Sunrise brief: Work starts on 300 MW solar plus storage project


Canadian Solar said that its Recurrent Energy business unit completed the sale of the Slate solar-plus-storage project in California to Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC. Purchase price was not disclosed.

The Slate project is a 300 MW solar plus 140.25 MW / 561 MWh storage project that is set to enter service by the end of the year. The power plant will include roughly 962,000 bifacial BiKu modules installed across 2,400 acres. Canadian Solar’s energy storage subsidiary, System Solutions and Energy Storage, will provide battery storage integration services.

PNC Bank is providing a tax equity commitment to the project, which has signed PPAs with five off-takers, four of which are solar and energy storage, and one that is solar-only.

The Slate project is Recurrent Energy’s largest solar-plus-storage project. Its U.S. storage pipeline currently stands at more than 4 GWh, the company said.

Rural utilities add solar to support growth

Two small utilities are adding solar power in Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas.

Liberty Utilities expects to complete this month its first 2.2 MW solar facility in Missouri at a cost of around $3.5 million. Meanwhile, in Kansas, Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative is building two 1 MW solar arrays.

Liberty is also completing three wind farms in both states.

Liberty officials told local news outlets that the solar project is the pilot for what could be a number of flexible power stations that can be placed where demand is growing but without having to expand power lines or build new fossil generation.

Liberty sited the solar array at a substation that was nearing peak capacity. By installing solar at select locations around on the system, the utility said it can ease constraints and improve system performance.

In Kansas, Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative is joining 11 other Kansas rural electric cooperatives to add 20 MW of power in 20 arrays across the state. Work on Heartland’s two solar projects is under way and is expected to be completed by June.

The arrays will be owned by Today’s Power Inc., a North Little Rock, Arkansas, company established by rural electric cooperatives in the state. Heartland signed a 25-year PPA with Today’s Power.

Today’s Power Inc. has installed more than 25 solar projects totaling more than 40 MW over the last five years in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Solar sector dealmaking in 2020

Mercom Capital Group,  a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its annual report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector.

The firm said that global VC funding in the solar sector came to $1.2 billion in 41 deals, compared to $1.4 billion in 53 deals in 2019.

Of the $1.2 billion, some $1.1 billion went to 27 downstream companies, $61 million for service providers, $17 million for PV companies, $15 million for balance of system companies, $15 million for thin film technology companies, and $5.5 million for concentrator photovoltaics companies.

The top VC funded companies in 2020 were Ayana Renewable Power with $390 million, Silicon Ranch Corp. with $225 million, Brighte with $76 million, Sunseap Group with $72 million, and Aurora Solar and Zero Mass Water with $50 million each.

In 2020, announced debt financing came to $8.3 billion, the firm reported. Eight securitization deals totaling $2.2 billion were recorded in 2020, the largest amount in a year.

Turning to mergers and acquisitions, the firm said that 62 deals were transacted in 2020 compared to 65 in 2019. Most of the transactions involved downstream companies.

In addition, there were 231 large-scale solar project acquisitions in 2020 compared to 192 transactions in 2019. A record 39.5 GW of large-scale solar projects changed hands in 2020 compared to 26.1 GW in 2019.

CAMS acquires Belectric

Consolidated Asset Management Services acquired the U.S. solar operations and maintenance business of Belectric Inc. The portfolio includes 141 operating sites in 11 states. Terms were not disclosed.

Greg Bobrow, COO of CAMS, said the purchase compliments and strengthens the company’s capabilities and markets in the power generation industry.

CAMS is a privately held company providing a range of services in the energy sector, including lifecycle management of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. Belectric has constructed globally more than 400 solar PV power plants with over 3.0 GW of installed capacity.

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