Environmentalists Feeling Burned by Rush to Build Solar Projects

“Clean energy is our greatest hope for improving the quality of life for all creatures. There is a learning process to all new technological advancement. We need to collaborate and focus on ways to help renewable energy be developed in ways that are scalable to our communities and our environment.” 

The negative environmental impacts of desert solar are mostly caused by very large solar farms.  Smaller, widely distributed PV on rooftops, landfills, parking lots and other wasteland CLOSE TO LOAD will bring all the benefits of distributed renewable energy without damaging our natural resources.”

— Peter Weich,  Absolutely Solar Inc. 

Environmentalists Feeling Burned by Rush to Build Solar Projects by Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times

April Sall gazed out at the Mojave Desert flashing past the car window and unreeled a story of frustration and backroom dealings.

Her small California group, the Wildlands Conservancy, wanted to preserve 600,000 acres of the Mojave. The group raised $45 million, bought the land and deeded it to the federal government.

The conservancy intended that the land be protected forever. Instead, 12 years after accepting the largest land gift in American history, the federal government is on the verge of opening 50,000 acres of that bequest to solar development.

Even worse, in Sall’s view, the nation’s largest environmental organizations are scarcely voicing opposition. Their silence leaves the conservancy and a smattering of other small environmental organizations nearly alone in opposing energy development across 33,000 square miles of desert land.


Can Small to Medium-Sized Solar Projects Answer California’s Renewable Energy Concerns?

By Peter Weich, CEO Founder, Absolutely Solar Inc.

This Sacramento Bee article (March 26, 2012), “Gov. Jerry Brown’s solar power campaign,” highlights some important issues in California’s quest for renewable energy.

First and foremost, it confirms Governor Brown’s serious commitment to solar PV development and to providing a large percentage of California’s power needs from renewable, clean sources. He’s involved and active and seems to understand the importance of the goals and the difficulties that must be overcome.

The story emphasizes large projects and their high potential for failure (difficult permitting, often from multiple governmental agencies; very long and expensive development cycles; environmental impacts on desert ecosystems, flora and fauna; costly and lengthy transmission upgrades and grid interconnection issues; and the complexities of securing capital and financing).

What the article fails to point out is that smaller projects that provide widely distributed generation avoid most of these pitfalls, have a much higher success rate with less environmental impacts and greater benefit to the ratepayers. Smaller projects that are closer to load don’t require grid upgrades, don’t cause long distance transmission power losses, are faster to build and provide more opportunities for community benefits.

California’s New Gold Rush Is Not Necessarily a Silver Lining


By Al Rosen, Director, Absolutely Solar Inc.

Starting this month, the Los Angeles Times published the first two articles in an occasional series about the impacts of large scale-solar projects on California’s desert. This most recent article, published last week, covers rising expectations for growth and its potential for inflated prices, with plenty of room for disappointment. Here’s our take on it.

Like so many land rushes and bubbles of the past (including the recent housing bubble and crash), the current solar land rush isn’t going to last. In bubbles, people invest based on half-truths, lack of information, rumors and the powerful emotions of crowds–essentially, enough hot air to leave that market vulnerable to a sudden burst.

Continue reading “California’s New Gold Rush Is Not Necessarily a Silver Lining”

California Regulators Make Long-Awaited Changes to the CREST PPA


In November, California regulators made some long-awaited changes to the CREST PPA offered by SCE, with a potentially more favorable climate for developers to finance their projects. This article from the January 2012 issue of Photon magazine features an interview with ASI’s Al Rosen and offers some additional background and views. How does it climate for solar development in California look to you – sunny and bright or slightly cloudy?

Note: After this article went to press, SCE withdrew its request for a CPUC rehearing and is signing these PPAs without reservation of rights or protest. Projects which will produce an estimated 70 MW signed the modified PPA before the end of 2011 (including two projects developed by ASI).

PPA fix beat the clock

Photon Magazine, January 2012

Al Rosen knows all about patience. Two years ago Rosen and his business partner, Peter Weich, who together operate California-based solar developer Absolutely Solar Inc., began installing photovoltaic (PV) projects under the CREST program from Southern California Edison (SCE). The program was created through the state’s Assembly Bill (AB) 1969, which was passed in 2009. Designed to spur the development of wholesale renewable energy projects 1.5 MW and smaller, CREST is SCE’s version of the feed-in-tariff program that was mandated for investor-owned utilities (IOUs) by the same legislation.

Photon International ~ The Solar Power Magazine
Article published in Photon International ~ The Solar Power Magazine

Continue reading “California Regulators Make Long-Awaited Changes to the CREST PPA”

Interesting article on the value of old landfills as solar-energy sites:

The most valuable distributed generation is located “closest to load”. The closer the power production facility is to the load (where the power can be used), the lower the transmission losses and easier it is to interconnect without transmission upgrades. The problem with locating utility scale PV production close to load is the dearth of affordable sites of an appropriate size.

Using “bad” land that has limited use and little value for other purposes is one way to make it easier to build PV projects closer to load. Brownfields and former landfills are good examples of low cost land that can be recycled to be used for renewable energy cites. Absolutely Solar is currently in preliminary discussions with a solar developer that is working on three closed landfills and with a county government that has similar sites available.

5 old landfills to be studied as solar-energy sites


The old Vincent Mullins Landfill at Speedway and Kolb Road is one site that will be studied for use as a possible solar-energy farm.

The city is aiming to find out whether solar energy farms might be a reasonable use for its old, closed landfills.

Tucson is one of 26 cities across the country selected to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more

Eosol Energy USA Acquires 10.5MW Portfolio of Solar PV Projects in California from Absolutely Solar in Transaction Arranged by Renergy Capital

MIAMI, LOS ANGELES & CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–EOSOL Energy USA, (“Eosol”), and Absolutely Solar today announced Eosol’s investment in a portfolio of solar photovoltaic (“PV”) facilities serving Southern California Edison (“SCE”), in a transaction arranged by Renergy Capital (“Renergy”).

“Absolutely Solar, a leading CREST solar developer in California, sold a 10.5MW (DC) pipeline of Solar Photovoltaic renewable energy projects to Eosol Energy USA, a worldwide developer and operator of solar projects. This is the first US utility scale PV investment and acquisition for European firm Eosol.”

“This is a great partnership between an experienced local solar developer in Absolutely Solar, which put in years of diligent work on entitlement, engineering and interconnection, and a fast growing international solar developer in Eosol, which has the capital and resources to successfully complete the development of the portfolio” said Bruno Bernal, CEO of Eosol.

The six solar PV facilities included in the transaction will provide 10.5 MW of power to SCE and were among the first to sign PPA’s under the utility’s CREST feed-in tariff program (FIT). Construction on two of the Lancaster, CA, area projects will be complete early in 2012, with the remaining four coming online later in the year. The projects are expected to generate nearly 13,500,000 kWh annually, which is roughly equivalent to offsetting the electricity consumption of more than 2,250 average U.S. homes.

“This transaction represents a milestone in the growth of Absolutely Solar and recognition of our efforts in bringing this solar pipeline through the pre-development process” said Al Rosen, Director of Absolutely Solar. “We look forward to continuing to work with Renergy and Eosol to complete these projects and provide more clean renewable energy for California through the CREST program and other utility scale opportunities.”

“Absolutely Solar is a leading CREST solar developer and Eosol has developed and operated solar projects worldwide,” said Joe Agliozzo, the Los Angeles partner with Renergy Capital, the firm that arranged the transaction. “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring together these two leaders to serve SCE’s customers with a substantial and reliable  new source of renewable energy and to contribute to our country’s vast growth in clean energy resources, while helping Eosol, a leading European company, enter the US renewables market.”
Renergy, with offices in Manhattan Beach, California and Chicago, Illinois specializes in arranging renewable energy projects and has extensive experience in the pre-development process, as well as raising investment capital in the form of tax equity, participating equity and debt.

About Eosol Energy USA

EOSOL Energy is a renewable energy development company, working in different technologies, including wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and biomass. People within EOSOL Energy are professionals with wide experience and an impressive track record; we are entrepreneurial and able to lead challenging projects. EOSOL Energy is a dynamic, innovative and international company. Through strategic alliances with various partners, EOSOL Energy has successfully completed in excess of 20MW of renewable energy projects. www.eosolenergy.com
About Renergy Capital
Renergy Capital is a company focused on the arranging, structuring and financing of project developments within the renewable energy market. Our goal is to facilitate the efficient development of renewable energy generation by bringing together the key elements of a successful project. Our clients and prospective clients include:

  • Strategic investors, investment firms and individuals that are seeking attractive project investments.
  • Developers that are seeking capital partners for both “shovel ready” projects and predevelopment projects.
  • Engineering firms that offer EPC services and are looking for attractive projects.
  • Land owners and building owners that would be interested in deploying renewable energy projects on their properties.
  • Equipment manufacturers that are seeking innovative ways of expanding sales and distribution within the US market.

Renergy’s management team consists of individuals with significant experience and expertise in marketing, financial structuring and energy project development.


Absolutely Solar Inc:   Peter Weich,  President   323.665.3192   [email protected]

Renergy Capital and Eosol Energy USA   Joe Agliozzo  424-241-3614  [email protected]    www.renergycapital.com