sPower renews partnership with Array Technologies for the next three years

Array+sPower

Array Technologies and sPower announced a three-year partnership at the GTM Solar Summit in southern California to do multi-gigawatts of business. This announcement comes after the two big brands’ previous four years working together.

“The newly created partnership between Array Technologies and sPower is a testament to the strength and success of a matured-U.S. solar market,” said Jeff Krantz, Senior Vice President at Array Technologies, “This deal represents a significant milestone for our company’s continued robust growth throughout the nation.”

The adoption of solar trackers for utility-scale solar projects has grown significantly in recent years, with more than 70 percent of ground-mounted PV systems in the United States utilizing the technology. In regions with high solar irradiance, trackers can produce a 20 to 30 percent increase in energy output over fixed-tilt systems. The continued adoption of solar trackers comes down to economics and reliability.

“We are looking forward to this partnership with Array Technologies – it’s going to help enhance our solar portfolio for years to come,” said Josh Skogen, Senior Vice President of Project Development at sPower.

“Studies have shown Array’s patented technology to provide the lowest O&M costs of the different architectures on the market, so the partnership is not only a positive industry collaboration, but also provides a significant financial benefit to sPower as the owners of these assets,” said Krantz.

— Solar Builder magazine

Microsoft completes largest corporate solar energy purchase in U.S. to date

microsoft solar purchase

Microsoft Corp. announced the purchase of 315 MW of energy from Pleinmont I and II, two new solar projects in the commonwealth of Virginia. This represents the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States and will enable Microsoft to make significant progress toward its goal of reaching 60 percent by early 2020. The Pleinmont projects are part of a larger 500-MW solar development, owned and operated by sPower, an AES and AIMCo company.

“Today, we’re signing the largest corporate solar agreement in the United States, a 315 megawatt project in Virginia that will move us ahead of schedule in creating a cleaner cloud,” said Brad Smith, president, Microsoft. “This project means more than just gigawatts, because our commitment is broader than transforming our own operations; it’s also about helping others access more renewable energy.”

The project is owned and will be operated by sPower, a leading independent renewable energy power producer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Once operational, Pleinmont I and II will consist of more than 750,000 solar panels spread across more than 2,000 acres, and produce approximately 715,000 MWh a year.

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“Microsoft’s participation is a game-changer for this project and for other buyers,” said Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower. “Their early commitment helped ensure that the project continued to move forward and come to fruition at a time of regulatory uncertainty. Microsoft’s large off-take also helped us offer very cost-competitive options for other buyers looking at our Virginia portfolios. This model broadens the ability for buyers of all sizes to participate in a large project like this, yet only take the megawatts they need for their business goals. We’re proud to be working with Microsoft on this innovative approach.”

Project fun facts

At 500 MW, the full project will be the largest solar project in Virginia and is equal to the entire amount of solar power currently produced in the commonwealth. It will also rank as the fifth largest solar project in the country. Microsoft has a sizeable presence in Virginia, both in terms of its physical presence in the form of datacenters and office buildings and its work to bring connectivity to all citizens in the form of broadband technology. This is its second solar power purchase in Virginia. This deal also represents two milestones for the company. With recent deals, Microsoft has met its target to power at least 50 percent of its datacenters with clean energy by 2018.

— Solar Builder magazine

MCE Solar One, Bay Area’s largest publicly owned solar project, now complete

MCE Solar One Array trackers

Project not pictured. Just a lovely shot of a bridge in Richmond, Calif.

Built on an old refinery, MCE Solar One is a new 60-acre, 10.5 MW ground mount solar farm in Richmond, Calif., brought to life by Cenergy Power and sPower.

The project deployed approximately 80,000 ground mounted modules using both a fixed tilt rack as well as single axis trackers, with RPCS supplying and installing the Array Technologies DuraTrack HZ v3 tracker for the SAT portion. Pre-development costs were covered in part by customers participating in MCE’s Deep Green 100 percentrenewable energy service. Once completed, MCE Solar One will generate renewable energy to power 3,417 homes per year.

MCE and the city of Richmond also committed to a 50 percent local hire requirement to build MCE Solar One, guaranteeing local benefits through clean energy job creation. In supporting this local hire requirement, MCE created over 300 jobs by partnering with RichmondBUILD, a program that focuses on developing skill in the high growth, high wage construction and renewable energy sectors. Eighty percent of graduates from RichmondBUILD’s programs are placed into well-paying jobs. MCE will train and hire skilled graduates of the RichmondBuild program as employees for the project.

Report by TÜV Rheinland explains how Array Technologies trackers drive O&M costs down 37 percent

“It’s great seeing an old refinery convert its property to a solar project. Overcoming site-specific environmental and property challenges on this site is proof that more of these projects are going to keep happening. It was a pleasure supporting MCE, sPower, and our long-term partners at Cenergy while providing opportunities for local workers through RichmondBUILD,” said RPCS Chief Sales Officer Alex Smith. “This project is a real achievement for everyone involved and a success for lots of people on lots of different levels. We’re very happy to have helped support MCE Solar One and to congratulate MCE, sPower, and Cenergy Power.”

Together, MCE, sPower, Cenergy, and RPCS are working toward increasing the use of renewable energy resources in an effort to help the state reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals, all while creating local jobs and clean power.

— Solar Builder magazine

sPower completes largest operating solar facility in its portfolio

sustainability

sPower and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) kicked off commercial operations of the 107 megawatt (MWdc) Solverde 1 solar farm. The project is located in the City of Lancaster, Calif., in northern LA County. sPower installed more than 330,000 solar modules with a peak construction crew of 250 plus workers. The project was developed under an aggressive schedule going from signing the PPA to completing interconnection to building and commissioning the project in just 12 months.

Solverde 1 holds claim to several important attributes. It is the largest solar photovoltaic facility to provide power to the DWR. It is also the biggest solar Contract for Difference (CfD) project in the United States. And it is sPower’s largest individual operating facility in its portfolio.

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“In recent years, the California State Water Project has steadily decreased its carbon footprint, and we’re proud to be able to support their needs with reliable, affordable clean energy,” said Jim Howell, sPower SVP of commercial power marketing. “The Contract for Difference structure of the Solverde 1 PPA lets DWR hedge against wholesale price fluctuations by locking in long-term, predictable and competitive power rates.”

Howell said that other customers, like large corporate entities, could also benefit from CfDs. “The power market is evolving rapidly. Commercial companies looking to meet sustainability targets or control energy costs must navigate a highly sophisticated and very complicated landscape. sPower is uniquely qualified to simplify the technical requirements for offtakers – from scheduling coordination with CAISO to innovative CfD structures to managing other market operations – which opens up the U.S. corporate PPA market.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

sPower gets funds to finance nine solar projects (340 MW)

spowersPower completed a tax equity investment and syndicated construction and term loan facility totaling $786 million. KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. acted as coordinating lead arranger for the syndicated debt facility totaling $519 million. The capital will be used to finance a group of nine solar projects that, when fully operational, will generate 339.4MW of renewable energy. While most of the projects are under construction, two recently achieved COD.

The size, complexity and number of parties involved make this a landmark transaction in the renewables arena. CohnReznick Capital Markets Securities (CRCMS), a boutique investment banking services firm, advised sPower on the tax equity investment. Stoel Rives LLP, a prominent law firm in energy project development and finance, assisted sPower with the negotiation and documentation of the financing.

“With a company that is growing so quickly, recycling capital is incredibly important,” said Ray Henger, sPower SVP structured finance. “Financing a large portfolio build out with a single tax equity provider and a syndicate of banks creates substantial efficiencies.”

Earlier this year, sPower commissioned an incremental 179.3 MW of renewable energy projects, including its inaugural wind project (60 MW Latigo Wind Park in Utah) and a number of utility-scale solar projects in California, Massachusetts and New York.

— Solar Builder magazine