Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Enphase Energy Partners With Technology Credit Corporation on Commercial Solar PV Financing Offering

PETALUMA, CA --(eSolarEnergyNews)--Enphase Energy and Technology Credit Corporation, a privately held financial products and services firm, are working together to offer financing packages for installer-integrators and customers in the small to medium commercial solar photovoltaic market.

TCC has more than 300 commercial PV systems under finance, making it one of the largest providers of small commercial financing in the United States. The firm’s innovative financing approach, which incorporates leases and power purchase agreements that work to fast-track customer ownership of the system, has been especially successful among nonprofit customers.

“As a company that is rapidly growing its commercial solar business, Enphase actively seeks out financing partners that can help expedite the deployment of PV systems,” said Jeff Loebbaka, senior vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and customer support at Enphase. “Financing programs for the small to medium commercial market are especially challenging and traditionally underserved. TCC’s expertise in providing attractively priced, creatively structured financial packages to commercial installers and customers helps fill a gap in the market.”

“Enphase has an excellent reputation for superior quality solar systems and a progressive channel strategy,” said Mark Schmidt, vice president of business development at TCC. “We invest in productive solar assets and value increased lifetime energy output, lower operating costs and comprehensive monitoring capabilities of the Enphase systems. This partnership will allow integrators to get previously hard-to-finance commercial projects funded and completed. We have already started financing solar systems with Enphase and look forward to expanding this portfolio.”

One of the growing number of new solar customers benefiting from the Enphase-TCC partnership is Mental Health Kokua, a nonprofit health organization with facilities throughout Hawaii. Local contractor Dugied Construction reviewed proposals from several finance companies before agreeing to work with TCC because of the firm’s customer-centered business policies.

“By combining TCC’s specially tailored financing with the Enphase microinverter-based system, we were able to install 270 KW of PV arrays on 28 of Mental Health Kokua’s properties on four islands,” said Chantal Lonergan, president of Dugied Construction. “Many of the buildings had unique rooflines and challenging neighboring site shading issues, so by using Enphase and the different azimuth and roof pitches, we maximized the highest output for the systems throughout the year. Ultimately, the flexibility of the program with Enphase and TCC allowed us to bring a cash-positive solution to an important nonprofit organization in our community.”

For installers and other interested parties who want to learn more about how Enphase and TCC can help expedite the financing of small to medium commercial solar PV systems, click here for a complimentary webinar.

KYOCERA Solar Modules Tapped by Sierra Nevada to Power New Brewery in Mills River, NC

SCOTTSDALE, AR.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Nearly everyone enjoys a good beer now and again. A delicious beer sustainably brewed with renewable energy that pours down from the sun might make that happy hour indulgence even more enjoyable.

Kyocera Solar Inc. announced today that Sundance Power Systems Inc. has installed 650 kilowatts (DC) of high-quality Kyocera solar modules on Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s new Mills River, North Carolina brewery. The modules will help power the brewery’s energy-intensive processes, making Sierra Nevada beers brewed there arguably among the most environmentally friendly adult beverages available. A video of the rooftop array can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWjJsbNo7Ws.

“Kyocera has been a leader in the solar industry for nearly four decades, and is committed to helping commercial enterprises operate in a sustainable fashion,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc. “We ‘raise our glass’ to Sierra Nevada for utilizing the abundant power of the sun to brew its delicious beers, and stand ready to assist other companies in following these sustainable footsteps.”

With roots in Northern California, Sierra Nevada takes the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” seriously, and is committed to operating an environmentally sustainable enterprise. The 2,030 Kyocera KD320 photovoltaic (PV) solar modules atop the new brewery’s packaging center and warehouse exemplify this philosophy.

“Integrating renewable energy into our Mills River facility was an important part of our project design," said Cheri Chastain, sustainability manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “Sundance Power Systems designed and installed our 650kW Kyocera solar system, which covers nearly two acres on our roof. We are looking forward to enjoying many years of renewable energy from this system.”

Over a year, the Kyocera PV modules are estimated to offset 588 metric tons of CO2, a carbon impact equal to removing 124 cars from the road according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Kyocera has powered the market’s most demanding solar applications for four decades — from residential rooftops to utility-scale PV plants ranking among the world’s largest. Craft brewers now see solar as a step toward economic independence as well as sustainability and simpler living. Other brewers using Kyocera modules include Central Waters Brewing Co. of Amherst, Wisc., and Pizza Port Brewing Co. of Carlsbad, Calif.

Sierra Nevada will host its first public event for its Mills River brewery on Sunday, August 3, 2014, from 1-6pm, when the company’s Beer Camp Across America, a seven-city touring festival, makes its grand finale in North Carolina. With more than 110 regional craft breweries pouring, attendees will sample artisanal varieties while enjoying live music and — like the Kyocera solar panels on the roof -- soaking up the summer sun.

REC Solar Expands Hotel Offerings with Bakersfield Hampton Inn Installation

BAKERSFIELD, CA--(eSolarEnergyNews)--REC Solar, a national leader in commercial solar electric system design and installation, today announced it has completed a 102 kilowatt array for The Hampton Inn & Suites Bakersfield North-Airport, a subsidiary of Hilton Hotels, in Bakersfield, California. The carport-mounted installation will offset 44 percent of the electricity costs for the 94-room hotel, saving up to $8,800 per month. The installation reflects the company’s ongoing commitment to accelerating solar deployment with hospitality customers.

“Solar never made sense for us in the past,” said Braxton Myers, Vice President of Operations for Blackstone Hospitality Group Inc, which provides property management for franchise hotels throughout the U.S. such as The Hampton Inn. “But REC Solar delivered a price point that convinced us to take another look. They walked us through a range of financing options and designed a tailored carport system which offered many benefits. REC Solar came highly recommended by their existing customers, and have delivered on that sterling reputation throughout this process.”

With temperatures regularly reaching 115 degrees, the Bakersfield hotel faces steep cooling costs. Because hotels must maintain comfortable temperatures for their guests at all times, they can be some of the largest consumers of natural resources in hot communities like Bakersfield.

The Hampton Inn had expressed concerns about installing a rooftop array that would require closing the top floor of rooms and forfeiting revenue. As a result, REC Solar worked with The Hampton Inn to design a solar carport that did not require disruption to existing operations. The carport not only generates clean electricity but will also provide much-needed shade for 30 parked cars. REC Solar utilized HelioScope software to design the system, reducing installation time and costs. In addition to the solar array, Hampton Inn installed two electric vehicle charging stations, with room for up to eight stations.

“Hotels can be ideal candidates for solar energy, but have traditionally faced roadblocks ranging from high costs to concerns around customer inconvenience,” said Mark Bettis, VP of Sales and Marketing for REC Solar. “REC specializes in tailoring systems specifically for the needs of these customers by cutting soft costs through our design software and building solar carports to avoid impact on customers. In addition to reducing costs, hotels are finding that sustainable initiatives such as solar energy and EV charging stations are becoming increasingly desirable amenities for their customers.”

The completion of both the solar array and the EV charging stations was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 30, 2014.

Sharp Introduces SmartStorage Energy Management Solution

CAMAS, WA--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Today, Sharp Electronics Corporation announced the launch of Sharp's SmartStorage energy solution, which is immediately available throughout California and will be expanded to other states in the second half of 2014. SmartStorage is a unique energy storage solution, which can dramatically cut utility demand charges for commercial and industrial buildings. It was developed in the U.S. at Camas, Wash.-based Sharp Laboratories of America.

“We are confident that our SmartStorage product brings Sharp’s innovation, reliability and quality to the emerging energy storage market," says Carl Mansfield, General Manager of Sharp’s Energy Systems and Services Group. "Our product’s combination of cutting-edge hardware, integrated with Sharp’s unique software, and backed by our 10-year O&M service and performance guarantee provides a turnkey solution that works widely for commercial and industrial business owners."

SmartStorage keeps a large amount of electric energy stored in reserve, which it selectively releases in order to limit a facility’s electricity demand. The system employs sophisticated, predictive controls to manage the release of this energy, resulting in high performance, high system efficiency and world-class reliability. Sharp’s confidence in its product is reflected in its innovative performance guarantee, made available following a review of a commercial customer’s historical load profile.

SmartStorage operates effectively either as a stand-alone solution or when deployed together with a solar electric installation. Each case can result in lower demand charges for building owners, which is especially important with rising energy rates, like the 15%+ rate hike on demand charges that occurred this June for San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison customers.

“HelioPower views SmartStorage as a game-changer for clean-energy in California," explains Brandon Conard, Chief Strategy Officer of HelioPower, an integrated energy solutions company with more than 4,000 solar and clean energy installations to date in the California market. "Previously, there was no good solution for buildings with either crowded roofs or high demand charges. We have reviewed a number of other emerging storage offers and believe that SmartStorage, backed by Sharp’s world-class combination of technology, reliability and service track record, is the best product in the market.”

With recently signed distribution agreements and initial product orders, Sharp has begun to successfully collaborate with California-based project development allies to roll out SmartStorage to business owners throughout the state. Over the past 18 months, SmartStorage has undergone rigorous quality assurance testing, with performance and reliability validated at a commercial building pilot deployment in downtown San Diego.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SunPower Breaks Ground on 135-Megawatt Quinto Solar Plant

SAN JOSE, CA-- SunPower today announced it has started construction on the 135-megawatt Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, Calif. The system will generate power for Southern California Edison's customers, under a long-term power purchase agreement.  In accordance with the company's recently announced holdco strategy, SunPower expects to own and operate the solar power plant during construction.

"The advantages of SunPower's technology, combined with our global footprint of more than four gigawatts of operating solar systems, give us confidence to deploy a holdco strategy with regard to Quinto," said SunPower President and CEO Tom Werner. "This strategy allows SunPower to realize the return on investment from the leading power-producing performance of our technology, and reduces the risk to potential buyers if we decide to sell the operational plant."

Including the Quinto power plant, SunPower has more than 500 megawatts of residential, commercial and utility solar assets under contract around the world that it may choose to own for a period of time before a strategic sale or continue ownership post-construction during the operational phase of the project. Under this holdco strategy, SunPower expects to improve project margins and drive higher shareholder returns by capturing the material benefit of its lower system degradation rates, long term project life as well as benefitting from distributions from the project as an equity owner.

SunPower anticipates that about 295 jobs will be created during peak construction of the project, with approximately $80 million in local economic impact. The company estimates that more than $5 million of tax revenues will also be generated as a result of the project. After completion, which is scheduled for late 2015, the Quinto project is expected to generate enough electricity for 40,000 homes.

SunPower is constructing a SunPower® Oasis® Power Plant system at the approximately 1,000- acre site. Oasis is a fully-integrated, modular solar power block that is engineered to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy utility-scale solar projects while optimizing land use.

According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the completed plant will offset the annual production of almost 134,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of removing more than half a million cars from California's roads over the next 20 years.