Sunrise brief: Money flows as multiple investments are announced




Also on the rise: Power Sustainable aims $790 million at North American renewables, Macquarie unit invests in energy storage provider esVolta, EDPR buys its way into downstream C&I projects, Pattern Energy funds its Japanese expansion, and KBR signs on to support a hydrogen venture.

Montréal-based Power Sustainable Capital Inc. launched its Power Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Partnership, an investment platform with an initial CAN$1 billion ($790 million) dedicated to the renewable energy sector.

Investors include Power Sustainable, Desjardins Group, Great-West Lifeco, National Bank of Canada, and Après-demain SA.

Through Potentia Renewables and Nautilus Solar Energy, two Power Sustainable business units, the partnership will invest in the development, construction, financing, and operation of renewable energy assets across North America.

The venture marks the first of what the company said would be several projects that it plans to bring to the sustainable investment marketplace in the coming years.

The partnership will be led by co-managing partners Pierre Larochelle and Pierre-Olivier Perras. Before joining Power Sustainable, Larochelle was president and CEO of Power Energy Corp., a unit of Power Sustainable. Perras joined Power Energy in 2019 after more than 20 years at BMO Capital Markets.

Power Sustainable is a global asset manager focused on sustainable strategies. It has offices in Montréal, Toronto, Shanghai, Beijing, and New Jersey.

Macquarie invests in esVolta

Macquarie’s Green Investment Group said it will make an investment in esVolta, a developer and owner of utility-scale energy storage projects across North America. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

The investment is intended to support the continued expansion of esVolta and finance its portfolio of more than 600 MWh of  contracted energy storage projects, primarily in California, and an additional development pipeline of more than 2 GWh.

The investment will consist of a bridge loan that will convert to equity upon receipt of regulatory approvals, including the approval of The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The investment group said that the expected addition of more solar on California’s grid will “lead to overproduction and curtailment during the day, while requiring ramping and peaking capacity in the evening” when solar power is not available. The investment in esVolta and its energy storage projects is intended to help add flexibility to help California achieve its renewable energy targets.

Green Investment Group is part of Macquarie Group, a financial group providing clients with asset management and finance, banking, advisory and risk and capital solutions across debt, equity and commodities.

EDPR expands into C&I project services

Houston-based EDPR Renewables North America said it acquired a majority interest in C2 Omega, the distributed solar platform of C2 Energy Capital LLC. The new company, EDPR NA Distributed Generation LLC, will provide small-scale downstream generation and energy efficiency services in the United States for EDPR NA.

With around 200 projects across 16 states, the acquisition is intended to establish EDPR NA’s presence in the downstream solar energy market as an owner-operator of commercial and industrial distributed generation assets. Under terms of the deal, EDPR will acquire an 85% equity stake in C2’s solar portfolio. That portfolio includes 89 MW of operating and near-completion capacity across multiple sites, and a near-term pipeline of more than 120 MW.

Guggenheim Securities, LLC acted as financial advisor to EDPR. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary conditions precedent, and closing is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2021.

EDP Renewables North America LLC develops, constructs, owns, and operates wind farms and solar facilities across North America. Assets include 54 wind farms and eight solar parks.

Pattern fund backs Japan’s solar and wind

San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group LP closed financing of a $515 million fund, Green Power Renewable No. 1 Investment LP, which will focus on solar energy and wind investments in Japan. Pattern Energy’s affiliate in Japan, Green Power Investment Corp., will manage the fund and is also one of its largest investors. The Development Bank of Japan will serve as the anchor investor.

The fund will invest in five renewable energy facilities that were developed, constructed, and are now owned and operated by GPI, including Futtsu Solar, Kanagi Solar, Ohorayama Wind, Otsuki Wind, and Tsugaru Wind.

Pattern and its Green Power Investment unit have a development pipeline of 2.4 gigawatts of renewable energy projects in Japan.

KBR to support Korean hydrogen venture

Houston-based KBR was awarded a contract to provide technical advisory solutions to SK E&S for its hydrogen development business in South Korea. SK Group announced late last year that it would invest in assets that will provide hydrogen as a next-generation eco-friendly energy source.

Under terms of the contract, KBR will provide technical solutions to support SK’s plan to build a 30,000 metric-ton-per-annum liquefied hydrogen facility and supply liquefied hydrogen to various metropolitan areas in South Korea. The initial phase of the project includes KBR reviewing key licensor technologies.

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Washington State awards low-income solar project grants




Nine projects received grants from the Low-Income Solar Deployment Program, part of the state’s Clean Energy Fund.

The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded $3.7 million in grants for nine solar projects under a Low-Income Solar Deployment Program.

Totaling 2.8 MW, the projects are expected to result in $6.1 million of energy savings over 25 years for low-income households and nonprofits serving low-income communities.

Commerce Director Lisa Brow said low-income households pay a disproportionately higher portion of their income for energy and are often in locations more likely to be impacted by harmful emissions and climate change.

“These projects will lower the energy burden of low-income communities while increasing renewable energy generation on the electric grid, both important steps toward achieving energy equity across Washington state,” said Brow.

In January, the commerce department and other state regulators adopted new rules to help implement Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act, which was passed in 2019 and sets the state on a path to carbon-neutral electricity by 2030 and 100% clean electricity by 2045.

The nine projects selected in the recent award include:

Coastal Community Action Program (CCAP): $243,000 to build a 121 kW installation at a community center. CCAP will use savings from the project to offset energy costs and provide more services to qualified low-income households across two counties.

HopeSource: $170,130 to install a 101 kW solar array on an affordable housing complex in Ellensburg. The production benefits will go directly to residents and also will offset the energy costs of a related community center.

Lummi Nation: $593,898 to install two solar PV systems on the Lummi Nation Administration Building and HeadStart Building, with a total capacity of 384 kW. Energy savings will lower the energy burden of the Lhaq’temish Foundation, which serves school, nonprofit, and tribal programs.

Image: Washington State Department of Commerce

Olympia Community Solar: $341,732 to install a 126 kW solar system at an affordable housing complex in Olympia. Generation from the solar project will offset residents’ electric bills.

Opportunity Council: $179,324 to install a 100+ kW solar PV system to serve a food bank and help cut its annual energy costs; savings will be redirected to buy food and supplies for the community.

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO): $1 million to build a 1.2 MW community solar array on San Juan Island. OPALCO will use benefits from the array to offset energy costs for low-income service providers, and to increase credits provided to offset low- and moderate-income households’ energy bills.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE): $207,932 to install a 243 kW community solar project on the Olympia Center in downtown Olympia. PSE will direct project benefits to low-income households and affordable housing providers across the city, and to the Olympia Center’s nonprofit tenant.

Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD): $861,814 to install a community solar project in south Everett. The PUD will donate related generation credits to an energy bill assistance program for county residents.

Yakima Valley Partners Habitat for Humanity: $112,600 to install a 119 kW solar project on the nonprofit organization’s storefront in downtown Yakima. Energy savings over the life of the project will support construction of new homes.

The Low-Income Solar Deployment Program is part of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund. Since it was established in 2013, the fund has invested more than $131 million in projects and clean energy job creation.


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New Columbia Solar raises $75 million, looks to develop 50 projects in D.C.




The company closed a tax equity deal with Franklin Park Infrastructure that will help it add solar capacity in a challenging urban environment.

New Columbia Solar, a Washington, D.C.-based commercial developer, closed a second tax equity deal with Franklin Park Infrastructure, as well as a loan facility provided by Amalgamated Bank and Live Oak Bank, creating a $75 million fund for additional solar projects.

The financing will be used to add 50 projects to New Columbia’s existing portfolio of 150 projects, and enable the hiring of up to 20 people this year. New Columbia said that the financing will keep it on track to achieve its vision of deploying $120 million into the local solar market across 2020 and 2021.

New Columbia develops rooftop, carport, and ground-mounted solar energy projects. The company closed its first tax equity deal with Franklin Park Infrastructure in May 2019. That $40 million investment allowed the company to develop 30 MW of capacity and hire 10 people.

Washington, D.C., is home to one of the most aggressive renewable mandates in the country – 100% renewable by 2032 – but has limited space where projects can be developed. New Columbia Project Finance Manager, Shane Lebow, said that Franklin Park “understands the box which we operate and develop in,” and that each customer has different needs for their systems.

New Columbia adds solar to multifamily buildings, schools, and industrial facilities, according to CEO Mike Healy. Most of its projects are less than 100 kW in size.


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Cleantech Roundup: SolarEdge, Tigo Energy, MIT, and more




Cleantech roundup

Check out this week’s list of some of the newest announcements related to clean energy products.

Another week, another bunch of announcements! To stay up to date on what’s new, check out this latest cleantech product roundup:

Inverter partnership with installer

SolarEdge Technologies Inc. entered into a supply agreement with Sunrun, a U.S. provider of residential solar, battery storage, and energy services. Under the agreement, Sunrun will offer SolarEdge’s Energy Hub inverter for residential customers.

Image: SolarEdge

SolarEdge said it will help Sunrun support a residential energy ecosystem with integration of smart energy devices and optimized home energy management through its inverter. The companies said they are focused on expanding value to residential customers through products such as smart energy devices, battery storage, EV chargers, among others. More info available here.

Replacement dampers for PV trackers

ACE Controls introduced a line of replacement dampers for solar PV tracking systems, the SOL-28 Series. The company claimed the drop-in replacements offer the same quality as original equipment manufacturer dampers, with the same sizes and specifications.

Image: ACE Controls

The SOL-28 Series is designed to protect against the effects of vortex shedding and wind galloping during high-wind events. With products ranging in resistive forces up to 12,000 N and with lengths up to 44 inches, the SOL-28 Series dampers will absorb kinetic energy exerted by the wind and are designed to move according to the tracker’s natural frequency, typically between 0.8 to 1.2 Hz. More info available here.

Plug-and-play battery research

Engineers at Gridtential Energy Inc. and Electric Applications Inc. (EAI), supported by the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI), are working to further develop quick and safe “plug and play” solar-powered energy storage systems.

Gridtential Energy created Silicon Joule, a bipolar battery technology that uses silicon wafers (similar to those in solar cells) in traditional lead batteries to reduce weight and achieve performance competitive with lithium-ion, but at a lower cost. The research project will combine Silicon Joule technology with the testing expertise of EAI to develop high-voltage reference batteries for behind-the-meter energy storage applications. More info available here.

Rapid shutdown integration

Module-level power electronics (MLPE) company Tigo Energy Inc. announced that Growatt, a grid-connected single-phase PV and energy storage system inverter provider, has joined the Tigo Enhanced program to bring rapid shutdown solutions to PV installers. Growatt’s single-phase hybrid inverters–the XH series–will integrate with Tigo Rapid Shutdown System (RSS) Transmitters.

Growatt’s XH series ranges in power capacity from 3.0 kW to 11.4 kW, and the products are battery-ready upon purchase or can be retrofitted in the future. Each inverter will display a Tigo Enhanced logo for customers to identify models that work out of the box with Tigo TS4-A-F and TS4-A-2F products. The inverters also have built-in 4G/Wifi or Wifi/LAN and are integrated into Growatt’s monitoring and mobile app. More info available here.

Silicon carbide MOSFET module

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corp. has launched MG800FXF2YMS3, a silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET module integrating newly developed dual channel SiC MOSFET chips with ratings of 3300V and 800A designed for industrial and renewable energy applications. Volume production will start in May.

Image: Toshiba

To achieve a channel temperature of 175° C, the new product adopts an iXPLV (intelligent fleXible Package Low Voltage) package with silver sintering internal bonding technology and high mounting compatibility. The module is intended to meet the needs for high-efficiency, compact equipment such as converters and inverters for railway vehicles and renewable energy systems. More info available here.

Ceramic safety capacitors

Vishay Intertechnology Inc. introduced a series of surface-mount AC line rated ceramic disc safety capacitors that offer a Y1 rating of 500 VAC and 1500 VDC. Designed to withstand harsh, high humidity environments, the Vishay BCcomponents SMDY1 series devices offer capacitance up to 4.7 nF. The capacitors will be used for EMI/RFI filtering in power supplies, solar inverters, smart meters, and LED drivers. More info available here.

Power boost for EV charger

Beam Global announced a 12% increase in energy output from its EV ARC solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging system. The company said the EV ARC 2020 system now delivers up to 265 e-miles in a day, and that all three models of the transportable, off-grid EV charging system provide more range while unit pricing remains unchanged.

Beam said that its EV ARC systems can charge as many as six vehicles at a time and are suited to meet the need for ubiquitous charging infrastructure because they support any quality brand of EV charger. They may be deployed in minutes without construction, electrical work, or utility bills. More info available here.

Third-generation deep-cycle battery

KiloVault, a provider of residential and commercial renewable energy solutions, unveiled the third iteration of its HAB series of wall-mount energy storage systems. The company said the new HAB 7.5 V3 provides the same 7.5 kWh of storage, safety, and expandability of its predecessors and features several upgrades.

Image: KiloVault

The HAB V3 has increased ventilation to improve performance and battery life in warmer climates. The unit is rated IP54 for dust and splash protection. The four vents can be swapped out with solid plates to meet the IP55 rating for water jet protection, allowing outdoor installation. The wiring panel of the HAB has been redesigned for improved serviceability, and larger integrated lift handles allow for easier wall-mounted installation. Each HAB contains a non-toxic, thermally stable LiFePO4 battery with UL1642-certified cells. More info available here.

Solar+storage Powur

Enphase Energy Inc. launched Enphase solar and storage products on the Powur platform at the Powur 2021 Scale Up National Virtual Convention held on Feb. 20. Through Enphase’s collaboration with Powur, solar and storage sales consultants will receive Enphase product training, and more than 110 Powur solar installation professionals will go through Enphase University training for Enphase Storage Installation Certification. More info available here.

Grid tech acquisition

Sentient Energy, a Koch Engineered Solutions company, acquired grid edge intelligence and dynamic control technologies from Varentec Inc., a company backed by Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, and 3M. Varentec’s grid edge optimization hardware and management software help utilities operate the power grid more efficiently by enhancing energy savings and demand reduction, better managing distributed energy resource integration, and mitigating voltage fluctuations caused by sudden increases or decreases of load or distributed generation.

Sentient Energy said the technology acquisition gives customers comprehensive visibility and control of grid performance from the utility substation transformer to beyond the service transformer from a single vendor. Sentient Energy added Varentec’s proprietary algorithms, patented voltage monitoring, and dynamic control technologies to its suite of devices and advanced analytics for electric power systems. More info available here.

MIT-developed solar cell

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have fabricated a perovskite solar cell through the chemical bath deposition method (CBD) to reach a reported power conversion efficiency of 25.2%. CBD is a technique to produce films of solid inorganic, non-metallic materials on substrates by immersing the substrate in a precursor aqueous solution. The MIT scientists added a special conductive layer of tin dioxide bonded between the conductive layer and the perovskite material. More info available here.


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Watch: IKEA completes 1.35 MW solar carport, with seven more underway




Distributed Solar Development­­ built the Baltimore carport and will deliver the home furnishings giant’s other projects in Maryland and California.

In partnership with New York-based Distributed Solar Development­­ (DSD), home furnishings retailer IKEA said it completed a 1.35 MW solar carport at its Baltimore location and plans to build seven more projects at other U.S. stores.

The solar carports will help IKEA move toward its goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy while also increasing energy efficiency by 2025.

DSD designed and built the Baltimore carport. Initial results indicate the location has seen an 84% decrease in its purchased energy requirement between September and December 2020, equating to a 57% cost savings for the store.

The Baltimore project is the first of eight projects totaling 7 MW that DSD will develop for IKEA stores in Maryland and California. The other arrays are on track to be done this year. In January, DSD closed on a $300 million debt facility financed by Credit Suisse and hinted it will have more deals to announce in the near future.

All totaled, the solar carports are expected to generate roughly 10.7 GWh a year. Five of the projects include energy storage systems with a collective capacity of about 5 MWh.

In the U.S., the company currently owns 104 wind turbines, two geothermal properties, 240,784 solar panels, and 143 electric vehicle charging stations across 51 properties.

In 2020, Ingka Group, a partner in the IKEA franchise system, committed more than $700 million into companies, solutions, and its own operations to move to a net-zero carbon economy. As part of that effort, Ingka Group invested in two solar parks totaling 403 MW of capacity in Utah and Texas.


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