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The Landmark Rooftop Solar Project in the History of U.S.

published: 2011-06-28 14:12

Bank of America recently announced that it has gained loan guarantee from DOE to support 28-state wide rooftop solar projects that are expected to generate 733 mega watts of solar energy and will cost approximately 2.6 billion dollars in the next four years.

A cooperation between Prologis and NRG is aiming to install rooftop solar panels on hundreds of industrial establishments to generate 733 mega watts that, about the power output of a nuke plant, will sufficiently feed into more than 85,000 homes.

Prologis, an industrial real estate that leases and manages over 3000 real estate properties including industrial warehouses and commercial properties, of which 750 real estate properties will provide rooftop spaces for the solar installation and NRG, on the other hand, will be the lead investor in the first stage of the project, which has already begun in South California incorporating 15.4 MW that will be sold to Southern California Edison.

The U.S. DOE will offer loan guarantee through Financial Institutions Partnership Program on behalf of the U.S. government. The project can be basically viewed as a single large solar project except it is spread all over the nation across 28 states with no need for wiring and massive land consumption.

The initiative, known as Project Amp, is by far the largest project since the inception of Financial Institutions Partnership Program and is intended to cultivate solar energy based economies in the hopes of encouraging and accelerating solar technology advancement. The ultimate goal as outlined under the SunShot Initiative is to reduce cost of solar cells for solar power to be cost competitive with fossil fuel by the end of the decade.

The project is expected to produce up to one million MWh annually, creating at least 1,000 jobs and cutting annually 580,000 tons of carbon pollution.

The main advantage of such a single large project as opposed to multiple small projects is that standardized design can be achieved through common installation practices and economies of scale will enhance negotiation power with suppliers to drive the costs down.

Furthermore, bankability is better secured through inter-industry alliance strategy. Traditionally, on-site solar installation provides captive power to the building where it is installed. However, all the power generated by this project will be sold to utility companies under a common purchase agreement.

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