New Bright Spaces Solar Host Sites

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The team at Bright Spaces and Creative Solar USA is pleased to report that 2014 has thus far been a very successful year for application to utility-distributed generation projects. We have partnered with several public and private entities as part of a diverse mix of solar host sites and owners applying to both the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Georgia Power solar programs.

Georgia International Horse Park Host Site
A very exciting Bright Spaces’ host site is the Georgia International Horse Park, owned by the City of Conyers. Originally built as the equestrian facility for the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1995, we are applying to Georgia Power for a 550kW system to be located on the large outdoor arena and an adjacent building. If a lottery recipient, this project will benefit the City of Conyers for 20 years leasing the rooftops of these buildings.

Glascock County Host Site
Another Bright Spaces’ host site is on 48 acres of land located in Glascock County and owned by Kester Williford. Mr. Williford is an 83-year-old who retired from Georgia Power after working there for almost 40 years. He started in Augusta as a “helper,” digging holes and handling materials. Next, he worked his way up to a Lineman, installing pole-mounted and underground distribution lines. He is very interested in solar and has tinkered around with it, installing a solar battery charger on his tractor. To now have the opportunity to host a solar farm and participate in Georgia Power’s solar program is like bringing his career full circle.

Union County Economic Development Authority Host Site
This week, Bright Spaces received confirmation from TVA that it has preliminarily qualified for a distributed generation system to be located at property owned by the Union County Economic Development Authority in Blairsville, Ga. Mitch Griggs of the Union County EDA has been a tremendous help in securing the location and providing a great deal of support as we gear up to begin engineering and site work for this exciting project.

White, Ga. Host Site
We are thrilled to be working with the Cartersville-Bartow Joint Development Authority for application to Georgia Power for a 1MW solar facility located in White, Ga. The Bartow Cartersville JDA has recently experienced tremendous success and the team here at Bright Spaces is looking forward to have an opportunity to be a part of its push to diversify its industry partners.

Kirk Rudy
Our partners at Kirk Rudy are at it again. As an Own & Host It candidate, Kirk Rudy is applying to Georgia Power for a 635kW system to be located at its existing facility in Woodstock, Ga. Kirk Rudy has had the good fortune of working with Georgia Power before by selling electricity generated from its 100kW solar car canopy facility and looks forward to the opportunity of working with them again this year..

Homer, Ga. Host Site 
Additionally, a tremendous host site partner this year is the Development Authority of Banks County. Bright Spaces applied for up to 5MW of solar farm on property located just outside Homer, Ga.

Interested in becoming a host site? Contact us today!

 

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Install Solar Panels On Landfills in Georgia

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Anecdote: Riding through Our Town, USA, a young boy asks, “What is that big hill, Mom?” With a hint of disgust in her voice, she replies, “It’s a dump. It’s where we put all of our trash, sweetie.”  With a puzzled look on his face, he continues to question, “What are we doing with it?” She slowly raises her brow, shrugs her shoulders and says, “Nothing.” He refrains from asking, “Why?” because he assumes that if people could do something with a dump, they would have already done it by now. The conversation is brief and their affairs of the day hold far greater a priority than the county dump.

The public views landfills in Georgia like a scarlet letter that Mother Earth must wear, representing the neglect and overconsumption of her residents.

The team at Bright Spaces wants to change that outlook and make the eyesores and wasted space (literally!) into something.

Shocking Facts About Landfills in Georgia

  • 221 landfills are closed (four of which are owned by Georgia Power).
  • 1,121 operating inactive landfills are in closure.
  • 31 landfills are due to reach capacity by 2025.

Bright Spaces’ Solar Solution
We truly believe that there is a simple and great solution to our state’s landfill mess. A PV solar installation (solar panels) makes for a creative way to reuse the acres of capped, aged landfills. Not only could clean energy be produced by a 1-mega-watt solar-panel system, which requires roughly 7 acres of cleared land, but also the owner of the landfill would receive a secondary stream of revenue through a lease agreement.

Due to the current cost of PV solar installations and federal tax incentives, endless opportunities exist, in both the private and public sector, to turn dark places of decomposing trash (aka landfills in Georgia) into bright spaces of renewable energy. This model is not exclusive to landfills, either. Any property owner of under-performing land assets or any building owners with large amount of roof space can benefit from this type PV solar model.

If acting as a host site for a PV solar installation seems like an opportunity for you, your colleagues or your business, contact Bright Spaces at 770-508-8753, or check out www.brightspacessolar.com. You can also view the latest news about our solar projects and more by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.  

Photo credit: EPA

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Introducing the Bright Spaces Program

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Everywhere you look in Georgia, you see open tracks of land going unused and vast rooftops being cooked by the sun. Normally, these sights just blend into the landscape, but as developers of solar projects, we see potential. Enough energy from the sun hits the Earth every hour to power the planet for a year and now, local utility companies are beginning to adopt more solar power into their energy mix without raising rates on their customers.

Utility distributed generation solar programs
Utility distributed generation solar programs, such as Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative and Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Solar Solutions Initiative now offer 20-year power purchase agreements (PPA) for grid-tied systems up to 1MW.  Wildly popular with commercial businesses, these programs have managed to strike a balance between offering a high enough incentive to attract participation, but not too high as to cause upward pressure on rates. This balance may be a model for the sustainable adoption of renewable energy sources in the generation mix moving forward. In fact, demand for Georgia Power’s program last year was so high that winners had to be chosen by lottery.

Challenges of utility solar programs
Based on the response to these programs last year, there is no shortage of solar developers wanting to participate; however, locating sites suitable for solar development is a challenge. In addition, property owners located within the utility service area who cannot themselves use available tax incentives or afford the upfront cost of solar want to participate, but don’t know how. These property owners realize that they can lease their surplus land or roof to solar developers and earn revenue from an otherwise non-performing asset, but don’t know if their land or roof space is suitable for solar development. So, here we have solar developers looking for suitable host sites and property owners looking for willing solar developers. How do property owners determine if their space is suitable for solar development and then communicate that to the stable of ready, willing and able solar developers?

Introducing the Bright Spaces ProgramThe Bright Spaces program solution
That’s where Bright Spaces comes in. Bright Spaces addresses this gap between developer and host by pre-qualifying host sites for free and then provides a platform for solar developers and host sites to get together to participate in the utility solar programs.

Determining a suitable solar site
Hosting a solar development is not as easy as simply having a plot of land. Property owners must determine if their property is suitable for solar development. A number of factors come in to determine whether property is suitable for solar development, such as a nearby interconnection point with the grid, topography, geo-technical, shading, weight load, permitting and much more.  A suitable solar development site also includes setting realistic expectations for property owners. A property owner is not going to get rich leasing out of five-acre parcel of land for 20 years. The utilities can only pay so much without putting upward pressure on rates. While it’s enough to make distributed solar development feasible in Georgia, margins are tight and developers can only pay so much to lease the property.

Bridging the gap between developer and host
Other local solar companies take a customer-centric approach to solar development, where they offer to install solar panels for residential and commercial customers. While this approach addresses that particular segment of the market, it does not adequately address the specific needs for participation in solar utility programs. By taking a utility-centric approach, Bright Spaces is able to bridge the gap between developer and host.

Reducing development risk
Bright Spaces does all of the preliminary host site due diligence, which saves time and resources for developers. Taking out some of the initial development risk for developers is even more critical this year in light of some of the program changes from last year. For example, last year, application fees were refundable and PPA winners were allowed to assign that winning PPA to any of its other projects. This year, no assignments are allowed and the application fee is non-refundable. The stakes are higher this year because there is more development risk upfront. Bright Spaces is designed to reduce upfront development risk while improving access to suitable host sites.

Our development services and platform saves time, money and resources for both developers and host sites, making participation in the solar utility programs easier and more affordable for all stakeholders. If you’re an owner of that unused tract of land or baking rooftop and you’re located within one of these utility service areas, let us show you the potential for solar development and how to generate an additional source of revenue.

Did we pique your interest? Do you have any questions about the Bright Spaces program? Just let us know — we’d love to answer them.

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