Tenaska has selected Tim Hemig to serve as managing director of distributed solar investments for the company. Hemig will lead the company’s efforts to build on its success in renewable energy development with its recent investments in distributed solar electric generation companies Soltage, LLC and Suncrest Solar, Inc.
“Distributed generation, particularly residential and commercial solar, is an increasingly important part of energy production across the nation,” said Hemig. “Tenaska has successfully developed solar power projects for a number of years. Given increasing interest in renewable, retail energy solutions and the rapidly growing demand for solar energy by commercial, industrial, governmental, municipal and residential customers, we felt the time was right to further expand Tenaska’s footprint in America’s solar markets.”
Hemig joined Tenaska in 2014 with more than 20 years of experience in natural gas-fueled and renewable electric generation development and operations. Most recently serving as Tenaska vice president of development, he led origination efforts for natural gas-fueled and renewable electric generation, distributed generation, and energy storage in the western United States. He previously worked for NRG Energy, leading origination and project development of 1,200 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar power projects as well as more conventional natural gas-fueled projects.
Expanding Investment in Distributed Generation
Tenaska has increased its role and support for Soltage, becoming a majority owner of the Jersey City, New Jersey-based company. On March 10, Tenaska announced its second multimillion-dollar corporate equity investment to support Soltage’s growth, with the potential to invest additional amounts in new project portfolios going forward. The investment will facilitate Soltage’s growth throughout the next few years, with an expectation to deploy roughly $250 million for approximately 125 megawatts (MW) of solar projects.
Soltage is a full-service renewable energy company that develops, acquires, finances, installs, owns and operates solar electric generating installations that provide electricity to commercial, industrial, educational, utility and municipal customers under long-term contracts nationwide.
Tenaska has been an investor in Soltage for seven years, during which Soltage has seen solid growth. Soltage has developed 31 increasingly larger solar projects in eight states totaling more than 75 MW. The company currently manages 25 projects totaling 65 MW operating and under construction.
Backing Growth of Residential Solar
Suncrest Solar, which focuses on residential solar, will be expanding in size and scope with Tenaska’s backing, Suncrest announced on Feb. 19. Suncrest has sold more than 500 residential solar systems in the last year through direct customer engagement. These systems produce electricity that feeds directly into homes, with excess electricity being sold into the electric grid.
Suncrest is based in Salt Lake City, with offices across Southern California. Expansion plans include the addition of seven sales offices in California this year and 10 more in the United States in 2016.
Suncrest designs, permits and installs solar panels on the roofs of residential electric utility customers. Electricity produced by the solar panels is fed directly into the home. Excess electricity produced by the rooftop panels is sold into the electric grid. The homeowner realizes energy savings with no out-of-pocket costs because power generated by the solar panels is lower cost than that purchased from the energy grid.
Employment in the solar energy industry has grown 20 percent since 2012, and California leads the U.S. in the industry, with more than 242,000 solar projects throughout the state.
Record of Success in Utility-scale Solar
Tenaska, which has been developing power generating projects since 1987, has 280 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar projects in operation or under construction. The Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South, which went into commercial operation in 2013, produces 130 MW, enough electricity to power approximately 44,000 California homes. The 150-MW Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, also near El Centro, will generate enough electricity to power approximately 55,000 California homes. Both projects have long-term power purchase agreements with San Diego Gas & Electric Company.
California has a renewable portfolio mandate to have 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
Tenaska is one of the largest independent power producers in the United States. Tenaska has developed approximately 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across the United States. Tenaska affiliates currently operate and manage 14 power plants totaling approximately 11,000 MW. Tenaska is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, with offices in Boston, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Calgary and Vancouver,