Texas to get its biggest solar plant at 315 MW-DC


Texas solar is starting to move. In January, developer 174 Power Global announced a new soon-to-be largest solar power plant for Texas at 236 MW-DC. A few weeks ago was the announcement of the soon-to-be largest energy storage plant – 10 MW / 42 MWh – coupled with the current largest solar plant. And larger projects may also be coming too, as ranchers in the western part of the state whisper about 500 MW projects.

Yesterday Canada’s Innergex announced the acquisition of development rights of a 315 MW-DC (250 MW-AC) solar power plant (PDF) on the same day that the project received full Notice to Proceed (NTP) for construction from local permitting parties. The Phoebe project is expected to complete construction in the third quarter of 2019. The company lists three other solar power plants – and many other energy projects – on its energy asset site map.

The project has a 12-year power purchase agreement in place with Shell Energy for 89% of the electricity produced, with the remaining 11% being sold into the merchant market. The estimated total construction costs will be $397 million, giving an installation price of $1.26 per watt-DC.

Innergex forecasts an astounding 33.7% AC net capacity factor based on an annual generation projection of 738 GWh, per documents from the Texas comptroller (PDF).

The Winkler Country project will use Nextracker NX Horizon Horizontal single-axis balanced-mass trackers and First Solar Series 6 solar modules. The inverters are by Power Electronics, model HEM 3000.

The project will generate a single long-term position with an annual wage of $59,500.

The company expects an internal rate of return in the high single-digit to low double-digit range, and expects a 35 year project lifetime. The Phoebe project is expecting an projected Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $20.2 million for 12 months of operations.

The Energy Finance team at CIT Group is serving as the tax equity partner, and will fund $292 million in construction costs, with Innergex paying the final $105 million after fully drawing down the debt.

SEIA notes in its Texas profile, that the Lone Star State is currently the 7th overall in solar power installed, but was 4th for the total installed in 2017 – and they project the state to take 3rd place over the next five years as it installs almost 6.5 GW of solar.

As of the end of 2017, Texas had installed just under 2 GW of solar power. If no other solar was built (which isn’t the case), this project alone would increase the total capacity installed by over 15%.

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