On Tuesday, BayWa r.e. and North Carolina developer Geenex Solar announced that they have partnered to develop 350 MW of solar PV projects in North Carolina and Virginia. The projects are mostly 20-100 MW in capacity, and are expected to be put online in 2017 and 2018.
The companies were vague about the status of most of these projects, explaining in a press statement that they are in “different stages of development”. The one exception is a 5 MW project located in Northampton, North Carolina, which has begun construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
Under the partnership BayWa will provide engineering, procurement and construction services as well as financing and operations and maintenance, and Geenex will “utilize its local expertise to drive development activities”. “Their expertise in development and local knowledge enable us to take the necessary steps to make these major investments,” BayWa r.e. Solar Projects CEO Jam Attari explained in a press statement.
This appears to be working as BayWa and Geenex say that they intend to expand the scope and scale of their partnership in the future.
The location of these projects is interesting. Virginia has a toothless, voluntary renewable energy goal for utilities instead of a mandate, and North Carolina has a tiny set-aside for solar in its renewable energy mandate. And while North Carolina has been one of the nation’s largest solar markets despite the lack of ambition in its state mandate, Virginia has not seen significant solar development activity to date.
A press statement by BayWay gives clues to what may be driving its new portfolio, with the implication that projects may sell power to directly to companies and other non-utility off-takers. “The growing demand for solar powered energy generation in the PJM market is being driven increasingly by corporates, municipalities, educational institutions, and utilities looking to procure renewable energy at competitive rates,” states the release.