March 23, 2012 – Vol.17 No.1
SEVEN DAYS OF SOLAR 3-4-12
Certainly you’ve heard. The Obama Administration has put a tariff as high as 4.73 percent on Chinese solar panels imported to the U.S. It’s more of a slap on the wrist than a real effort to help U.S. solar companies by curbing imports: Chinese solar panels are typically 10 percent less costly than U.S. counterparts. Low wages, little regulation and government subsidies keeps costs down on China’s solar products.
Still China is pained and plans its own investigation into U.S. subsidies for solar energy. Yes, it’s true the government subsidizes solar through financing assistance for the manufacturing of solar products as well as the construction of projects. Further, the Feds offer tax incentives to install solar capacity.
The financing aid, including cash from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) which asked for solar projects to use U.S. made products, has directly helped solar manufacturing (but not in the case of Solyndra). However, tax incentives for solar installations helps any manufacturer, including Chinese, since the incentives are not specific as to where the products come from.
During the week beginning March 4, 2012, this publication received news announcements regarding more than 850 kW of solar energy projects completed, nearly 308 megawatts (MW) under construction and more than 10 MW in the development pipeline in the U.S.
--- Tioga Energy has completed a solar electric system atop the new BJ's Wholesale Club location in Deer Park, New York. The project is the first of two Tioga Energy installations developed through an incentive from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Together, the projects will provide about 850 kW of renewable energy and bring Tioga to nearly 1 megawatt (MW) of installed solar in the state of New York.
NYSERDA’s funding for this competitive solicitation was provided through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (the Stimulus Act) funds. Later this spring, Tioga will announce the second system it developed through NYSERDA.
--- Key Equipment Finance, one of the nation's largest bank-held equipment finance companies and an affiliate of KeyCorp has announced that the company is financing a solar system installation at Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey. SunDurance Energy, a leading national solar provider, is the solar integrator for the project.
The university is installing more than 40,000 high-efficiency solar panels mounted on canopy structures over two large surface parking areas on the Livingston Campus in Piscataway Township, New Jersey. The 32-acres of solar canopies will generate over nine million kWh of power, or approximately $1.2 million in electricity – equivalent to the annual energy consumption of nearly 1,000 households.
Construction of the solar canopies is underway now and the first phase of the installation is expected to be completed this summer.
--- SMA America will be supplying DC to AC power inverters to what is expected to be the largest operational photovoltaic (PV) plant in the world upon completion. Construction on the 290 MW Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, near Dateland, Arizona is under way, with completion expected in 2014.
Built by First Solar, Agua Caliente will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 100,000 average homes per year when fully operational. In addition to First Solar’s advanced thin film PV modules, the 2,400-acre plant will feature more than 400 SMA Sunny Central 720CP inverters. The project already has been named Solar Project of the Year by Renewable Energy World and PV Project of the Year by Solar Power Generation USA.
NRG Energy acquired Agua Caliente in August 2011. First Solar will continue to build, operate and maintain the project. Power generated by the installation will be sold to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
--- Satcon Technology Corporation, a provider of utility-scale power conversion solutions for the renewable energy market, has announced that it has been selected by Unity Electric, supply 16 Megawatts (MW) inverter solutions to power a utility-scale solar farm in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
For this project, Unity Electric, will deploy thirty two PowerGate Plus 500 kW solutions; the world's most widely deployed large-scale solar PV inverters. Upon completion, this site will be one of the largest solar installations in the North East.
--- Nautilus Solar Energy has commenced engineering and construction of a 1.9 MW roof mounted, solar photovoltaic project in Chino, California. The project is scheduled to reach commercial operation in May 2012. Power generated from the project will be sold to Southern California Edison under a 20 year power purchase agreement.
In the development pipeline.
--- PsomasFMG and NRG Solar will jointly develop an initial portfolio of solar projects totaling over 11 megawatts (MW). The two largest projects are a 7.3 MW project for the William S. Hart School District in Santa Clarita, California, and a 3.3 MW project with the County of Orange, Calif. All of the projects include signed power purchase agreements with the facility owners to buy the solar-generated electricity.
The project with the County of Orange will span five county facilities, including the Peace Officer’s Training Facility and County Registrar of Voters, and consist of ground-mounted and carport applications utilizing the latest photovoltaic technology. The solar installations will allow the county and school district to harness the power of renewable energy as well as achieve clear insight into their power costs for years into the future.
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