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Solar Briefing: Bank of America, GE, Air Products, SunPower

Here’s the latest solar industry news emerging out of the Solar Power International conference in Dallas, and some related items:

The U.S. solar industry will soon be able to flourish with little or no support from the government, Bank of America Merrill Lynch managing director Jonathan Plowe told Platts Energy Week. He said the falling price of solar panels and the country’s vast solar potential, particularly for rooftop systems, promise a bright future for the industry.

The bank’s Project Amp program to install 733 MW of solar panels on commercial rooftops across the U.S. secured a DOE loan guarantee. But Plowe said the company’s SolarStrong project, which would place 371 MW of solar panels on military housing, was not able to secure such a guarantee. (The bank earlier reported that SolarStrong had obtained a conditional commitment for partial guarantee of a $344 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.)

Much more detail about Project Amp can be found in a recent edition of EL Insights.

Blue Sky Solar says that its 2 MW solar energy plant for Air Products’ corporate campus in Allentown, Penn., is delivering at least 17 percent more power than predicted. The 15 acre solar farm started operations on July 12.

The solar panels  will now power half of the company’s six administrative buildings, Big Sky says, saving $250,000 in annual energy costs.

Online monitoring of the system can be viewed here.

SunEdison has secured a $300 million three-year project finance revolving credit facility arranged by Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. and Rabobank. The credit facility will be used to support the construction costs of utility and rooftop solar projects throughout the U.S. and Canada.

SunPower has launched the E18 & E19 AC solar panel series, which integrate SolarBridge Pantheon AC microinverters. The company says the panels can be installed on complex rooftops and roofs obstructed by chimneys or shade from trees, with power optimized at the individual solar panel level.

The panels will be available in the U.S. in early 2012.

GE Energy Financial Services has invested $58 million to install 20 MW of roof-mounted photovoltaic modules (pictured) on greenhouses near Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy. The project is co-owned by clean energy developer Moser Baer Clean Energy Limited.

The first 5 MW began providing power to Italy’s national electrical grid operator on Aug. 30, and 15 more megawatts are expected to go into service by the end of this month.

SunLink has introduced its next generation of HomeRun combinder boxes as well as a new roof mount system, Core RMS. The boxes allow 2,500 standard product configurations and have been proven on more than 100 MW of installations, the company says. The line has been expanded to include bulkhead connectors, disconnect switches and monitoring to facilitate solar installations of any size or design.

The roof mount system is engineered for projects with low tilt angles. It sits on rubber feet made from recycled tires, and often requires zero roof penetrations, SunLink says.

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