Home Energy Audit

December 31, 2011 – Vol.16 No.41


Utility companies can add solar power to their generation portfolio by purchasing complete, operating solar power plants. Duke Energy has done just that. The company’s Renewables division has acquired three 1-megawatt (MW) commercial solar projects in the southwestern corner of the state. The company now owns seven commercial solar farms in North Carolina.

Duke purchased the portfolio of photovoltaic (PV) projects from ESA Renewables which designed and built the generation sites. ESA Renewables will continue to handle operations, monitoring and maintenance at each of the solar farms.

The new purchase portfolio consists of:

--- The 4,298-panel Murphy Farm Solar Project, which is sited on approximately eight acres of purchased land and achieved commercial operation in May 2011.

--- The 4,340-panel Wingate Solar Project, which is sited on approximately seven acres of purchased land and achieved commercial operation in August 2011.

--- The 4,242-panel Holiness Solar Project, which is sited on approximately nine acres of purchased land and achieved commercial operation in November 2011.

The power from each solar farms is sold to the Tennessee Valley Authority as part of TVA's Generation Partners(SM) program. The length of the power purchase agreements is 10 years. TVA will also receive the renewable energy certificates (RECs) created by the projects.

The three projects join Duke Energy Renewables' other commercial solar farms in the state: the 1-MW Shelby Solar Project, the 1-MW Taylorsville Solar Project, the 1-MW Martins Creek Solar Project, and the under-construction 5-MW Murfreesboro Solar Project.

All of Duke Energy Renewables' commercial solar farms are located outside of Duke Energy's regulated service territories in North Carolina.

Duke Energy Renewables
ESA Renewables


During the week beginning November 13, 2011, this publication received news announcements regarding nearly 36 megawatts (MW) of solar energy projects completed, 284.5 MW under construction and more than 15 MW in the development pipeline.


--- The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), BP Solar and Brookhaven National Laboratory have completed and commissioned the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF) Project.

Owned by BP Solar and Met Life, the LISF installation is part of the largest solar energy project in the state of New York, the largest photovoltaic array in the eastern U.S., and among the largest in the nation constructed on federal property. The 32 MW LISF, which is made up of 164,312 solar panels hosted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, also boasts the smallest footprint for a solar array of its output, further solidifying Long Island as a national leader in clean, renewable energy.

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA)
BP Solar
Brookhaven National Laboratory

--- SPG Solar has completed the construction of a 2.3 MW DC, 8000 panel, solar power project at the Neely Wastewater Reclamation Facility in Gilbert, Arizona. The system, owned by a unit of Integrys Energy Services, is installed over existing recharge basins at the facility and is expected to provide a savings of up to $2 million over the next 20 years to Gilbert.

Gilbert, Arizona
SPG Solar
Integrys Energy Services

--- SolarWorld has supplied panels for an 8-acre solar installation at the Berkshire School, a private boarding high school in Sheffield, Massachusetts. The 2 MW system is the largest solar installation for a private school in New England. It is also the latest of three significant solar projects totaling more than 7 MW to harness SolarWorld technology in the state’s fast-growing solar market.

SolarWorld also has supplied Spire Corp. installations for BJ’s Wholesale Club totaling about 1.6 MW.

Spire Corporation
Berkshire School

Under construction.

--- A 4.5 MW system composed of 18,400 SolarWorld panels is under construction in Holyoke, Mass. Constellation Energy is building the system which it will own and operate, on two sites near city-owned electrical distribution facilities. Holyoke Gas & Electric will buy all of the solar system’s electrical output under a 20-year power purchase agreement. State officials have cited the installation as a high-merit example of projects springing up across Massachusetts in response to the Bay State’s renewable portfolio standard mandate to install 400 MW of solar power generating capacity by 2020.

Constellation Energy

--- Abengoa is now ramping up on its 280 MW concentrating solar power CSP Mojave Solar Project, located in San Bernardino County, California.

The Mojave Solar Project brings economic stimulus to California and specifically the High Desert region, creating more than 900 construction and permanent operations jobs. After just a short time in construction, 81 workers are already onsite.


After just two months of construction, the Mojave Solar Project has 24 contracts signed with 19 suppliers in six states. More than 80 percent of the equipment, supplies and services required to build the Mojave Solar Project will be of U.S. origin, strengthening the American manufacturing and service industries that will increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and allow for international export.

Mojave is expected to come online in 2014.


In the development pipeline.

--- SunPower Corp. has begun designs for a 13.78 MW (DC) solar photovoltaic power system at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California and intends to break ground in December.

SunPower's high-efficiency solar technology will generate the equivalent of more than 30 percent of China Lake's annual energy load, helping to reduce costs by an estimated $13 million over the next 20 years. Because the Navy is buying electricity under a power purchase agreement (PPA), the system requires no initial out-of-pocket expenses, and will deliver increased energy independence as well as reliable, emission-free solar power beginning at the end of next year.

The installation will be the government's first solar power plant financed by a 20-year Federal solar PPA using the 10USC 2922a authority which is relevant to contracts for energy or fuel for military installations.

SunPower Corp.
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake

--- Phoenix Solar Incorporated and Silicon Ranch Corporation have announced a strategic alliance to develop, finance and construct solar photovoltaic power plants in Tennessee and the Southeast. The companies said their first 1.4 MW project in the city of Pulaski, Tennessee will be the largest privately owned solar installation in the state. Phoenix Solar, with support from Chapel Electric, has begun construction on the Pulaski solar plant. Phoenix Solar will also provide long-term Operation and Maintenance support to monitor and optimize the plant's ongoing energy production.

In addition to the operating power plant Pulaski will also include a solar training campus consisting of administrative, classroom and service buildings. To build the "Pulaski Energy Park," Silicon Ranch has acquired 25 acres at the Pulaski Industrial Park.

Phoenix Solar
Silicon Ranch Corporation

--- The Town of Prescott Valley, Arizona, is estimated to save more than $1.5 million in electrical costs over the next 25 years with new solar power projects being built at the town's water pump stations and the wastewater treatment plant.

Smart Energy Capital and Wilson Electric of Tempe, Arizona, will build and maintain a total of four units to provide supplementary power for facilities that are some of the town's biggest energy users. It is expected that a total of 2.7 million kWh of solar generated power will be produced in the first year, making it the largest solar energy development in the town's history.

Smart Energy Capital


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