There have been several announcements about big new solar power projects this past week. Rather than try to tackle them one at a time (that wasn’t going to happen), I’m running through them below in a combo story.
UK — 350 MW Solar, Plus Energy Storage
The UK government gave the go-ahead to construct the country’s largest solar power plant, a 350 megawatt (MW) solar farm right next to the coast in southeast England.
The solar farm is expected to generate enough electricity for 91,000 average British homes (if all of the generated electricity went to all of their electricity needs).
The project will be developed by a joint venture between Hive Energy, a UK solar energy project developer, and Wirsol, a solar developer based out of Germany.
Images above via Cleve Hill website.
Florida — 224 MW (3 Projects)
Duke Energy Florida showed the world the location of 3 new solar power plants totaling 224 MW. These projects complete a commitment to develop 700 MW of solar power capacity by 2022, and surpass it.
Here are more details on the coming solar power plants, via Duke Energy:
- The Duette Solar Power Plant will be built on approximately 520 acres in Manatee County, Fla. Once operational, the 74.5-megawatt (MW) facility will consist of approximately 227,000 single-axis tracking solar panels, capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 23,000 homes at peak production annually. Once completed, the estimated cost will be 42 cents per 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) for a typical residential customer.
- The Charlie Creek Solar Power Plant will be built on 610 acres in Hardee County, Fla. The 74.9-MW facility will consist of approximately 235,000 single-axis tracking solar panels, capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 23,000 homes at peak production annually. Once completed, the estimated cost will be 39 cents per 1,000 kWh for a typical residential customer.
- The Archer Solar Power Plant will be built on 630 acres in Alachua County, Fla. This 74.9-megawatt (MW) facility will consist of approximately 220,000 single-axis tracking solar panels, capable of producing enough electricity to power approximately 23,000 homes at peak production annually. Once completed, the estimated cost will be 32 cents per 1,000 kWh for a typical residential customer.
Each of the solar projects is expected to create 200–300 jobs during construction. They should all be completed by the end of 2021. Duke Energy Florida will own, operate, and maintain them. In addition to the 3 projects above, Duke Energy Florida recently turned on two solar power plants:
- The Columbia Solar Power Plant in Columbia County, Fla., began serving customers on March 17, 2020. The facility is 74.9 MW with 245,000 solar panels.
- The DeBary Solar Power Plant in Volusia County, Fla., began serving customers on May 14, 2020. The facility is 74.5 MW with 300,000 panels.
Duke Energy Florida currently has 500 MW of solar power capacity in operation or under construction. It’s commitment to reach 700 MW isn’t the end goal either. It intends to reach 1,700 MW of solar power capacity within the next 10 years.
Kentucky — 160 MW
Geronimo Energy (Geronimo) and Big Rivers Electric Corporation (Big Rivers) just completed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to get the electricity from the Unbridled Solar Project in Henderson and Webster Counties, Kentucky.
“Anticipated to begin operations at the end of 2023, Unbridled Solar is currently the largest solar project development in the state of Kentucky. …
“The associated economic benefits projected to result from Unbridled Solar total an estimated $9 million throughout the first 20 years of operation, including positive impacts in new tax revenue, construction jobs, new full-time jobs, and charitable funds through the project’s Education Fund. The Unbridled Solar Education Fund alone will provide approximately $640,000 in donations to the local school districts connected to the project above and beyond all tax revenue and local spending benefits.”
Hawaii — 160 MW Solar, Plus Energy Storage (2 Projects)
Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) chose renewable energy developer and operator Longroad Energy to build two solar + storage projects.
The larger of the two would become the largest solar power project in Hawaii. It’s the 120 MWac/480 MWh Mahi Solar project in Kunia, O‘ahu.
The other project would be the 40 MWac/160 MWh Pulehu Solar project in Pulehu, Maui.
“In the coming months, Longroad plans to gather community input, negotiate power purchase agreements with HECO, begin the permitting process and hold virtual public meetings. The Mahi Solar project plans to work with the Hawaii Farm Bureau on O‘ahu to find new agricultural uses for the land under and around the solar panels, and the Pulehu Solar project plans to support the educational efforts of the Maui Economic Development Board to teach students about clean energy. For further information, visit www.longroadenergy.com/mahi and www.longroadenergy.com/pulehu.
“The Hawai‘i team at Longroad (previously as First Wind) developed seven of the state’s largest clean energy projects including 150 MW of wind and 110 MW of solar, all of which are operating today. “
8minute Solar Energy Gets A Boost For Its 18 Gigawatt (GW) Solar Pipeline
In addition to the major solar projects above, a press release from 8minute Solar Energy notes that it closed a $225 million line of credit to help get its 18 GW solar project pipeline into the ground.
“8minute will use the LC facility to cost effectively post securities for its power purchase agreements (PPAs) and interconnection agreements for its 18-gigawatt (GW) pipeline of solar and storage projects throughout California, Texas and the Southwestern United States,” the company wrote in a press release.
“The $225M LC facility replaces 8minute’s existing facility with Rabobank closed in 2016 and represents a tenfold increase in capacity, underscoring the strength and growth of 8minute’s project pipeline over the last four years. 8minute has one of the largest development pipelines of solar and solar-plus-storage projects in the country, including more than 50 utility-scale projects in various stages of development, with a typical project size of 400 MW. Most of these projects will deploy 8minute’s new generation solar plant design with integrated energy storage.”
Five banks helped finance the $225M LC facility.
We’ve got quite a bit more solar news to cover in the coming day or so, but that should hold you over on the project news for a while — at least until the next meal time.