NRG Revives SunEdison Solar Projects In Hawaii
NRG Energy Inc. and utility Hawaiian Electric have reached agreements to revive solar projects that were originally proposed by now-bankrupt renewables firm SunEdison.
NRG and Hawaiian Electric have signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the utility to buy electricity generated by two Oahu grid-scale solar facilities. The 14.7 MW Lanikuhana solar plant will provide electricity at 11.4 cents/kWh, and the 45.9 MW Waipio solar plant, which is expected to be the state’s largest solar farm, will provide electricity at 10.4 cents/kWh. The prices include the Hawaii state tax credit. As of press time, NRG and Hawaiian Electric are also continuing plans for execution of a PPA for the 49 MW Kawailoa Solar facility, also on Oahu. All three projects are targeted to come online in 2019.
The three projects were originally proposed by SunEdison and were acquired by NRG at the end of November 2016 during SunEdison’s bankruptcy proceedings. In February 2016, as a result of SunEdison missing contract milestones and the developer’s financial condition, Hawaiian Electric terminated the original PPAs about two months before SunEdison filed for bankruptcy.
The negotiated prices in the new 22-year agreements are lower than the SunEdison agreements, which were both at about 13.5 cents/kWh. Other terms are detailed in the agreements submitted to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for approval.
“Working with NRG to get these projects back on is an important step forward in our renewable energy plans for Oahu,” says Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “Our decision to cancel the SunEdison agreements before bankruptcy has allowed us to bring better value to our customers, who will get the benefits of lower prices over the life of these contracts.”
Together, the three solar projects will create a combined total of 109.6 MW of solar generation and will contribute 3% toward Hawaii meeting its 100% renewable portfolio standard. These projects mark NRG’s entry into the Hawaiian utility-scale solar market.
Craig Cornelius, president of NRG Renewables, says, “We’re looking forward to moving construction forward and bringing the projects online as soon as possible.”
AmeriPride Goes Green With Rooftop Solar
Texas-based PCI Solar has completed installation and commissioning of a rooftop solar array for AmeriPride Services, a major uniform rental and linen supply company in North America, at its Odessa, Texas, processing plant. This is AmeriPride’s second solar energy project, following a rooftop installation at its Worcester, Mass., location.
The solar projects are part of AmeriPride’s broader environmental sustainability effort that includes alternative fuel vehicles, heat reclamation systems, equipment upgrades, and water conservation and treatment. The company was one of the first commercial laundries to earn the industry’s “Clean Green” certification, signifying its production facilities meet the highest international standards for water efficiency, energy conservation and best practices for reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources.
“AmeriPride is committed to leading the industry in environmental sustainability by testing and incorporating new technologies, such as solar power, that help move the textile industry forward,” says Mike Lavoie, director of mechanical engineering for AmeriPride. “As one of the biggest players in the industry, we have the resources to pilot innovative new programs that benefit our company, our customers and the community.”
The new 65 kW rooftop solar project, which consists of Hanwha Q Cells 335 W panels and Fronius inverters, will offset approximately 15% of AmeriPride’s energy use at its Odessa site. To overcome a somewhat complicated interconnection, PCI Solar says it worked closely with AmeriPride officials to ensure that the proposed design solution was compatible with AmeriPride’s ongoing business operations at the facility.
To help the project make economic sense, PCI Solar notes it leveraged Oncor’s cash rebate for solar energy projects. The rebate program, renewed for 2017, will provide $0.85/W toward the cost of the system, and when combined with federal tax credits, the project offered a compelling return on investment to AmeriPride.
Orion Installs Solar Carport At LEGOLAND Florida
Orion Carport Systems and Construction Inc., Orion Racking’s carport division, has announced it recently designed, fabricated and installed a 1.8 MW solar carport system at LEGOLAND Florida after being selected by utility Tampa Electric Co. (TECO) for the project.
Orion says the system at the 150-acre interactive theme park features the company’s LETO and TITAN carport series and approximately 5,200 SolarWorld solar panels. The LETO is a double-column, single-cantilever carport system that is designed to shade two parking spaces and can be constructed side by side to shade entire rows. The TITAN is a double-column cantilever carport system that is designed for parking arrays of two rows. Orion says the system can provide shade for a total of four parking spaces, side by side and nose to nose.
Orion CEO Bob Sinai comments, “This project is so surreal because, as a kid, my favorite pastime was to build various objects with LEGOS, and I had this vision of creating something big. I didn’t know exactly what at the time, but now as I look back and connect my childhood memories with the iconic brand to present day, seeing our carport solutions being put together with just the nuts and bolts where no welding is required is just like putting LEGOS together. This is like a dream come true.”
LEGOLAND Florida previously partnered with TECO in April 2014 to celebrate Earth Day by running the entire theme park on solar power. That celebration and the installation of Orion’s carport systems mark two out of many conservation initiatives between the two partners.
IGS Solar Completes 5 MW Project For Maine Utility
IGS Solar, an Ohio-based commercial and residential solar provider, has completed a 5 MW solar project for Madison Electric Works (MEW), a municipality-owned utility in Madison, Maine.
MEW partnered with IGS Solar to finance and own the project, which is located at the Madison Business Gateway. The utility will buy 100% of the power generated through a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with IGS Solar, and the deal is expected to allow the utility to use on-site-generated electricity while helping to better control energy costs for its customers.
The system features 330 W panels, and Advanced Solar Products and Cianbro designed and installed the array. The project was originally developed by Clear Energy and then secured by IGS Solar through a public bid process.
According to Calvin Ames, general manager of MEW, the project has met all of the utility’s objectives.
“It was a priority for us to enlist Maine-based companies where possible, which meant nearly all of the labor involved in the installation was performed by highly skilled individuals living right here in the Pine Tree State. Completion of this solar array allows MEW to continue to contain costs for our residential, commercial, and industrial customers while also using renewable energy. It’s a win-win,” says Ames. MEW will have the opportunity to buy the system before the end of the 25-year PPA term, if desired.
Patrick Smith, vice president of IGS Solar, points out this is the first project the solar provider has completed in Maine.
“Opportunities for solar in Maine continue to grow,” says Smith. “Working with Madison Electric Works and the local team to help control area customers’ energy costs using this renewable energy source has been a great success. We look forward to being a long-standing sustainability partner to MEW well into the future.”
Health Provider Adds ‘Solar Wall’ On Bronx Building
New York-based solar provider Quixotic Systems has designed and installed a so-called “solar wall” at Urban Health Plan’s (UHP) Simpson Pavilion, located in the Bronx region of New York City.
UHP is a network of community health centers in New York City, and the 37 kW solar project, featuring SunPower panels mounted on a custom vertical rack, is expected to save the health provider more than $230,000 over the system’s life. Quixotic says the building-integrated solar project foregoes limited roof space common in dense urban areas in favor of the Bronx facility’s south-facing, four-story façade.
“This distinctive solar system not only helps our environment; it saves money that we can put back into services for our community,” comments Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez, president and CEO of UHP.
“The UHP installation represents the kind of creative solar solutions that can be designed for even the most urban environments,” adds Gerry Heimbuch, vice president of Quixotic Systems. “We are proud to be at the forefront of helping fight climate change and moving New York to a clean energy future.”
Mass. Town To See Savings With Large Rooftop Project
Connecticut-based Altus Power America Inc. has announced the completion of a 1.67 MW rooftop-mounted solar project in Framingham, Mass. The solar system is sited on the rooftops of the Shoppers World complex, a large retail shopping center owned by DDR Corp.
Altus Power says the Shoppers World solar system will provide energy savings, through solar net metering credits, to the Town of Framingham, an early supporter of the project. In the first year of operation, the system is estimated to produce over 2 million kWh of clean electricity and offset approximately 1,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Tom Athan, president of Altus Power, comments, “Shoppers World is exactly the type of solar project that the state of Massachusetts has encouraged and America needs. The large rooftop, which was once vacant but for some HVAC RTUs, now generates clean energy that saves money for, and is used by, the people in the town of Framingham.”
Recurrent Energy And SMUD Ink 60 MW Contract
Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., has secured a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 60 MW of solar energy with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
Under the PPA, SMUD will receive electricity from the 60 MW Tranquillity 8 Verde solar PV project, located in Fresno County, Calif. Construction of the project is expected to begin in mid-2017. The project, which will generate enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 homes, will begin delivering power to SMUD in support of its SolarShares program and other renewable energy goals by early 2018.
“SMUD continues to add more renewable, non-carbon supplies to our power mix,” says Sherri Gervin, SMUD’s supervising principal energy trading commodity contracts specialist.
According to Gervin, “SMUD was the first large California utility to have 20 percent of its power supply come from sources classified by California as renewable and is on track to meet the state mandate requiring utilities to increase their renewable portfolio to 33 percent by 2020. In the last decade, the renewable portion of our power mix has grown from seven percent to 28 percent.”
Tranquillity 8 Verde is Recurrent Energy’s fifth solar project with SMUD. In 2012, Recurrent Energy completed a portfolio of four projects that supply power to the municipal utility under multiple 20-year PPAs.
“We are proud to partner with SMUD to continue delivering reliable, cost-competitive solar power to their customers,” says Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. “SMUD is a leader in driving adoption of large-scale solar power and should be commended for its sustained commitment.”
Tranquillity 8 Verde is part of the 200 MW Tranquillity 8 project being developed by Recurrent Energy. The remaining 140 MW will be bought by MCE, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Edison under long-term PPAs.