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Community Solar Development Projects are Coming to Pennsylvania

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Solar is proving to be one of America’s fastest growing low-cost energy sources. On Thursday February 21, 2019, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced bipartisan community solar legislation. Currently, there is only a small percentage of people in the state who acquire solar energy, and this legislation will expand access to affordable, clean energy for residents.

What is Community Solar?

Community solar is a solar plant where electricity is shared by more multiple community subscribers. This allows homeowners, renters and businesses in the community to share the benefits of solar panels even if they don’t want to install them on their own home or business. With community solar, you can purchase or lease a share in a community solar project, and every month you will receive a credit on your electricity bill by the energy that has been produced by your share.

Community Solar is Helping Pennsylvanians

Once this legislation is put into motion, it will make it easier for Pennsylvanian’s to go solar and it opens access to clean energy to all residents. This legislation will not only help the environment, but these solar projects will create new jobs for Pennsylvanians in the state’s new energy economy. Vote Solar studied and analyzed the economic benefits that this legislation would bring to Pennsylvania. They estimate this would increase solar jobs by 26%, including 1,053 full-time jobs in the first five years. It will also create $706 million in local economic benefits.

“Between the plummeting costs of solar over the last decade and pent up customer demand for access to clean energy, now is the perfect time to enact community solar legislation in Pennsylvania” said Jeff Cramer, executive director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “If passed, HB531 would provide families and businesses the opportunity to access all of the financial and environmental benefits solar provides rural and urban communities alike.”

The Solar Movement in the U.S.

There has been a growing demand for community solar across the United States. Pennsylvania is one of the many states across the country that are introducing legislation designed to enable the development of community solar projects. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow community solar programs and encourage growth through policy and programs, which have created thousands of jobs.

 

Community solar is a great way for the community to save money on energy while also helping the environment. Intersect Energy provides analysis, financing, and structuring of alternative energy solutions for your site with a goal of reducing the sites environmental impact while maximizing savings for the site owner. Contact us today so we can help you get started with your solar power investment and make sure you keep up with the latest news in the world of renewable energy by following us on LinkedIn!

More and More Corporations are Turning Towards Renewable Energy

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Corporations have been adamant that they want renewable energy. Last year, corporations and government agencies broke records by signing contracts to buy 13.4 gigawatts of power, with 1 gigawatt being equivalent to 1 billion watts. To put this in perspective, this is similar to Nevada’s total generating capacity. Despite the wave of federal policies that had the potential to lower the demand for clean power, the U.S. made up 63 percent of global corporate renewable deals last year. The growth over the past year shows tremendous progress for renewable energy. Let’s take a deeper look at what is behind the boom.

Tech Giants are Going Green

Tech giants like Apple, AT&T, Google and Facebook are standing out as leaders in the field. They are paving the way for other corporations to ultimately pledge to achieve 100 percent of their power from renewables. When you hear a company like Google say, “We’re 100% renewable energy,” it usually means that they are buying as much clean, renewable energy as it is consuming unclean.

Facebook Inc. alone made deals on more than 2.6 gigawatts of clean energy just last year. This is three times that of the next highest corporate energy buyer, AT&T. Google announced early last year that they currently held contracts to purchase 3 gigawatts from renewable energy projects.

The Global Effort Towards Going Green

Communities, companies and nations have set clean-power targets in a global effort to stop climate change, which puts the need for renewable energy at an all-time high. Today the green boom is being driven by renewable energy. In most markets, wind and solar power is the cheapest source of electricity and renewable energy is increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. In fact, Exxon Mobil Corp. signed a clean-power deal last year for the Permian Basin, which is one of the fastest growing U.S. oil fields.

“It’s no longer a safe bet to assume that utilities are the biggest source of clean-energy demand,” Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst at BloombergNEF, said in an interview. “The sheer scale of renewable-energy purchases is unprecedented and only poised to grow.”

Make the Change

The world is turning towards renewable energy and corporations have made major progress in renewable energy growth. Now that big corporations are paving the way, it has and will continue to become more affordable for other corporations and small businesses.

If you are interested in joining the movement towards renewable energy, contact the team at Intersect Energy today! We provide analysis, financing, and structuring of alternative energy solutions for your site with a goal of reducing the site’s environmental impact while maximizing savings for you as the site owner. Contact us today to get started on your next renewable energy project. Make sure you keep up with the latest news in the world of renewable energy by following us on LinkedIn!

Wind and Solar: Predicted to be the Fastest Growing Sources of Electricity Over the Next Two Years

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The U.S. has been making substantial strides towards renewable energy goals recent years by pushing out fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energy. In fact, The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration is predicting that wind and solar will grow 10-17% over the next two years. If these predictions are accurate, wind and solar will be the fastest growing sources of electricity over the next two years.

Wind Is Winning In Renewable Energy

Since it was discovered in 1919, wind energy has come a long way. One major improvement is affordability. The share of total U.S. generation from wind is projected to increase from 7% in 2018 to 9% in 2020, making wind the largest source of renewable energy in the nation. Currently, there is utility-scale wind power installed in 41 states. In 2019, about 11 GW (gigawatts), or 1 billion watts, of wind capacity are scheduled to come online, which is the largest amount of new wind capacity that has been installed since 2012.

Solar Continues To Soar

As prices continue to fall, solar is becoming a cost-effective energy choice for homeowners and business owners alike. It is the most abundant energy source on earth, and it has become the third-largest renewable energy source in the U.S. power sector. In addition, the installation of solar power across the U.S. has increased more than 23 times over the past eight years. In 2019, utility scale power installations are projected at 4 GWac (gigawatt alternating current). Over the next two years, it is projected that almost 9 GWac solar will be installed across the nation.

Investing In A Renewable Energy Future

Renewable energy could possibly exceed coal electricity by 2022. The EIA predicts that coal will begin to fall by 24%. When adding together renewable energy sources that will be used in the U.S., it’s predicted that the U.S. will get 38% of its electricity from clean energy sources in 2020. This is a great step as renewable energy looks to continue to gain ground on fossil fuels.

 

Interested in investing in a solar power project, but not sure how to find opportunities? As a Distributed Energy System developer, Intersect Energy has the expertise and services you need to find solar power opportunities and capital. Contact us today so we can help you get started with your solar power investment and make sure you keep up with the latest news in the world of renewable energy by following us on LinkedIn!

Schools Are Jumping On Board With Solar

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With solar on the rise in the U.S., corporations and institutions with huge energy bills have started to realize how much money they can save by switching to solar power. One area where we are seeing great growth is in schools.

In early December, the public schools in Arlington, Virginia decided to implement solar power into schools with a new solar-on-schools 25-year contract. The schools’ solar PV system will include 6,980 panels with a total capacity of 2.5 megawatts of power. Arlington Public Schools (APS) are leading the way for the solar movement and making it easier for neighboring school districts to follow the same path.

Implementing Solar in Schools

This is the largest solar contract in Northern Virginia. The solar power purchase agreement (PPA) will have no capital costs and will save the school district an estimated $4 million in operating costs over the 25-year contract. In addition to the savings, the solar PV arrays will be equipped with an Energy Dashboard, which will allow the students to learn about the impact of solar energy on the environment and in their community.

“This is an important step forward as part of APS’s long-term commitment to conserving energy and providing a cleaner environment for the future of our students,” said Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent, APS. “In addition to substantial cost savings and environmental benefits at no upfront cost to APS, these solar projects provide incredible teaching and learning opportunities for our schools, allowing students to explore energy conservation in action.”

Growing Market for Solar Power

There is a growing market for solar power in the commercial sector due to the low prices and overall savings. Other school districts in the state may follow suit and shift to solar, as by doing this with other school districts they can increase their political influence.

 

At Intersect Energy, we have experience working with corporations, schools, non-profits, etc. Through our knowledge and expertise, we can provide you with turn-key energy solutions when it comes to your on-site alternative energy generation. Contact the experts at Intersect Energy today to request your consultation! Don’t forget to stay up-to-date with all the latest news in the renewable energy industry by following us on LinkedIn.

Tariffs Hit Hard in Q3: What Impact Did This Have on Solar Market?

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The new 2018 U.S. solar tariff which was signed on January 23, 2018 by the Trump Administration levies a 30% tariff on all solar imports to the United States for the next four years. Although developers and contractors tried to secure models in the past few months before the tariffs hit, Q3 2018 is where the impacts of the new 30% tariff have been seen, according to a SEIA and Woods and Mackenzie report. Let’s take a deeper look at the impact this has had on the solar market.

Solar Installation

Solar installation during Q3 fell 15% year-over-year to 1.7 GWdc (gigawatt direct current). The utility-scale sector saw the biggest impact from the tariffs, where installations fell to 678 MW (megawatt). Most predict that the market at the end of 2018 will remain relatively flat in comparison to 2017.

“Developers originally planning to bring projects online in Q3 2018 were forced to push out completion dates to Q4 2018 or Q1 2019 due to uncertainty around tariffs,” said Colin Smith, Senior Analyst at Wood Mackenzie. “We did, however, see utility PV procurement outpace installations fourfold in Q3, showing that despite the tariffs causing project delays, there is substantial growth ahead for the U.S. utility PV sector.”

Residential Installation

Although the utility-scale sector experienced a decrease in installations, residential solar was up 11% year-over-year, with an increase in California’s solar market. This didn’t happen right away, the tariff first caused the cost of solar sold to American homeowners to spike, and the cost of solar is 5.6% higher now than it would have been.

What’s to Come?

“If not for the tariffs, the U.S. solar market would undoubtedly look better today than it does now,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “However, as this report shows, this is a resilient industry that cannot be kept down for long.” Wood Mackenzie expects many of the delayed projects to come back online by the end of the year. Due to the new 2018 solar tariff, there has been a negative impact on the solar energy market, but the report also shows that the solar industry is resilient and it will make a comeback in the new year.

Across all other markets, solar is competing with lower-cost fuel sources such as wind and natural gas. This means with the increase in solar costs and the competitive marketplace, homeowners, utilities and businesses might be more likely to choose an alternative to their power generation.

How Intersect Can Help

Interested in investing in a new solar power project in the new year? Intersect Energy is an on-site energy company that can provide you with turn-key energy solutions. We have experience when it comes to alternative energy on-site energy generation, we know the process. Contact us today so we can help you get started on your next solar power investment. Don’t forget to stay up to date with all the latest news in the renewable energy industry by following us on LinkedIn.

Investors and Sources of Capital are Fighting for Solar Power

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Although solar power is often thought of as a bespoke investment, recent trends are causing investors and sources of capital to fight for limited supplies of feasible solar power projects. What has led investors to battle for solar power? The Distributed Energy System experts at Intersect Energy have outlined the three reasons why so many are now fighting over solar power projects.

Increases in Tax Equity Markets

Despite the many tax reforms that have recently occurred, the market for tax equity has significantly increased since 2016. In fact, Michelle Davis, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Renewables & Power, stated that: “There’s 40% more tax equity investors since 2016, margins for debt are compressing, and residual value is making up 50%+ of utility solar required returns”. Because of this, the solar power investment landscape is evolving and tax equity investors, lenders and sponsors are being impacted.

More Competition Means More Willingness to Invest

As solar power becomes increasingly popular, investors are beginning to broaden the types of projects in which they are willing to invest. Although the heavy hitters are still only targeting projects that are $25 million or more, small projects that are significantly less than that number are now being considered by more and more investors. However, there is currently more demand for projects than there is projects available for purchase.

Solar Power Success is Leading to Evolving Deal Structures

The P50 and P90 ratings (the levels of generation forecasted to exceed 50% or 90%) are showing high confidence in the success of solar power construction. This has led to a change when it comes to solar power purchasing structures, as project sponsors have more capital available to distribute among development. Also, less cash is being required for a down payment, making the investment less of a risk for investors.

Interested in investing in a solar power project, but not sure how to find opportunities? As a Distributed Energy System developer, Intersect Energy has the expertise and services you need to find solar power opportunities and capital. Contact us today so we can help you get started with your solar power investment and make sure you keep up with the latest news in the world of renewable energy by following us on LinkedIn!

Structural Changes for Trade Relationship Between US and China Being Discussed? What This Means for Solar?

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Xi and Trump have agreed to a 90 day ceasefire on future tariffs in order to discuss significant structural changes to the trading relationship between the US and China. Currently, there is a 30% tariff on any imported solar panels, which equates to approximately $0.09/watt of an installation. For utility scale solar, this would be approximately 10% of the total installation cost of a solar project. This will significantly impact the solar industry’s ability to grow and doesn’t make  clear sense given the number of jobs created from solar development in the United States.

Solar Manufacturing Capacity by the Numbers

The solar industry has two primary parts in order to produce electricity from the sun. The first is the actual PV panels, or photovoltaic panels. These panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. These panels are almost exclusively made in China, with only a small amount (about 4% market share) being made in the United States. This can be seen in the current manufacturing capacity by country, with China being the single largest producer by a large margin. There are economic reasons why this is the case, primarily a labor cost issue, that will continue to create this imbalance.

 

Figure 1: 2017 Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing Capacity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Chart from statista.com*

The Emphasis on Electrical Inverters

The other part that makes solar panels produce power are the electrical inverters. These inverters take the direct current (DC) output from the solar and invert it to Alternating Current (AC) output to the Grid. These inverters are a significant cost to every solar project and they are also technically difficult to make. The largest factor here is that the inverters die faster than the panels and thus need to be replaced more often. Paying slightly more for inverters makes sense upfront when you can have a product that lasts longer. Due to the complexity of this equipment, the industry generally buys these inverters from either the United States or Germany. There is a large emphasis in the United States for this due to the technical difficulty and electrical architectures being developed and manufactured here. China has recently opened several inverter companies, but they have not had a lot of success breaking into the developed world’s market due to concerns over their equipment’s longevity.

So essentially today, the solar industry has a natural economic equilibrium where China sells the PV panels to the world due to their low cost of labor and the United States/Germany sell the inverters to the world due to the complexity and intellectual prowess required to manufacture. Because PV panels last about 20 years and Inverters last about 7 years, the $0.10/watt inverter price becomes $0.30/watt price over the lifetime of the project, which equals the PV panel cost per project. The solar industry needs China’s cheaper panels to continue to expand, whereas the solar industry needs the technically superior US inverters to continue to expand. It is a very simple quid pro quo situation that the existing tariffs are impacting dramatically. Higher tariffs will accelerate China opening up inverter manufacturers and beginning to gain the intellectual abilities needed to manufacture these difficult pieces of equipment. Without the tariffs, we believe the US will continue to be a major manufacture of inverters for the foreseeable future.

In conclusion, the best outcome for the United States (jobs, domestic energy, reduction of carbon emissions, etc.), as the Trump Administration and Congress work with China on trade negotiations, will be not to increase and actually remove existing tariffs on solar equipment.

Newly Elected Governors Could Mean Significant Increases in Renewable Energy by 2030

By admin,

The 2018 elections on November 6th proved to be a big day for energy and climate policies. According to a report released by Wood Mackenzie and Renewables, we could see a 17.7 GWac (gigawatt alternating current) increase in total market solar energy in five states where new governors were elected. That is if all five states (Illinois, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico) pass the 50% by 2030 mandates. Three states, New Jersey, New York and California, have already mandated 50% renewable energy by 2030.

 

The Report Rundown

Wood Mackenzie’s recent report found that if all five of these states pass the 50% by 2030 renewable portfolio standards (RPS) policies, there will be a 17.7 GWac increase for total solar built and a 16.5 GW increase for total wind built by the year 2030. Although these findings are based on current electric demand and each state’s current wind and solar ratio, these findings could be influenced by other renewable development factors, such as: meeting current RPS mandates or being driven by voluntary utility or corporate procurement.

Illinois and Nevada Would See the Most Growth

While both of these states would benefit from a more aggressive RPS, Illinois would be the one to see the most increase—at  9.1 GWac. This makes up more than half of the total forecasted increase. Coming in second is Nevada, but even though it’s Governor-elect, Steve Sisolak (D), would like to see Nevada use 100% renewable energy, it will ultimately be up to Nevada voters. Although the November 6th election resulted in an electoral victory for the 50% renewables by 2030, the bill has to be voted on one more time before it can become a law.

These Three States Would Also Increase Their Renewable Energy Usage

Also in this report is a projection that Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico will deploy 1-2 GWac of additional solar energy in order to meet the 50% by 2030 RPS. In regards to wind energy, Colorado and Minnesota are predicted to dominate wind energy capacity additions, but it’s important to note that these two states don’t have large populations or electric demand.

 

As the November 6th elections indicate, renewable energy is beginning to become the popular energy choice. The renewable energy experts at Intersect Energy are here to breakdown the report and discuss the changes that could be on the horizon. Not only does renewable energy generate savings for companies and individuals, but they’re also immensely better for the environment. Ready to join in on this popular movement and save an average of 20% in energy costs by switching to renewable energy? Contact the experts at Intersect Energy today!

Corporations Purchase More Renewable Energy Than Ever

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It has been a great year for renewable energy! So far, U.S. corporations have invested in 4.81 Gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy–a number already up 2.03 GW from last year. A gigawatt is a unit of power equal to one billion watts, compared to a megawatt which is equal to one million watts. According to the 2018 Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Mid-year Market Update, published by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, this number is expected to easily surpass 5 GW by December of this year. Which companies have contributed to this advancement? Let’s take a look at a few of the most substantial projects.

Corporations That Have Obtained the Most GWs

Leading the way with 15 deals across various states is Facebook with a total of just under 1.5 GW. Following behind Facebook is AT&T with four deals and a total of just under 1 GW. Rounding out the top five is Walmart (five deals totaling under 1 GW), Apple (two deals totaling under 1 GW) and Microsoft (two deals totaling under 1 GW). Microsoft’s deal with sPower for 315 megawatts (MW) of solar power in Virginia, is actually 2018’s largest corporate procurement in terms of a single deal.

Which States Have Closed the Most Deals?

Although Virginia had the largest deal of the year, thanks to Microsoft, Texas has become a hub for corporate renewable deals. With an impressive 42 deals, Texas’ deals are triple that of Oklahoma’s and North Carolina’s 14 deals. However, this doesn’t mean the market is centralized. In fact, 26 states have completed corporate renewable deals to date!

Leading the Pack!

Not surprisingly, tech companies have the highest percentage of deals signed in 2018 with 29% to be exact. Following behind at 23% are consumer discretionary companies. At 13%, financial and consumer staples come in third; then healthcare at 9.7% and industrial and telecommunication companies each at 6.5%.

Since renewable energy is better for the environment, increases efficiency and decreases costs, expansion is going to continue. At Intersect Energy, we’re committed to reducing environmental impact while maximizing savings for corporations. Ready to reap the benefits of renewable energy for your own corporation? Contact the experts at Intersect Energy today to request your consultation!

Great Energy Source for Great Adventure!

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Who’s on the Job?

Six Flags Great Adventure is partnering with KDC Solar LLC to build a 23.5 MW solar photovoltaic system. This system will be the largest net metering solar installation in the state. The project will install solar carports over selected parking lots and 40 acres of ground mounted solar panels. The system will produce 30 million kWh of clean electricity in one year. This is enough to power everything in the park all year!

This investment will lead to many financial benefits for Six Flags. Although the project is expensive, Seminole Financial Services is providing debt financing for the project through a construction and permanent loan facility. Additionally, development capital and project equity were arranged by GoldenSet Capital Partners. The park is also excited for the social impact of this project, which is equivalent to providing energy for almost 3,000 homes and getting over 100,000 cars off the road!

Net Metered Solar Systems

Within the last few years, net metered solar panel arrays have been on the rise across the nation. Net metered solar panel arrays are being installed on schools, businesses and even private homes. Net metering is simply a mechanism that offers credit to customers who produce more energy than they are using. You can even see your meter go down as you are only charged for the “net” energy used each month. This is why many states are implementing programs to encourage net metering, but are capping the size of the system you may own.

Why NJ?

New Jersey is one of the few states that doesn’t have a cap on net metering programs. This means that the energy plant can be as large as the source needs it to be. Six Flags Great Adventure, located in Jackson NJ, is taking advantage of these laws and making huge energy strides!

Why Intersect Energy?

We at Intersect Energy are here to keep you updated on all of your renewable energy news! We focus on commercial and industrial solar energy development projects in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. We offer innovative solutions to facility upgrades when paired with a new solar project, at little to no capital cost to our clients. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn!