Would you pay 1.795¢/kWh for solar power in 2043?


Low solar power contract records don’t last long these days.

We’re now learning that as part of NV Energy’s 1 GW of solar and 400 MWh of energy storage deal that was announced last week, 8minutenergy secured a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for a price of 2.375¢/kWh to sell power from the 300 MW Eagle Shadow Mountain solar project, at a fixed rate. This price is lower than the 2.49¢/kWh Arizona deal that pv magazine reported on just yesterday.

The starting prices of the six bids ranged from 2.155¢/kWh to 2.966¢/kWh.

Tim Buckley, of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, noted that with the 8minuteenergy project having a fixed annual price at 2.376¢/kWh, when accounting for inflation over the long term – at a very low 2.5% – the electricity will effectively be sold at the equivalent of 1.795¢/kWh in 2043.

The Sempra Renewables 250 MW Copper Mountain Project put in an even lower starting bid – 2.155¢/kWh. However, this bid has a 2.5% escalator. If said escalator is non-compounding, then the effective 25-year PPA rate is 2.8¢/kWh.

These and other project details that are just starting to leak out are in the Public Utilities Filing that was brought to light by Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar.

One detail in the Dodge Flat project notes is a reference to a “425W Hanwha Q Cell” solar panel. The highest power rating for a product currently listed on Hanwha’s website is a utility-scale product rated up to 390W.

Later in the document, on a project owned by a subsidiary of Hanwha – the utility scale line is referenced by family number, no wattage though. In the Hanwha project they note an ‘HQC 72-cell Q.Peak LG5.2/H’ as the specific product to be used.

Hanwha Q-Cell recently announced plans to build a 1.6GW/year capacity solar panel assembly facility in Georgia. The company did not reveal what specific product they plan to make, other than that it would be “high-quality PERC modules.”

Developers having direct access to future products is one way these future minded prices can be so much more competitive than standard sales channels.

For its part, Cypress Creek Renewables plans to use LONGi 400W panels on NexTracker single-axis trackers.

The energy storage projects secured 10- and 15-year PPAs, with capacity payments of $6,110/MW-month, $6,200/MW-month and $7,755/MW-month. The two lower bids had 2% escalators and signed 15-year deals, while the higher priced project was for 10 years at a fixed price.

**Edit** – Changed project associated with ‘Hanwha Q Cell 425 W panel’ from Eagle Mountain to Dodge Flats.