April 29, 2014 CARLSBAD, Calif. & PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), through its wholly-owned subsidiary NRG Solar, along with partner MidAmerican Solar announced they have achieved substantial completion at their Agua Caliente Solar Photovoltaic Facility, a 290 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic facility located on 2,400 acres of land between Yuma and Phoenix, Ariz. The electricity that is generated by the station, which can support 230,000 homes at peak capacity, is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
“It is exciting to see this project become fully operational and begin to realize the full benefit of emissions savings with the clean energy generated at Agua Caliente.”
“Large-scale utility accomplishments, like our Agua Caliente project, raise the bar in terms of our clean-energy technology and production,” said Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar. “Proving that we can build both the world’s largest solar thermal and now one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic facilities advance NRG’s mission to reshape the energy landscape that is incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy. Whether it’s partnering, developing or investing, NRG will lead the way in providing a diverse set of solutions and technologies to get the US to the ultimate goal of providing affordable, reliable clean energy for everyone.”
The Agua Caliente project uses clean solar power to avoid the annual emission of approximately 324,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of taking nearly 70,000 cars off the road. The creation of 400 jobs during the project’s construction provided a boost to the local economy and it benefits the environment by producing clean, renewable energy. The project received a $967 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.
“In 2012, our company made a commitment to invest in its first utility-scale solar project to foster economic development while demonstrating our commitment to the environment,” said Richard Weech, chief financial officer, MidAmerican Renewables, who also oversees the activities of MidAmerican Solar. “It is exciting to see this project become fully operational and begin to realize the full benefit of emissions savings with the clean energy generated at Agua Caliente.”
The Agua Caliente Solar Project was named Solar Project of the Year by Renewable Energy World, a leading industry magazine, and PV Project of the Year by Solar Power Generation USA, the industry’s leading utility-scale solar power conference.
Agua Caliente is the largest of 10 operational utility-scale solar PV facilities in three states in which NRG has ownership interest. Agua Caliente is also one of several NRG assets that are subject to a Right of First Offer Agreement between NRG and its publicly owned subsidiary, NRG Yield, Inc. (NYSE: NYLD). First Solar, Inc. designed and constructed the project using its advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules and will operate and maintain the facility for NRG and MidAmerican Solar.
About NRG and NRG Solar
NRG is leading a customer-driven reinvention of the US energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices – and solar power is a great resource to provide a more sustainable (and more affordable) lifestyle. From the world’s largest photovoltaic project to professional sports stadium rooftops to customizable canopies to parking covers, NRG Solar’s innovative solutions reduce environmental impact and demonstrate the availability and performance of cleaner energy choices to a broad public audience. A Fortune 500 company, NRG creates value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. NRG’s retail electricity providers serve almost three million customers throughout the country. More information is available at nrgenergy.com and nrgsolar.com. Connect with NRG Energy and NRG Solar on Facebook and follow us on Twitter@nrgenergy and @nrgsolar.
About MidAmerican Renewables and MidAmerican Solar
MidAmerican Renewables, LLC owns and operates wind, geothermal, solar and hydro projects in the unregulated renewables market. MidAmerican Renewables is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and has offices in Phoenix, Ariz., and Calipatria, Calif. Information about MidAmerican Renewables is available on the company’s website and its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanrenewablesllc.com.
MidAmerican Solar is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables and is headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. MidAmerican Solar’s projects include the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.; the 579-megawatt Solar Star projects, two projects co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California; and the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Ariz. More information is available at www.midamericanrenewablesllc.com.
Scottsdale, AZ – December 19, 2013 – As the holiday travel season begins, Kyocera Solar Inc. today announced that its industry-leading solar modules were selected to power the first phase of a 2.5MW parking lot canopy installation at Tucson International Airport. The 1MW first phase of the photovoltaic (PV) array, which offsets about a fifth of the terminal complex’s total power needs, is now operational and a dedication ceremony will be held at 11 am Mountain Time, December 20.
The project converts the abundant sunshine in “The Old Pueblo” into renewable energy powering the airport’s main terminal. It’s part of the airport’s ongoing environmental efforts, utilizing $5.7 million in funding awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration and $280,000 contributed by the Arizona Department of Transportation to offset a federal grant matching requirement.
Collaboration with Natural Power & Energy helped ensure that the system was properly sized for the airport’s power output and glare avoidance requirements. By working closely with Tucson-based contractor Barker-Morrissey Contracting, the Design-Build team was able to meet the tight installation deadlines of the 5-acre first phase with time to spare.
“Airports are an ideal location for solar canopies because of the large amounts of space they can cover, additionally serving as desired shade to cars parked for hours or even days,” said Steve Hill, president, Kyocera Solar Inc. “We are glad to have completed this first phase before the busy travel season; it’s a nice holiday bonus to know that part of the electricity usage in the main terminal is being offset by the parking lot’s large solar array. Kyocera Solar is proud to power this important project in our home state.”
The solar canopy structure is a 20-foot tall curved, open-lattice design comprised exclusively of efficient, durable Kyocera modules that create shade for parking spaces. Vegetated “green walls” are also planned, which will use live plants to create a cooling microclimate effect in the parking area. There is no additional charge for the parking spaces under the solar canopy.
This project’s federal grant is part of a program that provides funding for airport projects that promote energy efficiency under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
“Kyocera’s responsibilities with every project are to assist throughout the lifecycle of that installation,” Hill stated. “Our technical expertise in addition to our 38 years of high quality module production experience adds value and can help reduce project costs. Kyocera’s success depends on our customer’s success.”
Construction on the main public parking lot began in May 2013, kicking off a three-phase installation expected to be completed in 2-3 years. Work has already begun on phase 2 in the remaining 7 acres of the parking area.
Tucson joins Chicago’s Midway as another major airport going green with Kyocera. Midway’s Quick Turn Around rental car washing and refueling facility was outfitted with Kyocera photovoltaic solar modules in October 2013.
To learn more about Kyocera Solar Solutions for both residential and commercial projects, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-223-9580.
As hurricane season begins, the employees of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) are preparing to help affected coastal areas by championing a new concept called “Power2Serve” – anchored by a 42-foot disaster relief vehicle and 26-foot trailer combination designed to deliver immediate power, emergency shelter, access to news and information and Wi-Fi internet connectivity to those in need. The vehicle was unveiled today to crisis management officials in the home city of NRG retail subsidiary, Reliant.
NRG purchased the commercial grade vehicle from a stock car racer and, drawing on expertise from across the company, modified it to suit its new mission. At the same time, approximately 400 NRG employees from across the country signed up to staff the vehicle as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and “ServeCrew” community volunteers. CERT members receive training in search and rescue operations, medical response, disaster psychology, shelter operations, and basic fire suppression. ServeCrew members are qualified to set up power charging stations, assist residents in filling out necessary forms and applications, and provide IT support.
“The Power2Serve vehicle is a way for NRG to be more involved in our communities as part of future disaster relief efforts – harnessing our collective skills and knowledge in a creative, hands?on way to respond quickly to help affected people,” said Fran Sullivan, senior vice president of plant operations. “It’s an opportunity for us to bring electricity to impacted residents in times of urgent need, to do whatever we can to make their lives a little better.”
The Power2Serve vehicle and trailer, along with three smaller, complementary vehicles providing additional services as needed, will be dispatched in coordination with local, state, and federal disaster relief authorities. The large unit has sleeping accomodations for seven volunteers and is completely self-sufficient, powered by a 10 kilowatt solar array, a 20 kilowatt diesel generator and a 10 kilowatt auxillary diesel generator.
Additional features include:
- An enclosed 50 x 20 foot pavilion to provide cooled or heated temporary shelter for residents
- Numerous flat panel TVs to show news or weather broadcasts
- 100 charging stations for cell phones, cameras, small tools and power equipment
- Wi-Fi and satellite service, and tablet computers to access email and the internet
The Power2Serve initiative is just one example of NRG’s commitment to improving the quality of life in local communities through employee-led volunteerism, donations, and corporate grant matching. Earlier this year, employees across the company raised $428,000 for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. And last year, NRG contributed $5.4 million and 17,000 volunteer hours to benefit over 700 charitable organizations.
NRG is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. We deliver cleaner and smarter energy choices for our customers, backed by the nation’s largest independent power generation portfolio of fossil fuel, nuclear, solar and wind facilities. A Fortune 500 company, NRG is challenging the U.S. energy industry by becoming one of the largest developers of solar power, building the first privately-funded electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and providing customers with the most advanced smart energy solutions to better manage their energy use. In addition to 47,000 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply nearly 40 million homes, our retail electricity providers – Reliant, Green Mountain Energy and Energy Plus – serve more than two million customers. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.
AMECO Solar announced a free Solar 101 Community Workshop on Wednesday, May 1 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in Long Beach, CA.
Organized by AMECO, the workshop will teach you how to use the sun’s power to benefit your home or business. Our team of experts will go over the basics of solar energy in addition to other topics including: how much money you can save with solar, how to finance a solar installation and how to choose the best solar system and solar installer. Attendees will be given the chance to ask questions at the end of the workshop.
Patrick Redgate, our President & CEO commented, “After thirty nine years in the solar business, we have accumulated a lot of knowledge about solar. We want to pass this information on to the community and hope that our session will inspire more people to consider solar, making their homes and business more sustainable.”
There are a limited amount of spaces available so register today to lock in your spot at the Solar 101 Community Workshop. Fill out a brief form on our Solar 101 Registration page or call us at (562) 633-4400. We hope to see you there!
AMECO Solar CEO Patrick Redgate discusses his nearly 40 years
in the Solar Energy Industry: Then & Now
How did you get started in the solar industry?
I got into solar because I was working for an engineering firm in Saudi Arabia in the 70’s. When I came back from Saudi Arabia, I said this is not sustainable. That’s probably not the word I used, but that’s a really popular word now and it’s really an important one because when I came back to America I realized this isn’t a business that I wanted to do. I wanted to get in the business of saving the planet. Now however, solar has been a rocky road and in the meantime we have learned that solar is really just a part of the mix. There are many other energy generating technologies that are important for us.
How has the hardware changed? What improvements have you seen?
The kind of hardware we used to install commonly was generating heat and that would be heat for people’s homes and hot water for businesses, swimming pools. In fact that technology has really ripened and is mature now. But what we’ve seen now is that photovoltaics have come down in cost and photovoltaic is the science of generating electricity. Electricity is so expensive to get in any other way because of not only the economic costs, but the environmental costs. Photovoltaics are now something I never thought I would see in my lifetime available for everybody for any application that they want.
What were some of the challenges facing you when you were starting out and what are some of the challenges now?
The biggest challenge when we started out was first of all locating products that made sense. And without any track record or understanding it was our job really to discover what was out there. Sometimes I think we were just lucky. We picked the right products and those products did us well. But we are pretty conservative in how we choose what we represent and what we install. We don’t manufacture, however in the 70’s we actually did manufacture because the offerings were so limited. By the mid 80’s there were over 280 domestic manufacturers of Solar Products available to pick from. So we had a big job, to understand what was good, what was bad, what worked, what didn’t. We had to work our way through all the claims and figure out and understand if this was a good fit for our customer base.
Now in today’s world the market has changed to the point where there are only a few domestic manufacturers of solar in the United States and a lot of the competition in the photovoltaic field and electric field is coming from China simply because they have a government directing their programs. They understand the benefit of solar and they have a vision, but we have a laissez-faire economy. And so the nice thing to see is that solar is doing quite well even in a laissez faire economy, but manufacturing costs are very high and we still have a lot more foreign manufacturers to pick from than we have domestic manufacturers.
Net Metering is the term given to the act of selling energy back to the energy companies. What are your thoughts on their future use?
Well actually, electric generation for home owners and businesses would not really be technically or economically feasible for the great number of our customers without Net Metering. Net Metering was passed by the California legislature I think it was in 1996 and it was done as an incentive to…it was done as a…you can deregulate the utilities, the utilities can deregulate themselves, as long as they provide Net Metering. Net Metering is simply the way that people sell energy back to their utility. They generate power during the day, the utility buys it back from them at the same price they bought it – they bought the energy the last time. So it is not a good business model for the utilities. They can’t generate power and buy it back at the same price they sell it, but it really makes the economics here work.
As far as Net Metering’s future is concerned, I think that it’s already been written that only 5% of the customer base can go Net Metered and if that doesn’t change then the solar/electrical applications will really be left for people that want to power their electric vehicles or they want to sell their electricity at a wholesale price. And if they sell their electricity at a wholesale price, it may be feasible because the price for solar has dropped where that may be a good deal for everybody.
What’s your viewpoint on incentives and rebates? How do they impact the solar industry?
It’s hard to say the word sustainable and then ask for incentives. When we have a sustainable technology it should be able to offer the benefits that people would expect without having an incentive applied. But this is an industry that will not come into its own at this point without some kind of support from the government. And what we have seen for instance, the solar industry go to the point now where over 100,000 people are employed in the state of California where as 10 years ago it wasn’t – this couldn’t have happened without some kind of incentive and support. And also what we have seen happen is because of that support, prices have come down and we are at the point now where we really may not need incentives much longer.
When the current incentives end for solar, we’ll be faced with a market that is very well developed. People accept solar as an alternative. Will the pricing be good enough? We don’t know. But if the incentives are gone, the tax credits are currently in place until the year 2015 – that’s a huge break for the buyer. The California rebates are almost all gone and they were scheduled not to be gone until 2016 also, but it’s been so popular in California that the rebates have disappeared almost. They started out at $4.50 a watt and now they are down to .20 a watt now. So we are really at a small percentage – its almost ridiculous the size of the rebates compared to what it used to be.
I think the challenge that we face and the challenge that anybody in the solar business faces is to keep costs low enough so people can buy the solar and justify rather than just being green and employing locally and going sustainable. They are not only doing the good thing, but they are doing the right thing economically. And if we can get to the point where the tax credits are on the verge of going away, there will be a huge rush of many people that will want to buy solar before its gone and then the market will collapse. In my opinion, we need to reduce the support slowly and incrementally and predictably as has the state of California with the rebates. When the Federal Government reduces its support on December 31, 2015, this industry will be in for a big, big shake down.
Who are your target markets and how has that changed over the years?
We have done commercial, and industrial and residential applications, but because this is a business that has been ephemeral and there have been booms and busts, we have mostly concentrated on the small business and residential market place.
Do the jobs get bigger the longer you are in business?
We have done large projects. In fact in Long Beach we did the smallest system and the largest system. The largest system up to that point in history was the California community pool and the smallest system was done for my daughter’s science fair project. But we haven’t gone for the big bang; we aren’t a big union shop. This is a family owned company and we believe that we can really provide better service by keeping the operations close at hand.
You have run a successful business for almost 40 years. What advice can you give to young entrepreneurs today who dream of a career in solar energy?
There are so many different levels, it is a business like anything else; there is engineering, there is marketing, there is product development, customer relations. And if anybody would want to get into solar back when I did, I had to spend two weeks in the library to read every book there was and then there was nobody to give me advice. But the advice really is, just as any other business, if you can find a school that has a program that teaches you, you can become an installer. If you want to go to a business school it’s the same business environment we all lived in and so you can get a job with a solar company if you have a business degree. If you want to become a marketing person, there’s nothing more unusual about marketing solar or selling solar than any other product that’s out there. Again, we have the internet is a huge resource and it’s not just a matter of tapping somebody on the shoulder and saying can you help me. You can help yourself. If you know how to Google, you can get there pretty quickly.
What makes your company different from all other solar energy installation companies?
My favorite topic. We have the experience, we have the know-how and we are dedicated. We want to make sure what we do works because we’ve discovered our best resource for future customers are the ones we are working with today.
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About AMECO Solar
Since 1974, AMECO Solar has been dedicated to the concept that solar energy is the solution to our energy future. Solar energy is unlimited, non-polluting and free. AMECO Solar is committed to providing cost-effective and reliable solar systems and strives to offer the best components available. AMECO Solar believes that using solar energy is simply the best investment available to homeowners or businesses today, since the alternative to solar is just a never-ending monthly expense. Extensive Solar information can be found on their website: SolarExpert.com. Call today for a quick quote: 888-846-9411.
Kyocera Solar, Inc., a leading supplier of reliable solar modules and renewable energy, announced that its solar energy systems will power over 2000 homes in the Fiji Islands. The solar projects are in partnership with Fiji’s Department of Energy and the Fifth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting project (Palm 5) with the goal to bring renewable energy to remote villages of the island nation. To date, 135 kilowatts have been installed and the remaining 270 kilowatts will be completed by the end of the year.
With these solar systems, rural villages are able to thrive without access to a traditional electric grid. Each system will utilize Kyocera’s modules and the sun’s energy to provide basic lighting and other low-power needs on the islands.
Solar energy makes so much sense for island nations that often lack an electricity grid infrastructure but have an abundance of sunshine year-round,” said George Phani, sales manager for Kyocera Solar Australia. “With our Kyocera modules, many Fijians have been given light and other electricity into the night – maybe for the first time. We hope this program can serve as a template for other islands to follow.”
Kyocera has partnered with Powerlite Generators (Fiji) Limited to install 3,000 solar modules throughout Fiji. Each system includes at least one 135-watt Kyocera module, a regulator, maintenance-free batteries, and both indoor and outdoor lighting.
Kyocera Solar, Inc. is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona with regional sales affiliates in the Americas and Australia.