Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mississippi Power Announces Plans for Largest Utility-Scale Solar Projects in the State

GULFPORT, MS --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Mississippi Power is partnering with two solar businesses and the U.S. Navy to build utility-scale solar electric generating farms at two different locations in the company's service territory. With a combined total of approximately 53 megawatts, together these projects would represent the largest solar installations in Mississippi.

"We are excited to be a part of this partnership to develop cost-effective, utility-scale solar generation to enhance our portfolio," said Mississippi Power President and CEO Ed Holland. "Together these new solar facilities can produce the amount of energy used annually by approximately 7,800 homes. We look forward to bringing these projects to completion following approval by the Public Service Commission."

Mississippi Power will receive all of the energy and associated renewable energy credits generated by the projects, which it may use to serve its customers with renewable energy, use for future renewable energy programs, or sell at wholesale to third parties.

Mississippi Power and Strata Solar, a turn-key solar provider, are working to develop a 50 MW solar project located on 450 acres at Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park located near Hattiesburg.

"Strata Solar is thrilled to be working with Mississippi Power on the project in Hattiesburg," said Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm. "Working with utilities to diversify their generation portfolios in a competitive manner with their traditional resources is a big part of our passion for what we do as a company. We are looking forward to getting this project under way."

In addition to the Strata solar project, Mississippi Power also is partnering with the U.S. Navy and Hannah Solar at the Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport on a 23-acre, 3-4 MW facility. The project is part of the Navy's efforts to meet the Secretary of the Navy's goal to produce or procure one gigawatt of renewable energy.

"This innovative project represents a significant, cost-effective contribution toward the Navy's forward-leaning efforts to improve our national energy resilience through renewables," said Capt. Paul Odenthal, commanding officer Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport. "It is the result of much hard work and the strong relationship we have with our many community partners. We are happy to be part of this win-win initiative."  

"We're delighted with the cooperative spirit in which the project came together," said Pete Marte, Hannah Solar CEO. "Mississippi Power, Southern Company, the U.S. Navy, and Hannah Solar have created a first-class project for all parties and the people of Mississippi."

As an intermittent energy resource, the solar facilities will not replace Mississippi Power's generating plants, but will have the capability to provide energy that will help diversify the company's generation portfolio.

If approved by the PSC, the projects could be in service by the end of 2016.

USDA Commissions 1.6 Megawatt Solar Power System at DC Headquarters

HILLSBORO, OR.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for 40 years, has provided 1.6 megawatts of 315-watt, 72-cell monocrystalline solar panels for a project to power the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s George Washington Carver Center.

The four-building office campus houses many members of the federal department’s headquarters staff, including its Agricultural Research Service. The ground-mount system located on 10 acres at the facility in Beltsville, Md., is expected to be the largest solar power system in the Washington, D.C., area.

The system was commissioned in a ceremony on Wednesday, April 22, featuring remarks by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The installation is the latest in a long series of systems featuring high-quality SolarWorld solar panels that have powered agricultural concerns, ranging from West Coast vineyards to Wisconsin filbert farms to Vermont apple orchards as well as farm-oriented group-buy programs.

Amber Enterprises Inc., a minority-owned firm that undertook engineering, procurement and construction of the Carver Center system, said it was delighted to employ high-quality solar-power technology provided by SolarWorld, the most experienced solar manufacturer operating in the world.

“Whenever we supply a project to support agriculture, we feel kinship with American farmers, who, like us, are constantly honing their technologies for the future,” says Ardes Johnson, U.S. vice president of sales and marketing for SolarWorld. “We’re proud that our solar panels will help power the primary agency charged with supporting and developing this staple U.S. industry and employer.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SunEdison Helps Town Save $8 Million With Solar

BELMONT, CA--(eSolarEnergyNews)-- SunEdison, the world's largest renewable energy development company, today announced that is has signed an agreement to develop and install a 2.6 megawatt (MW) solar power plant for the town of Winchendon, Mass. on a previously unusable 12 acre town-owned landfill site.

The landfill site will be converted under Massachusetts' Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC II) program, which provides preferred incentives for brown field projects.

"The State's incentive program is a real driver for innovation when it comes to land use," says Steve Raeder, Managing Director of Distributed Generation Eastern USA at SunEdison, "It creates the opportunity to give unusable land a new life by converting it into a site for solar energy – towns like Winchendon can convert what was once a potential liability into a revenue generating asset."

"This is a great opportunity for Winchendon to take an underutilized piece of land and turn it into a clean, reliable source of energy," says Town Manager Jim Kreidler, "We're excited to be working with SunEdison to make this project a reality, and with SunEdison's fixed-price power purchase agreement we will save the town around $400,000 in the first year alone!"

Winchendon will save up to $8 million in energy costs over the 20 year power purchase agreement and will also receive incremental lease revenue from SunEdison. The solar power plant is projected to save 1,805 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the amount of carbon sequestered by 1,479 acres of trees, or taking 380 cars off the road.

SunEdison anticipates adding the solar power plant to the Call Right Projects List for TerraForm Power, Inc. (Nasdaq: TERP), a global owner and operator of clean energy power plants, and expects to offer this project to TerraForm Power for investment upon completion. Operation and maintenance of the solar power plant will be performed by SunEdison Services, which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services.

First Solar to Announce First Quarter Financial Results April 30

TEMPE, AZ--(eSolarEnergyNews)--First Solar will report financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015, after the market closes on Thursday, April 30, 2015. The Company will hold its quarterly conference call to discuss these results and outlook for the second quarter of 2015 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Investors may access a live webcast of this conference call by visiting http://investor.firstsolar.com/events.cfm.

An audio replay of the conference call will also be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available until Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112 if you are calling from within the United States or 719-457-0820 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering the replay pass code 3108257. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investors section of the Company’s web site approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and remain available for approximately 90 calendar days.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.

Wilsonart Unveils Advanced Solar Energy System at Fletcher Facility

TEMPLE,TEXAS--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Wilsonart Engineering Services team, in tandem with Radiance Solar, Solectra Renewables, Cantsink and Duke Energy Process, developed and installed a complete solar energy system unveiled today at Wilsonart’s Fletcher, North Carolina facility. The system will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 900 tons per year, reduce mono-nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 11,000 lbs. per year and reduce sulfur oxide emissions by 2,564 lbs. per year.

Wilsonart, a leading manufacturer of decorative engineered surfaces for more than 50 years, today unveiled the new solar power energy system as part of the company’s continuing commitment to sustainability, or “Full Circle” journey. The journey is guided by three enduring goals: to reach zero barriers to growth and engagement in communities; zero impact on the environment by developing and using environmentally responsible materials; and zero waste by eliminating unnecessary materials, processes and waste from the products Wilsonart makes and sells. Together, these principals contribute to the long-term environmental and economic sustainability of the region.

The addition of the 2,916 roof- and ground-mounted solar panels will generate approximately 1.25 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy – enough to provide electricity for more than 100 homes for a year – and offset electricity purchased for Wilsonart’s manufacturing processes.

“As a mature, reliable technology, solar energy helps us meet three objectives: update our infrastructure to maintain our competitiveness in the global economy; protect the health and beauty of the environments where we do business; and save on our energy costs for the next 20 to 30 years,” said Tim O’Brien, Wilsonart President and CEO. “The Fletcher solar project, as well as the recycling of all materials within the plant, speak to the effort our employees have made toward meeting our sustainability goals and ensuring we are supporting our environment on a local and regional level.”

“It’s programs like Duke Energy Progress’ Net Metering Program and state incentives like the state of NC tax credit that help stimulate new markets and create opportunities for new technologies to become cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels like coal and natural gas,” says James Marlow, Radiance Solar CEO. “Though the cost of solar has come down over 80 percent in the last five years, and has reached grid parity in some states, these incentives also help cushion the high upfront cost of solar often considered to be a barrier for solar to be a widely adopted energy source.”