Virginia co-op signs up for 300 MW of solar

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Solar is bringing cheap power at predictable rates to U.S. consumers, and cooperatives want in on the action. Following on a series of big contracts signed by rural electric cooperatives in Georgia late last year, the largest electric cooperative in Virginia is following suit.

Yesterday Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) announced that it has signed a contract for the output of 300 MW of solar which D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) plans to build in Virginia. DESRI has stated that they will be in the Dominion/PJM footprint, which covers most of Eastern Virginia and part of North Carolina, but notes that final sites have not been chosen for these projects and offered little other information.

The cooperative chose DESRI among multiple bidders, and NOVEC says that the projected cost is “competitive with the marketplace for comparable on-peak energy”.

DESRI expects to complete the plants by 2023, and says that 250 jobs will be created during construction. The projects will utilize single-axis tracking technology.

These plants will increase the renewable energy capacity that NOVEC has under contract five-fold, from 60 MW to 360 MW, and are expected to generate enough electricity to meet more than 9% of the electricity demand of the cooperative’s 170,000 member/customers in six Virginia counties.

NOVEC has alluded to calls by its members for more renewables. “This agreement with DESRI is another step toward meeting our customers’ expectations for more renewable energy in NOVEC’s resource mix,” stated NOVEC President and CEO Stan Feuerberg.