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ConEd Eyes Developing 30 Megawatts of Solar Power a Year

Consolidated Edison Inc., the largest utility holder in New York, expects to develop about 30 megawatts of solar projects a year, a company executive said.

Financing and good projects are now available for investment, Mark Noyes, vice president of Valhalla, New York-based Con Edison Development, said in an interview today.

The unit said this week that it bought two solar projects in California totaling 92 megawatts from Chinese polysilicon maker GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. for $266 million.

“Solar makes economic sense,” said Noyes. “Wind used to make sense and possibly will make sense again in the future.” Con Edison is also exploring development of tidal turbines and power storage in the future.

The company finds about one opportunity for every 10 projects it evaluates and expects to get returns comparable the rest of the industry of 14 percent to 20 percent on a levered internal rate of return basis, Noyes said.

Regionally, Noyes expects to see Rhode Island, Connecticut, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona and North and South Carolina as developing solar markets over the next year or two as new policies are announced.

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