meridian Solar has installed a 655 kW rooftop photovoltaic system atop the distribution center of United Natural Foods Inc. of Lancaster, Texas.

The array is expected to produce over 1 GWh of electricity per year. Meridian Solar, was responsible for the design, engineering, procurement and implementation of the system.


Hanwha Q Cells Installs 500 kW At HQ

Hanwha Q Cells has put a 500 kW photovoltaic system on the rooftop of the car park at its headquarters in Thalheim, Germany.

The array consists of about 2,000 Q Cells modules in an east-west orientation that doubles the panel density compared to a south orientation. Furthermore, the arrangement covers performance peaks during longer time periods per day, avoiding noon spikes.

Hanwha Q Cells will consume 100% of the electricity from the system on-site. The rooftop plant will power the research and development center, production lines and office buildings.

The installation also highlights the company’s marketing effort to promote production and self-consumption of electricity from commercial-scale PV installations.


Flabeg Delivers Mirrors For Morocco’s Noor I

Germany-based Flabeg FE GmbH has delivered mirrors for the Noor I concentrating solar power project in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

The parabolic-trough facility is incorporating over 530,000 of Flabeg’s RP3 annealed mirrors. The 160 MW project is owned by ACWA Power Ouarzazate. The facility will have a capacity for three hours of thermal energy storage.

Projects & Contracts

Solect Completes 210 kW Commercial Rooftop With Room To Grow




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