Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - January 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Duke Energy Generation Services recently completed and began commercial operation of its 6,000-acre, 51-megawatt (MW) Kit Carson wind power project near Burlington, Colo. The energy output from the project will serve Tri-State Generation and Transmission's member electric cooperatives and public power districts through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). This is Duke Energy's second commercial wind project to come online in 2010 and brings the company's wind generating capacity to nearly 1,000 MWs. The company reported that in the last three years it has invested $1 billion to grow its commercial wind energy business.

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Borrego Solar Systems Inc. closed its second fund with U.S. Bank and East West Bank to finance new solar energy projects worth approximately $36 million. Projects include a 1.2 MW system at Madera Community Hospital and a 1.8 MW system at San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA). The first fund financed a solar installation for San Diego Community College, the first project financed by Borrego's internal PPA. Borrego will build, operate and maintain the solar systems, selling the electricity at lower rates than the public utilities charge. SDCWA estimates that it will save nearly $1.7 million in energy costs over the contract's duration.

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The Philadelphia Eagles football team organization announced a plan to power Lincoln Financial Field with a combination of onsite wind, solar and dual-fuel generated electricity, making it the world's first major sports stadium to convert to self-generated renewable energy. Under a contract with the Eagles, SolarBlue will install approximately 80 spiral-shaped wind turbines on the stadium's rim, affix 2,500 solar panels on its façade, build a 7.8 MW onsite dual-fuel cogeneration plant and implement monitoring and switching technology to operate the system. SolarBlue will invest more than $30 million in 2011 to build the system, slated for completion in September. The company will operate and maintain the stadium's power system for 20 years at a fixed annual price increase in electricity, saving the Eagles an estimated $60 million in energy costs. The systems are projected to generate more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, including an estimated 4 MWs of excess energy during off-peak hours that will be sold back to the local electric grid.

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Wells Fargo will invest more than $100 million by the end of 2011 to fund the development of solar photovoltaic projects by GCL Solar Energy, a GCL-Poly Energy Holdings subsidiary. The financing will enable GCL Solar to build and operate solar power plants and under long-term PPAs sell the generated electricity to schools, municipalities, corporations and utilities at rates equal to or lower than traditional utility rates. Wells Fargo said it has provided more than $2 billion in tax equity financing for renewable energy projects since 2006, including funding for 30 wind energy projects, more than 190 commercial-scale wind projects and one utility-scale solar thermal project.

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The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) elected three new members to its board of directors. Mary Guzowski, associate professor of architecture at the University of Minnesota, represents the solar buildings division. She works on Minnesota's Initiative for Renewable Energy in Architecture and is the author of Daylighting for Sustainable Design and Toward Zero-Energy Architecture. LEED accredited professional David Panich, of Panich + Noel Architects in Parkersburg, W.Va., represents the sustainability division. He also serves on Green Energy Ohio's board. Phil Smithers, technical services leader in the renewable energy units of APS, Arizona's largest electric utility company, represents ASES' clean energy division. ASES is a not-for-profit organization of solar professionals and advocates who work to create a sustainable energy economy.

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