Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SkyPower to Donate Two Million Home Solar Kits in Kenya

NAIROBI, KENYA --(eSolarEnergyNews)--SkyPower, the world's largest developer and owner of utility-scale solar projects, recently signed a landmark US $2.2 billion agreement with the Government of Kenya during the 6th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit to develop 1 GW of solar projects. As part of this historic moment for Kenya, Skypower is pleased to announce it will be gifting two million SkyPower Home solar kits to the people of Kenya.

SkyPower, under the guidance of the Government of Kenya, will distribute two million solar kits to homes and working families across the nation currently without access to electricity. The portable SkyPower Home solar kits include a solar panel and an inverter to help Kenyans harness the power of the sun. The home solar kits include LED bulbs, a fan, USB charging capabilities and a radio that will be powered and recharged by the sun.

"This monumental grant marks the largest single commitment in history, which provides an unprecedented solar solution to give power to the people of Kenya and communities without access to basic power," said Kerry Adler, President and Chief Executive Officer of SkyPower. "We are proud to help empower Kenya to harness the abundant power of the sun to improve the lives and economic prospects of its people, ultimately positioning Kenya to become a renewable energy hub for Africa."

SkyPower Home solar kits will help Kenya's citizens leapfrog towards greater energy access and increase the standard of living as a whole. Kenya and its people are realizing rapid growth as the largest economy in East Africa. SkyPower is proud to play an integral role in creating new green energy jobs, advancing opportunities for skills development and training, and providing basic access to energy with its recent commitments in the country.

"We are delighted to work with the Kenyan Government in the rapid implementation of this micro-electrification initiative that will help millions of people," said Charles Cohen, Executive Vice President of SkyPower GlobSkyPower to Donate Two Million Home Solar Kits in Kenyaal. "This progressive partnership is the next step in generating a brighter future for Kenya."

SkyPower has a long history of working closely with local communities to produce hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean electricity every year, while ensuring that those closest to the developments reap the rewards of renewable electrification. This initiative is another step forward in SkyPower's corporate social responsibility program, SkyPower Cares, which helps bring light to communities with limited, intermittent or no access to electricity.

"This collaboration between SkyPower and the Government of Kenya makes me proud to be a Kenyan," said Anwar Hussein, Managing Director for SkyPower Kenya. "The donation of 2 million SkyPower Home solar kits will make a positive impact on Kenyan families, and help Kenya's economic momentum."

SolarCity to Help Mom and Pop Sized Businesses Go Solar

SAN MATEO, Calif., July 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- SolarCity  introduced a new solar energy service today that will make it possible for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for power from their local utility for the first time. SolarCity will initially offer its SMB service to owner-occupied business locations in California, but expects to expand it to the east coast and other territories in early 2016. Based on an analysis of SMBs in California, SolarCity expects to make it possible for many to pay between 5 – 25 percent less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power with no upfront cost, depending on their own utility costs and usage. The service will also include fixed, flat solar payments for 20 years, so if the utility rates increase in the future, customers can save even more.

There are more than 28 million small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.1--more than 99 percent of American businesses are SMBs—and very few have been able to use solar power affordably until now. SolarCity has achieved a solar cost breakthrough for SMBs by combining three innovations that leverage its unique experience in high-volume installation, technology development and structured finance:

  •     Installation. While most commercial solar developers subcontract installation, which lengthens installation time and significantly increases cost, SolarCity leverages its vast network of local installation crews to install projects for SMBs at a lower cost than any other provider in the category. SolarCity expects to reduce the cost to install small commercial solar projects by more than 30 percent by using its own crews and technology.
  •     Technology. SolarCity's proprietary, lightweight solar panel mounting system--ZS Peak--allows SMBs to fit 20 to 50 percent more solar panels on each roof surface. ZS Peak also allows workers to install panels significantly faster than would otherwise be possible to reduce installation costs even further, and simultaneously increases solar energy production from each project.
  •     Financing. Solar projects for small and medium sized businesses have traditionally been very difficult to finance because SMBs do not have the formal investment grade credit ratings of large corporations, and also have no commercial equivalent to the FICO scores that are often the basis of consumer financing. SolarCity has teamed with Renew Financial to create a unique financing option for SMBs that combines low cost SolarCity structured financing with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). The first rollout will be under the CaliforniaFIRST program. Under this offering, an SMB signs a standard commercial solar lease with SolarCity, SolarCity finances the upfront cost much as it would under a traditional solar lease or power purchase agreement, and in turn the PACE program allows the business to pay the solar payment on its property tax bill. Just as it does for other commercial customers under a lease or PPA, SolarCity coordinates solar financing and also handles installation, monitoring and maintenance for SMBs. 

For the SMB market, SolarCity will initially design solar energy system sizes between 30 – 500 kilowatts of generation capacity to businesses that own buildings with approximately 5,000 – 50,000 square feet of available flat roof space.

SolarCity has built a new business unit dedicated to the SMB market, and is currently hiring. Interested candidates should visit www.solarcity.com/jobs to learn more.

Businesses interested in more information, including an estimate, should visit www.solarcity.com/commercial/SMB or call 1-888-SOL-CITY and select option three.

ConEdison Solutions and SunPower Launch Residential Solar Power Leasing Program in NY

VALHALLA, NY & SAN JOSE, CA --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- ConEdison Solutions, one of America's largest energy services companies and a prominent developer of renewable projects for businesses and government, and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR), a leading global provider of solar technology and services, have joined forces to offer New York State homeowners the opportunity to lease high efficiency SunPower® solar power systems. The companies have launched the program and expect to begin adding customers in August.

"Increasing numbers of New York families are choosing solar leases, and we want to make their decision as easy as possible.  We are combining the strength of our trusted brands to meet the demand for reliable, rooftop solar solutions," said Michael Perna, Vice President of ConEdison Solutions.  "Through this residential lease program, homeowners may save on their electricity from day one after activation, with no upfront costs.  They'll also be helping reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of clean, reliable solar power in our communities."

ConEdison Solutions will own the leased systems and collect monthly lease payments from homeowners for terms up to 20 years. SunPower will provide a 20-year limited warranty and production guarantee for each system.

"With high quality SunPower systems, ConEdison Solutions' customers can depend on a high level of energy assurance compared to systems using conventional solar technology," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, business units. "More than 27,000 U.S. homeowners are leasing SunPower solar power systems today. We are pleased to team with ConEdison Solutions to extend the program and make solar accessible to more New York families."

With outstanding reputations within the New York market, the two firms are poised for success with New York residential customers.  Their partnership leverages both the financial savings that solar power can deliver and its contribution to sustainability and environmental preservation.

ConEdison Solutions, one of the most widely trusted brands in energy, is partnering with SunPower to offer a first-class customer experience and the most efficient and reliable solar technology available today. Together they'll combine SunPower's leading products with ConEdison Solutions' experience in New York energy markets to deliver a solar solution that customers will value and benefit from.

ConEdison Solutions has an extensive record of achievement in renewable energy development with customers around the country, having delivered customer-sited solar and wind projects from Massachusetts to California for businesses, schools and municipalities.

Generate Solar Power on Greenhouse Roofs With Zero Negative Impact on Plant Yield

FREMONT, CA.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Solaria Corporation, global provider of solar module technologies, and Soliculture, provider of greenhouse integrated photovoltaics (GIPV) for commercial greenhouse growers, today announced a strategic collaboration for PV-agriculture applications. Solaria’s timely equity investment in Soliculture allows the companies to combine their technologies to create PV solutions for greenhouse applications that allow growers to generate revenue on the existing footprint of their greenhouses without compromising agricultural productivity. Together, the companies have completed their first commercial project with one of the largest commercial greenhouse owners and growers in Northern California. Implemented earlier this month, the system expects to deliver a return on investment in just six years, attractive numbers for an increasingly demanding global agriculture market.

“Solaria is excited to work with Soliculture to address two of the most pressing issues of our time – food and energy security,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO, Solaria Corporation. “According to the World Bank, we need to produce at least 50 percent more food by 2050 to keep up with growing populations. We are all too familiar with the critical importance of creating a more sustainable energy future. To be able to address both crop yields and climate change with one product is revolutionary.”

The two companies capitalized on a unique technical synergy between Solaria’s proprietary cell processing technology and Soliculture’s luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) technology. Together, they offer customers a combined value of high efficiency, aesthetically attractive modules at a cost effective price with an altered light spectrum optimized for plant growth while simultaneously generating electricity. This product answers the unique needs of farmers and their businesses for a material that has neutral effects on plants but that also generates enough power to make it economically compelling. Now greenhouse growers have a major incentive to incorporating building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) into their agriculture projects.

“Farmers are the unrecognized heroes of our time but they will not be able to keep up with demand, increased costs and worsening growing conditions due to climate change unless we create innovations to help them,” said Glenn Alers, President and CEO, Soliculture. “Dedicated research and years of PV experience combined have enabled Soliculture and Solaria to provide greenhouse growers with a new tool that can provide them the economic benefit of solar energy generation, along with improved agriculture production, on the same footprint. This is the future of solar, and it is now fully available for farmers to leverage incentives, save energy and save money.”

Baltimore Ravens Go Solar with 375 kW Rooftop Solar Power System at Team's Headquarters

BALTIMORE, MD--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Constellation, a leading competitive retail energy supplier, and the Baltimore Ravens today announced an agreement to construct a 375-kilowatt (DC) solar generation project at the team’s headquarters and training facility in Owings Mills, Md. Constellation, a longtime sponsor of the Baltimore Ravens, provides energy services to the team and is the “Official Energy Services Sponsor of the Baltimore Ravens.” The roof-mounted solar power system expands the current energy services relationship.

“Constellation is helping the Ravens extend our efforts to promote renewable energy to the Under Armour Performance Center,” said Kevin Rochlitz, senior vice president of corporate sales and business development. "We are proud to be a model of sustainability for the NFL and our fans, and we look forward to continuing to work with Constellation to make a positive difference in our community and environment.”

Constellation will own and operate the solar power system, while the Ravens will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels from Constellation under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“The Ravens are a recognized leader in the NFL, and Constellation is proud to help them achieve their goals by powering their headquarters with energy from the Constellation solar power system,” said Bruce Stewart, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Constellation. “We are committed to advancing renewable energy in Maryland, and we hope this project will showcase the benefits of solar power to all Ravens players, employees and fans.”

The solar power system will be located at the Under Armour Performance Center, the team’s 200,000-square-foot training facility that houses a full-size indoor practice field, player support functions, a TV studio and executive offices. The new system will consist of approximately 1,210 photovoltaic panels on the facility’s field house and grounds keeping buildings.

The system is expected to generate approximately 460,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which is approximately 15 percent of the team headquarters’ electricity needs. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of approximately 317 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent emissions of nearly 13,000 tailgaters with propane grills, or 67 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA data for the region.

The project is the latest in a long series of environmental initiatives by the Ravens. They were the first NFL team to earn a LEED-certified Gold designation by the U.S. Green Building Council for their sustainability efforts at M&T Bank Stadium. The team previously worked with Constellation to match the electricity used during “Green Games” through the purchase of Green-e Energy* certified wind renewable energy certificates.

The project expands Constellation’s role as the No. 1 solar energy producer in Maryland. To date, the company operates 29 megawatts of solar projects in the state and expects to have an additional 30 megawatts operational by the end of 2015.

Constellation currently owns and operates more than 200 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction for commercial and government customers throughout the United States. These solar projects, combined with other forms of clean, on-site power supply such as biomass and co-generation, mean that Constellation has a total of 300 megawatts of distributed generation completed or under development for customers.

By structuring its solar projects as power purchase agreements or solar services agreements, Constellation offers solar installations that may require no upfront capital from customers and may provide fixed power costs that are less than projected market rates. Commercial customers, universities, college systems, hospitals and government agencies interested in on-site solar installations of 1 megawatt or larger may contact Constellation at sustainable-solutions@constellation.com or 1-877-427-2005.