Friday, April 11, 2008

Thule HQ goes solar

Roof rack manufacturer Thule is installing a roof rack of their own -- a 318 KW solar system on top of their Seymour, CT Headquarters. The system will provide about 26% of the facility's power and will be funded by $1.3 million from the CCEF. $4,000/KW is not so bad for a solar installation -- usually $5-10k -- but it's not really clear if this is the entirety of the funding.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Based on current state and federal laws, that is the only government funding they are eligible for. Luckily they applied to CCEF earlier rather than later…on April 1, 2008 CCEF changed the rules on solar and Thule would have had to max out at $3,000/kW for a solar system of that size. The question is, why solar and did they consider other renewables? Connecticut does not have ideal solar conditions, and when compared to other technologies solar isn’t only expensive, but inefficient. It still beats buying nuclear/coal/gas fired electricity off the grid though.

Patrick O'Neill said...

The Thule project is eligible for a Federal Investment Tax Credit, which gives the system owner a tax credit equal to 30% of the total system cost, and accelerated depreciation which allows the owner to write down the entire cost of the system in 5.5 years on their Federal Income taxes. Additionally under the new CCEF incentive system, the Thule project would be eligible for a grant of up to $4.12/Watt-PTC (3.64/W-STC) if the site met certain energy efficiency requirements.
Why install Solar here?: because on this site it made perfect sense. The facility has a maximum demand for electricity during the same period when solar produces the most power (mid day). Thus the solar installation will reduce their electric bill in two ways: It will reduce the energy charge ($/kW-hr) and it will reduce the demand charge ($/kW) by decreasing the maximum kW demanded during any given billing cycle. Finally and most importantly to the end user, they chose solar because it allowed Thule to hedge their energy costs with a technology that has nearly zero operating costs (fuel and maintenance), and near zero emissions over the life of the system (including manufacturing and installation).
Patrick O’Neill P.E. – CT Clean Energy Fund

Anonymous said...

Actually I don't think this beats nuclear power in terms of cost and benefits. And what other "renewables" are we talking about here...wind? Connecticut certainly is not ideal for any of the big renewables and nuclear energy seems to be the only viable option for clean and efficient energy.

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