Sunrise brief: Regulators OK Duke Energy solar plans


Florida utility regulators approved plans by Duke Energy Florida to build 10 solar plants over the next four years.

In a 4-1 vote on January 5, regulators approved the utility’s “Clean Energy Connection Program” that will allow customers to pay a voluntary monthly fee of $8.35 per kilowatt block to help finance the solar projects. Customers also will receive a credit for their participation. For the first 36 months, the bill credit rate will be 4.037 cents per kWh, then increase by 1.5% every year.

The program involves building 10 74.9 MW solar plants, with two coming online in January 2022, four coming online in January 2023 and four coming online in January 2024. The cost of each plant would range from $102 million to $113 million.

(Read our full coverage here.)

BESS addition in ERCOT

FlexGen is teaming up with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. to install two 110 MWh stand-alone battery storage projects in Texas’ Hill Country, part of the Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas (ERCOT) grid.

When deployed, the systems will serve as dispatchable assets for an unnamed independent power producer.

FlexGen said its HybridOS energy management system platform currently controls more than 260 MW and 171 MWh of energy storage projects in commercial operation. The company said that it is the second-largest U.S. energy storage technology solutions and services provider, and first in Texas, where it claims an 80% market share.

Contemporary Amperex Technology develops and makes lithium-ion batteries for vehicles and energy storage systems.

Peck picks iSun

The Peck Company Holdings, a Vermont-based commercial solar engineering, procurement and construction company is acquiring iSun Energy LLC in an all-stock deal. iSun provides solar power, electric mobility and smart city solutions for government, commercial, retail, academic and data-center projects.

As part of the deal, Peck will change its name to iSun Energy and trade on Nasdaq under the ticker “ISUN.”

Peck said in a statement that despite Covid-19 related challenges in 2020, it experienced no project cancellations; its last reported order pipeline was $56 million. It said that acquiring the iSun brand is in line with its evolution toward serving customers as a full-service energy solutions provider. Peck also said that adding higher-margin products and energy services will have a positive impact on typical solar EPC margins.

The iSun brand offerings include the iSun Energy & Mobility Hub, a solar canopy for EV charging, and the iSun Oasis Smart Solar Bench. iSun Energy’s near-term pipeline is in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York with other locations to be announced at a future date.

Under terms of the deal, Sass Peress, founder and CEO of iSun Energy, will receive 400,000 shares of stock over five years, warrants to purchase up 200,000 shares, and up to 240,000 shares based on performance goals. He becomes chief innovation and experience officer in the new company. Peck closed trading on the day of the announcement at $10.46 a share.

Enphase and Sunnova expand business ties

Microinverter-based solar-plus-storage system company Enphase Energy said it is expanding its business ties with Sunnova Energy International to include Enphase Encharge storage systems.

Sunnova will use its U.S. sales channels to provide an upgrade path for existing Enphase homeowners as well as homeowners who are new to solar and storage.

William J. (John) Berger, Sunnova CEO, said in a statement that the company’s dealers can quickly deploy Enphase Encharge storage systems to new customers as well as to existing Enphase solar-powered homes.

Enphase offers a solar-plus-storage option based on Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry. The storage systems are equipped with Enphase Power Start technology, which helps smooth the power-up of heavy-load air conditioners and well-pumps.

Enphase said it has shipped more than 30 million microinverters, and roughly 1.3 million Enphase systems have been deployed in more than 130 countries. Sunnova Energy is one of the leading residential solar and energy storage service providers, with customers across the U.S. and its territories.

Community solar buy

Distributed Solar Development acquired a two-project, 10 MW community solar portfolio in Lenox, New York. Both projects are ground-mounted and were purchased 75% complete from a mid-stage development partner. DSD will oversee project management through the rest of construction, which is being done by High Peaks Solar of Wynantskill, New York. The projects are expected to be complete by the end of January.

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