Distributed solar project updates in California, Maryland and New York


Solar projects can come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from multi-thousand acre utility-scale projects to small residential rooftop installations and even mobile devices.

In this round-up, pv magazine USA takes a tour through three project portfolios, each of which has project sizes landing somewhere in the middle range, or just under 5 MW. This middle range occupies larger rooftop installations, commercial and industrial solar arrays, and smaller community solar projects. These projects often come with of the benefits of distributed energy, like a more flexible and resilient power supply, the opportunity to build on mixed-use spaces, and they often carry direct savings for the communities or businesses that invest in the project.

California 52.2 MW

Developer and asset manager ForeFront Power and its partner HASI have entered into a follow-on equity investment for a portfolio of distributed solar and solar-plus-storage projects across California. The portfolio is comprised of 48.5 MW of commercial and industrial solar projects, built on ground-mounts, carports, and rooftops, as well as 3.7 MW of distributed solar projects paired with battery energy storage.

Roughly 36 MW of the distributed assets are complete, while the rest of the projects will be funded upon completion before year-end. ForeFront will continue to manage customer relationships across the portfolio and provide its customers and co-sponsor with energy management services.

“Solar is a mature technology that provides long-term returns to investors, while reducing electricity costs for customers and eliminating carbon emissions from the power grid,” said Michael Smith, chief executive officer, ForeFront Power.

ForeFront Power has developed more than 1,400 behind-the-meter and community solar projects, totaling more than 1.1 GW of capacity.

Maryland 17 MW

Summit Ridge Energy and Black Bear Energy announced the commencement of construction of four industrial projects in Maryland. The projects, which include large rooftop installations, combine for 17 MW in capacity. Summit Ridge will develop, own and operate the assets, while Black Bear will facilitate the projects, which were built for industrial logistics specialist LBA Logistics.

LBA’s roof will host the community solar project.
Image: Summit Ridge Energy

The rooftop-hosted solar projects will participate in the Maryland Community Solar program, providing low-cost renewable energy to residents who subscribe.

“Delivering roughly 17 MW of solar to the Belcamp and Rosedale communities is a big accomplishment for LBA and we look forward to future opportunities,” said Michelle German, Vice President of ESG at LBA Logistics.

New York 4 MW

In New York, the nation’s strongest community solar market, Genie Solar Energy announced it broke ground on a 4 MW community solar project in Perry, N.Y. The project will be comprised of roughly 9,000 panels, producing the equivalent of 440 homes’ power needs, and offsetting over 3,500 metric tons of carbon emissions per year.

Genie Solar expects construction to be complete this year. To facilitate the construction, the company will pay for the project’s required grid interconnection upgrades. Project execution will be dependent on timely grid upgrade work performed by National Grid.

Groundbreaking at the Perry, NY community solar project.
Image: Genie Solar Energy

New York state’s community solar program enables households and businesses across the state to access the environmental and economic benefits of solar electricity generation without the need to install panels on their properties. Instead, the solar project developer constructs and interconnects a solar array to the grid while enrolling local subscribers.

“For the Perry project, we not only will lower electricity bills for hundreds of local subscribers, but we also plan to utilize highly-skilled, local personnel from Perry and its immediately surrounding areas for critical tasks during the project’s construction including land preparation, panel installation, and electrical work,” said Nathan Knapke, director of community solar, Genie Solar Energy.

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