Thursday, February 11, 2016

Open Energy and Black Rock Solar Partner to Bring Solar to Low-Income Nevada Elementary Schools

NEW YORK, NY --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Open Energy, an innovative commercial solar debt finance provider, today announced the closing of a construction solar loan totaling $500,000 with Nevada-based Black Rock Solar, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities access clean energy. The loan will enable construction of a 550 kilowatt project portfolio, consisting of four elementary schools serving low-income communities across northern Nevada. This project is supported by the Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program, mandated by the Nevada legislature and funded by NV Energy.

"It is usually incredibly difficult to get flexible construction funding for smaller sized commercial solar installations like ours, but Open Energy provided us with the opportunity to make these projects a reality," said Patrick McCully, Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. "The Open Energy team is passionate about our mission to promote clean energy, and their simple, straightforward application process coupled with their innovation financing solution made them the perfect partner."

Black Rock Solar is a non-profit organization providing low-cost clean energy services to clients in the the non-profit, public, low-income and educational sectors with a focus on rural and tribal entities. Black Rock Solar has installed over six megawatts of solar power since 2007, providing more than $900,000 of combined savings annually on energy bills.

"Empowering underserved communities with affordable clean energy is an important cause, and we are honored to take part in it by providing loan capital," said Graham Smith, CEO of Open Energy. "We are very excited for students to learn about their school's solar power system, inspiring a generation of clean energy enthusiasts."

Open Energy is reducing the time needed to finance commercial solar by developing an online marketplace lending model that streamlines the application and due diligence process, standardizes documentation and reduces transaction costs. The technology unlocks capital by connecting borrowers looking for non-recourse debt financing with institutional and accredited investors looking for long-term, non-market correlated investments with strong risk-adjusted returns.

FPL Breaks Ground on Three New Solar Power Plants

PARRISH, FL--(eSolarEnergyNews)--  Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today celebrated the ground breaking of its three new solar power plants with a ceremony on the site of the future FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center.

The three new large, community-scale plants, which include the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center and the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, are expected to begin producing affordable, clean energy by the end of 2016 and will triple the company's current solar capacity.

"Six years ago, not far from here, FPL commissioned what was then the largest photovoltaic solar power plant ever built in the United States with 90,000 solar panels," said Eric Silagy, FPL president and CEO. "Fast-forward to 2016, and we're extending our leadership role in the renewable energy space by installing 1 million new solar panels. If you laid these panels end to end, they would nearly wrap around the entire state. But we couldn't have come this far on our own. Working with the communities we serve, we are building solar energy centers that are not only reliable, but also cost-effective, providing affordable, clean energy for our customers for generations to come."

FPL has been working for several years to find ways to reduce costs in order to make the construction of these three solar plants cost-effective. The company identified three suitable existing sites with unique built-in advantages, such as the existence of sufficient transmission and substation infrastructure, and strong community support. Also, by buying solar panels in such a large quantity, FPL has been able to realize significant savings for customers. Without these unique cost advantages, solar power – even the most economical community-scale installation – is still generally not yet cost-effective in FPL's service area, due in part to its higher costs compared with the company's highly efficient system and low electric rates.

"I commend FPL for embracing solar energy and leveraging this technology in a cost-effective way to meet our state's current and future clean energy needs," said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam, who addressed guests at the ground breaking ceremony.

The FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center will consist of more than 338,000 solar panels over 762 acres – enough to cover 577 football fields. The other two solar plants are:
  •  FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center, which is being built on 841 acres in DeSoto County, Fla., near the site of FPL's first large-scale solar power plant
  •  FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, now under construction on 440 acres in Charlotte County, Fla., as part of the new Babcock Ranch sustainable community
When completed, each of the three new solar plants will have 74.5 megawatts of solar capacity. These plants, along with several community-based, small-scale solar arrays and commercial-scale solar research installations that FPL is building, will combine for a total of more than 225 megawatts of new solar capacity by the end of this year. This will effectively triple FPL's solar capacity, which currently totals approximately 110 megawatts.

The three new solar energy centers will employ nearly 250 people during construction, helping support the local economies of the three communities.

"Making smart, cost-conscious investments in clean, renewable solar energy is the right thing to do for our state," said Vanessa Baugh, Manatee County Commission Chairman. "We are very pleased to partner with FPL on this project that will also provide a much-needed injection of economic activity to our community, including hundreds of construction jobs."

"This is a big step forward for our state and for the future of renewable energy in Florida," said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida. "FPL's three solar plants help reduce the use of fossil fuels, prevent the emission of thousands of tons of carbon each year and save millions of gallons of water."

These projects will join the company's existing solar facilities: the FPL Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center near Cape Canaveral, Fla.; the FPL DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in DeSoto County, Fla.; and the FPL Martin Clean Energy Center, the world's first hybrid solar/natural gas plant. These solar plants were built in 2009 and 2010 and have the combined capacity to generate 110 megawatts of power. In addition, FPL has built more than 100 solar arrays for Florida schools and other educational facilities, and is currently building solar installations at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, the Broward Young At Art Museum & Library, Florida International University, Daytona International Speedway and several other locations around the state.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SolarWorld Accepting Applications for Company’s 2016 Junior Einstein Award

HILLSBORO, OR.--(eSolarEnergyNews)--SolarWorld, the largest U.S. crystalline-silicon solar manufacturer for more than 40 years, is now accepting applications for its SolarWorld Junior Einstein Award 2016. The oldest and most prestigious prize for young scientists in the photovoltaic industry will be awarded for the 11th time.

The honor not only offers an appreciative cash prize, but it also opens many doors for young scientists: As part of the award ceremony, winners meet important personalities in the photovoltaic industry.

Last year’s Junior Einstein Award winner, Michael Rauer, says his honor represented the highlight of his scientific career to date. “It is nice to see that my work is considered valuable by leading representatives of the photovoltaic industry, and that the results are being applied in practice,” Rauer says. “For me, the award ceremony was an outstanding end for my work, through which I have come into contact with many renowned scientists in my field.”

At the annual ceremony, the company also bestows the SolarWorld Einstein Award upon a figure who has done much to advance solar energy for the betterment of the human race. U.S. winners have included Molly and George Greene III, founders of the water-relief nonprofit Water Mission, which uses solar to power remote water pumps, and Bill Yerkes, a solar-industry pioneer whose 1975 startup Solar Technology International began the 41-year U.S. industrial lineage of SolarWorld. Yerkes was honored in 2015 after his death in 2014.

Students in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, renewable energy, engineering, chemistry, physics or similar areas – who have completed a thesis focused on solar technology or a related area – are eligible to apply for the Junior Einstein prize, if their scientific thesis was written in German or English between April 2015 and April 2016.

The deadline for applications is April 29, 2016. This year, the prize will once again be presented at a celebratory event during the solar trade show Intersolar in late June in Munich, Germany.
Find more information and the application here.

Mortech Manufacturing Celebrates Largest Solar System in the City of Azusa

AZUSA, CA--(eSolarEnergyNews)--Mitsubishi Electricannounced the installation of a 183.4 kW solar electric system at Mortech Manufacturing Inc.'s facilities in Azusa, California. The photovoltaic (PV) system was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. and installed by SunGreen Systems. Local political leaders, including Azusa Mayor Joe Rocha, joined a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday recognizing the PV system as the largest in the city of Azusa.

 Mortech Manufacturing, a leader in quality anatomy equipment and instruments for state-of-the-art post-mortem facilities, switched to solar electricity to reduce energy costs and give back to the environment. SunGreen Systems, a design and installation company for smart energy solutions, provided the turnkey solar installation using 692 of Mitsubishi Electric’s new Diamond Pro™ solar modules.

"We believe solar power is the way of the future,” said John Joseph, vice president of Mortech Manufacturing. “It's a clean, natural renewable resource that is cost effective and our company believes in going green. We thank Azusa Light & Power for its support and assistance in helping its customers go solar and contributing to the community.”
During the first full year of production, the system is estimated to produce 285,935kW kWh, reducing the need for grid-supplied power by 80 percent. The annual production by the system will prevent 390,578 pounds of CO2.

An increasing number of small businesses are adopting solar power, not only to cut energy costs but to give back to the community by reducing their carbon footprints.

“The city of Azusa is a long-time supporter of solar and renewable energy,” said Azusa Mayor Joe Rocha. “When businesses switch to clean energy, our entire community benefits. I hope to see more local businesses follow in Mortech’s footsteps.”

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Nautilus Solar Energy and Enphase Energy Announce New Collaboration

SUMMIT, NJ --(eSolarEnergyNews)-- Nautilus Solar Energy, a leading full service solar solutions provider in the United States and Canada, and Enphase Energy, Inc., a global energy technology company, are pleased to announce an agreement to provide combined Asset Management services to distributed generation (DG) customers in the United States.

Both entities have established specialty divisions to address the growing demand for asset management services. Nautilus Solar has been providing its customers with asset management services since 2007. Seeing the demand in the solar market, the company launched an asset management division, Integrated Asset Management. This division offers an all-inclusive suite of solutions: physical, operational and financial asset management functions designed to enhance system performance, mitigate risk and protect asset value.

Enphase, through its division, Next Phase Solar, is leading efforts to streamline solar photovoltaic asset management and operations and maintenance for a wide range of installations, and preparing for the broader-based maintenance and productivity service requirements of future energy management systems. Next Phase currently has more than 1 gigawatt of solar assets under management.

"Nautilus and Enphase are clear on the opportunity and the need - the solar market is ready for stronger collaboration. Better collaboration will fill the gaps around Asset Management, improve project return, increase the productive life span and dramatically improve a projects long term viability," said Martin Rogers, Vice President of Worldwide Customer Service and Support, Enphase Energy.

Recognizing each entity's respective strengths and common vision regarding a "total or integrated" asset management solution for third-party customers, Nautilus and Enphase will leverage their expertise to provide a full suite of seamless asset management services for DG customers throughout the United States. For these target customers, Nautilus will provide operational and/or financial asset management services with Enphase providing physical asset management services.

The solar industry continues to grow at an accelerated rate. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 40 percent of all new electric capacity installed through the second quarter of 2015 was from solar. While the focus of the industry during its early years was on getting systems up and running, it is now shifting to asset management as stakeholders recognize the need to maintain or increase their returns on investment (ROI).

"This partnership will provide a one-stop shop of interdependent asset management services for an underserved market. These services can offer solar stakeholders a significant opportunity to increase their ROI," said Jim Rice, Nautilus Solar Energy's CEO.