Driscoll Presented with Keeper of the Hope Award at 2018 Gala
November 19, 2018 – HOPKINTON, MA – Solect Energy, the leading commercial-scale developer and installer of solar energy systems in Massachusetts, announced today that its CEO, Ken Driscoll, has been honored by IMPACT Melanoma with its Keeper of the Hope Award. The award was presented at IMPACT Melanoma’s 2018 Shades of Hope Gala which took place on Friday, Nov. 16th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Driscoll was lauded for his many contributions to IMPACT Melanoma and for the leadership role Solect has taken in educating its workers and partners about respecting the power of the sun.
IMPACT Melanoma, a national non-profit aimed at reducing the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is committed to sun-safety. The Keeper of the Hope Award is presented to a member of its IMPACT community whose generosity, vision and commitment to the organization over time is unwavering. The award is given in honor of Suzanne Donahue, a young woman who lost her battle with melanoma at age 37.
“We are delighted to present Ken with the 2018 Keeper of the Hope Award,” said Deb Girard, Executive Director of IMPACT Melanoma. “Ken has been an outstanding corporate partner, hosting our Boston Marathon team at their Hopkinton offices on race day for the past 6 years, and volunteering on our golf tournament committee. What has really made Ken stand out is the leadership that he and his team at Solect have shown in not just evangelizing, but actively supporting skin safety for their outdoor workers and partners. Solect’s protocols for educating and protecting their team members from harmful UV rays, have become the model for our National Workers Initiative.”
Skin cancer rates are growing at epidemic numbers. Outdoor workers receive up to 8 times more UV radiation than indoor workers and have a 60% greater risk of developing skin cancer. This year over 3.5 million skin cancers will be diagnosed in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recognized that safe workplaces promote ways to protect workers’ skin from harmful UV radiation.
“Our business is about harnessing the power of the sun,” said Ken Driscoll. “With all the benefits that the sun provides us as a clean energy resource, we also have to respect its adverse effects. Our team members are on roofs installing or maintaining solar panels, and are exposed to the elements daily. Solect ensures the highest safety measures – providing safety guardrails and harnesses, certified safety protective equipment, and fall prevention safety trainings, and we believe that skin safety is also a part of that commitment, which is why we have taken proactive measures to provide our team members with skin safety tools.”
Solect’s sun safe protocols are in place at all active job sites, offering on-site sunscreen dispensers, long sleeve and UPF shirts, wide-brimmed UPF hats with protective neck flaps, UV protective sunglasses, and erecting temporary shade structures at worksites. Also Solect hosts an annual Sun Safety training with IMPACT melanoma to educate their workforce.
Game changing energy storage technologies will fundamentally alter the functionality of the electric supply system: What this means for energy consumers, and why commercial facilities should be considering it today.
As we consider the future of the built environment, one of the most dramatic changes will be the way we generate and consume electricity. The challenge to decarbonize our energy supply has created a myriad of opportunities for new ways to generate, manage and consume power. Over the last decade, clean energy technologies like solar and wind have been complimented by super-efficient technologies like LED lighting and new heating and cooling technologies, resulting in lower costs for consumers and fewer emissions. Energy storage is the critical third leg of this stool, the lynchpin that enables more rapid penetration of new efficiency technologies and clean energy generation.
Why energy storage is important
Because electric power cannot be stored, it requires the overbuilding of our energy systems with a vast amount of expensive, and often dirty, capacity waiting on the sidelines ready to be called upon during periods of peak demand. For example, a recent study by the Department of Energy Resources in Massachusetts calculates that the top 1% of peak energy demand for the state represents 10% of the overall supply costs and that the top 10% of peak demand represents 40% of total energy supply costs. Energy storage gives grid operators much more control in managing their load. Batteries can be charged in periods of low demand and deployed when energy is needed. It also allows energy resources to be located closer to where the energy is required, relieving congested nodes on the grid and reducing the need to upgrade distribution systems.
In recent years, as the world has begun to address the carbon intensity of electric power supplies, we have seen a significant deployment of clean energy generating sources. Much of this new capacity has come from solar and wind energy which are “intermittent” resources, meaning that they produce power dependent on the wind blowing and the sun shining. At higher levels of penetration, intermittency can create additional burdens for managing the grid; not producing enough power when it’s needed or producing too much power when the grid can not accommodate it. A well known pattern of solar energy production is called the “duck curve” (see image below) where solar energy systems deliver maximum output during the middle of the day, but then trail off as the grid hits its peak in the evening. Energy storage can help to balance these intermittent resources and smooth out load problems like the duck curve.
The “Duck Curve:” Image from California Independent System Operator
Another important benefit of energy storage is resiliency, as a battery system can allow a facility to continue operations during a power outage. This is especially important for critical infrastructure like hospitals and public safety facilities. Traditionally these facilities have often relied on diesel generators for backup power, but with the penetration of on-site solar, declining battery costs and the ability to avoid demand charges, storage is becoming an attractive and cost effective option to enhance resiliency.
With the expense of building a grid that needs to ramp-up on a moments notice to meet demand, and a growing amount of intermittent generation sources from solar and wind, the ability to store energy becomes much more urgent. Historically, batteries have been too expensive to displace peaking assets on the grid, but with the plummeting costs of batteries this is rapidly changing, and may happen sooner than many think.
Early Deployment at Utility Scale
In European countries that were early adopters of storage friendly policies, energy storage has seen robust market penetration. According to Energy Storage News, 300 Megawatt (MW) hours of energy storage was installed in the EU in 2015 which grew to 700 MW hours installed in 2017. 60% of the total installed capacity is utility scale. These are larger projects that benefit from scale efficiencies and are often referred to as “front of the meter.” This means it is a stand alone project that feeds power directly into the grid. Commercial and Industrial (C&I) projects are often called “behind the meter” as they sit behind the meter at a facility and provide on-site energy with benefits going directly to the energy consumer.
The C&I market is expected to see explosive growth over the next five years
A recent study by Delta Energy and Environment predicted that by 2021 up to 210 MWs of energy storage would be installed annually in Germany and the UK for C&I markets; this would be ten times the 22 MWs installed in 2016. Like Europe, the U.S. has seen initial market penetration at the utility scale. However, behind the meter systems are expected to see tremendous growth in the next few years. A report by Green Tech Media and the Energy Storage Association forecasts the U.S. C&I market to grow 15 times its current size in 5 years (by 2023) reaching 3.3 Gigawatts (GW) of new annual capacity. By 2019, it is expected that behind the meter projects (residential and C&I) will comprise 50% of the new capacity.
Behind the boom: a closer look at the economics of commercial and industrial energy consumers
To understand why C&I facilities are expected to see such rapid rates of adoption we need to take a closer look at how C&I customers are charged for their energy. Typically utilities charge commercial customers in two different ways. Most well known are volumetric charges, i.e. how much energy is consumed over a period of time. This is calculated in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh). However, because of the expense of managing peak demand, many utilities will also send economic signals that encourage consumers to “flatten” their load; i.e. avoiding dramatic energy surges that will trigger the need to call upon more expensive generating assets.
The most common way that utilities send these signals is through demand charges. Although these charges can vary in the way they are calculated, typically a utility will look at a consumer’s peak load each month for a short duration of time, usually a fifteen minute window. The demand charge is calculated by taking the peak usage for each month and multiplying it by a certain rate. Unlike energy consumption charges, demand charges look only at a snapshot in time, and thus are based on kilowatts (kW) as opposed to the volumetric charges which are based on kilowatt hours (kWh).
For example, a small manufacturing company may have a big order due at the end of the month and utilize all of its machinery in a short period of time, causing a spike in its energy consumption. Let’s say their typical load is 750 KW but during the end of month surge it ramps up to 1200 KW. The rate for demand charges can vary from zero to as high as $50+/KW. Let’s assume $40/KW. This would translate to a monthly charge of $48,000, just for that one spike in energy consumption. Typically demand charges are anywhere from 30%-70% of a customer’s bill.
Price signals justify commercial scale energy storage projects today
High demand charges are sending price signals that are accelerating the energy storage market. In looking to mitigate these charges, facility and energy managers are looking for ways to even-out their load profiles. At the same time, commercial energy storage systems have rapidly declined in price, making storage an attractive option today. In fact, according to a study by the Clean Energy Group and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), installing an energy storage system makes economic sense for customers who are paying more than $15/kW in demand charges. Based on this threshold, NREL determined that energy storage systems would make economic sense (2-5 year payback) for 5 million commercial customers in the US. As policy makers establish incentive programs for energy storage, the numbers will become even more compelling.
In another study, NREL looked at two specific case studies for commercial facilities to determine the potential value of an energy storage system. The first project was in Los Angeles, CA and looked at a storage system paired with photovoltaic (PV) solar energy, and a second project in Knoxville TN that only had a battery system. Based on the potential performance of a lithium ion battery system, both projects had a positive Net Present Value (NPV); $31,874 for the Los Angeles project and $60,731 for the project in Knoxville.
Incentives for Energy Storage:
Like Europe and other global markets, the rate of penetration for energy storage is dependent not only on the underlying market conditions but also government policies to jump start the market. In Europe, first Italy, then Germany and then the UK each created rapid growth as they rolled out storage friendly policies. In the U.S., early stage markets are driven by state policies with the leader being California where a rebate program called the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) drove 45 MW of new installed storage capacity for the C&I market in 2017. More recently, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have all launched new storage incentive programs. Of course federal policies are also important and customers who co-locate storage with solar, will be able to take advantage of the 30% Investment Tax credit and accelerated depreciation.
Types of Energy Storage:
Energy storage can come in multiple forms. Systems can range from pumped hydro to compressed air systems. For commercial facilities, we have already seen the use of thermal energy storage where buildings are heated or cooled during off-peak hours when electric prices are cheaper. We have also seen the deployment of ice systems that exploit the same arbitrage opportunity. Flywheels have been deployed to help with frequency modulation on the grid and flow batteries have the potential for longer-term storage requirements. For electrical power and the demands of the C&I market, lithium-ion batteries are currently the technology of choice. These systems are produced by reliable OEMs, require little maintenance and are easily installed at a commercial facility. Their “energy profiles” match well with storing energy from the grid or a solar energy system and then deploying that energy over shorter period of time to mitigate the demand charge by “peak shaving”.
Bringing intelligence to energy storage
As mentioned above, the preferred technology for C&I applications is a lithium ion battery. Although we are still seeing innovations in manufacturing that are driving down costs, the performance characteristics and longevity of lithium ion are well understood and predictable. However, a battery needs an operating system to tell it what do. This system needs to be sophisticated enough to understand when the facility load is at its peak and when to deploy its energy. Most commercial battery systems come with their own integration software or can be combined with other energy management software.
Over time, these systems will become increasingly sophisticated to factor in a variety of additional variables such as market pricing signals, time of use rates or even predictive models using weather, load and other data. This is called demand monitoring and many C&I customers are installing these software systems, even without storage, because it gives them in-depth insight into their energy load and the ability to control it. For example, they could sub-meter tenants or identify specific pieces of equipment that they wish to monitor in order to operate it more efficiently.
The Benefits of Pairing Solar and Storage
When combined with a solar energy system, energy storage essentially allows a facility to be self sufficient in that it can generate its own power, store it and use it as needed. However, although it is technically possible, the economics at this point do not favor disconnecting from the grid. The sizing requirements for a storage system large enough to be completely independent of the grid does not yet make economic sense in most market conditions. Instead, energy storage systems will be designed to lower costs through demand mitigation (reducing demand charges by reducing load spikes), arbitrage (for facilities with time of use rates) and back-up power that can keep facilities fully operating for a limited amount of time or a subset of critical systems for a longer period of time. Lastly, as policy makers continue to leverage the benefits of distributed generation and storage there are likely to be more opportunities for facilities to monetize their systems. This will give facility managers even more flexibility with their energy choices down the road.
Exploring the advantages of energy storage
Across the globe, policy makers are recognizing the benefits of energy storage and this is reflected in aggressive market forecasts. With large, complicated energy loads commercial, institutional and industrial facilities are ripe for storage deployment. In turn, the benefits to these entities go beyond cost savings giving them more control and optionality with their energy strategies, increasing their resiliency and helping them to achieve their sustainability goals.
However, for facility managers who are interested in pursuing these benefits the initial steps can be quite daunting. The best choice will be dependent on specific incentives, tariff structures and load profiles. If you think storage, or a combined solar and storage system might be a good fit for your facility, a reputable energy company should provide a basic assessment free of charge. That assessment should indicate the potential for savings. In-depth analysis is often done for a fee or a shared savings model. By understanding your options, you are taking the first step in lowering your bills and your carbon footprint while also building resiliency and gaining control of your energy future.
John Mosher is the vice president of energy solutions at Solect Energy in Hopkinton, MA. John leads Solect’s Energy Storage Division and he can be reached at email@example.com.
 Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, State of Charge Report, https://www.mass.gov/service-details/energy-storage-study
Jason Deigh, C&I Storage Expected to Grow Threefold…, Feb 17, 2017, Greentech Media: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/study-sees-big-ci-storage-potential-in-germany-and-u-k#gs.Xj35EQY
Energy Storage Association & Greentech Media, US Energy Storage Monitor: 2017 Year in Review, March, 2018: http://www2.greentechmedia.com/ESM17YIR#gs.9T1PArk
Joyce McLaren & Seth Mullendore, Identifying Potential Markets for Behind the Meter Energy Storage…, Clean Energy Group & National Renewable Energy Laboratory, August, 2017.
DiOrio N, Dobos A, Janzou S. Economic Analysis Case Studies of Battery Energy Storage with SAM. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/64987.pdf. Published November 2015.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.