Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SolarWorld Powers Spread of Grass-Roots Community Solar Purchasing from Coast to Coast

HILLSBORO, OR --(eSolarEnergyNews)--Today, on opposite sides of the country, diverse groups of citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations launched community solar programs in Charlotte, N.C., and Salt Lake City. These grass-roots efforts are among the latest in a nationwide wave of “solarize” programs that aim to give community members easy and cut-rate access to home solar installations. Both programs exclusively offer high-performance, American-made SolarWorld solar panels installed by skilled local contractors at volume-discount pricing.

SolarWorld has a robust history of involvement in the community-solar movement. Since 2009, the company has partnered with solarize campaigns in 26 communities in four states to supply about 3 megawatts (MW) of American-made SolarWorld solar panels to nearly 1,000 families.

Today’s programs launching in Charlotte and Salt Lake City mark two important evolutions of the community solar concept. In North Carolina, a group called the Cleaner is Cheaper coalition, supported by more than 20 community, faith and grass-roots groups, kicked off Solarize Charlotte today with an emphasis on bringing clean, safe power to low-income communities and working families. Following the U.S. Department of Energy’s solarize model – formerly the province of early-adopting solar states on the West Coast – Solarize Charlotte is one of a new wave of programs bringing community-based solar to emerging solar markets such as North Carolina.

Meanwhile, the University of Utah today launched the nation’s first community solar program sponsored by a university. The U Community Solar campaign offers discounted solar panels and installations to university faculty, students, staff, alumni and campus guests. Administered by the nonprofit Utah Clean Energy, it includes an innovative feature: Participants in the U Community Solar program can give associated renewable energy credits stemming from their solar panels to the university, helping the university achieve its carbon-reduction goals.

“In this exciting period of the solar industry’s development, when crowd-sourcing is emerging as a viable community financing instrument, the solarize approach has established a proven track record and model to spark further innovation,” said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., based in Oregon.

SolarWorld has supplied solar panels for community solar programs since the solarize concept was conceived by residents of a Southeast Portland neighborhood in 2009. In partnership with Solar Oregon, the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon, city governments, solar installers and the U.S. Department of Energy, SolarWorld has provided more than 2.6 MW of solar panels to 18 communities in Oregon alone.

The solarize movement soon spread to neighboring states. In Washington, where solarize programs are administered by the nonprofit Northwest SEED and supported by utilities Seattle City Light and Snohomish County Public Utility District, the company has supplied panels to five communities in and around Seattle since 2012.

Solarize efforts in both states continue today through Northwest Solar Communities, a multi-state organization sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge.

For more information about Solarize Charlotte, visit: cleanerischeaper.com.

For more information about the U Community Solar program, visit: www.mycommunitysolar.org/ucommunitysolar.

SolarWorld REAL VALUE: SolarWorld manufactures and sells solar power solutions and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. As the largest solar producer in the United States and Europe, SolarWorld employs about 3,200 people and carries out production in Hillsboro, Ore., and Freiberg and Arnstadt, Germany. From the raw material silicon to solar wafers, cells and panels, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. Through an international distribution network with locations in the United States, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe and is committed to resource- and energy-efficient production. Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld was founded in 1998 and has been publically traded on the stock market since 1999. For more information, visit www.solarworld-usa.com.

LEGOLAND Florida Becomes First Theme Park in U.S. to Run Completely on Renewable Energy on Earth Day

WINTER HAVEN, FL --(eSolarEnergyNews)--Today, LEGOLAND® Florida and Tampa Electric will kick off a groundbreaking partnership by making the 150-acre theme park run completely on renewable energy for the day in celebration of Earth Day – the first theme park to do so in the United States. The celebration is part of existing and new conservation initiatives, including installations that will educate park guests about solar energy. As part of the partnership, LEGOLAND Florida will also permanently power a section of the park, Imagination Zone, on renewable energy.

“This is a historic day for LEGOLAND Florida,” said LEGOLAND Florida General Manager Adrian Jones. “With our new partnership with Tampa Electric, we will give guests a whole new way to learn about renewable energy while also doing something that no other theme park in the U.S. has done before.”

A celebratory moment will be held just prior to park opening Tuesday, at approximately 9:45 a.m., with both Jones and Bruce Narzissenfeld, vice president of Marketing, Customer Service, Business Development and Fuel Operations for Tampa Electric, proclaiming the partnership and special green initiative. The focal point centered around LEGOLAND Florida running on renewable energy for an entire day, with environmental savings equal to removing three cars from the road for one year or planting six acres of trees.

The partnership also resulted in the installation of a 30-kilowatt solar panel array mounted atop the Imagination Zone attraction venue. Funded by Tampa Electric, the system supports Tampa Electric's Renewable Energy program that lets the company's customers purchase a portion of their electricity from renewable sources.

LEGOLAND Florida has made a consistent effort for conservation since the park opened in 2011, including the park recycling nearly 60 tons of bottles and cans in 2013, along with 176 tons of cardboard last year alone.

“This is a partnership built on doing the right thing for the environment,” said Narzissenfeld. “Together, we’ll teach the next generation about the benefits of investing in renewable fuels like the sun to produce electricity."

Monday, April 21, 2014

SunEdison Closes on 20 MW Adobe Solar Plant

BELMONT, CA --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- SunEdison, a leading solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services has interconnected a 20-megawatt AC (alternating current) solar plant in Kern County, California.  The project, known as the Adobe Solar Facility, is owned by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy and is composed of 80,000 SunEdison Silvantis™ Solar PV (photovoltaic) modules.

SunEdison was responsible for building the Adobe facility, and will provide asset management and 24/7 monitoring and maintenance services through its Renewable Operations Center. This project marks the fourth time that Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy have partnered with SunEdison since June 2012.  Previous projects include the 20 MW AC Apex project in Nevada, the 30 MW AC Spectrum project in Nevada, and the 2.5 MW AC Granville project in North Carolina.

"We are proud to complete our fourth project with Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy; longstanding partnerships like this one are critical to SunEdison's continued growth," said Bob Powell, President, North America for SunEdison.  "Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy are demonstrating their commitment to extending the use of renewable energy in the United States and we are honored that they have repeatedly chosen to work with us."

"Since 2010, the Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy partnership has developed more than 220 MW of solar generation in America," said Southern Power President and CEO Oscar Harper.  "We're pleased to once again partner with SunEdison through the acquisition of the Adobe Solar Facility – adding another 20 MW of solar resources and further strengthening our growing renewable energy portfolio."

Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International, will buy the power generated by the facility under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement.  Over the course of 20 years, this system is designed to produce enough electricity to power nearly 92,000 homes and offset carbon emissions equivalent to removing almost 102,000 cars from the road for one year.

About SunEdison
SunEdison is a global leader in semiconductor and solar technology. SunEdison's semiconductor business has been a pioneer in the design and development of silicon wafer technologies for over 50 years. With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, SunEdison enables the next generation of high performance semiconductor devices. SunEdison's solar business develops, finances, installs and operates distributed power plants, delivering predictably priced solar energy and services for its commercial, government and utility customers. SunEdison's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SUNE."  To learn more visit www.sunedison.com.

Mercatus Aims to Accelerate Solar Securitizations

NEW YORK, NY--(eSolarEnergyNews)--  Mercatus, the leading enterprise level investment analysis and decision making platform for solar energy investors, has formally adopted the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) Working Group standard contract documents for both residential and commercial solar.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)'s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) convened the SAPC working group in 2013 with a mission to enable securitization of solar PV assets and associated cash flows in the marketplace.

"The SAPC public-private initiative provides the credibility and gravitas necessary to drive the establishment of standards needed to accelerate securitization and other financing options necessary to bring residential and commercial solar investment to the next level of scale," said Haresh Patel, CEO of Mercatus.  "We saw a similar initiative in the semiconductor industry called Sematech in the late 1980s and early 1990s that helped ignite the U.S. semiconductor market. We feel SAPC will have a similar impact on the solar industry."

In an effort to advance the availability of capital and financing options for the solar and other distributed energy technologies, which now includes solar securitization, Mercatus will also support the Solar Energy Finance Association (SEFA) in their ongoing efforts to advance the availability of capital and financing options for the solar and renewable energy industries.

"Mercatus has been very instrumental in the SAPC's effort to define risk and credit parameters, especially in helping develop standard C&I risk methodologies for the SAPC's mock rating effort," said John Joshi, a consultant to NREL for the SAPC group, noting that Mercatus will be presenting at an up and coming workgroup meeting May 1, 2014 in New York City on "Risk Analysis for Solar with Applications of Standards and Analytics" as part of its ongoing support of the SAPC effort.

Since its 2009 inception, Mercatus has assessed over 20GW of commercial and residential solar projects, and currently serves 50% of the distributed generation U.S. solar market. Mercatus counts the industry's top global developers, institutional investors and independent power producers as customers. Subscribers to the Mercatus platform are currently targeting $1.2 billion in dedicated capital deployment for distributed generation solar investments in 2014.

"It's great to see the continuing industry support for the SAPC standards," said Michael Mendelsohn, Senior Financial Analyst at NREL. "Mercatus' contributions on standards development and incorporation into its platform have been extremely helpful and will be essential to help mobilize the industry."

ABOUT MERCATUS

Mercatus is a leading solutions provider for the energy project finance industry, offering its Solar Investment Analysis platform for investors looking to make asset-class portfolio decisions.  Mercatus' new standardized approach to the project aggregation, pooling and syndication of individual projects provides the critical transaction interface between buy and sell sides.  Mercatus is based in Silicon Valley. For more information visit http://www.gomercatus.com.

ABOUT NREL

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.Visit NREL online at www.nrel.gov.  For further information contact NREL Public Relations at 303-275-4090.

ABOUT SAPC

SAPC is the Solar Access Public Capital Working Group established in 2013 by NREL via a DOE Grant under the Sunshot Initiative.  SAPC's primary efforts center on the standardization of power purchase agreements, leases, and other documents relevant to residential and commercial deployment, and the development of robust datasets to assess performance and credit-default risk. These activities are designed to allow projects to be grouped into tradable securities. Securitization is expected to attract additional investors to the solar asset class, enabling the industry to tap a larger and more liquid pool of capital than currently available. The working group includes over 200 members firms representing some of the leading organizations in the fields of solar deployment, finance, counsel, and analysis.

For further information contact NREL Public Relations at 303-275-4090.

ABOUT SEFA

The specific purpose of this corporation is to advance the availability of capital and financing options for the solar and renewable energy industries. In furtherance of this purpose, the corporation shall involve stakeholders in the solar, renewable energies and finance industries to promote their common business interests and to improve financing conditions and availability of financing options for solar and other renewable energy generating sources.  For further information contact SEFA Public Relationship at 818-294-3381.

KYOCERA Invests in Solar Projects Valued at $38M with U.S. Light Energy

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Kyocera today announced plans to invest in a tax equity partnership for the development of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects valued at $38 million in New York state, leveraging the 30% federal energy investment tax credit. As part of the investment, Kyocera has also entered into an agreement with U.S. Light Energy (USLE) to utilize high-quality, dependable Kyocera solar modules on all installations. USLE (formerly New York Light Energy) is in the final stages of installing 9.4 megawatts (MWDC) of PV systems, with the expectation that the installations will be completed by June 2014.

“Kyocera’s tax equity investment with USLE enables commercial buildings and schools to benefit from environmentally friendly solar power with no up-front investment,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc.

Kyocera’s solar tax equity investments allow commercial power users to experience immediate cost savings, and to reinvest that money into their businesses, while gaining visibility into their long-term energy costs. USLE’s target is to provide a reduction of at least 20 percent in net electricity costs through its Power Purchase Agreements, as compared to conventional grid electricity.

“Since our company began in 2009, we’ve partnered exclusively with Kyocera because we know the proven reliability and long-term performance record of its solar modules, outperforming the competition after 20 years in the field,” said Alex Lieb, CEO of USLE. “By leveraging federal tax incentives offered for solar programs, we’re able to provide a more competitive price for commercial customers, encouraging more companies to utilize solar and put the savings back into growing their businesses.”

The partnership represents a significant investment in New York with out-of-state funds and has already resulted in the employment of more than 50 people.

Kyocera and USLE maintain high expectations for growth in 2014 in the Northeast region and beyond.

To learn more about Kyocera Solar Solutions for both residential and commercial projects in the U.S. and Mexico, please contact infosolar@kyocera.com or 800-223-9580.

About KYOCERA

Kyocera is one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of solar photovoltaic modules and systems. With a 38-year history of innovation in solar technology, the company is recognized as an industry pioneer and has set repeated world records in multicrystalline silicon cell efficiency. Kyocera serves thousands of residential and industrial customers in both developed and developing regions, with more than 4 gigawatts of solar collection equipment installed since 1975.

Kyocera Solar, Inc. is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona with regional sales affiliates in the Americas and Australia, and solar module manufacturing facilities operated by Kyocera Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. of Tijuana, Mexico.

Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO) (TOKYO:6971), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine (or “advanced”) ceramics. Kyocera specializes in combining these engineered materials with other technologies to create solar power generating systems, printers, copiers, mobile phones, electronic components, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and industrial components. During the year ended March 31, 2013, the company’s net sales totaled 1.28 trillion yen (approx. USD13.6 billion).

About US Light Energy, LLC

USLE provides dependable, renewable energy to leading businesses using only the highest quality equipment. USLE’s arrays remain the highest performing designs in New York State, when measured on efficiency, outperforming those installed by the Long Island Power Authority and the New York Power Authority. Since 2009, USLE has developed a portfolio of 11.3 MW of solar arrays which it owns and manages, with many more arrays contracted to be installed before year’s end.