Chattanooga Airport now 100% powered by on-site solar energy

(Originally published on Solar Power World)

The Chattanooga Airport in Tennessee celebrated the completion of the final phase of its 2.64-MW solar farm. The power generated is equal to the airport’s total energy needs. The Chattanooga Airport is the only airport in the nation to now run on 100% renewable energy.

“This is a momentous day for the Chattanooga Airport as we complete our solar farm and achieve a major sustainability milestone,” said Terry Hart, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport. “This project has immediate benefits to our airport and community, and we’re proud to set an example in renewable energy for other airports, businesses and our region. While generating a local renewable resource, we are also increasing the economic efficiency of the airport.”

Project partners and elected leaders gathered at Wilson Air Center next to the solar farm to celebrate the grand opening of the installation. TVA and EPB both contributed to the airport’s efforts to bring the solar farm online.

“Renewable energy is a tremendous asset in terms of economic and environmental benefits,” said Doug Perry, TVA vice president of commercial energy solutions.  “With more than 50% of our generating portfolio carbon-free, we’re excited to help the airport protect the environment as they drive tourism and commerce, both vital to achieving our shared mission of economic prosperity for our community.”

The Chattanooga Airport’s 2.64-MW solar installation was made possible by Federal Aviation Administration funding, specifically Voluntary Airport Low Emission and Energy Efficiency grants.

Read more here.

Energy Mentor Network Spotlight: Harvey Abouelata

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council is continuing its series of feature stories highlighting the mentors behind the Energy Mentor Network program offering industry specific expertise.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

Harvey Abouelata, President of ARiES Energy (Credit: ARiES Energy)

Harvey Abouelata, President of ARiES Energy (Credit: ARiES Energy)

This week TAEBC is highlighting mentor Harvey Abouelata. He serves as the President of ARiES Energy.

Harvey has worked on a variety of renewable energy projects for Wampler’s Farm Sausage and most recently a 1.37 MW solar installation for Appalachian Electric Coop – the first utility-scale community solar project in the state – which was officially unveiled in early January.

He also has extensive experience in business management, business planning, strategy, sales, marketing, promotions, public relations, and new technology brand identity with concentration in the renewable energy field.

Related: ARiES Energy celebrates five year anniversary

While being involved in the solar industry, he has succeeded in bringing millions of dollars in grants to local companies and the State of Tennessee.

At ARiES, he oversees business operations and management, marketing strategy, and overall customer satisfaction. In recent history, Harvey was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at a privately owned Knoxville company where he oversaw the sales, product development, and marketing of residential and commercial products and services for solar PV and thermal design. Prior to this position, he was the Director of Sales and Marketing for another renewable energy company launch.

Since graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984, he has been helping businesses launch, reorganize, and bring new technologies to market. Harvey excels at setting up successful sales, marketing, business plans and economic development strategies for companies, as well as executing public outreach and education.

TAEBC is still accepting mentors for the Energy Mentor Program. If you are interested in this opportunity, please visit the “For Mentors” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

ARiES Energy, Signal Energy make 2016 Top 500 North American Solar Contractors List

TAEBC members ARiES Energy and Signal Energy got recognized as some of North America’s best solar contractors by ranking in the top 500 solar companies in the country.

signalEnergyConstructorsSignal Energy was ranked in the top 10, while ARiES achieved a rank of 461 out of 500 solar companies. Solar Power World magazine created the Top 500 Solar Contractors List. The list is designed to observe solar contractors’ work across the U.S. and Canada. The companies who made the list make a lasting impact in the industry by providing jobs and offering electricity consumers more options.

The list describes the company’s location, how many employees it has, its primary market, and details its primary service. Ranks are determined by the number of megawatts a company was involved with installing in 2015 in North America only. If two companies reported the same 2015 numbers, they were sorted by total megawatts installed.

According to the list, Signal Energy installed 377 total megawatts for 2015 alone. By also employing 127 people, the company has managed to build more than 989 megawatts since it was founded in 2005 in Chattanooga.

This comes as Signal Energy also achieved an overall ranking of 6 as one of 2015’s Top Solar EPCs. Solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies are the face of the industry. They design, build and maintain solar projects. They also work directly with solar consumers with their work involving installations ranging from single-kilowatt rooftop arrays to multi-megawatt utility projects.

ariesblackbackgroundAs for ARiES Energy, the company installed 0.21 total megawatts for 2015. With 14 employees, ARiES Energy overall has produced 2.24 megawatts of energy since it was founded in 2011 in Knoxville.

For a look at Signal Energy’s website and how you can learn more about the company, click here.

If you would like to learn more about ARiES Energy and the products and services it provides, click here.

Construction underway for Tennessee’s first community solar project thanks to AEC, ARiES Energy

Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC) and ARiES Energy on Monday marked the start of construction on the utility’s 1.37 megawatt community solar array with a groundbreaking ceremony. This will be one of the largest community solar projects in Tennessee.

TAEBC wrote a letter strongly supporting AEC’s effort to develop the solar project.

Solar power subscriptions for AEC’s project will be available this week and more information will be provided on co-op members electric bills. More than 9,000 solar panels make up the system, and prices will be determined on a per-panel basis. Panels will cost subscribers $125 each.

The metal posts pictured above will be the base for the racking and panels as ARiES and AEC continue the solar project.

The metal posts pictured above will be the base for the racking and panels as ARiES and AEC continue the solar project.

Appalachian Electric Cooperative’s community solar project supports the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council’s mission by giving affordable access to solar for thousands of people. The business model for this project also can be duplicated across the state.

Click here for more information about AEC and ARiES Energy community solar project.

Silicon Ranch Closes Equity Investment, Announces TVA Partnership

It’s been a busy Spring for TAEBC Charter member, Silicon Ranch Corporation. The Nashville-based developer, owner and operator of solar energy plants in the U.S. announced in late April that the company has closed on a $100 million equity investment from Partners Group, a global private markets investment management firm.

silicon-ranch-logoOn the heels of the investment, Silicon Ranch also announced the awarding of a long-term power purchase agreement for a 53 MW solar project at Naval Support Activity in Mid-South in Millington, Tenn. The solar array will be the largest in Tennessee and will provide power to TVA customers for the next 20 years.

Both of these announcements further demonstrate Silicon Ranch’s commitment to the development of the advanced energy sector within Tennessee.

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Silicon Ranch President & CEO Matt Kisber at Nashville headquarters.

The platform investment from Partners Group “will allow Silicon to accelerate its business model of developing to own all projects for the long-term.” said Silicon Ranch President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Kisber, who is also TAEBC’s Board President.

While the solar industry is experiencing a rapid, and dynamic expansion in the U.S., Tennessee remains poised to capture a significant share of the solar market with projects such as the 53 MW solar array in Millington.

According to TVA and Silicon Ranch, the project will occupy over 400 acres and feature a single-axis tracking system to allow an estimated 580,000 panels to follow the sun across its daily arc. To support the facility, Silicon Ranch acquired 330 acres from the Millington Industrial Development Board and signed a real-estate lease with the Department of the Navy for another 72 acres of base land at NSA Mid-South. The capacity generated on the Navy’s property will contribute to the department’s One Gigawatt initiative to enhance energy security and resiliency. The project includes electrical infrastructure upgrades to provide additional benefit to NSA Mid-South.

Silicon Ranch has been a mover for several years in many geographies and was responsible for the first large-scale solar facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Silicon Ranch recently completed its first projects in Colorado and will significantly expand its portfolio across the U.S. over the next 18 months through organic growth and strategic corporate development.

Silicon’s additional Tennessee solar projects include the Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Farm, Hospital Corporation of America, Memphis Bioworks and Memphis Agricenter.

TAEBC applauds Silicon Ranch for its continued success and commitment to being a driver of advanced energy advancement in Tennessee and thanks TAEBC Matt Kisber for his support of the organization.

For more information about Silicon Ranch, visit siliconranchcorp.com.