Standard Solar announced recently that it closed a tax equity commitment for up to $105 million to fund distributed generation (DG) solar projects. These projects will be in the following five U.S. states:
- New York
- Rhode Island
The financing was secured through tax equity commitments from Fifth Third Bank, National Association, and IBERIABANK. There are a total of nine projects in the portfolio and they are a mix of community solar and traditional DG projects.
Peter Coleman, Standard Solar’s Senior Vice President of Structured Finance said, “Completing this tax equity deal demonstrates both the market’s continued confidence in renewables and underscores Standard Solar’s reputation for success and ability to move projects forward despite challenging times. Adding this portfolio of solar projects to our growing asset base is an exciting step as we expand our business of financing DG solar projects around the country.”
We’ve covered Standard Solar a handful of times over the years, the last time being an article about a 2.9-megawatt solar project for 10 schools covering 24% of Richmond Public Schools’ electricity needs in Richmond, Virginia.
Eric Cohen, group head of Renewable Energy Finance at Fifth Third Bank, added, “This financing highlights the continued growth of the DG solar market and Fifth Third’s commitment to the renewable energy industry. As a financer in the industry since 2012, Fifth Third is proud to help clients across the country access capital and achieve their objectives.”
Fifth Third Bank has taken a clear leadership role on renewable energy in the banking sector. It became 100% solar powered in 2018 and is now one of the 10 largest corporate buyers of solar power in the country.
A Quick Look At Some Standard Solar Projects
Standard Solar has six types of projects that it works with:
- Public Sector
- Community Solar
One of its commercial projects was with General Motors, regarding a charging station. The system was set up with 42 solar modules that were rated at 240 watts each. They are connected to Enphase micro-inverters mounted on the module frame. General Motors chose Standard Solar and TimberRock Energy Solutions to build one of the first solar EV charging stations in the U.S. at the Allison Transmission plant near Baltimore.
The challenge was that GM wanted to showcase its Chevy Volt EV as a successful example of clean and efficient transportation that uses solar power. The solution was a team effort from TimberRock and Standard Solar — both designed the custom carport structure to hold solar modules that are able to produce 10 kW of power and link into the facility’s electrical system. There are 8 EV charging stations there.
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) wanted to show industry leadership when Maryland implemented its public policy addressing the growing demand, restricted capacity, and costs of electricity. BGE got its first solar PV system to provide electricity to one of its Baltimore office buildings, via Standard Solar.
In Gallup, New Mexico, the city wanted to transform a flood plain into a solar array that would supply 10% of its electricity needs. This project wound up winning an award: Solar Builder’s 2018 Bronze Project of the Year. This river plain has a bit of history to it as well — in around 300 A.D., these red sandstone cliffs were home to the Anasazi, who are the ancestors of today’s Najavo and Pueblo tribes. The floodplain is near these ancestral homes and consists of 31 acres. The land was pretty much useless until Gallup city officials wanted to see if they could, like the Anasazi did hundreds of years ago, harvest the sun.
Thurgood Marshall Academy was named after the first black Supreme Court Justice, who was also the lawyer who won the Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit. In 2009, the school’s Green Club wanted to make a contribution to the environment and install a 2.8 kW solar array on the school’s roof. After gaining permission from the administration to make this happen, a generous donation from the Earth Day Network, and a grant from the District of Columbia Energy Office, Standard Solar built the project.
The Whitmore Farm, named after Benjamin Whitmore, who ventured into the Monocacy Vally in the 1760s, grows its produce organically and grass feeds its animals. The farm, on 28 acres of land, is 50% powered by wind. The current owners wanted the farm to be 100% powered by renewable energy, so the decided to explored solar. The team at Standard Solar designed a 28-kW system that helped the farm fulfill its goals. One thing to note is that Standard Solar had to agree that the array’s components be sourced in the United States.
The Colorado Community Solar Gardens are still in the process of being completed. These include multiple community solar arrays along the I-70 corridor, One of the eight already completed arrays won the Project of the Year award from the Colorado Solar and Storage Association. The installation that won serves the Garfield Housing Authority (GHA), which helps low-income families in Parachute, CO. The array is a 100 kW fixed-tilt array that benefits the senior tenants and the GHA’s administration building. When it’s completed, the 10.3 MW group will produce 18644,960 kWh of energy. This equates to offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from 2,971 passenger vehicles driven for one year or CO2 emissions from 15,181,506 pounds of coal burned.