Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Launches “Em-Powered to Change” Energy Conservation Initiative

Employees to “Cut Back, Give Back” During a Five-Year Conservation Project

Today, Mayor Kasim Reed kicked off “Em-Powered to Change,” a pilot sustainability program with the City’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs (DPRCA) at the Atlanta Civic Center.

“Launching programs such as the ‘Em-Powered to Change’ initiative is a critical component of making Atlanta a more sustainable City,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “The City of Atlanta will continue to do its part to be a national leader in the area of sustainability.”

Last October, Mayor Reed set an aggressive goal of making Atlanta a top 10 city for sustainability. The “Em-Powered to Change” campaign will guide city employees by converting existing facility procedures into energy and money saving policies. The Mayor’s goal is to reduce energy use in City facilities by 20 percent over the next five years. Mayor Reed was on-site to kick-off the “Em-Powered to Change Energy Expo” and introduced the new conservation policies to hundreds of employees and the 38 buildings that make up the DPRCA.

During the Energy Expo, facility managers and operators from the DPRCA came together to learn steps and policies that can be implemented to reduce energy, material use and waste. These tools will not only be useful in the workplace but can also be replicated in employees’ personal lives. Additionally, the Energy Expo included educational stations that will demonstrate sustainable practices that can be executed in public and private facilities.

For more information about Atlanta’s efforts to create a more sustainable city, visit http://www.atlantaga.gov/mayor/sustainability.aspx

About City of Atlanta, Division of Sustainability

Launched in 2008, the City of Atlanta’s Division of Sustainability has been focused on instituting sustainability practices into Atlanta city government. The Division of Sustainability is working with departments across city government to improve current programs and policies and implement new ones in addition to becoming early adopters of national accountability initiatives designed to promote more sustainable municipal practices. In the past year, the city has expanded its scope to include community-wide initiatives.

About the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (DPRCA)

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (DPRCA) enhances the lives of City of Atlanta residents and visitors by offering programs, services and activities that encourage participation in recreational activities, leisure services and cultural experiences. The department strives to deliver quality customer service through the development, operation and maintenance of the city's public parks, recreation and cultural affairs facilities to create an environment that is deemed safe, affordable and enriching for all.

Suniva ARTisun™ Select Solar Cells Surpass 19 Percent Efficiency in Production

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Suniva, Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and modules, today announced its next generation ARTisun™ Select series solar cells are in production. These next generation cells are achieving conversion efficiencies of more than 19 percent, a record for screen-printed cells in full-scale production. Suniva attains these efficiencies using a uniform single-sided emitter along with other proprietary innovations on the front side of the cell. Suniva is the first company to successfully leverage ion implantation as an enabling technology in the mass production of solar cells.

Suniva’s unique intellectual property and proprietary processing capabilities, combined with several years of collaborative research and development on ion implantation technology, enables the company to bring ARTisun Select to the market and into full production as the first of its kind using this unique manufacturing technology. Additionally, Suniva simplified its solar cell manufacturing process by eliminating two entire steps, which allows the company to more cost-effectively produce its record-setting cells. The use of ion implantation in Suniva’s manufacturing process is based on years of development collaboration with Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates (NASDAQ: VSEA).

“Combined with Suniva’s innovative R&D and proprietary processes, ion implantation provides us with a very cost-effective way to manufacture solar cells of 19 percent efficiency without adding complex processes for a selective emitter. We do have the capability to use a selective emitter, but we have not yet chosen to do so,” said Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi, Suniva founder and CTO. “Our unique development process is what will ultimately enable Suniva to achieve efficiencies in the 20 percent range in our third generation cells on n-type wafer and maintain an equally attractive manufacturing cost.”

Suniva’s record-setting efficiencies for low cost cells are being integrated across its module line with module level efficiencies of 16+%. The ARTisun Select product line is a logical progression on Suniva’s technology roadmap towards its next generation products that are in its labs. This technology roadmap is built around multiple proprietary cell structures certified by NREL as achieving 20% efficiency. Suniva previously achieved industry-leading, certified efficiencies of more than 20 percent on screen-printed cells in the lab.

“Leveraging ion implantation in solar cell processing has traditionally proven too costly and slow. Combined with Suniva’s deep research and our own proprietary design, recipes and processes, we have unlocked the value of the ion implanter as an enabling technology for solar cell processing. The result is an immediate, one percent efficiency gain in ARTisun Select, and an ongoing reduction in our cell conversion costs,” said Bruce McPherson, vice president of research and development for Suniva. “We are quite confident that this is just the first step in a multistep process which will take Suniva well into the 20% category of efficiencies while still maintaining low cost screen printed manufacturing processes. Through continued innovation, optimization and modification of cell design and manufacturing processes, and by leveraging both our unique R&D relationship with the University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP) and strategic 3rd party technology collaborations , such as Varian, Suniva will continue to lead the market in efficiencies so far unattained in low-cost solar cell manufacturing.”

With its expanding, diverse and skilled workforce, Suniva is producing world-class technology and generating record-setting screen printed solar cell efficiencies both in the lab and in manufacturing. For more information about Suniva and its products, please visit www.suniva.com.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Georgia Power and EPRI to Study Solar PV Installation on Power Lines

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are conducting an 18-month study to evaluate how solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems may affect the utility's distribution system.

Fifty PV systems are being installed in seven cities around the state. Seven-to-eight small systems will be installed on one distribution line in each city. Sites were identified based on a number of environmental parameters. Selecting cities around the state will allow evaluation of a variety of conditions such as temperature, cloud cover and solar intensity.

EPRI will monitor each module's power output and sunlight input at one- second intervals for the entire 18 months to determine how much electricity they generate and how well they perform under diverse weather conditions. The panels will remain in place at the end of the project and Georgia Power will continue to monitor long-term results. This research will help to:

* Identify the effects, if any, on operation of Georgia Power's distribution system
* Understand the feasibility of widespread solar PV installations on distribution lines
* Determine ranges for overall PV performance in Georgia
* Characterize and compare variable issues such as passing clouds


Each panel is about 3-by-5 feet in size, and able to generate about 200 watts of electricity.

"An installation of this size will not create a noticeable increase in the amount of energy on our distribution system," says Scott Gentry, Georgia Power's distributed generation services project manager and coordinator for this project. "However, the data we collect from each module will provide useful information on PV generation as it relates to the utilities grid."

PV panels have been installed in Rome, Valdosta, Macon, Augusta, Columbus, Savannah and Conley. EPRI will own the panels while Georgia Power does the installation.

Solar power uses PV cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity. When sunlight strikes a PV cell, electrons are dislodged, creating an electrical current.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates well below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.3 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI also provides technology, policy and economic analyses to drive long-range research and development planning, and supports research in emerging technologies. EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Georgia Power Strikes Solar Power Deal With Dalton Utilities

/PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power recently acquired a series of solar projects of up to 1 megawatt (MW) in Murray County, Ga., co-developed by United Renewable Energy LLC and Mack Creek Energy LLC.

Georgia Power will sell the output from the facility to Dalton Utilities.

The plant will be constructed on Looper Bridge Road in Dalton by United Renewable Energy and will be owned and operated by Georgia Power.

Under the terms of the deal, Georgia Power will lease property for the solar facility from Dalton Utilities, which will purchase 100 percent of the plant's capacity and energy through a 25-year power purchase agreement.

"Dalton Utilities is excited to be part of this project," said Don Cope, Dalton Utilities President and CEO. "This is a major initiative in expanding green energy in the State of Georgia. Upon the completion of this project, Dalton Utilities and its corporate customers will be able to advertise the fact that we are utilizing 'green' energy which has become increasingly important in today's market. This is one of several sustainable/renewable/green initiatives Dalton Utilities is in the process of developing."

Energy produced from the solar facility will be sold on the wholesale market therefore the cost of the facility will not become part of Georgia Power's retail rate base. All of the renewable energy credits from the facility will be conveyed to Dalton Utilities. The first phase of the facility is expected to begin commercial operations in spring 2011.

"This contract marks the first time Georgia Power has acquired a solar energy production facility to serve the wholesale market," said Jeff Burleson, Georgia Power's director of Resource Policy and Planning. "Not only will it increase the amount of solar resources in the state, but it also strengthens our partnership with Dalton Utilities, a fellow co-owner of the two new nuclear units under construction at Plant Vogtle."

The facility will be developed in phases with each phase comprising approximately 350 kW. Georgia Power has the option to construct two additional 350 kW phases for a total of 1 MW by January 2014. One megawatt is enough energy to supply a Super Target or approximately 400 Georgia residences.

"As a solar EPC company headquartered in Georgia," said William Silva, President of United Renewable Energy, "we applaud Dalton Utilities' vision, and Georgia Power's support of solar energy in the state. Over 100 solar jobs were created in the state of Georgia last year."

With the addition of this contract, Georgia Power's energy portfolio includes contracts with 14 qualified biomass and renewable facilities throughout the state that generate 28 MW of capacity, or enough renewable energy to power more than 11,200 homes. These contracts include electricity generated from wood waste, landfill methane gas, and hydro.

Dalton Utilities provides potable water, electric, natural gas, wastewater, stormwater and telecommunications services to approximately 77,000 customers in Dalton and five surrounding counties. Dalton Utilities is engaged in various sustainable/green energy projects including the use of treated wastewater to cool a merchant power plant, creating biodiesel from its wastewater stream, the composting of biosolids and the reuse of carpet waste to generate electricity.

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates well below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.3 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. www.georgiapower.com

United Renewable Energy is a solar project developer and multistate electrical contractor specializing in solar photovoltaics. Operating throughout the east coast, United Renewable Energy designs, procures, finances and installs high quality turnkey utility and commercial solar projects. www.u-renew.com

Mack Creek Energy develops innovative, lowest-cost renewable power projects, with a focus on utility customers that have large fleets of baseload coal generation, such as Georgia Power Company.

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Oglethorpe Power to Purchase Combined Cycle Units

/PRNewswire/ -- Oglethorpe Power Corporation announced today that it has entered into a purchase and sale agreement with an affiliate of KGen Power Corporation to acquire two combined cycle generating facilities in Murray County, Ga.

The Murray I and Murray II natural gas units, located just outside Dalton, Ga., have a combined summer planning reserve generating capacity of approximately 1,220 megawatts. The purchase price, exclusive of working capital and other closing adjustments, is approximately $531 million.

Oglethorpe Power announced in October 2010 that it had entered a non-binding agreement to purchase existing gas-fired facilities but did not identify the seller or location for reasons of confidentiality. Since that time, the corporation has completed its due diligence, and its Board and Member Systems have approved the transaction.

The acquisition is still subject to applicable regulatory approvals, the approval of KGen Power stockholders, and other customary closing conditions. If the transaction is completed, closing is expected in April 2011.

"This acquisition of an existing, low-cost and proven facility in Georgia to help meet our Members' future power supply needs is a good strategic fit for our power supply portfolio," said Elizabeth B. Higgins, executive vice president and chief financial officer. If successful, this will be Oglethorpe Power's third power generating facility acquisition over the last two years.

Oglethorpe Power will cancel a 605-megawatt combined cycle plant currently under development if the Murray purchase is completed. The corporation had not announced a final location for that facility but had been considering property it already owns in Monroe County, Ga., among other options.

Independently from the combined cycle facilities acquisition, Oglethorpe Power has deferred development of a previously announced 100-megawatt biomass plant in Warren County, Ga. as it continues to monitor regulatory and legislative developments related to biomass electricity generation.

Oglethorpe Power engaged Sutherland as legal counsel for the transaction and is not utilizing a financial adviser.

Oglethorpe Power is the nation's largest power supply cooperative with approximately $6.5 billion in assets, serving 39 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) providing power to more than 4.1 million Georgians.

A proponent of conscientious energy development and use, Oglethorpe Power balances reliable and affordable energy with environmental responsibility and has an outstanding record of regulatory compliance. Its diverse energy portfolio includes natural gas, hydroelectric, coal and nuclear generating plants with a combined capacity of approximately 5,790 megawatts (summer planning reserve capacity), as well as purchased power.

Oglethorpe Power was established in 1974 and is owned by its 39 Member Systems. It is headquartered in Tucker, Ga.

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