SunEdison’s PPA Deal With Bloomberg Is A Beneficiary Of New York’s Virtual Net-Metering Policy
Earlier this week, SunEdison Inc. signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Bloomberg to power the company’s Rockland County, N.Y.-based data center with 2.9 MW of solar energy.
The deal represents a relatively new structure for delivering solar energy benefits to customers. Steve Raeder, regional general manager of SunEdison’s Eastern U.S. solar business, says New York’s virtual net-metering rule has opened up opportunities for companies that otherwise could not benefit from onsite solar because of physical constraints.
The New York Independent Systems Operator (NYISO) has load zones designated A-K, with Zone A being in the far western portion of the state and Zone K being Long Island. SunEdison’s remote-net metering program in New York allows the company to build a solar project and supply the credits it generates to an off-taker in the same NYISO load zone and utility service area. Some zones represent very sizable geographic areas where the solar array could be located tens of miles away from the customer site.
Bloomberg’s data center is located in NYISO Zone G. SunEdison says it has a site picked out for the solar array that will produce the electricity under the PPA. The contracted power is expected to generate enough electricity each year to offset more than 5% of the data center’s electricity usage. Construction is set to begin next year.
“A data center is a great example of where it might be great from a power consumption standpoint, but there are a lot of reasons why a person might not want to put the panels on-site,” Raeder says.
One of the reasons is that data centers are sensitive locations. Because the operations of the facility are so critical, there is often reluctance to allow people into the facility itself either to install the system or to service and maintain it later. Though some data center operators may be willing to install ground-mounted systems adjacent to the building, land value and land-use issues may come into play. Finally, data center operators often lease the buildings they use.