EMCORE Concentrator PhotoVoltaic (CPV) Project Developments

Two (2) 1 MegaWatt (MW) CPV projects with PNM are under discussion.

EMCOREGen3CPVSystem Last week at Solar Power International 10 (SPI 10), I talked with a representative of EMCORE Corporation (NASDAQ:EMKR) when I visited their Expo booth.

First, the 2 MW EMCORE CPV system to be constructed at the Solar Zone of the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park (UA Tech Park) is in the permitting process. If I understood correctly, construction is expected to begin mid 2011. The 20 year PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) between the special purpose entity, Emcore Solar Arizona, Inc., and Tucson Electric Power (TEP), a subsidiary of UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE:UNS), is part of the 97 MW of distributed generation PV projects approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission on August 25, 2010.

The May 20, 2010, Capital Committee Meeting Executive Summary describes the Solar Zone and the arrangement between EMCORE and the UA Tech Park. American National Solar (ANS) and EMCORE are joint venture partners in Emcore Solar Arizona, Inc. for the project. The original EMCORE Gen 3 CPV System (Gen-III) project cost was estimated at $5 million to “generate 1-1.5 megawatts of power“. Since then the project appears to have grown to 2 MWp (MegaWatt-peak) with estimated annual production of 3400 MWh (MegaWatt-hour). It is unclear if the financing is in place for the project.

USPVSouthwestNMslide11

Next, I heard EMCORE is in negotiations with PNM, the largest Investor Owned Utility (IOU) in New Mexico and a subsidiary of PNM Resources, Inc. (NYSE:PNM), for the development of two utility scale 1 MW CPV projects. As shown in the above New Mexico PV Market slide from my EU PVSEC presentation, the Aug. 31, 2010: Final Order Regarding 2010 PNM Renewable Plan by the NMPRC (New Mexico Public Regulation Commission) authorized PNM to purchase RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) from 9 MegaWatts of 1 MW plus sized net metered projects starting at $0.11 per kiloWatt-hour (kWh) for the first 3 MW step over a 20 year period. However, EMCORE is trying to negotiate a compromise rate between the NMPRC order and the original PNM proposal of $0.22 per kWh for the first 6 MW step.

Since the “EMCORE CEO Holds Business Update Call – Update Call Transcript (August 16, 2010)” at Seeking Alpha and “Concentrating PV Chip Supplier Emcore Faces Delisting” by Eric Wesoff at Greentech Media, EMCORE filed its Form 10-Q Quarterly Report with the SEC for the fiscal third quarter of 2010 per “EMCORE Regains Compliance With NASDAQ Listing Rule 5250(c)(1)”.

EMCORE has not confirmed the facts of the conversation or even acknowledged my subsequent questions. PNM also did not respond to my questions about the New Mexico CPV projects under negotiation, but I wouldn’t expect PNM to discuss speculative projects before submission to the NMPRC for approval.

If you are a CPV connoisseur, then you will find “Soaking Up the Sun” by Jennifer Schwab at The Huffington Post most amusing.

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