Solar Savings Will Help Foodbank Feed More Hungry Families
The Hawaii Foodbank and REC Solar have celebrated the installation of a new solar array at the nonprofit’s Oahu warehouse. REC Solar says the 296.7 kW solar system is estimated to save the Hawaii Foodbank about 463,742 kWh of energy in the first year – equivalent to the purchase of over 102,000 meals, feeding 93 people daily over the course of one year.
“We are proud to have such a large-scale solar installation at the Hawaii Foodbank,” comments Gerald Shintaku, the nonprofit’s president and CEO. “This new technology will reduce our energy costs significantly and will allow us to serve more hungry families while also contributing to a more sustainable environment on Oahu.”
According to REC Solar, Hawaii Foodbank’s new solar system is projected to save the nonprofit about $41,041 in energy costs during the first year of installation and approximately $2.1 million over the next 25 years.
“It is an honor to be involved in a project where solar power is being used to offset operational expenses and will ultimately help provide more meals for those in need,” says Alan Russo, senior vice president of sales and marketing at REC Solar. “We are proud of our work with the Hawaii Foodbank, and we look forward to continuing our tradition of providing green energy solutions to other local organizations.”
EPB Breaks Ground On Community Solar Project
EPB, a municipally owned utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., has started construction on the city’s first community solar installation.
Dubbed Solar Share, the community solar project is a partnership between EPB and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the solar facility will be located along Holtzclaw Avenue at EPB’s Distribution Center. By summer, Solar Share is expected to begin generating 1.35 MW of solar power, which EPB says is enough to meet the needs of about 200 households that consume an average amount of power.
“EPB is proud to establish Solar Share as a lasting community asset, which will generate renewable energy for years to come,” says EPB Board of Directors Chairman Joe Ferguson.
According to David Wade, president and CEO of EPB, Solar Share was designed to lower the barriers to entry for customers interested in solar power.
“Community solar is like joining a community pool rather than excavating your yard and installing a pool on your own property,” says Wade. “The benefits are enjoyed by many more people, who don’t have to worry about maintenance, liability and other hassles. Participating in Solar Share is a great option for people who live in apartments and other situations where solar panel installation is not feasible.”
“TVA is committed to providing renewable energy in a way that maximizes the benefits to the communities we serve,” adds the TVA’s Cindy Herron. “Working with EPB to bring Solar Share to Chattanooga is a great example of what can happen when communities and utilities come together for a common goal: a cleaner future.”
After a competitive bidding process, EPB selected TVA Energy LLC – Tennessee Valley Alternative Energy – as its partner to construct Solar Share.
SunPower Project To Create About 300 Jobs In Oregon
SunPower Corp. has kicked off construction on the 56 MW AC Gala Solar Power Plant in Crook County, Ore. The project, which is expected to be the state’s largest operating solar power plant when completed by the end of 2017, is anticipated to create approximately 300 jobs during peak construction.
In a press release, Gov. Kate Brown, D-Ore., remarks, “I’ve often said that, in Oregon, we don’t believe economic development and environmental stewardship are mutually exclusive ideas. The approximately 300 jobs expected to be created by the Gala Solar Power Plant are proof we can grow our rural communities and support a vibrant and innovative renewable energy industry.”
Brown has been a prominent supporter of clean energy: Last year, for example, the governor signed a bill that increases Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2040 and will eliminate the use of coal in the state. Utility-scale solar projects like the Gala plant will help Oregon meet its clean energy goals.
“Solar power projects deliver a range of regional benefits, including job creation and affordable, emission-free power,” says Ann Beier, assistant planning director of Crook County Community Development. “We are proud that, working in partnership with SunPower on the Gala Solar Power Plant, Crook County is helping lead the way in Oregon in supporting increased solar development.”
The Gala solar project will feature the third-generation SunPower Oasis platform, which SunPower claims includes 50% fewer parts than conventional solar plant systems and an integrated solar tracker design that streamlines construction and reduces operations and maintenance costs.
“While solar is cost-competitive today, SunPower is continuing to drive the cost of energy down through innovation and integrated complete solutions such as our Oasis platform,” says Ty Daul, SunPower vice president of Americas power plants. “We’re pleased to contribute to economic development in Oregon with the construction of this milestone project.”
SunPower has contracted construction firm Moss to serve as the general contractor for the project.
Mass. Schools, Town To Benefit From Brownfield Solar
Renewable energy company Soltage LLC and independent power producer Tenaska have completed a 3.68 MW ground-mounted solar project in Billerica, Mass.
According to the companies, the project is located on a brownfield site and will generate 4,445 MWh of clean energy annually for four school systems and one local government through 20-year virtual net-metering credit agreements. Project off-takers include the Town of Barre, Mass.; the Tantasqua Regional School District; the Wachusetts Regional School District; the Ralph Mahar Regional School District; and the Petersham Center School.
The project is located on a 553-acre brownfield industrial complex that included manufacturing and rail yard maintenance facilities, open storage areas, landfills, and former wastewater lagoons surrounded by residential properties and wetlands.
The companies say power generated by the project’s 11,204 PV panels is expected to supply an average of 20% of the off-takers’ electricity needs at costs below local utility rates and offset nearly 6.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of burning more than 3.3 million pounds of coal, annually. Because it was developed on a brownfield, the project also qualifies for the third-highest incentive levels under Massachusetts’ solar renewable energy credit II program.
Tenaska is the primary investor in the solar facility, with Soltage acting as the power plant co-owner and operator.
Duke Energy Indiana’s First Solar Project Goes Online
Duke Energy Indiana says its first large-scale solar power plant is now in commercial service and sending clean, renewable energy to customers throughout the utility’s 69-county service territory.
The plant, which can generate as much as 17 MW of alternating-current power, is located at Naval Support Activity Crane (NSA Crane), approximately 40 miles south of Bloomington, Ind. When operating at full capacity, the solar power plant can provide electricity for more than 2,700 average-size homes.
“This is a landmark development in renewable energy for our company and our customers,” says Melody Birmingham-Byrd, president of Duke Energy Indiana. “It demonstrates our continuing commitment to include renewable energy, such as solar, wind and hydro, in our diversified portfolio of generation sources.”
The plant comprises approximately 76,000 solar panels on about 145 acres of land the company has leased from the U.S. Department of the Navy (DON). Duke Energy Indiana says the solar facility contributed to the DON meeting its goal to bring 1 GW of renewable energy into procurement by the end of 2015.
Duke Energy Indiana notes that its operations provide about 6.8 GW of owned electric capacity to approximately 810,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area.
GE And Juhl Partner On Hybrid Wind-Solar Project In Minn.
GE Renewable Energy has been selected to supply equipment for what it says will be the first commercial integrated solar-wind hybrid power generation project in the U.S.
The 4.6 MW, community-based project will be situated in Red Lake Falls, Minn. Developed by Juhl Energy, the project will use two 2.3-116 wind turbines from GE’s onshore wind business and 1 MW of solar conversion equipment from GE’s current business. GE expects the project to enter commercial operations in August.
GE will also provide its Wind Integrated Solar Energy technology platform, developed through the company’s global research center. The platform will integrate the solar panels through the wind turbine’s converter directly.
According to GE, the hybrid design will enable the project to produce power when it is most needed: Basically, the solar provides summer peak energy, and the wind provides winter peak energy.
“Most energy experts agree that distributed generation will play a major role in the implementation of renewable energy in the U.S. electrical market in the years to come,” says Dan Juhl, CEO of Juhl Energy. “Juhl Energy’s package design with the GE hybrid technology can economically blend clean, renewable energy into the grid at lower cost, plus add reliability to the system.”
Pete McCabe, president and CEO of onshore wind for GE Renewable Energy, adds, “By leveraging the complementary nature of wind and solar, this unique project shows how GE is driving technology innovation that will help customers deliver more renewable energy in an even more efficient manner.”
Cinemark Movie Theater In N.J. Goes Solar
Maryland-based Urban Grid has completed a 655 kW solar project for a Cinemark movie theater at the Cooper Towne Center in Somerdale, N.J.
Urban Grid secured a lease with National Realty & Development Corp., the building owner, for the roof space and developed and financed the project through a power purchase agreement with movie theater company Cinemark USA Inc. for its Somerdale location. Sale of the electricity produced from the 655 kW array will offset the theater’s energy requirements and provide a hedge against potentially volatile energy prices into the future.
“Urban Grid is excited to collaborate with such a highly reputable company as Cinemark to further spotlight our commitment to a sustainable future in New Jersey, a state that has seen incredible solar growth over the past few years,” remarks Frank DePew, president and CEO of Urban Grid. “We believe rooftop solar is a natural fit for businesses and hope Cinemark’s initiative will pave the way for commercial companies throughout the nation.”
SolAmerica provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. The 1,957-panel solar array is expected to produce 860 MWh of electricity in its first year of operation, offsetting a significant amount of Cinemark’s electric usage at this location.