Cuomo Sets Stage for New York’s First ‘Build-Ready’ Solar Development

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled a lease-option agreement for the first “Build-Ready” site in New York. 

Under the agreement, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will work closely with the host communities and through New York’s Clean Energy Resources and Development Incentive “Build-Ready” Program to repurpose the formerly mined land in St. Lawrence County into one of the largest solar projects in Adirondack Park.

The agreement reflects the goals of New York’s new siting law and accelerates progress toward Cuomo’s goal for 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“The repurposing of this former mine in the Adirondack Park represents the innovative thinking that we need to put into action in order to compete in a green energy economy,” says Cuomo. “As we rebuild and reimagine our economy, projects like this will go a long way in helping us reach our renewable energy goals while creating opportunities for economic growth and fostering cleaner, healthier communities across New York.”

The land-lease agreement was executed by NYSERDA with Benson Mines Inc., with support from the town of Clifton, the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corporation, St. Lawrence County and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency (IDA). Located on the northwest edge of Adirondack Park, the approximately 20 MW BR Benson Mines Solar project will be built on the remnants of Benson’s former iron ore mining operation spanning approximately 130 acres.

Achieving this milestone enables the next phase of community engagement and project planning activities, such as pre-application permit consultations and filing an interconnection request. Additionally, NYSERDA will host a public input session on May 25, to encourage broader public involvement in the project.

NYSERDA will work with community leaders, business partners and regional partner agencies to explore different community benefit options, such as payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements, opportunities for workforce development and job training programs, and offer free technical assistance along the way. NYSERDA will also collaborate closely with the town to ensure the project complements the community’s long-term planning, including development considerations for the neighboring J&L Steel site, to help create new local revenue and attract additional economic development opportunities to the area.

This project site was advanced as part of the first suite of sites being considered under the BR program and announced in Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State. Local community members, elected officials, private companies, environmental justice communities or other interested parties are encouraged to nominate potential BR locations, which will be considered on a rolling basis, through its request for information issued last July.

Source: https://solarindustrymag.com/cuomo-introduces-lease-option-for-new-yorks-first-build-ready-solar-site

Maryland Energy Administration awards grant to low-to-moderate income housing developer for residential solar microgrid

The Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP), a green nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Prince George’s County, along with Pepco and Emera Technologies, has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to construct a new residential microgrid to power a small subdivision of new Net Zero single family homes in Fairmount Heights, Maryland.

The grant builds on efforts catalyzed by is an extension of the MEA’s Resilient Maryland program and will support a community solar and battery energy storage system, as well as the associated racking, mounting and wiring equipment, for six low-to-moderate income households. This innovative pilot project, which received design and feasibility funding in 2020, will enable the new homeowners to generate their own energy independent of the public electrical grid.

“Supporting the development of new and affordable, clean energy homes for first time low-to-moderate income home buyers is a sustainable model Maryland can build upon,” said Governor Larry Hogan.

This project was originally proposed to the Maryland Energy Administration in 2020 by HIP’s architect, Peabody & Fine Architects. The resulting feasibility study conducted was part of MEA’s efforts to support microgrid and other distributed energy resource systems that bring clean, reliable and flexible energy solutions to Maryland organizations and communities. This microgrid is an integral part of creating a community that makes affordable, sustainable and resilient new construction housing more accessible to Maryland’s low-to-moderate income population.

“HIP is focused on developing affordable housing that is both healthy and highly energy efficient in older neighborhoods across Prince George’s County. This will be our second project in Fairmount Heights focused on passive design and affordable home ownership,” said Stephanie Prange-Proestel, HIP’s deputy director, who serves as the project manager for the development team.

HIP expects to break ground on Phase I of the development in the fall of 2021. Six single-family homes will be built on vacant lots on 60th Place in Fairmount Heights using modular construction, designed to meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Ready Energy standards and the Passive House Institute’s PHIUS+ 2018 standard. These rigorous requirements ensure energy savings, comfort, health and durability. HIP will market the homes to first-time homebuyers earning 80% or less of the area median income.

The collaboration of community partners looks forward to providing electricity generation solutions like rooftop community solar to modernize grid technologies in neighborhoods such as Fairmount Heights, which will help meet state and county de-carbonization goals. Emera Technologies’ residential microgrid solution BlockEnergy will allow for homes to share the benefits of combined renewable generation. The community microgrid system also provides reliability and resiliency for the neighborhood.

“The BlockEnergy microgrid is a utility-focused system that easily scales to meet new residential growth and gives utilities the ability to manage distributed community energy with a single point of control. This partnership is a great model for what is possible when we work together to use new technology like BlockEnergy to bring clean, reliable energy sources cost-effectively to customers in communities across the country,” said President and CEO of Emera Technologies Rob Bennett.

Fairmount Heights, Maryland, the second oldest African American majority municipality in Prince George’s County, is home to just under 2,000 residents and a model location for clean and resilient development. The town has set ambitious goals for 2021 to revitalize vacant land with projects that will encourage citizen engagement and attract growth while minimizing its carbon footprint and promoting a green, sustainable future. Working with Pepco, HIP and Emera Technologies to complete this onsite microgrid project will also mark yet another step in Fairmount Heights’ efforts to earn certification from Sustainable Maryland, a program for Maryland municipalities that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.

Pepco and Emera Technologies will install the microgrid elements, and supporting distribution infrastructure, alongside the construction of the homes. For the first three years after residents move into the new homes, Pepco will operate a pilot in conjunction with the other partners to collect data for specific metrics related to the system and potential benefits to the distribution system. Pepco will share additional details regarding the design, goals, proposed metrics and timeline associated with the three-year pilot with the Maryland Public Service Commission, community members and the public later this year.

Affordable access to sustainable energy has taken center stage in communities across America in the face of increasing threats from climate change, which can disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities. The Fairmount Heights Net Zero community will provide replicable, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that will serve as models for wide-scale adoption across Maryland. This pilot underscores the importance of state investments in positively advancing the local energy grid through collaboratively identified inclusive and equitable solutions.

News item from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA)

Source: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2021/04/maryland-energy-administration-grant-low-to-moderate-income-community-solar-microgrid/

Upstate New York’s first utility-scale solar projects set to come online this year

Upstate New York’s first utility-scale solar projects set to come online this year | Renewable Energy World






Home News Upstate New York’s first utility-scale solar projects set to come online this…








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Source: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/solar/upstate-new-yorks-first-utility-scale-solar-projects-set-to-come-online-this-year/

DSD and Sunset Development break ground at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, Calif.

Distributed Solar Development has broken ground on a 1.283-MW solar + 1.34 MWh storage installation at the premiere Bishop Ranch business park and mixed-use development in San Ramon, California. The rooftop and canopy system is expected to offset Bishop Ranch’s energy usage by 90%, while the combined on-site storage system will help reduce its overall energy load to provide significant savings.

In partnership with Bishop Ranch’s owner, Sunset Development Company, DSD has now designed two solar modular technology installations on the campus to optimize energy production as Bishop Ranch works toward its ultimate goal of shifting to 100% clean, renewable energy.

“With substantial investments in innovative new technologies like this portfolio of solar energy systems, Bishop Ranch is redefining the concept of sustainable business practices,” said Ben Jones, Canopy Team Leader and Director of Engineering for DSD. “By working closely with their architectural partners, we were able to design solutions that align beautifully with Bishop Ranch’s existing architecture and aesthetic. It has been a true team effort, and everyone involved is extremely proud of the result.”

The first site DSD designed and installed was at City Center Bishop Ranch, the largest outdoor shopping and lifestyle center in the world to be awarded LEED Platinum Certification due in part to the rooftop and canopy PV systems that produce 1.33MW of renewable energy and designed to offset annual energy usage for City Center by 75% on average. In the last year, the solar installation at City Center Bishop Ranch produced about 2.15GWh of energy, of which only 1.91 GWh was used by the center, and resulted in approximately $316,000 of savings.

“DSD is the perfect partner to help us achieve our renewable energy goals. They have the ability to create innovative and architecturally beautiful solar solutions that blend seamlessly with Bishop Ranch’s overall aesthetic while optimizing energy production,” said Alexander Mehran, Jr., President and CEO of Sunset Development Company. “This solar installation complements our core green philosophy, award-winning transit program, extensive recycling initiative, and green cleaning practices that have come to define Bishop Ranch.”

The two installations combined will produce an estimated 4,771 MWh yearly, which amounts to 3,374 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided, the equivalent of taking more than 700 cars off the road or planting over 55,000 trees.

Source: https://solarbuildermag.com/news/dsd-and-sunset-development-break-ground-at-bishop-ranch-in-san-ramon-calif/

Accela Looks to Streamline Solar Permitting with Launch of SolarAPP+

Accela, a provider of cloud-based solutions for government, has entered a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to launch SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus), a new instant online solar permitting platform for residential solar energy and battery projects. 

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution will be rolled out to 1,500 agencies at launch and made available at no cost to Accela’s current state and local customers and transform permitting timelines from an average of two weeks to instantaneous. In doing so, the partnership will help bolster community resilience, promote economic recovery, meet the growing demand for clean energy and accelerate solar permitting across the country. Accela works with over 80% of the largest cities in the U.S. and has been partnering with agencies for years to modernize solar permitting.

“Agencies across the country are increasingly looking for ways to speed up solar permitting to support local jobs, drive economic growth and protect the environment,” says Tom Nieto, COO at Accela. “We’re excited about partnering with NREL on this project, which aligns perfectly with our mission to deliver SaaS solutions to improve efficiency, increase citizen engagement, and build thriving and resilient communities.”

Residential solar and battery applications account for a growing percentage of permitting pipelines, with authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) receiving hundreds of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System permit applications per month. With increasing numbers of local governments creating climate action plans to reduce emissions and fight climate change, the new partnership between Accela and NREL will help agencies seamlessly manage large volumes of residential solar and home battery permit applications to substantially rebalance staff workloads. Additionally, as solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., it will also help local governments fuel economic growth amid record budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NREL’s turnkey solution catches any code issues, typos and other errors, and instantly returns corrections to the applicant – allowing simple projects to move forward quickly while creating more bandwidth for staff to focus on more complex applications. Accela customers can integrate SolarAPP+ into their Accela Building solution to speed up review and approval processes and track permits from start to finish within a single system operating as a centralized source of truth. The system was built in collaboration with key code officials, AHJs and the solar industry to help departments utilize resources more efficiently and effectively by digitizing traditionally paper-based and manual processes – including plan review and install approval – for out-of-the-box solar and battery projects.

For more on Accela’s Civic Solutions for building and permitting, click here.

Source: https://solarindustrymag.com/accela-looks-to-streamline-solar-permitting-with-launch-of-solarapp

Bechtel to construct 140-MW Cutlass Solar project in Texas

Advanced Power has selected Bechtel, an engineering and construction firm, to complete the EPC services for the Cutlass Solar Project in Fort Bend, Texas. The solar PV project will add 140 MWdc to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ Houston Zone.

Advanced Power selected Bechtel to handle EPC services for the 140-MWdc Cutlass Solar project.

“The Cutlass Solar Project represents the next chapter for our organization as we continue to work to advance a sustainable energy future,” said Tom Spang, CEO of Advanced Power. “We are proud to have Bechtel on this journey and to build off existing solar expertise.”

The project will be built on a 700-acre site and will employ more than 200 people at its peak. The solar farm is scheduled for commercial operation in 2022.

“Working in support of Advanced Power, millions of homes are now powered by low-carbon alternatives,” said Kelvin Sims, general manager, Bechtel Infrastructure Americas. “We are delighted to continue this partnership to build renewable solutions for communities and to meet the energy transition targets of our country.”

Bechtel Enterprises partnered with Advanced Power to develop the project. Cutlass Solar is the fourth project and first renewable energy facility that Bechtel will deliver for Advanced Power. The team is currently constructing the South Field Energy Facility in Ohio and previously completed the Cricket Valley Energy Center and the Carroll County Energy Facility using natural gas, a lower-carbon source of energy to help transition away from coal.

“We are pleased to continue and expand our longstanding development partnership with Advanced Power into renewable energy as we continue to transform and grow our business in clean energy,” said Keith Hennessey, president of Bechtel Enterprises.

News item from Bechtel

Source: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2021/04/bechtel-to-construct-cutlass-solar-project-in-texas/

Ørsted, Eversource commit $5 million to university’s offshore wind research initiatives

Ørsted, Eversource commit $5 million to university’s offshore wind research initiatives | Renewable Energy World






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Source: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/wind-power/orsted-eversource-commit-5-million-to-universitys-offshore-wind-research-initiatives/

Renewables Consulting Group Receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise

The U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth II has awarded the Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), a services firm that supports the global renewable energy sector, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category for significant growth in overseas sales. RCG is one of 205 organizations to be nationally recognized with the award.

Celebrating the success of innovative businesses pioneering products or services, delivering social mobility programs, or showing commitment to sustainable development practices, the Queen’s Awards are among the most prestigious business awards in the U.K.

“From New York to London to Tokyo, our team of engineers, economists and scientists is playing a pivotal role in the transition to a net-zero economy,” says Sebastian Chivers, CEO of RCG. “This award belongs to every employee who has been part of our journey to date. We look forward to continuing our global expansion as a proud recipient of the Queen’s Award.”

Employing a staff of 60 consultants across nine offices, RCG provides market intelligence, management consulting and technical advisory services across wind, solar and energy storage technologies, serving the organizations transitioning the world to a low-carbon economy. The company says its services cover the full value chain from strategy and development, transactions and financing, and engineering construction and operations.

As was RCG’s mission upon its founding, the company says its reach is global. The firm is organized into three regional business units covering Europe, Middle East and Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. With a deep understanding of businesses and industries they serve, RCG says it works with global corporations, financial institutions, governments and public sector organizations.

Source: https://solarindustrymag.com/renewables-consulting-group-receives-queens-award-for-enterprise

Accela integrates NREL’s SolarAPP+ into cloud-based platform for AHJs

Accela, a provider of cloud-based solutions for government applications, announced a new partnership with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to launch SolarAPP+ (Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus), a new instant online solar permitting platform for residential solar energy and battery projects. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution will be rolled out to 1,500 agencies at launch and made available at no cost to Accela’s current state and local customers and transform permitting timelines from an average of two weeks to instantaneous. In doing so, the partnership will help bolster community resilience, promote economic recovery, meet the growing demand for clean energy and accelerate solar permitting across the country. Accela works with over 80% of the largest cities in the United States and has been partnering with agencies for years to modernize solar permitting, including Charlotte County, Florida; Clark County, Nevada; the State of Oregon; and San Diego, California.

“Agencies across the country are increasingly looking for ways to speed up solar permitting to support local jobs, drive economic growth and protect the environment,” said Tom Nieto, chief operating officer at Accela. “We’re excited about partnering with the National Renewable Energy Lab on this project, which aligns perfectly with our mission to deliver innovative SaaS solutions to improve efficiency, increase citizen engagement, and build thriving and resilient communities, for today and for the future.”

Residential solar and battery applications account for a growing percentage of permitting pipelines, with AHJs receiving hundreds of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System permit applications per month. With increasing numbers of local governments creating climate action plans to reduce emissions and fight climate change, the new partnership between Accela and NREL will help agencies seamlessly manage large volumes of residential solar and home battery permit applications to substantially rebalance staff workloads. Additionally, as solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, it will also help local governments fuel economic growth amid record budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Accela recognizes that it takes a complex ecosystem of government leaders, citizens, local businesses and technology partners to create smart cities,” said Dr. Jeffrey J. Cook, SolarAPP+ product lead of NREL. “By integrating SolarAPP+, they’re demonstrating a commitment to providing cities and counties of all sizes with solutions to rebalance permitting workload and thereby unlock the immense economic opportunity available with home solar energy.”

NREL’s turnkey solution catches any code issues, typos and other errors, and instantly returns corrections to the applicant, allowing simple projects to move forward quickly while creating more bandwidth for staff to focus on more complex or unique applications. Accela customers can integrate SolarAPP+ into their Accela Building solution to speed up review and approval processes and track permits from start to finish within a single system operating as a centralized source of truth. The system was built in collaboration with key code officials, AHJs and the solar industry to help departments utilize resources more efficiently and effectively by digitizing traditionally paper-based and manual processes, including plan review and install approval for out-of-the-box solar and battery projects.

To learn more about Accela’s integration with SolarApp+, join the webinar, Streamline Solar Permitting through NREL and Accela’s SolarAPP+ Partnership, on May 12th by registering here.

News item from Accela

Source: https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2021/04/accela-nrel-solarapp-plus-cloud-based-ahj-platform/

D.C.’s largest solar canopy unveiled at Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus

The District’s largest solar canopy was unveiled on the grounds of the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus (RIC), located on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus. Several representatives from District government and the business community participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation, which is part of the District’s Solar for All program. The canopy will provide more than 325 income-qualified households with clean, renewable energy and electricity bill savings over the next 15 years.

At the event, District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells announced New Columbia Solar and Children’s National Hospital are 2021 District Sustainability Award co-recipients for the execution of this project, which will be recognized alongside other award recipients on April 28.

“I am pleased to celebrate this innovative, award-winning project, accomplished with our partners for the benefit of our residents and community,” said Wells. “The completion of this project by New Columbia Solar is a tremendous achievement that will not only help to meet Mayor Bowser’s climate and clean energy goals for the District, but will also help to reduce energy costs for low-income households. The District is proud to be a national leader in sustainability, and this project further demonstrates our commitment to deploying solar and developing scalable solutions in a way that prioritizes equitable access for all.”

The clean energy generated by this solar array, which is on the RIC parking garage, will be distributed through the Solar for All program, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s initiative to provide 100,000 low-to-moderate income families with the benefits of locally generated clean energy. This installation will serve more than 325 income-qualified DC families, saving each household up to $500 annually, and saving these families up to $2.4 million over 15 years.

Joining to celebrate the project and the partnerships that made the project possible were Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3); DOEE Director Tommy Wells; Children’s National Hospital Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President for Patient Care Services Kathy Gorman; Commissioner Emile Thompson, District of Columbia Public Service Commission; DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) Director Ted Trabue; and New Columbia Solar CEO Mike Healy.

“This project is the perfect example of why operating a solar company in the District is so rewarding,” said New Columbia Solar (NCS) CEO Mike Healy. “I look at this project and see major decision-makers in DC coming together, in the middle of a global pandemic, to prioritize powering our city through clean energy and to offset utility expenses for the families in our community who are most in need.”

The installation began when Children’s National acquired a large five-story above-grade parking garage, which provided the perfect location for a cutting-edge solar array. The original goal for the parking garage was always to incorporate a solar array however, the installation of the 1,148 kW system was an engineering feat, representing one of the District’s most complex solar systems. For example, the load-bearing capacity of the concrete deck was less than the weight of the Spydercrane needed to lift and install the steel canopy frame. NCS’s engineering team had to devise creative solutions, such as using large steel “railroad ties” to disperse the load of the Spydercrane across a larger surface area.

The installation process was well worth the struggle–in addition to the environmental benefits of solar energy, the array supports District families through Solar for All.

“When we began to plan the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, we wanted to do more than discover new and better ways to care for children. We also wanted to support the local community,” said President and CEO of Children’s National Kurt Newman, MD. “I’m proud that we could incorporate the solar design into our campus thereby returning clean energy to the residents of Ward 4 and doing our part to support the environment.”

Over the past two years operating DOEE’s Solar for All program, the DCSEU has worked with local solar developers to install 130 community solar facilities across the District. These installations are expected to serve more than 4,000 income-qualified DC families, with more community solar projects slated to be developed in 2021 to serve an additional 2,000 households.

“It’s an honor to deliver the Solar for All program in partnership with District government and the DC business community,” said DCSEU Director Ted Trabue. “These projects bring opportunities to District businesses, jobs to DC residents, and critical electricity bill savings to families who need it, all while helping work towards a carbon-free DC.”

Source: https://solarbuildermag.com/news/d-c-s-largest-solar-canopy-unveiled-at-childrens-national-research-innovation-campus/