8minute Solar Energy has added 3 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale solar projects to its development pipeline this month, for a total of over 18 GW — enough to provide power for 20 million people. The company has attracted additional corporate-level funding to develop the rapidly growing pipeline too, the majority of which will be converted to the company’s new generation solar power plant design with battery energy storage.
“While the financial markets, especially tax equity, face uncertainty right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 8minute as a company is financially very well positioned. Given our strong cash position and balance sheet, as well as the strength of our financial partners, we’re fortunate to take the long-view and continue our growth trajectory to deliver clean, reliable power—day and night—for less than the cost of fossil fuels,” said Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, President and CEO of 8minute.
Over the last few months, 8minute has added to its team, focusing on developers, engineers and technology innovators with an eye to improving its cost competitiveness and solar project development in California, Texas and across the Southwest.
To support its 18 GW development pipeline, 8minute recently raised new development capital from its joint venture partners, including J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners. The University of California (UC) Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents has joined the clean energy partnership as a significant investor.
The additional investment will accelerate the execution of 8minute’s 18 GW pipeline to deliver low-cost, fully dispatchable solar power across California and the Southwestern United States.
How 8minute is beating fossil fuel prices
A nationwide leader in solar-plus-storage, 8minute was the first to beat the cost of fossil fuels with solar photovoltaics (PV) and late last year received approval for the Eland Solar & Storage Center, the lowest-cost solar and energy storage project in the country. 8minute plans to replicate this model across its pipeline to provide a reliable alternative for baseload power plants.
The 400-megawatt (MWac) Eland Solar & Storage Center in Kern County, California will have an energy storage capacity of 1,200 megawatt-hours (MWh). The Eland project represents a notable victory for the City of Los Angeles, the State of California and the solar industry, dispelling misconceptions about the affordability and availability of baseload, utility-scale clean energy. The Eland project demonstrates that renewables can replace dispatchable fossil fuel generation at a price of under 4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) fixed for 25 years, effectively reducing the cost to ratepayers and increasing grid reliability.
“As we develop more projects with large storage capacity, we will continue to partner with local communities, evaluate the environmental implications of our work and prioritize responsible business practices across all areas of our pipeline,” added Buttgenbach. “This strategic investment with our joint venture partners is an important part of this vision that extends beyond the funding—it’s an opportunity to align with world-class research labs and technology centers at the forefront of energy innovation. We look forward to strengthening this partnership as we advance on our mission to make solar energy abundant and affordable throughout the country.”
8minute can achieve record-setting economics in part by partnering with best-in-class investors, such as patient capital from institutional investors, including Upper Bay, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and UC’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents.
— Solar Builder magazine