Commercial operation has begun at the 280-megawatt Holstein solar project in Nolan County, Texas, say project leads 8minute Solar Energy and Duke Energy Renewables. This is 8minute’s first solar project to come online in Texas, marking a significant milestone as the company expands its operational footprint outside of California.
“We are bringing our utility-scale project development expertise to forge a new energy model in Texas,” said Tom Buttgenbach, President and CEO of 8minute. “In a state with no solar mandate, and where competition is purely on price, our success with Holstein and our other Texas projects are proof positive that solar will power the future.”
Texas and 8minute
Texas is a valuable growth market for 8minute, with four other projects in late stages of development. 8minute’s Texas projects represent nearly one-gigawatt of clean energy and are expected to generate about a billion dollars of capital investment, as well as $60M in land payments, more than $120M in local tax revenues, over 1,000 construction jobs and another 2,000 indirect jobs.
“Texas is one of the fastest growing solar energy markets in the country and Holstein Solar supports the state’s growth. We’re pleased to work with 8minute to add this project to our growing Texas solar energy portfolio,” said Chris Fallon, vice president of Duke Energy Renewables. “We’re proud to support the state’s renewable energy industry by providing low-cost, clean energy resources to meet the growing needs of Texans.”
The 280 MWdc Holstein Solar project contains over 709,000 solar panels across approximately 1,300 acres in Wingate, Texas. The facility will power the equivalent of 40,000 homes. The project employed up to 400 workers during peak construction.
Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, acquired the project from 8minute in July 2019. 8minute continued to oversee all development aspects through to commercial operation and brought the EPC, operation and maintenance (O&M), hedge, tax equity and debt counterparties to the Holstein project.
SunTrust provided the tax equity investment. CIT Group led a consortium of banks that provided the construction loan, letter of credit and term loan facility for the project.
Much of the energy generated from the Holstein solar project will be sold through a 12-year term hedge agreement to J. Aron & Company LLC., a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.
The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, balance of plant systems and construction of the project were performed by Blattner Energy. First Solar Energy Services will provide O&M services for the project under a 5-year agreement. As one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers, Duke Energy currently owns, operates and contracts more than 8,000 MW of capacity and plans to double that by 2025.
— Solar Builder magazine