Europeans break ground in Texas and Utah on 300 MW of solar power


And now for a (very) short story about a project developed by Dr. Miguel Alejandro Oneto – the Misae Solar Park of Childress County, Texas (yes, the plant has its own website). The Dr teamed up with Lae American Energy to bring the 240 MW-AC / ~288 MW-DC project to the Texas Comptroller in June of 2017, who noted a complete document package ready for financial analysis. Then, sometime earlier this year these Solar Power Developers sold their project to the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) – specifically to their 1.1 GW-AC Copenhagen Instructure III (CI III) fund. The fund closed in April of this year with $4 billion raised.

And now, the story turns into boots on the ground as on August 28th, the Misae Solar Park began construction. This project, along with the 58 MW-AC Sage Solar Project of Rich County, Utah are the first two from the CI III portfolio to break ground. The Misae project will be using JinkoSolar mono crystalline modules – no note on the wattage, while Sage will be First Solar powered. M.A. Mortenson Company will be building in Texas and RES American Construction will be managing Utah.

The Texas Comptroller documents do note that hardware will be finalized later in the development process, and the CIP press release did note at least one change in the shift toward Jinko Solar panels – for entertainment’s purpose alone then is the originally specified hardware:

  • 654,520 PV modules from GCL System Integration Technology Co. Ltd., Model GCLP6/96 440 watts
  • Medium and high-voltage electricity cables
  • 80 DC-to-AC inverters form Power Electronics, model Freesun HEK US 1500Vdc 3127KVA integrated solution
  • 588 single axis trackers from Grupo Clavijo S.L., model SP1000
  • Facility substation and related equipment (i.e. high-voltage transformer, switchgear, telecommunications, and SCADA equipment)
  • Meteorological equipment to measure weather conditions
  • Security and security equipment (including fencing)

The comptroller package noted some of the economic challenges of building in Texas due to the ERCOT marketplace, and also stated that an “LMP analysis shows that Misae Solar Park will have 12.8% curtailment.” In addition, the project has entered into a power price hedge with a financial institution, which is one of the first of such hedges to be signed for a solar project. pv magazine sent an email to CIP to ask for further details on this structure.

The bigger story though is Texas moving from a national ranking of 7th overall, to 4th in 2017 and projected moving into 3rd over the next five years. And there are breadcrumbs showing projections as being relized.

86% of future capacity in the state is green. A huge daytime power demand is showing itself as a viable place for 11 GW of solar power (or more). And the reactions – such as a 315 MW-DC as the largest plant pending these days and energy storage making its move. Expect to see more – and bigger – announcements like these as the state shows a 30 GW pipeline and up to 750 MW sized projects.

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