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10/25/2012 01:42 PM     print story email story  

SolarCity Enters New Business: Utility-Scale Solar Development News

In advance of its IPO, SolarCity is entering yet another business line, this time as a utility-scale solar developer.

The company won a contract to build a a 12 megawatt (MW) solar plant on Hawaii's island of Kaua'i. It will generate 6% of the island's electricity and reduce the utility's need to import over a million barrels of oil.

The project is one of three solar plants under development - together the 30 MW of solar will generate half the island's daytime electricity, well ahead of the utility's target of 2023.

SolarCity's project will cover 67 acres of the 40.000-acre Grove Farm, one of the island's biggest landowners. The owners are transitioning the land from a sugar plantation to a community development and property management company, to foster a more sustainable island community.

"We have invested a lot of time, energy, and money to create renewable energy opportunities across our lands to help move our island off its dependence on fossil fuels," says Michael Tresler, Senior Vice President of Grove Farm.

SolarCity will now compete with SunEdison, SunPower and First Solar to build solar projects for utilities.  

26 Los Angeles Schools

Another new project for SolarCity, under it's original solar leasing model, is 7.4 MW of solar on the roofs of 26 Los Angeles schools.

The school district expect to save about $776,000 in the first year and more than $25 million over the next 20 years.

Over 200 schools, community colleges and universities now have solar systems installed by SolarCity. 

In terms of other businesses SolarCity has recently entered, it's new energy storage offering works off Tesla batteries, and it is applying the same solar leasing model to home energy upgrades.

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