Borrego Solar Systems Inc., a leading designer, developer, installer and financier of grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, today announced that it has broken ground on the Seneca Solar Projects, a total of 8.3 MW of fixed-tilt ground mounted solar projects in Victorville, Calif. Owned by Salt Lake City-based sPower (Sustainable Power Group), this portfolio is Borrego Solar’s second portfolio of projects under Southern California Edison (SCE)’s California Renewable Energy Small Tariff (CREST) program. Borrego Solar acquired the projects during late-stage development under an agreement to co-develop and provide all of the necessary project financing, engineering, procurement and construction of the solar facilities. Once all development hurdles were overcome, sPower purchased the shovel-ready portfolio before mobilization on site.
“With our model of buying utility projects, cleaning them up, aggregating them and packaging them up for financing, we anticipate spending a certain amount of time bringing financiers up to speed on the nuances of the investment opportunity,” said Brian von Moos, director of utility project development at Borrego Solar. “sPower’s extensive development experience and leadership position within the utility sector and its depth of access to low-cost capital allowed us to fast-track the financing stage and achieve the project velocity critical to meeting hard, utility-set deadlines.”
“When choosing an EPC or developer to work with, we focus on those that don’t just announce projects, but actually put steel in the ground,” said Ryan Creamer, CEO at sPower. “Borrego Solar comes with a unique combination of development, engineering, construction and finance experience that allows them to breathe new life into stranded mid-stage projects and turn them into high-value financeable assets that meet strict investment standards. Borrego Solar is a low-risk partner for independent power producers like sPower.”
The solar energy generated from the Seneca Solar Projects will be sold at a set price to SCE for 20 years as part of the utility’s CREST program. CREST was established to provide standardized fixed price energy payments to qualifying renewable energy generators. The Seneca Solar Projects are wholesale distributed generation (WDG) projects—small, wholesale generators that sell energy directly to the utility, instead of delivering energy to the user to credit a specific utility bill. Because they don’t need to be tied to a utility bill, wholesale utility projects have gained in popularity in the past few years and play an important role in advancing the solar industry. As such, mid-scale utility projects provide states with an efficient approach for meeting aggressive renewable energy goals at an impressive pace.
This is the second portfolio of projects Borrego Solar is working on under the SCE CREST program and fourth portfolio of projects with SCE, including four additional utility-scale projects in the SCE PV Program. The first CREST portfolio, located in Desert Hot Springs, was completed in Q4 2013.
— Solar Builder magazine