PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, today announced the start of construction on the first phase of a community-shared solar power project at the Navy Yard. The initial installation includes 1,295 solar panels on a rooftop in the Navy Yard and will provide a total of 440kW system capacity for the district. The Navy Yard Community Solar is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, joining just 25 states in the U.S. with community solar projects underway.
Allowing companies at the Navy Yard the opportunity to share the benefits of solar power without installing solar panels on their property, Navy Yard Community Solar demonstrates the benefits of shared access to renewable energy and energy choice as well as the improved environmental and social outcomes. When fully operational, the project will produce 930,000kWh of clean, reliable, and cost-effective power per year. The community solar project will also help to fulfill the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to transitioning to 100 percent clean energy.
“This is a small but meaningful step in Mayor Kenney’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2035,” said Prema Katari Gupta, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, Navy Yard Planning and Development. “We are thrilled that the Navy Yard can now offer companies an on-site, green energy option.”
The solar panels will be installed on the rooftop of RevZilla.com’s East Coast warehouse and fulfillment center in the Navy Yard. This building, where RevZilla.com fills orders from online sales of premium motorcycle apparel, parts and accessories, was selected based on the rooftop size and full sunlight exposure, as well as the adjacent microgrid connection point. A second Navy Yard project site, currently under site selection and development, will add an estimated 310kW and be commissioned in spring 2018.
“RevZilla is a tech company committed to providing today’s moto enthusiast market with higher levels of satisfaction through technology,” said Jeff Kiniery, RevZilla.com’s Facility Manager. “Serving as the physical home for this initiative similarly felt like a great chance to push the sustainability effort in the city and enhance the position of the Navy Yard, which we’re proud to call home.”
This project is possible at the Navy Yard due to its unique, private microgrid and electric distribution system. The Navy Yard’s energy master plan calls for modernizing the electric distribution system, as well as adding an array of on-site clean energy generation and storage resources to complement the majority of its electricity supply that is provided by PECO. Through this highly collaborative process with economic development at its core, the Navy Yard has earned an international and national reputation for its energy eco-system combining the private sector, R&D and educational stakeholders, PJM, PECO, and the public sector.
Navy Yard Community Solar was conceived of and financed in part by Reinvestment Fund and the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF). Reinvestment Fund and SDF will provide the project’s developer, SolarSense LLC, with a low interest loan and grant. Reinvestment Fund’s sponsorship of the project includes provisions to measure and analyze the benefit-cost dynamics of electrons from distributed generation for PIDC’s microgrid, the City of Philadelphia, PECO, and the Commonwealth of PA.
Roger Clark of Reinvestment Fund stated, “Reinvestment Fund is excited to be part of this important project to demonstrate community solar in Pennsylvania. PIDC and SolarSense have been great partners and we hope the lessons from this project will help change Pennsylvania’s net metering rules to allow for this very promising business model for expanding clean solar energy to many more Pennsylvanians. Community solar can bring solar to renters, to people whose home is shaded or not oriented properly for good solar generation, or to low and moderate income families.”
SolarSense LLC, the specialty solar affiliate of Alternative Energy Development Group (AEDG), located in Berwyn, PA, developed and designed the project, and is managing the construction and financing. When completed, SolarSense will own and operate the solar panels, selling 100% of the power generated to PIDC for distribution on the Navy Yard’s electric distribution grid. Seven to 10 small, medium and large tenants of the Navy Yard can participate in Community Solar by becoming subscribers and purchasing a share of solar power generated from the system.
“We congratulate and thank each major contributing party for their collaboration and fortitude,” said Chris D. Fraga, CEO of SolarSense. “Starting with PIDC, with full support from the City, for their vision to incorporate renewable energy as a component of their microgrid; the Reinvestment Fund and SDF for their vision and commitment to financially support & analyze the benefits of a Community Solar Project; and RevZilla, for their commitment to sustainability and willingness to license its rooftop for the project.
Solar industry leaders and public policy makers believe that the community solar business model could provide a very powerful vehicle for a more scalable approach to using solar PV to address broader community and corporation aspirations.
For more information about participating in Navy Yard Community Solar, please contact Rudy Terry, Director of Navy Yard Smart Grid, at firstname.lastname@example.org. To watch the accompanying Navy Yard Community Solar video, please visit https://youtu.be/zjv5qIeCiSk.