Jacksonville opens the gates to big solar with EDF contracts

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Jacksonville, Florida is quickly becoming the South’s foremost solar city. We all know about the Jinko factory that opened in the city earlier this year, but now JEA and EDF Renewables North America are getting in on the action. The two have signed a series of power purchase agreements (PPA) for the Jacksonville 5 Solar Project, a series of five 62 MWdc projects that will be distributed throughout the city.

The selection came after what JEA described as a “highly competitive” solicitation which culminated at the end of 2018.

Finalizing the PPAs now gives EDF the freedom to begin development on the project series, with the first of the five expected to be on-line in late 2019 and the family to be operational by 2021. Once operational, the plants will represent roughly 5% of the utility’s power needs, according to Aaron Zahn, JEA’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

The projects are anticipated to avoid nearly 448,500 metric tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of the total emissions of 95,000 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year.

Finally, the PPAs support JEA’s SolarMax program, which allows large-scale commercial and industrial customers to lock in their solar power prices in the long-term at a projected rate of 3.25 cents per kWh by buying their electricity from from large solar facilities.

It will be interesting to see what company provides the panels for this project series, as located within JEA’s service area is that aforementioned Jinko factory.

Maybe most importantly is that this PPA signing shows a move by JEA towards the adoption of solar. Previously, the company has done little to compete with the amount of solar that Florida Power and Light has deployed in its service area, one which essentially surrounds the city of Jacksonville.