Solar Briefing: IKEA, LRE, City of Austin | Solar Forum Recommendations

by | Apr 29, 2011

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IKEA’s solar energy system on its Brooklyn store is commissioned, operational and certified by Con Edison and New York City.

The 200 kW array occupies 19,000-square feet, with four different module types totaling 1,104 panels. The 346,000-square-foot IKEA Brooklyn will generate 240,000 kWh of renewable electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 365,615 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the company reports. The Brooklyn store additionally has a 70,000- square-foot green roof. It is a certified Brownfield redevelopment, and LEED silver-certified location.

IKEA has three other operational solar energy systems operational in the U.S., and seven more solar installations underway. A solar energy and geothermal system were incorporated into a Denver-area store opening this year.

Solar and wind power projects developer, Lincoln Renewable Energy (LRE), has closed a $41 million power sales and project finance with Macquarie Energy. The New Jersey Oak Solar project is a 10-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system to be constructed on 100 acres of privately owned, non-agricultural land in Cumberland County, N.J. The project will consist of some 55,000 solar panels on a 100-acre site that will connect to Atlantic City Electric’s distribution system.

As part of the deal, Macquarie Energy will enter into a long-term purchase agreement for power and renewable energy credits from LRE’s New Jersey Oak Solar project. Macquarie Energy will also provide construction finance and term debt to the project. LRE will be the long-term owner of the facility. When completed later this year, the New Jersey Oak Solar project will be the largest non-utility owned solar project east of the Mississippi. The Ryan Company, a subsidiary of Quanta Services Inc. will provide engineering, procurement and construction services.

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures has begun construction for the City of Austin on the 30 MW Webberville Solar project near Austin, Texas, expected to be operational by the end of the year. The electricity will be sold to the local utility under a 25 year power purchase agreement, and the utility owns the land where the project is hosted. The City of Austin’s goal is for renewable sources to supply 35% of its energy by 2020.

Colorado-based Renewable Energy Systems Americas will build and maintain the solar plant. Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB) are underwriting the construction debt for the project.

The plant will be sited in Webberville, TX, which is 15 miles east of Austin. Trina Solar’s crystalline 270W photovoltaic modules will be used on a flat, single-axis tracking system. When completed, it will be of the largest solar PV projects in the US.

The global solar industry has made great strides in the past decade, but has much progress to make before it is an integral part of the world’s energy system. This is the core statement of 50 international solar industry decision-makers – CEOs, utility leaders, international organization sector experts, and senior policymakers — attending Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance’s first Solar Leadership Forum in Napa, California.

Key insights from the meeting have been released in the “Leadership Forum Solar Results Book 2011” which compiles milestones for the solar industry’s continued growth in coming decades.

All participants agreed that excessively generous incentives should become a thing of the past, and in fact are not desired by most in the market. The value of solar energy generation is set rather arbitrarily by such incentive regimes, rather than by the market. And this does not lend the longer-term stability necessary for the industry.

However, the industry still requires market support mechanisms, in the form of some public policy and financial incentives, in order to maintain current growth rates.

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