Energy Storage Systems: A Closer Look at the Newest Technology for Energy Management

There is a lot of buzz here in New England about energy storage and its potential in the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector. Working in tandem with a rooftop solar PV system, an energy storage system allows a facility to be nearly self sufficient: enabling it to generate its own power, store it and use it when needed. Building owners benefit by reducing expensive demand charges, avoiding time-of-use rates, providing power quality assurance, and enabling back-up power when needed.

These behind the meter energy storage systems are typically pre-configured, require little maintenance and are easily installed at a commercial facility. For the demands of the C&I market, lithium-ion batteries are currently the technology of choice. Their “energy profiles” match well with storing energy from the grid or a solar energy system and then deploying that energy over a shorter period of time. As is the case with any project, it is important that customers engage with a reputable vendor and installation partner.

Today we are going to show you what a C&I scale energy storage system looks like and how they are installed.

Energy storage batteries come in various sizes, and the best are scalable. For example, the schematic shows a fully contained unit, that can be scaled up from 85 kilowatt-hours to 510 kilowatt-hours of energy storage capacity, and between 30 kilowatts to 650 kilowatts of power capacity. Most commercial battery systems come with their own integration software or can be combined with other energy management software. The most sophisticated storage systems have been factory pre-configured and are optimized for rapid installation by qualified installation partners.

Typically, energy storage systems are located outside a facility. A concrete mounting pad is recommended. Site preparation includes minor excavation, pouring of a foundation and the positioning of conduits for power and communication connections. Wiring can be embedded into the concrete pad.

Depending on the size of the battery, either a crane or forklift can be used to position the battery. Typically the batteries are encased in secure, and tamper-resistant NEMA rated housing; security fencing may be required but that will be dependent on local codes. Finally, the battery can be secured with concrete anchors after installation.

A qualified installer can complete the electrical connections. These include between the battery and PCS (power conversion system), and the main and auxiliary power connections to the facility’s electrical panels. In addition, there will need to be connections for the meters and for communications such as Ethernet LAN for remote access and control. In some case cellular modems are used if a LAN is not available (security or remote). Installation of appropriate equipment grounding will also be required. A typical PV system will be located behind the meter and connected to the facilities main distribution panel. A typical energy storage system will be connected to a sub-panel.

One of the final steps, that is often dependent on local utility requirements, would be a grid interconnect validation and test witnessing. The last step is to conduct a system start up, commissioning and test.

Today’s battery systems are self contained and easy to site. Energy storage is an ideal complement to a solar energy system, giving greater control to property owners and facility managers to reduce their energy costs, increase their buildings resiliency and lower their carbon footprints.

An Open Letter: To the EEAC on the Future of Energy Storage in Massachusetts

 

Dear Commissioner Judson and Members of the EEAC:

 

I am writing on behalf of Solect Energy regarding the 2019-2021 Three Year Energy Efficiency Plan. With more than 80 MWs installed and over 400 customers, Solect Energy is the largest solar energy company in the Commonwealth focused exclusively on the commercial scale market. This means we have worked with hundreds of businesses, municipalities, schools, housing projects and other institutions throughout the state to help them lower their energy costs and their carbon footprints by installing solar energy systems.

As we worked with many of our customers we observed that most of them were paying extremely high demand charges and capacity charges, but had limited ability to pursue active demand management (ADM) practices to mitigate these costs. In turn, these market fundamentals convinced us to start an energy storage division. We strongly believe that energy storage paired with solar is the most cost effective way to reduce expensive demand charges for C&I consumers. We also believe that energy storage will improve the economics and further accelerate the deployment of solar energy in the C&I sector. Lastly, assuming that the EDCs design their rate structures to send price signals, via higher demand charges, to mitigate regional and nodal congestion on the grid, behind the meter storage (BTM) is likely the most efficient way to relieve these expensive congestion challenges, lowering peak emissions and costs for all consumers across the grid.

Over the past year or so, we have performed over one-hundred energy storage assessments for our customers. For most of them, the economic analysis shows a payback that would normally be very attractive. (A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showed that energy storage offered compelling payback windows for 189,000 commercial customers in Massachusetts — those paying more than $15 per kilowatt). Yet, with the exception of projects that have received demonstration grants from the state, not a single customer has decided to install a system.

The reasons for this are obvious and are confirmed by our conversations with our customers: there is too much risk. As was originally the case with solar, and also remains true for energy efficiency, good economics are often not enough to start a market based on unfamiliar technologies and mobilize adoption from consumers. Although BTM storage technology is well proven and has a large installed base in California and other parts of the world, consumers in Massachusetts are still unfamiliar with the entire approach. Therefore, even though many projects will pencil today, customers are waiting on the sidelines. We strongly believe that enhancing price signals and defraying upfront capital costs through an energy storage rebate program is exactly what is needed to get these consumers off the sidelines and to start building projects. We are aware of and fully support a recent proposal crafted by the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) and other clean energy advocates called MOR Storage (Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Storage), modeled in part on the successful California Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). Based on our analysis and conversations with our customers, we know that this incentive will be enough to get them across the tipping point to begin greenlighting projects.

We urge the EEAC and the Program Administrators to increase funding available for commercial and industrial energy storage applications in the finalized three-year plans, likely through the use dedicated or enhanced ADM offerings. These programs should be increased to at least $25M in participant incentives per year for the 2019-2021 Plan to provide a pool of funding commensurate with the robust opportunity for energy storage adoption in the C&I sector across the Commonwealth, including and especially for solar+storage retrofits of existing SREC I and SREC II systems.

We understand that the traditional cost benefit analysis performed by the Program Administrators may not be ideally suited for assessing the benefits of energy storage and other ADM measures, and we would strongly urge that these analyses be updated to reflect the differentiated characteristics of energy storage savings (kW vs. kWh) and current economics of our energy markets in the Commonwealth. Energy storage can and should be part of the 2019-2021 plan; we speak from direct experience when we say that an energy storage rebate program is the single most important incentive for the short-term for the deployment of storage and its associated benefits.

 

Respectfully,

John Mosher

Solect Energy

Hopkinton, MA

 

The Lowest Cost Energy Choice for Property Owners

 

Like any business, owners of commercial properties are constantly faced with choices  regarding capital investment options that will improve a building’s value and reduce operating costs. Investing in energy systems can offer some of the most compelling business cases due to incentives offered by the federal and state governments. However, to take full advantage of those incentives they must consider the entire life of the asset, and solar energy systems are meant for 20+ years of operation.

The federal government offers tax benefits for solar energy assets that when monetized can pay for more than 45% of a solar energy system. In addition the Commonwealth is transitioning into a new incentive program, the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program (SMART) which is projected to start September 2018. The new program provides two significant benefits for building owners. First, the new incentive is calculated upon entering the program and paid out monthly at a fixed price by the local utility. This is by far the most “bankable” incentive offered to date to Massachusetts business owners because the “offtaker” is your local utility, considered by most banks and investors as an investment grade credit rating. Second, you no longer need to tie the system to the building’s energy load. A building owner can now take advantage of solar energy to produce revenue, even if the building uses a small amount of energy.

The SMART program will allow property owners to look at asset investments in terms of IRR instead of ROI, which is a  more holistic assessment looking at capital costs and energy savings over the life of the project. Another measure, what one pays for energy over the life cycle of the project, is the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). LCOE factors in capital expenses and projected energy savings to give an “apples to apples” comparison of different energy options.

For example, a typical property owner today pays anywhere from $.13 to $.23 per kWh to their local utility, plus fixed and Demand charges (which are measured and billed per KW). A solar energy system, including the costs of the system,  would likely be closer to $.01/KwH; in some cases, the number may even be negative, meaning the customer is being paid for every kWh produced! Let’s take a simple example. If you use on average 25,000 kWhs per month at $.15 per kWh, your energy cost for year one is $45,000, and is $900,000 over twenty years assuming no escalation! The same solar energy system with a LCOE of $.01 per kWh will cost only $3000 for year one, and $60,000 over twenty years. Is there a better long term hedge against rising energy costs?

The new SMART program  is great news for property owners who are looking to lower their energy costs and enhance the value of their assets. More predictability, lower risk, investment grade customers all combine to make solar energy systems under the new SMART program an attractive investment option for building owners, and a long term hedge against rising energy costs. If you are considering building enhancements, a qualified solar energy company can help you explore your options and walk you through the analysis for your specific situation. With the ability to enhance your property’s value, generate additional revenue and lower energy costs, it’s definitely worth a look.

Understanding Different Benefits of the Two Ways to go Solar Under the SMART Program

 

Solar energy is about to get a lot more attractive for commercial property owners in Massachusetts. Under the state’s new solar energy incentive program (known by its acronym SMART) building owners will now have the option to build “stand alone” solar energy projects on their roofs.

 

To better understand this new option it’s important to also understand how traditional “behind the meter” (BTM) systems work. A “behind the meter” system means that the solar energy system is paired with the energy load of that building, supplying the building tenant directly with power. A BTM solar system allows an owner to use the energy generated by their solar system first, before having to use energy supplied from the grid, directly reducing the amount of energy purchased.  As energy rates continue to rise over time, as they traditionally have, the owner’s energy savings from avoided electricity costs increases. This model is ideal for owner occupied buildings that use lots of energy, but is more challenging for tenant occupied buildings since it requires the building owner to enter into individual power purchase agreements with each tenant/additional meter.

 

A stand alone system sits “in front” of the meter and feeds power directly into the grid, as opposed to  using it on-site. In the newly proposed SMART program, owners of stand alone systems will be allowed to sell 100% of the energy generated directly to the utility at a fixed price for 20 years. The solar energy system is no longer tied to the load of the building and this allows the property owner to turn their roof into an additional revenue generating asset – regardless of whether the building is occupied or not. The long-term nature of the incentive makes it easier to finance the system and the owner can benefit from federal tax incentives such as the 30% Investment Tax Credit and accelerated depreciation. In locations where Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is approved, building owners may be able to take advantage of low-interest PACE loans where clean energy projects are financed at low rates and then paid back via property tax bills, typically over the useful life of the asset.

 

The chart below shows the different revenue streams for each kind of project:

 

Cash Flows and Benefits of Behind the Meter Vs. Stand Alone Solar Energy Systems
Behind the Meter 200KW System Stand Alone 200KW System
Year 1 Savings/Revenue $60,600 $60,600
Lifetime Savings/Revenue $1,566,000 $1,390,000
Year 1 Return on Investment 66.5% 66.5%
Annual Return on Investment (Life of Project) 15.3% 14%
Financial Considerations Slightly higher returns May be easier to finance
Practical Considerations Needs to be tied to on-site energy load Can be independent of on-site energy load
Benefits Energy savings go to owner of meter for the next  20 years 100% of benefit paid  in cash directly to system owner

*Above financial figures are estimates based on a series of assumptions and will vary slightly depending on utility zone, current rate of electricity and program application date.

 

There are many factors that will ultimately drive the decision for the best way to site an energy solar system. Speaking with an experienced commercial solar provider will help you to determine which model will be the better investment based on your unique circumstances and and financial goals.  Regardless of whether you move forward with a stand-alone or behind the meter system, each option offers property owners the ability to directly participate in the benefits of going solar, while also adding a long-term asset to their building.

Solar Powered Manufacturing Recap

 

The manufacturing industry has faced its fair share of challenges in the United States. As the global economy has driven more and more facets of the industry overseas where overhead is less expensive, and regulatory restrictions are less severe – allowing for larger margins and easier operation. However, many companies have remained dedicated to maintaining their operations on American soil, delivering quality products while providing careers for millions across the country.

 

These manufacturers face stiff opposition from their counterparts overseas to remain competitive in spite of the inherent challenges associated with operating stateside. Energy costs generally account for a large portion of manufacturers’ overhead, and until recently were an insurmountable obstacle for these business.

 

Today, solar energy presents the perfect complement to the operational hurdles faced by manufacturers, allowing them to leverage and monetize their buildings roof space, while significantly reducing their energy costs. Solar delivers less expensive clean energy during peak demand periods throughout the day, making bills more predictable and saving businesses money everyday for the 20+ year life of the array.

 

Solect has helped dozens of manufacturers throughout New England turn the challenge of their energy costs into an opportunity. The most recent of which, was Accurounds, a precision manufacturer in Southeastern Massachusetts who is also a leader in helping to support educational opportunities for the skilled workers needed to keep the industry running. On April, 26th Solect held a  ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate their installation which was held in conjunction with a STEM education and business event that demonstrated the progress and inter dependencies of the state’s economic, education and clean energy initiatives.

 

While Accurounds is the most recent example of a local manufacturer taking advantage of solar energy, Solect has partnered with several other manufacturing  businesses to help them take control of their energy costs with solar.

_________________________________________________________

 

accurounds-solar-arrayAccurounds

Location: Avon, MA

System Size: 162 kW

Panels Installed: 405

Installation Date: January, 2018

AccuRounds, founded in 1976, is a leader in Advanced Manufacturing. They machine precision mechanical components such as shafts, pins and bushings for a variety of industries including medical, aerospace, defense, oil and gas, and emerging technology. The company’s 162 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array is comprised of 405 photovoltaic (PV) panels and is projected to generate 187,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually. It is estimated that the array will cover approximately 18% of the manufacturer’s energy needs, and is expected to generate $460,000 in savings over the life of the array.

 

north-atlantic-co-solar-manufacturingNorth Atlantic Corporation

Location: Somerset, MA

System Size: 1,551 kW

Panels Installed: 4,250

Installation Date: October, 2016

North Atlantic Corp (NAC) is one of the largest millwork distributors and custom manufacturer of windows, doors, kitchens and stairs to the residential and commercial markets in New England. North Atlantic Corp installed a 1.55 MW array that covers up to 90% of the company’s energy costs, tremendously reducing their monthly energy bill. The benefits are palpable, as NAC’s savings help them pay for their investment in a new building and more. Factor in the avoided instability and price hikes of the energy market and the array is working for North Atlantic Corp on a number of levels.

hyde-tools-solar-manufacturingHyde Tools

Location: Southbridge, MA

System Size: 658 kW

Panels Installed: 1621

Installation Date: August, 2015 & 2017

Established in Southbridge, MA over 100 years ago, Hyde Tools has grown from a cutlery manufacturer to a manufacturer of hand tools for remodeling and home repair. With the installation of their 350 kw array in 2015, Hyde Tools offset 13% of its annual electricity costs, saving over $180,000 per year. The solar savings have allowed Hyde to keep manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts, and were so significant they went on to install a second array, nearly doubling their production and savings numbers.

 

Chemetal rooftop commercial solarChemetal

Location: Easthampton, MA

System Size: 201 kW

Panels Installed: 560

Installation Date: June, 2017

Chemetal is one of the world’s largest sources of metal designs and laminates for commercial and residential building projects. The 50 year-old, family-owned business has a strong commitment to green practices. Having recently doubled the size of their facility they recognized adding solar to their new roof as a real opportunity to offset the new operating costs. With their solar installation, they save approximately $25,000 annually on their electricity bill.

 

swiss-turn-solar-manufacturingSwissturn USA

Location: Oxford, MA

System Size: 135 kW

Panels Installed: 451

Installation Date: January, 2015

Swissturn/USA is a family-owned manufacturer of fine-precision metal and plastic components located in Oxford, MA. The company employs 50 high-tech employees. The solar energy system reduces Swissturn’s electricity costs by up to 30 percent annually, saving the company up to $20,000 each year. In addition, Swissturn is able to generate significant additional revenue annually through the SREC incentive program.

 

Fourstar Connections SolarFoustar

Location: Hudson, MA

System Size: 240 kW

Panels Installed: 330

Installation Date: November, 2011

Fourstar Connections is a contract manufacturing firm based in Hudson, MA. Fourstar Connections was founded in 1986 as a cable assembly shop, but over the years grew in volume and added more capabilities to the product mix. Fourstar Connections enjoys significant electricity cost savings through their solar system. Additionally, the company is also able to take advantage of state and federal tax incentives, including SRECs.

 

WILEVCO rooftop solar energyWilevco

Location: Billerica, MA

System Size: 82 kW

Panels Installed: 350

Installation Date: December, 2012

Wilevco has been building and perfecting innovative, quality machinery for the Food Processing Industry for over 50 years! They offer equipment used in three distinct areas: spray application of coatings, mixing of liquid batters, and chilling of liquids and slurries. The system has offset approximately one-third of the building’s energy costs, while also allowing WILEVCO to benefit from state and federal tax incentives, and the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).

 

Old Time Sports

Location: Salisbury, MA

System Size: 175 kW

Panels Installed: 594

Installation Date: March, 2014

Old Time Sports is a family-owned apparel company located on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The company is an NHL licensee, providing apparel to sporting teams across North America. The system covers 100 percent of the company’s annual electricity needs, generating up to $70,000 a year in environmentally friendly electricity.

 

Yeuell Nameplate Rooftop SolarYuell Nameplate

Location: Woburn, MA

System Size: 261 kW

Panels Installed: 656

Installation Date: Installation Date: October, 2017

Yeuell Nameplate & Label is a manufacturer of custom nameplates, labels and decals who has been in business since 1913 and supplies product identification systems to companies worldwide. The 261 kW array is big enough to cover 50% of Yeuell’s energy costs on an annual basis. Additionally, the company is also able to take advantage of state and federal tax incentives, including SRECs which will provide additional revenue for years to come!

 

Mass Tank Solar PowerMass Tank

Location: Middleborough, MA

System Size: 457 kW

Panels Installed: 1,512

Installation Date: December, 2015

Mass Tank is the largest steel tank manufacturer in New England, and combines their ninety-year fabrication experience with their certified inspection staff to deliver solutions for any tank project. Under a long-term lease agreement, Mass Tank will receive annual lease payments for the use of their roof, from investor and array owner, IGS. As a result, Mass Tank gains an additional source of revenue for a twenty-year period and also allows Middleborough businesses and residents to benefit from adding local solar energy to the supply mix.

 

 

 

Old Sturbridge Village Celebrates 1.8 MW Solar Energy System with Solect Energy, Green Street Power Partners and Old Sturbridge Village Academy Students

Northeast’s Largest Living-History Museum will Benefit from $1.5M in Energy Savings

 

Sturbridge, MA – May 2, 2018 – At a celebration that was marked by the contrast of old and new, officials from Old Sturbridge Village Museum (OSV), students from Old Sturbridge Village Academy, and executives from Solect Energy and Green Street Power Partners, LLC (GSPP) participated in a ribbon cutting of a 1.8 MW solar system that powers the Northeast’s largest outdoor living-history museum. The ground mount solar system, consisting of 5,400 photovoltaic (PV) panels, was designed and installed by Solect Energy, the leading commercial-scale developer and installer of solar energy systems in Massachusetts.  It is now owned and operated by GSPP. The solar array, made possible through the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”), enables Old Sturbridge Village to reap over $1.5 million in energy savings over the life of the system.

 

“As we celebrate the savings and benefits of the OSV solar array, we do so against the backdrop of a 19th century village, where thrift and economy were essential to everyday living,” said Scott Howe, Partner and Senior Vice President at Solect. “OSV’s objectives were threefold: deploy solar energy to reduce energy expenses, provide predictable future costs that can be used in annual budgeting and as a hedge against rising energy prices, and finally to take a leadership role in environmental sustainability.”

 

OSV depicts a working, rural New England town from the 1830s where visitors can interact with costumed staff demonstrating authentic daily life and work activities.  Old Sturbridge Academy is a new K-8 public charter school that opened its doors in Sept. 2017. The school is located on OSV’s grounds and emphasizes learning through interdisciplinary group projects. Third grade students were involved in the reception following the ribbon cutting, and taught how solar arrays generate electricity, and contribute to a cleaner environment.

 

Upon completion of the array, GSPP purchased the project from Solect, and will sell 100% of the power generated to OSV at a fixed rate for a period of 25 years. The system is estimated to produce 2,238,878 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually – enough power to offset roughly 75% of the museum’s annual energy needs. The amount of electricity produced annually by the array is enough to charge 440,640,000 smartphones a year and is equivalent to taking 351 cars off the road each year.

 

“Old Sturbridge Village is grateful to our many partners, including the town of Sturbridge, who helped to make this solar field a reality. Not only will it substantially reduce the museum’s carbon footprint but it will also reduce our energy costs significantly over the next several years,” said Jim Donahue, President and CEO of OSV. “Conservation was an important part of life in New England in the 1830s so we are especially glad to be able to take such a big step on this front in the 21st century.”

 

“OSV’s solar project is uniquely influential,” said Scott Kerner, CEO and Co-founder of Green Street Power Partners. “The museum is showing that solar solutions can be crafted for many types of businesses and organizations, especially nonprofits, while also demonstrating that even organizations focused on preserving tradition, are open to embracing new, clean energy sources.”

 

About Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village, the largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast, depicts a rural New England town of the 1830s. Guests are invited into more than 40 original buildings, including homes, meetinghouses, a district school, country store, bank, a working farm, three water-powered mills, and trade shops – all situated on more than 200 scenic acres. Visitors can meet heritage breed farm animals and interact with authentically costumed staff.

 

 

About Green Street Power Partners, LLC

Headquartered in Stamford, CT, GSPP finances, develops, owns and operates solar energy systems for businesses, schools and nonprofits throughout the northeast. GSPP continues to experience rapid growth with 40+ megawatts of commercial and community solar projects under management. As they expand their solar coverage, GSPP consistently provides the best available solar technology coupled with an unwavering commitment to customer service. For more information on GSPP, email info@gspp.com or visit greenstreetsolarpower.com.

 

About Solect Energy

Solect Energy, based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is the recognized leader in commercial-scale solar. We develop smart, customized strategies based on a deep assessment of each customer’s energy needs and requirements, then deliver solar design and installation solutions, operations and maintenance services, and the most advanced energy storage systems. Solect offers proven expertise in development, technology, policy, and incentives, as well as individualized financial guidance. Our practical, systematic approach helps businesses and organizations reduce energy costs and optimize their solar investment. To date, Solect has installed over 80 megawatts of commercial PV systems, with a focus on commercial, light industrial, and institutional properties throughout New England and Illinois. For more information, visit http://www.solect.com or follow us on Twitter at @SolectSolar.

Q&A with Steve Bianchi: Importance of Proactive Maintenance of Solar Energy Systems

PROACTIVE-MAINTENANCE

Starting this summer, Massachusetts is altering its solar incentive policies with changes that will  better suit real estate developers and property owners with tenant occupied buildings, than the previous SREC program.

With the expected growth of solar energy systems in the real estate sector, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at an often overlooked, but critical part, of owning a solar energy system–maintenance.

To find out more we have a Q&A with Steve Bianchi, senior vice president and general manager of customer services at Solect Energy.

Q. Why do you expect the new Massachusetts solar incentive program to create more opportunities for property owners?
A. Under the old incentive program, the energy produced by a solar system generally had to be used on-site by the entity occupying the building, which is referred to as a behind-the-meter system. Under the new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive program, property owners have the option to build a “standalone” system, where the power is fed to the grid and the solar owner gets paid directly for the energy produced. At 20 years, the payment period is longer and more predictable, making solar projects easier to finance. Like the old incentive program the new one is a great fit for owner-occupied buildings, but it now makes the much larger market of tenant-occupied buildings more attractive, since property owners no longer have to act as a utility to the tenant and deal with the associated billing.

Q. Do solar energy systems break down?
A. With no moving parts, solar energy systems are pretty robust. However, owners should not be lulled into complacency. Some problems, like a tree falling on your roof, are easy to identify. But other problems may not be visible to the owner. If something goes wrong that causes the efficiency of the system to decline, like a problem with the inverter, owners are often not aware that there is an issue. Sometimes it can go undetected for months, costing valuable revenue. Many times the owner won’t find out until they get their quarterly check from the utility and discover that it’s a lot lower than what it should be.

Q. So how can a solar owner determine if their system is running at peak efficiency?
A. Without the proper software and diagnostic tools it is difficult for owners to determine if their systems are operating at peak efficiency. However, with an energy services agreement, owners can solve this problem by having professionals monitor the system on a 24/7 basis and perform proactive maintenance to prevent any surprises and keep the system operating at peak capacity.  If there is a problem it can be quickly identified and brought back on-line. For example, in the last storm we identified an outage for a customer on Sunday, and scheduled a crew to repair it on Monday. Without the monitoring, the owner may not have even known there was a problem and would likely have had a hard time getting it repaired quickly after a major Nor’Easter.

Q. Are service agreements a good idea?
A. Our experience tells us that preventing or fixing even one significant problem can pay for the entire contract. You also need to remember that it’s more than just proactive system maintenance and quickly fixing problems. There are many other opportunities to enhance your ROI; for example, handling the billing and utility interaction is another area where a service agreement can produce dividends. Utility bills are famously complicated and having a third party to verify whether you’re receiving the full value for the power you’re producing, and to catch billing discrepancies is important.  Based on the information on your utility bill, a services provider might recommend certain adjustments be made to your system based on your tariff, your energy requirements, new incentives and new technologies like energy storage.

Property owners understand the importance of maintaining their assets and this is equally true for solar energy systems. A properly maintained and serviced system will be more efficient, produce more revenue and will maximize the system’s ROI and resale value.

 

Accurounds Solar Installation and Manufacturing STEM Event Highlights

Accurounds-drone-photo

How Massachusetts Economic and Education Initiatives are Coalescing To Support Vibrant “New Economy”

 

April 27, 2018 – Hopkinton, MA – Solect Energy, the state’s leading commercial-scale developer and installer of solar energy systems, joined Michael Tamasi, CEO of AccuRounds, Luis Lopes, Superintendent of Southeastern Vocational Technical High School and a panel of leading Southeastern Mass. businesses and education groups at a STEM education and business event last night that demonstrated the progress and interdependencies of the state’s economic, education and clean energy initiatives. Solect Energy’s newly installed rooftop solar arrays at AccuRounds and Southeastern Tech were highlighted as compelling examples of the synergies between advanced manufacturing, renewable energy companies and STEM education.

The event, called “Educating for the Future, 2020 & Beyond” was part of the Southeastern MA STEM Network’s series that brings together elected officials, community organizations, and education, business and community leaders. The goal is to showcase successful STEM programs between businesses and educational institutions, and to encourage additional complementary workforce development activities.

AccuRounds hosted the event at its Avon advanced manufacturing facility where it produces precision components for a range of innovative markets, including products used in clean energy technologies like wind turbines and solar systems. Solect Energy has built and installed more than 400 solar energy systems in Massachusetts and surrounding New England states, with an emphasis on commercial and industrial customers, public, educational and non-profit organizations. Solect’s systems drive down customers’ electricity costs, reduce manufacturing and operating expenses, and help to contribute positively to the environment. Southeastern Tech and its education cohorts are spearheading STEM education programs across the spectrum — PK-12, college-level and working adults — developing a well-prepared workforce that companies like AccuRounds and Solect are eager to employ.

“Massachusetts has focused on a number of key initiatives — an emphasis on supporting advanced manufacturing, STEM education and a commitment to clean energy — that have coalesced to support a dynamic economic cluster in our state,” said Matt Shortsleeve, Vice President of Development at Solect Energy. “The interdependencies of AccuRounds, Solect Energy and STEM educators such as Southeastern Tech, demonstrate the synergies that are driving our new economy.  At Solect, we rely upon the next generation of skilled workers to help us grow and sustain our business in the renewable energy industry.”

According to the “Clean Energy Industry Report” from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the number of clean energy jobs in the state has increased 81% between 2010 and 2017. Massachusetts employs 109,226 workers in clean energy jobs, which the MassCEC defines as jobs in renewable energy; energy efficiency, demand management, and clean heating and cooling; alternative transportation; and other.  The Solar Foundation’s “Solar Job Census” reports that in 2017 there were 11,530 solar jobs in Massachusetts, which is the second largest in the nation, behind only California.

Solar Installations

AccuRounds and Southeastern Tech partnered with Solect to install rooftop solar energy systems. Both organizations were eager to participate in the clean energy economy beyond their contributions of educating a workforce and producing key components. By pursuing solar, the two organizations benefit from substantially lower energy costs. These savings free up funds that can be used to support new educational programs, or spur business investments, such as new technology. In addition, both AccuRounds and Southeastern have the satisfaction of demonstrating their environmental commitment to their employees, customers, students, and communities.

AccuRounds’ 162 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array is comprised of 405 photovoltaic (PV) panels and is projected to generate 187,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually. That is equivalent to charging 9350 electric vehicles or 37,400,000 smartphones a year.  It is estimated that the array will cover approximately 18% of the manufacturer’s energy needs, and is expected to generate $460,000 in savings over the 25 year agreement.

“It makes good business sense to invest in solar energy,” said Michael Tamasi, President and CEO of AccuRounds. “Sustainability is part of our corporate mission, with a goal to progressively make our operations more green.  As we manufacture precision components for the solar industry, we felt it would be beneficial to install our own array. Solect is an extremely knowledgeable solar partner. They understand the manufacturing business and worked hard with us to design and install a system that delivers maximum return on investment.”

Southeastern Tech expansive roof was able to support a 422 kW solar array.  It is comprised of 1,056 modules, and is expected to provide about 40% of the electricity demand on-site. “Southeastern is committed to creating a learning environment that creates career pathways for our students, and we are committed to preparing them for professional careers in advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and other high-paying, high-demand jobs of the future,” said Louis Lopes, Superintendent of Southeastern Tech. “Our solar agreement with Solect not only allows us to operate more efficiently, it demonstrates to our students the practical application of renewable technology and also serves as a working demonstration lab for students in our Electrical, Engineering, Life Sciences, and Advanced Manufacturing Programs.”

 

About Solect Energy

Solect Energy, based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts is the recognized leader in commercial-scale solar. We develop smart, customized strategies based on a deep assessment of each customer’s energy needs and requirements, then deliver solar design and installation solutions, operations and maintenance services, and the most advanced energy storage systems. Solect offers proven expertise in development, technology, policy, and incentives, as well as individualized financial guidance. Our practical, systematic approach helps businesses and organizations reduce energy costs and optimize their solar investment. To date, Solect has installed over 80 megawatts of commercial PV systems, with a focus on commercial, light industrial, and institutional properties throughout New England and Illinois.

For more information, visit http://www.solect.com or follow us on Twitter at @SolectSolar.

About AccuRounds

AccuRounds, founded in 1976, is a leader in Advanced Manufacturing. We machine precision mechanical components such as shafts, pins and bushings for a variety of industries including medical, aerospace, defense, oil and gas, and emerging technology.

For more information, visit www.accurounds.com or follow us on Twitter at  @AccuRounds.