Largest Distributed Rooftop Solar Project in the World
Rooftop solar energy is great for the home, but businesses are beginning to realize the potential of tapping into urban roof space for utilities-scale electricity generation. Through a distributed approach—which links together several small-scale solar modules to essentially create a vastly dispersed solar farm—rooftop space can be taken advantage of for solar installation rather than building atop hundreds of acres of land. That’s exactly the approach being taken by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Prologis, and NRG Energy, who have teamed up to create the world’s largest rooftop distributed solar energy project in the world.
The companies have announced an offer of a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office to help finance the project. The loan guarantee will support $1.4 billion of debt, which will bolster a total projected investment of $2.6 billion over the next four years, funded entirely by the private sector.
The distributed rooftop solar project will create roughly 10,000 year-long (or more) jobs across 28 states. Upon completion, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Prologis, and NRG Energy claim the project will generate 733 megawatts of distributed solar energy, enough to power 100,000 homes.
The first phase of the project will see the installation of 15 megawatts of solar capacity installed on rooftops throughout Southern California. The power generated will be sold to a local utility provider under a long-term power purchase agreement. NRG Energy will serve as the primary investor for the first phase of the project over the next 18 months.
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"NRG believes rooftop solar is a smart choice for industrial, commercial and residential property owners in markets around the country, and this program provides the commercial scale that will bring the benefits of solar power to customers across the country," said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar, NRG's solar subsidiary. "This program will nearly double the amount of grid-connected solar online in the United States today and make another positive contribution to cleaner air and a healthy environment."
Prologis—a leading owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate—is spearheading access to rooftops and will also act as developer, construction manager and program sponsor. "As one of the world's largest owners of distribution facilities and an active solar industry participant, we're pleased to be a partner in a project of this magnitude," said Drew Torbin, vice president of Prologis Renewable Energy. "This project will add significant scale to the distributed solar market and provides economic and environmental benefit to our shareholders and customers.
A distributed approach to solar energy is the smart next generation thinking that will drive the renewables industry forward. As more and more utilities-scale solar farms face delays and criticism over land use issues such as natural habitat infringement, rooftops are already there and just waiting for a solar panel upgrade. While maintenance of a vast network of solar rooftops spread out across entire cities may prove cumbersome, it will open up maintenance-related job opportunities, further spurring economic recovery. What’s better is that the project is entirely funded by the private sector, which just goes to show that renewable energy doesn’t need to rely on government subsidies to be viable.
Awesense launches digital clean energy marketplace
Awesense has launched what it claims is the only energy-focused repository of solutions built to drive the industry's decarbonization agenda.
The Awesense Marketplace aims to provide a common framework for companies to collaborate towards the future of clean energy and digital transformation, uniting applications, solutions and algorithms to solve energy and grid challenges.
Solutions listed on the marketplace cover a range of cases, and launch companies include Doosan GridTech, Kitu Systems, vadiMAP, LO3 Energy, ENGIN, Utilidata, Clir Renewables, ChargeLab, SensorLink, Exeri, Easy SmartGrid, and Athena Power.
“We are welcoming a new era in the decarbonization of energy systems,” said Mischa Steiner, CEO of Awesense. “The goal of achieving a clean energy future requires collaboration amongst key industry players in the utilities and energy sectors. Sharing resources through the Marketplace means that our customers and partners have a truly seamless approach as we work towards our common goal - ultimately, decarbonizing the world’s energy system.”
Utilities, consulting companies, and other organizations struggle to develop solutions that can be scaled across many jurisdictions due to complex data integration and the lack of a standard, open data model. Using the solutions offered throughout the Marketplace, organizations can rapidly accelerate their transition to a decentralized, decarbonized future and develop solutions that are scalable across industry. The platform will open up new revenue streams in areas such as:
Distributed energy resource integration and control
Electric vehicle charging
Demand response and smart-home management
Intelligent asset management
Advanced distribution system management
The new marketplace builds on Awesense's Digital Energy Platform, a digital twin based energy analytics platform that allows utilities to scale at the same pace as the rapidly changing technology landscape of the energy grid.
Together, the Open Energy Data Model and the Awesense Marketplace removes hurdles around data mapping and transformation, expedites data preparation and refining, and provides a common framework for companies to collaborate.
“The energy-specific data model allows utilities, technology companies, consulting firms, and other vendors to build solutions that can be easily integrated by other energy companies, to make a real impact on the industry as a whole, and develop new revenue streams for their organizations” said Steiner. “We’re looking forward to seeing the Awesense Marketplace grow as more partners committed to energy decarbonization join us.”
There are no simple solutions to putting the world on a sustainable path to net-zero emissions, according to the IEA. Reducing global CO2 emissions will require "a broad range of different technologies working across all sectors of the economy in various combinations and applications." it notes.
Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia formed
Amp Power Australia has established the Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia, a strategic portfolio of large scale integrated Solar PV, Wind and Battery Energy Storage assets located in South Australia. The hub also includes the siting of the Spencer Gulf Hydrogen Energy Ecoplex, forming part of the South Australian Government's Hydrogen Action Plan.
The portfolio, acquired from EPS, includes three large Solar PV projects totalling over 1.3 GW of generation, located at Robertstown (636 MW), Bungama (336MW) and Yoorndoo Ilga (388MW) with a total BESS capacity of up to 540MW across the portfolio.
Amp's expansion in Australia will include the implementation of Amp X, a proprietary digital energy platform 100% owned by Amp, which provides a diverse portfolio of disruptive and interoperable grid edge solutions, and includes a smart transformer, which enables real-time autonomous management and optimised dispatch of all forms of distributed generation and loads across the grid.
Palmetto recently opened its marketplace in Arizona, and is now serving 20 states across the country, claiming its proprietary technology, marketplace business model, and consumer mobile application "are all designed to democratize access to clean energy".