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Jones Lang LaSalle recently announced the expansion of its formidable Energy and Sustainability Services group with the establishment of a comprehensive Solar Power Solutions capability. The Solar Power Solutions team, led by industry veteran David Gralnik, allows the firm to provide local and worldwide solutions designed to meet each client's unique renewable energy objectives. Gralnik is also responsible for maximizing the solar optimization of clients' rooftops by leasing roof space and providing installation and ongoing management services for those sites.

"Jones Lang LaSalle has managed solar installations successfully in the past, but with Dave Gralnik on board we now have a complete life cycle capability, from conducting a strategic portfolio analysis to implementing and maintaining solar installations," said Peter Belisle, President of Energy and Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle Americas. "As corporate and investor owners of multi-property portfolios become increasingly intrigued by solar power opportunities, we can help them design and implement cost-effective programs that further their sustainability goals." Based on each owner's specific needs, Solar Power Solutions team members may:

  • Assess portfolios to determine the potential for generating power for property occupants to use or to sell to local utilities.
  • Consider all cost/benefit factors, including taxes, incentives and financing options as well as upfront costs and operational savings -- Negotiate contracts for building owners, including power purchase agreements with occupants and/or lease agreements with solar developers (including utilities).
  • Manage projects to ensur e proper installation without disruption to tenants or employees.
  • Conduct ongoing maintenance of solar arrays.

"Even with tax rebates and incentives from various levels of government, solar power installations are difficult for most owners to justify on the basis of short-term financial payback alone," added Gralnik. "However, as solar technology improves and installation becomes more affordable, owners with expert guidance may find solar and other renewable energy technologies cost-effective strategies for controlling costs while reducing their carbon footprint." The Jones Lang LaSalle announcement comes on the heels of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) "2009 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review" that found overall U.S. solar electric capacity increasing by 37 percent (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power combined)--driven primarily by strong demand in the residential and utility-scale markets-- resulting in a 36 percent increase over 2008 in overall revenue. It also noted that the solar industry added 17,000 new jobs employs 46,000 total U.S. workers.

Other Highlights:

  • Solar water heating shipments grew by 10 percent over 2008.
  • Solar pool heating growth was 10 percent less than 2008 growth, reflecting construction and housing declines.
  • Photovoltaic installations (grid-tied) grew by 38 percent.
  • Three new concentrating solar power plants came online. Cumulative U.S. CSP capacity reached 432 megawatts with a development pipeline totaling more than 10,000 megawatts.
  • Solar manufacturing showed a 7 percent increase in PV module production from 2008.

In addition to these increasing positive numbers, companies themselves are being recognized for solar design and uniqueness. The International Council of Shopping Centers recognized Developers Diversified Realty Corporation with its "Best-of-the-Best" award during the industry's largest annual gathering in Las Vegas for the company's innovative rooftop solar panel program. Developers Diversified entered into a partnership last year with solar energy services provider, SunEdison, for the rights to deploy solar energy systems at over 200 shopping centers throughout the United States. Between December 2009 and February 2010, solar panel arrays were activated at Developers Diversified shopping centers in New Jersey.

"We are deeply honored by this award," said Marc Feldman, senior vice president of new business development for Developers Diversified. "Leasing our roof space for solar panel hosting provides an opportunity for creative revenue generation while supporting our corporate sustainable energy initiative." John Kokinchak, senior executive vice president of property management for Developers Diversified said, "With this innovative program we are able to reduce energy expenditures for the common areas of the shopping center, and realize environmental benefits by reducing noise, pollution and greenhouse gases." Developers Diversified projects total over 143,000 square feet of available roof space for solar panels and will generate approximately 1.4 million kilowatts (kWh) of solar energy in the first full year of operation. Over 20 years, the sites will generate approximately 26 million kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power over 2,400 homes for one year.

In related news, Independent Energy Solutions, Inc. (IES), a firm based in Vista, California, has recently begun design and construction of a 1.15 MW solar photovoltaic system for The Capital Group Companies Irvine Campus. The solar system will be mounted on shade structures on the roofs of three parking garages and will provide nearly 50% of the energy used to power the campus data center and central plant equipment. The Capital Group should benefit within five years from a full return on its investment, which is expected to save the organization more than $14 million in energy costs over the next 25 years.

"We're excited to take this step to make our Irvine Campus even greener, while saving energy and money," said Reid McCartney, vice president of Corporate Facilities for The Capital Group.

Saving money, earlier ROI and reducing carbon footprints (not to mention the growing number of decimated eco-systems)–what more do we need before we all think solar?

[Note: Jones Lang LaSalle's Energy and Sustainability Services group provides comprehensive, integrated services such as energy management, LEED project management, corporate sustainability consulting and green facility and property management, www.joneslanglasalle.com. "Best-of-the-Best" Awards honor and recognize the most outstanding examples of shopping center design and development, sustainability, marketing, and community service worldwide. Developers Diversified owns and manages approximately 640 retail operating and development properties in 44 states, Brazil, Canada and Puerto Rico, www.ddr.com.]

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