Innovative Solar seeks approvals for 130 MW of North Carolina projects

Innovative Solar Systems LLC applied April 28 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for a $144m, 80-MW (AC) solar project to be located in Hope Mills, N.C.

The project company is Innovative Solar 46 LLC. Over the last three years, the Innovative Solar management team has developed a number of renewable energy projects and currently has over 600 MW of projects in various approval stages with Duke Energy, the application noted.

The Innovative Solar 46 facility will be located at 1000 Roslin Farm Rd. in Hope Mills. The system will be ground mounted and comprised of major system components considered “Tier 1” quality in the solar industry. This distinction is required by the institutional investment community who need for the manufacturers to be “bankable” enough to service the warranties that accompany their products, the company noted.

The property lease agreement provides the company with the legal right to develop, construct, own, operate and maintain a solar energy system on the property for a base period of 20 years after the commencement of electrical generation. In addition, the company has two 5-year option periods available.

The project company has already submitted a Self-Certification Filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and has had that submission accepted. It will also obtain Qualifying Facility (QF) certification through FERC. At that point, the facility will be eligible to sell energy production directly to Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK).

The Innovative Solar 46 project will be interconnecting to Duke Energy at the transmission level and selling electricity via a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement to Duke Energy under the Qualified Facilities Tariff. Forecasted annual sales for the facility are 132,293,004 kilowatt-hours in Year 1, with an expected 0.5% reduction in sales each year thereafter, which is based on the standard expected long-term degradation of photovoltaic systems.

The facility will consist of approximately 320,000 solar photovoltaic modules on an aluminum or steel racking structure. The project is estimated to have a commercial operation date of Nov. 1, 2015.

The applicant is a single purpose vehicle with its manager being Innovative Solar Systems (ISS). ISS started in 2011 with the development of 800 kW to 1.99 MW ground mounted solar projects that were distribution line projects. After developing a number of solar projects that were primarily in the 1.99 MW (AC) size, it became obvious that equity and tax investors were more interested in the larger projects, the company pointed out. Larger projects allow the equity and tax investors to spread their transaction and soft costs to reduce their price per MW of project size.

An applicant contact is John Green, Senior Electrical Engineer and ISS co-founder, 828-215-9064, johngreen@bellsouth.net.

John Green in the past worked on major electrical projects for companies including Kimberly-Clark and Augusta Newsprint, before founding ISS in 2011 with brother Richard Green. Richard Green worked for a number of years with national companies such as Daniel Construction and Gilbane Building Co. as a Project Engineer. He left corporate America in 1987 and has worked the last 25 years as a principal with companies involved with commercial real estate development and construction in the southeastern U.S.

Another ISS project company, Innovative Solar 41 LLC, filed a similar application on April 25 with the North Carolina commission for a $90m, 50-MW (AC) solar photovoltaic system located at 752 Turnbull Rd. in Garland, which is in Bladen County, N.C. The facility will consist of approximately 200,000 solar photovoltaic modules on an aluminum or steel racking structure.

The Innovative Solar 41 project is estimated to have a commercial operation date of Nov. 1, 2015. The project will be interconnecting to Duke Energy at the transmission level and selling electricity via a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement to Duke Energy. Forecasted annual sales for the facility are 82,683,127 kilowatt-hours in Year 1, with an expected 0.5% reduction in sales each year thereafter.

The North Carolina commission in recent years has handled dozens of certificate applications for solar projects, most around 5 MW in size.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.