On Tuesday, Recurrent Energy announced a 15MW project with Kaiser Permanente. It's an exciting announcement because it shows the unique role onsite generation can play in the renewable portfolio--when you put the right kind of buildings together with a customer who is committed to sustainability.
The 15MW will be made up of 16 projects over 15 sites on hospitals, parking lots, and administrative buildings owned or leased by Kaiser. Most of the projects will be operational by end of 2010. The rest are expected to be done by mid-2011.
Recurrent Energy will build, own, and operate the projects. Kaiser will purchase the electricity they generate at competitive rates.
What's remarkable is that we can get 15MW of projects up and running so quickly. It reflects the fact that this type of project is easier to permit and interconnect than large greenfield projects.
The announcement is also reflective of the 'state of play' in the US solar market. This kind of scale is essential at today's incentive levels to take advantage of efficiencies in equipment cost, installation cost, and financing. And having an electricity-buyer with strong credit like Kaiser is essential to making the financing work. By bundling a number of projects together, they can be executed at a cost that makes financial sense for Kaiser, the developer, and project investors.
In the end, it's important to note the leadership role Kaiser has demonstrated. Getting this project across the finish line required real commitment from them to making this kind of statement. As a company, they're truly dedicated to making their operations more sustainable. They expect to invest $20B over the next 7 years in hospital construction, all of which will feature sustainable design and construction practices. We're excited to play a part in the project and look forward to getting all 15MW online and running soon.