Solar markets are booming in the United States and more and more companies discover new business models featuring solar thermal - such as Vanir Companies Inc.
The company group, whose headquarters are based in Sacramento, California, and whose portfolio includes construction, real estate development and energy services, founded the subsidiary Vanir Energy after acquiring Appalachian Solar Energy.
This happened on the 20th November 2008. Several weeks later - just before Christmas - the new founded Vanir subsidiary could already showcase their first impressive solar thermal installation. “Within 70 days, we installed a solar heating and cooling system with 640 panels at the Fletcher Business Park in North Carolina,” says energy consultant Ballard Shearer. He is a former employee of Appalachian Solar Energy, former Vanir Energy. The enterprise is based in North Carolina and specialised in planning and installing solar thermal systems.
The Fetcher Business Park project was in the pipeline for more than a year. The entry of Vanir Companies speeded up implementation. The company group acts like a Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) and will own and operate the solar thermal system without any upfront costs to the customer. Moreover, Vanir will deliver solar energy from the system to the customers at the business park with a fixed 20-year contract price which means that there will be no increase in the costs for heating, cooling and hot water for the next 20 years.
Vanir Energy announced to invest US$14 million in solar thermal technology in the coming months. The company profits from federal and state tax credits. The two programmes – 30% by the federal government and 35% by the state government – can be granted cumulatively and reduce the price of a solar thermal system by two thirds.
The solar system at Fletcher Business park is already operating and provides part of the hot water and heating demand in winter times. In the summer, collectors should provide about 85% of the cooling for the building complex, together with two adsorption chillers from China with a cooling capacity of 300 tons. The collectors were delivered by the Canadian company Enerworks.