Cleveland startup awarded $1M federal grant for new solar racking system

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $1-million Small Business Innovation Research grant to Cleveland-based Acme Express for a new solar racking system that “will change the way solar panels are installed throughout the industry,” TechStartups reports. The “single component Roll-A-Rack,” in which roll-form machines produce custom solar racking on demand, “is significantly simpler than today’s multicomponent racking systems,” according to the article. The grant will fund research and further testing of Roll-A-Rack, including efficiency refinements. Don Scipione, president of Acme Express, said Roll-A-Rack will make solar energy “far more accessible and affordable.” The system is expected to be commercially available by the end of 2020. For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

OSU Extension specialists explain solar farm leasing for landowners

What do farm landowners need to understand about the solar leasing process? As solar energy companies have “approached several landowners in Madison County” in recent months, asking to lease their land, Ohio State University Extension is hoping to help answer that question, Columbus Messenger reports. Lower solar construction costs and a change in solar energy policy is prompting investors to rush to get projects started; two solar farm projects in Madison County are currently in the pre-application process with the State of Ohio, according to the article. OSU Extension specialists recently hosted “Solar Leasing 101,” a discussion about the process of leasing land for solar projects and the resources available to landowners. For more information, landowners can visit farmoffice.osu.edu and read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

PACENation 2020 Annual Summit coming to Columbus

PACENation, a national trade association providing education, advocacy and resources for PACE financing, selected Columbus, Ohio, as the site of its 2020 Annual Summit, which will be held March 30-April 1. Bricker is on the Host Committee and is a conference sponsor, and we welcome our public sector, development and energy colleagues to attend. Registration is available online via the conference event page.  

Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Shelby solar energy project now operational

The City of Shelby’s solar energy project, more than two years in the making, is now operational. The city entered into a series of agreements with AEP OnSite Partners, LLC for a 2.5-MW solar array, which is located on 14 acres of property. (Bricker & Eckler represented the city in negotiations with AEP OnSIte.) Cost savings for the city are estimated to be $205,000 in the first year and $3 million over the next 10 years. The solar array contains approximately 6,939 solar panels that are programmed to rotate throughout the day so they are always facing the sun. The project will produce 3,500 megawatt hours per year. Individuals who are interested in tracking the energy produced by the solar array can visit the city’s utility department website to view the projects energy production.

The mayor of Shelby recently touted the benefits of the project for the city.  “This renewable energy is not only economically beneficial, but it is environmentally beneficial as well,” said Mayor Steve Schag. “We are truly blessed to be a leader in the area of renewable energy partnerships in north central Ohio. In doing some research, very few municipalities of our size have a solar field of that size within their city limits," Schag said. For the full article, click here.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Cleveland planning solar arrays on up to 16 city properties

The City of Cleveland could be generating some of the power needed for city buildings through new solar installations by the end of 2020, in an effort to “cut its electric bills and reduce its carbon footprint,” Cleveland.com reports. The city requested proposals from vendors for solar projects at 16 city properties, including Cleveland City Hall, and hopes to award a contract “no later than February,” according to the article. A study launched by Cleveland City Council earlier this year suggested “there is enough annual daylight to generate enough electricity to payback the cost of solar arrays at 11 sites in less than 20 years,” and for another two sites, the payback period “is estimated at less than 15 years.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Cuyahoga County solar projects will save money, protect environment

New solar energy installations on three Cuyahoga County buildings will save taxpayer dollars while also protecting the environment as part of the county’s Climate Change Action Plan, County Executive Armond Budish said in a recent Newsradio WTAM 1100 article. Solar panels installed at the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Harvard Road Garage are expected to save the county $900,000 over 25 years, according to the article. Budish said, “we have committed to adding more renewable energy into both our properties and the local grid as a whole.” The county is also assisting Lakewood with solar projects on four city-owned buildings, which are expected to save the city $855,000 in energy costs over 30 years. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance has record-breaking year for PACE financing

Bricker & Eckler LLP congratulates Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) on a record-breaking year in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing transactions. In 2019, GCEA has closed 24 PACE loans valued at nearly $27 million, more than doubling their 2018 total. GCEA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to facilitate investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to reduce carbon emissions. For more about the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, click here.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Lakewood city facilities to use 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2025

As part of the Sierra Club’s national “Ready for 100” campaign, Lakewood City Council recently pledged that the city will use 100 percent clean, renewable energy in city facilities by 2025, and go “communitywide by 2035,” Cleveland.com reports. Council-at-large representative Tristan Rader said Lakewood has also “prioritized reducing emissions and increasing efficiency in this year’s budgeting process,” the article reports. Earlier this year, Lakewood procured “100 percent clean electricity for its two largest meters and 50 percent for all others, including for streetlights.” The city “generates clean power from a cogeneration system” at the wastewater treatment plant, and is considering “the installation of four large solar systems on city buildings over the next year.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Renewables now less expensive than natural gas generation, new report says

Independent nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recently released a report showing portfolios of clean energy resources “can provide the same energy and reliability services as traditional gas power plants” at a lower cost, nawindpower.com reports. The report, The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios, states the “economics guiding U.S. investments in electricity generation have reached a historic tipping point: Combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response are now less expensive than most proposed gas power plant projects,” according to the article. The report finds “over 95% of gas use in proposed gas-fired power plants across much of the Eastern U.S. could be economically offset by clean energy by 2035,” potentially leading to natural gas plant closures just as cheaper natural gas has led to the retirement of coal-fired plants in recent years. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy

NASA study finds huge solar potential for Cleveland

A 5.4-square mile section of Cleveland has the potential to generate 100,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually — enough to power 10,000 homes — through widespread deployment of rooftop solar systems, NASA researchers found, according to a recent U.S. Energy News article. The analysis, from NASA’s DEVELOP program, “used aerial images to calculate rooftop solar capacity” and found that 85% of the 100,000 megawatts “could be generated on a fifth of the buildings” within that area, according to the article. These findings “could help inform the city’s strategy as it aims to achieve 100% renewable energy” as well as net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates
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