SPRING 2018 NEWSLETTER

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RER Energy Group worked with Avon School District in Avon, NY. The array is spread out over 7.5 Acres and satisfies all of the district's power needs.

Reading Eagle Cover Story: RER "Leading the Solar Revolution in Pennsylvania"

Photo Credit: Tim Leedy, Reading Eagle.

Money doesn't grow on trees, but it does fall from the sky, according to Jim Kurtz.

 

"It is money from the sun," said Kurtz, a Harvard MBA, Wharton School graduate, and Oley Valley High School alumni. "But people aren't aware that the cost of the bucket has fallen 70 to 80 percent in the past five to seven years."

 

 

 

Kurtz refers to solar power systems as buckets.

 

"Put the bucket on the roof and collect that value. We'll go to somebody and say 'do you realize that there's $25,000 worth of energy hitting your roof a year'? For large facilities it's hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

"If you look at how much value that bucket captures over time versus the cost of the bucket it's, well, if it's not the best financial opportunity that any individual can do, it's right up there. If you take tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands and multiply that by 30 years it's a significant value," Kurtz said... Read More




Madison County, NY 1.84MWAC array will save the county more than $3 MM over the life of the contract.  Learn More.

Jeff Gable, Vice President of Regulatory for Misco Products discusses their business processes with Loretta Ottinger from RER.
Working Together to Create Success and Value for the Client

In our nearly 10 years in the solar energy field we have seen many changes in rules and incentives, evolutions in financing options, reductions in the costs of panels and racking systems, changes in storage technology, and shifts in the political landscape, to name just a few.

Despite all these changes, the industry continues to grow because harnessing the free fuel from the sun creates tremendous value for multiple stakeholders. Solar delivers significant cost savings on energy, creates strong investment opportunities for investors - all while creating hundreds of thousands of well-paid American jobs.

At RER we have not just weathered these changes - we have had the good fortune to also grow and evolve as we absorbed the lessons and innovations of this industry, and collaborated with partners across the sector. As developers we understand opportunities must create value for all stakeholders, and we have developed the team and processes that make this happen. We focus on helping our non-profit, business, and municipal clients (as well as those of our partners) maximize their savings through solar by delivering on our brand promise of: 'Intelligent Design and Financial Acumen to Optimize Solar Savings.'

Misco Product's 299 kW Roof Array
One important way we can make good on our brand promise is through our Project Optimization Process, a 121-point project vetting and development process that takes the very best practices of our industry and combines them with the skills of our team. This not only ensures projects get done on time and within budget, it also allows us to provide clients and partners with transparency into the entire project in real time. This builds trust and enables all partners to more effectively collaborate.

We are always eager to work with clients and partners who share our vision for bringing more of the value of solar to communities - so that solar can fuel more local jobs, innovations, and needed services. We believe partners can help us broaden our reach and we know we can help partners get complex projects over the finish line.

In 2018, we want to be your partner for growth so we can all keep expanding the positive impact of solar.

Here's to another great year for solar ahead,

Jim Kurtz
President, RER Energy Group



Solar is a Team Sport
Let RER Show You How We Can Assist

In any industry, there are star players with specific competencies that make them tops in their field. But as any good coach knows, real success comes from bringing together the right roster of players who have exceptional skills and make one another better when collaborating. Solar is no different.

In our nearly decade of solar project development, we have had the chance to work with many top players: from engineers, electricians, construction specialists, steel framing teams, and project managers; to lawyers, analysts, project financiers, and specialized accountants - commercial solar depends on deep competence from a wide range of professional disciplines.

Our team of strong players and close partners has grown over the years, often because a complex project led someone to seek us out when they ran into hurdles they were simply unable to overcome on their own. In the past few years, we have been noted for our experience with what we describe as 'stranded projects' - solar initiatives that have gotten stalled or derailed along the way for any number of reasons.

At every step of the solar project, RER Energy Group has the knowledge and experience to bring innovative solutions that can help a stranded project get back on track and into production. We regularly partner with other developers who have run into an obstacle and need support to ensure they are able to get their solar project done. Rather than 'take over' a project - we partner, and help folks learn and get better. Through our transparent, online process we give partners visibility into every step of a project, helping build trust and keeping all stakeholders aligned and apprised of progress.

If you have a project that has gotten stalled, please reach out - we will be happy to take the lead in investigating the known and unknown potential pitfalls of a project and leverage our depth of experience and commitment to find solutions to create a path for success so we can score a 'solar win' together.



The Time is Now to Build Your "Solar Bucket"
Build your solar energy collector with the help of significant tax credits while you still can.



While the sun will rise every morning to deliver powerful energy to solar arrays, the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that defrays 30% of the costs of building an array will begin to 'sunset' soon. Projects typically take over a year to complete and projects completed after 2019 do not capture the full 30% ITC.

As the head of General Motor's sustainability efforts emphasizes, "Similar to your vehicle; you walk into the dealership, you want to get a discount. Well, if there are discounts in the renewable space, you want to make sure you maximize them... They'll increase your returns and strengthen the business case for procuring renewables."

As readers of this newsletter know, we often call solar arrays 'solar buckets' as they are effectively a tool that help you to capture the sun's powerful rays that fall on your property, and convert these to energy you can use. Harnessing this tremendous power just makes sense, and taking advantage of the tax credits while these are available makes this an even better financial investment. Why wait and forgo that additional value?



Meet Our COO - Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes has been collaborating with, and leading operations for RER Energy Group since 2014. Prior to working with RER, Mike led Cedar Valley Energy and Tiger Business Group, two companies where he was responsible for the development and deployment of commercial and residential alternative energy projects including Solar PV, Solar Thermal and electrical technologies.

Mike brings years of business development and project management experience to this role - providing strong direction to all operational aspects of the business as well as critical business development acumen. Mike is a master electrician with over 35 years of working experience.

Mike assembles teams, negotiates with suppliers, and engages in top flight planning of all projects to consistently deliver work that is on time and under budget. As operations leader for RER, Mike oversees: development, design, engineering, permitting, procurement, construction, commissioning and O&M activities for PV Solar and other renewable energy projects.

In addition to leading our internal teams and processes, Mike is a critical member of our partner interface team, ensuring a smooth and effective outcome for all stakeholders on projects that partners bring to RER.

Feel free to contact Mike Barnes here.



Industry Update - Getting Your Energy From Solar Continues To Be Extremely Compelling



Boscov's Department Store completes another solar array. Learn More

The solar industry has been in the news of late due to a new tariff on solar panels that was recently imposed by the administration. While our industry lobbied appropriately about the risk this tariff represents to solar jobs, solar continues to make sense for many, many projects; and we see no slow-down in our own pipeline of opportunities. Why? The fundamentals of solar are simply too compelling. The following are important facts to remember when considering solar:
  1. Federal Tax Credit - There is a tax credit for 30% of the system cost. This is available for any system completed by the end of 2019. Projects typically take a full year from start to finish -- beat the utility interconnection bottlenecks which will occur in 2019 and complete your system in 2018.
  2. Accelerated Depreciation - With the new federal tax bill, solar projects can now be fully depreciated in year one. Based upon your tax rate, this will result in additional reduced tax payments of between 20% to 30% of the system cost.
  3. Lock in Your Energy Costs - The effective cost of solar over the life of the system is typically $0.02 to $0.04 per kWh, including financing and O&M costs. Average electricity rates for businesses vary by state. For example, in PA today they are $0.06 to $0.10 per kWh. More importantly, these energy rates will continue to rise over time. Solar allows you to reduce costs today and volatility over time.
  4. Good Return on Your Investment - Solar allows you to collect the value from the sun that otherwise goes wasted each year, or worse -- wears down your roof with its damaging UV rays. By putting a "collector of value" on your roof, the typical internal rate of return from solar arrays is usually 10 to 15%, and with certain state incentive grants, can exceed 20% in some markets.
  5. Energy Independence - With solar power, you are less dependent on the utility company and the fluctuating prices of energy commodities such as oil and natural gas. Control your costs for the next 30-40 or more years.
  6. Environmentally Friendly, Simple & Positive Message - Solar power is pollution-free and noise-free; it does not have any moving parts or create any greenhouse gases, and is renewable. People like supporting organizations that utilize renewable energy, and employees have higher morale and a better view of their leadership team.

What Does all This Mean?

Based on over 100 installations, we know your solar system will help you:
  • Save thousands per year, and usually hundreds of thousands over time
  • Lock in the lowest available price of electricity
  • Make your contribution to a better world by supporting sustainable solutions
Contact us today to learn more!



Project Spotlight - Clifton Springs



CLIFTON SPRINGS - At a ribbon cutting ceremony in December, 2017, Clifton Springs Mayor Bill Hunter shared the story of the village's journey towards solar. From early uncertainty in May of 2014 that a proposition to deliver solar energy to the village for no out of pocket costs was 'for real,' to a growing understanding of the financial benefits the town would reap from supporting this project, to wide spread enthusiasm for the 'greater good' this 351.54- kilowatt array would also serve.

In all, 1,134 ground-mounted solar panels are collecting the sun's rays behind the village's water treatment facility. They became operational Dec. 27, 2016, and are expected to produce more than 414,000 kilowatts-hours of lower-cost renewable energy every year.

The array, which was developed at no cost to the village, will offset about 84 percent of the village facility's energy use, resulting in an estimated $400,000 in cost savings over the 30-year life of the system. The electricity generated goes into the grid, and the village gets a credit, according to Bob Raeman, a senior project manager with Hunt Engineers in Rochester, with whom RER Energy Group partnered on this project. If, say, $1,000 worth of electricity is produced, that amount of money will be deducted from the village's bills  until the credit is exhausted. 

Matt Hankey, President of New Energy Equity, who assisted in obtaining funding for the project commented, "We are proud to join with municipalities like Clifton Springs to bring clean, renewable solar energy to communities throughout the US. Clifton Springs' investment in their citizens future is inspiring, and all of us at New Energy Equity are proud to work with such a great partner." 

Walt Pieschke, solar project developer with RER Energy Group, said this is a proven system that will take the village 30 to 40 years into the future. "It's so exciting to see that they're really considering the residents, the environment and the community," Pieschke said. "It's really going to help in the long run." Bringing this project to fruition was not an easy task, said Marti Bartos, asset manager with AEP Onsite, which owns the array. "Many communities, villages, cities and towns talk about renewable energy projects, but the village of Clifton Springs made it happen," Bartos said.

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