Solar Company Teams with Energy Efficiency Firm

The company that is building the largest solar roofing system in the United States will install its PV systems into energy efficiency projects.

DEARBORN, Michigan, US, 2001–06-29 [] The company that is building the largest solar roofing system in the United States will install its PV systems into energy efficiency projects. PowerLight Corporation has formed a strategic alliance with CMS Viron Energy Services, the energy performance contracting unit of CMS Energy Corp. The two companies will implement on-site energy solutions for commercial, industrial and government clients. The projects will include distributed generation, PV electricity generation and traditional energy saving technologies, such as lighting retrofits and heating and air conditioning upgrades. Customers that want on-site solar generation facilities can use PowerGuard’s patented roofing tiles, which provide added insulation in order to increase the energy efficiency of a building. CMS Viron’s energy efficiency improvements will optimize the size and cost-effectiveness of the solar power system by enabling on-site generation to meet a larger proportion of the customer’s total energy demand. By bundling energy services, CMS Viron and PowerLight expect to provide electricity generation and efficiency upgrades at a lower cost. “Integrated supply- and demand-side resources are one of the keys to effectively meeting future energy needs,” says John Mahoney, president of CMS Viron. “The solutions offered through our alliance with PowerLight reflect the future of the energy industry. The alliance allows us to provide our customers with an economically compelling and environmentally beneficial solution to their rising energy costs.” The two firms are working together on the Alameda County Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California, which will result in the largest solar PV roofing system installation in the U.S. When that project is complete next month, it will reduce the jail’s consumption of grid electricity by 20 percent through a combination of PV generation and energy conservation, and save Alameda County taxpayers $5.5 million over the life of the project. In the new joint venture, CMS Viron will install its UtilityVision(SM) metering systems to moderates a building’s electrical demand to match the generation from the solar PV modules. By altering building air conditioning loads to match cloud cover and solar electric output, the combined systems offer sophisticated load management capabilities and reduced utility costs. “Improved building efficiency measures applied in tandem with solar electric power optimizes our customer’s investment in their own, on-site power supply,” explains Tom Dinwoodie, CEO of PowerLight. “We share a common vision with CMS Viron and that is to develop projects that save our customers money and increase our use of renewable energy resources.” The two firms say that customers are increasingly interested in combining energy efficiency with distributed generation to address the growing volatility and uncertainty in the electricity market. Solar power and energy efficiency provide customers with a valuable hedge against electric price volatility, and the strategic alliance provides customers of both companies with a convenient way to meet energy needs.


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