Friday, January 23, 2015

Total and SunPower Celebrate Completion of 70-MW PV Salvador Solar Plant in Chile

SANTIAGO, CHILE, PARIS & SAN JOSE, CA--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Total and SunPower Corp.  announced the completion of the 70-megawatt PV Salvador project, one of the world's largest operating merchant solar power plants. Chilean Minister of Energy Máximo Pacheco and executives from Total and SunPower attended the inauguration event today in El Salvador in Chile's Atacama Desert.

"As one of the world's largest operating solar merchant power plants, PV Salvador represents an important milestone for the electricity generation industry, proving that solar can provide wholesale power at competitive prices in completely unsubsidized markets," said Bernard Clement, senior vice president, Total New Energies. "With our affiliate SunPower, we are pleased to assist the Chilean government in its goal to diversify its energy mix and we look forward to further developing our solar activities in the country."

PV Salvador power plant is expected to produce approximately 200 gigawatt-hours of solar electricity per year, enough to supply electricity to approximately 70,000 households* in Chile.

"PV Salvador showcases advanced SunPower technology that will deliver maximized, cost-competitive solar power production over the next 25 years or more," said Jorg Heinemann, SunPower's executive vice president, global power plants, customer operations and EPC. "Together with Total, we are leading the market by delivering reliable, cost-effective clean power to Chile's utility grid, positively impacting local businesses and people."

SunPower designed and constructed PV Salvador. At the 138-hectare site, SunPower installed SunPower Oasis™ C1™ Power Plant technology, featuring proprietary single-axis trackers and over 160,000 SunPower's high-efficiency solar panels. About 300 jobs were created during construction work, many of which were staffed by local residents.

SunPower will now provide on-going operations and maintenance. In the desert environment, cleaning the panels using SunPower's robotic cleaning patented technology may help increase annual power production by as much as 15% while using up to 75% less water than conventional panel cleaning methods.

PV Salvador will initially operate on a merchant basis where the electricity produced is sold on the spot market and is delivered to the Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC) electricity network. The facility connects through the power infrastructure of Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco).

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government's development finance institution, financed 70% of the approximately US$200 million project cost through long-term non-recourse project debt. The remaining portion was funded by Etrion, Total and Solventus, based on ownership interests of 70%, 20% and 10%, respectively.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Canadian Solar Completes the Sale of Glenarm Solar Power Plant to Dutch Infrastructure Fund

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar power companies, today announced the sale of the 10 MW AC Glenarm solar power plant ("Glenarm") to an affiliate of DIF Infrastructure III ("DIF"). This solar power plant is valued at over C$60 million (US$49 million) and utilizes Canadian Solar's CS6X photovoltaic (PV) modules. The Glenarm plant will sell electricity pursuant to a 20-year Ontario Power Authority feed-in-tariff contract.  The project reached commercial operation in November 2014.

The closing of this sale represents the first of four solar projects (Glenarm, Illumination, Beamlight, and GoldLight) that will be acquired by DIF. Construction and term financing for the project was provided by Natixis NY Branch, Rabobank Nederland NY Branch and NordLB.

"The Glenarm power plant further expands Canadian Solar's contribution to the adoption of solar energy in North America," commented Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. "Canadian Solar is especially pleased to work with DIF, given DIF's dedication and experience with renewable energy projects on a global basis."

"DIF, with over 300 MW of solar projects under management in North America and Europe, is pleased to announce the closing of the transaction. DIF's partnership with Canadian Solar provides another high quality solar project to our growing renewable energy portfolio in North America and Europe," said Paul Huebener, Head of Americas for DIF.

NRG Home Solar Launches Strategic Partnership with Upromise by Sallie Mae

PRINCETON, N.J.--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- NRG Home Solar, one of the country’s leading residential solar companies, announced a new partnership with Upromise by Sallie Mae, a service that helps families pay for college by earning cash back on everyday purchases. Through this innovative collaboration, NRG Home Solar will become the first residential solar company to offer Upromise members, in select states, a significant bonus for a completed solar installation, plus cash back for simply learning more about the benefits of solar at home.

“Millions of Americans are already saving for college through Upromise by Sallie Mae and now they can save even more by learning about home solar and having solar installed on their homes,” said Kelcy Pegler, Jr., President of NRG Home Solar. “This partnership is a first for our industry that will allow us to help more families save for college and potentially reduce their electricity costs by generating clean, renewable power at home.”

NRG Home Solar is a leader in the residential solar industry in states across the U.S. This new partnership is the latest example of the company’s strategy of developing wide-ranging programs with retail and online services that Americans use every day.

Through the new Upromise partnership, NRG Home Solar will offer Upromise members a one-time $500 bonus – deposited into a Upromise account – for completing a solar installation and a one-time $50 bonus for members who complete an appointment to learn more about home solar. The offer will be available to qualifying Upromise members in New York, California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

“We are excited to add NRG Home Solar to our growing list of partners who continue to provide new opportunities for our members to save for college,” said Erin Condon, president, Upromise by Sallie Mae. “The potential to reduce electricity costs while also saving for college is a win-win for our members.”

Free and easy to join, Upromise by Sallie Mae allows families to earn cash back for college from everyday purchases by shopping online with partners. Through Upromise, shoppers earn real cash rewards that can be put towards saving and paying for college including repayment of an eligible student loan, a Sallie Mae high-yield savings account, eligible 529 college savings plans or cash back in the form of a check.

To date, Upromise members have collectively earned more than $850 million. To learn more, visit Upromise.com.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

4.4MW Solar Farm Shines as Largest 2014 Managed Growth Project in Massachusetts

BOSTON, MA --(eSolarEnergyNews)--  4.4MW of solar energy is now operational in Charlton, Massachusetts. The 14,000 panel solar farm is the largest project developed and constructed under the SREC-II program's 2014 Managed Growth allocation. The farm will produce 5,760,000 kilowatt hours annually, enough electricity to power over 800 homes with clean energy for a year.

The project was financed through a combination of tax equity managed by Sol Systems, debt, and Nexamp's equity investment.

"Commercial and small utility-scale projects like this require the right expertise, close collaboration, and high efficiencies," said Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems, the finance and investment firm that managed the tax equity investment in the project. "That's why we are directing more human resources, and much of the $100 million in committed investor capital we already have for 2015, into the rapidly growing Massachusetts commercial market."

Nexamp partnered with the Town of Westford to deliver substantial savings through net metering credits, while the project generates new recurring tax revenue for the town of Charlton. The town expects to save over $300,000 in electricity costs in 2015, and more than 125 people were employed during construction in fourth quarter of 2014, significantly increasing the tax base for the Charlton community. Nexamp, which owns the new solar power plant, developed, designed and constructed the project. The company will also be responsible for the plant's asset management

"Our team is excited to have worked with valued partners such as Sol Systems to complete this project which will produce clean, affordable and stable energy for the Town of Westord and support the Charlton community," said Zaid Ashai, Nexamp's Chief Executive Officer. "Nexamp looks forward to rapid growth in 2015 and continuing to support and strengthen various stakeholders in the Commonwealth by going Solar."

Trina Solar Launches New High Efficiency Honey Plus and Honey M Plus Modules

CHANGZHOU, CHINA--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Trina Solar, a global leader in photovoltaic modules, solutions, and services, today announced the launch of two new high-efficiency modules, the Honey Plus (PC05A (II)), a multi-crystalline module and the Honey M Plus (DC05A (II)), a mono-crystalline module, which offer average power outputs of 275W and 285W, respectively. In addition, the Honey Plus (PC05A (II)) offers an average cell efficiency of 18.7% while the Honey M Plus (DC05A (II)) offers an average cell efficiency of 20.4%. The Honey Plus and Honey M Plus modules offer significant upgrades on Trina Solar's previous Honey and Honey M modules.

The improved efficiency delivered by both modules is due to the adoption of a Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) technology, which enables greater energy production and better performance, including in low light environments. Equipped with an advanced 5-busbar technology, these two products offer the advantages of lower series resistance, increased Cell-to-Module ratio (CTM) and enhanced reliability.

"We are proud to launch these new, high efficiency modules," said Zhiguo Zhu, Module Business Unit President of Trina Solar. "Our Honey Plus and Honey M Plus modules use our leading PERC technology which recently broke the world record for efficiency. Launching these new products once again demonstrates our efforts to apply and commercialize our advanced cell technology to high efficiency modules. Our outstanding track record in product development and performance is thanks to our professional scientific research, strict quality controls and reliability testing. Our deep commitment to R&D and to delivering high quality products ensures our leading position in a very competitive PV industry. We continue to develop our technology to provide customers with a diversified product portfolio that meets the needs of residential, commercial and utility end-users."

The two modules will be available in select markets in the first half of 2015 with a worldwide launch scheduled in 2016.