Forecasts suggest that 142GW of solar power plants might get built this year across the globe. In the U.S., three facilities have recently moved forward in their own special ways.
RWE Renewables has brought its West of Pecos solar plant located in Reeves County, Texas online. The 100MWac solar plant is located on more than 700 acres leased from the Texas Pacific Land Trust and the Texas General Land Office within the county. Silvia Ortin Rios, COO of onshore wind and solar PV Americas at RWE Renewables, noted the plant is RWE’s first solar project in Texas, and its largest solar project in the U.S.
The facility will use approximately 350,000 modules, suggesting a system size somewhere between 122MWdc and 140MWdc (depending on solar panels ranging from 350 to 400W). Solar Builder Magazine noted JA Solar as the module manufacturer, single axis trackers by Array Technologies, inverters by Power Electronics with Blattner Energy as the project’s EPC.
In 2018, the project signed a power purchase agreement for 50MW worth of output with SK E&S LNG, a South Korean energy company. RWE partnered with a tax equity investor.
Sunpin Solar is breaking ground on January 10th at its Titan Solar I 70MWac/98 MWdc solar power facility rendered above. Sunpin says the facility will use approximately 260,000 panels, meaning about 375 watts to 380 watts from as of yet undecided solar modules. Hanwha will be the project’s EPC, Sungrow will supply the solar inverters and GameChange Solar will supply the single-axis trackers. The facility will generate over 218,000MWh per year, suggesting a 25% DC capacity factor, and a 35% AC capacity factor.
The project seeks to connect to the grid at the end of 2020. Grid upgrade costs were identified as $2,366,000 for onsite hardware, with common network upgrades at $2,072,498 totaling just over $4.4 million. The network upgrades are reimbursable to the project via rate credits upon project completion. Once those credits are covered, the facility will pay $600,000 a year worth of annual transmission service fees to the local grid manager. The interconnection agreement was signed on May 8, 2017.
Solar Frontier America noted that it had closed on the tax equity commitment and debt financing for its already under construction 150MWac/210MWdc Mustang Two solar power plant in Kings County, California. Lenders for the approximately $176 million construction-to-term facility are KeyBank and Mizuho Bank. Morgan Stanley Renewables will pay up to $120 million in tax equity financing once the facility reaches permission to operate. CohnReznick Capital served as financial advisor and Stoel Rives served as Solar Frontier Americas’ counsel in the deal.
Local utility Pacific Gas & Electric estimates that it will cost approximately $3,025,000 to provide the engineering and procurement services to interconnect the power plant. A few hundred pages of draft environmental analysis are available from the county regulator webpage.
The above image was extracted from a project located very close to the Mustang Two facility, which is noted in purple on the document near the center. Note how populated this region is with solar plants.