Greenbacker buys one of Montana’s largest solar projects


One of the largest solar projects yet to come to Montana has been acquired by Greenbacker Renewable Energy.

Under development in Yellowstone County near Billings and with an expected commercial operation date of July 2022, MTSun Solar is set to clock in at 80 MW of capacity. That’s not far below the 117 MW of solar currently operating in the state. MTSun Solar has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in place with Northwestern Energy.

MTSun was developed by Broad Reach Power, an independent power producer based in Houston. The acquisition brings Greenbacker to more than 1 GW of generating capacity, including assets yet to be built. The portfolio includes 773.5 MW of utility-scale and distributed solar facilities, 242.6 MW of wind, 15.5 MW of battery storage, and 12 MW of biomass facilities.

The 80 MW Montana project is just one of several that will increase the state’s solar capacity.

The 150 MW Cabin Creek solar farm, currently being developed by Clenera in Fallon County in far eastern Montana, is the largest project in the state to move forward;  it has a 15-year PPA with Basin Electric Power Cooperative. The project will begin construction in 2022 or early 2023 and is expected to be completed before the end of 2023.

A 160 MW solar project has been proposed north of Dillon, Montana, in the state’s western quadrant. This project would be located on roughly 1,300 acres, but is being held up as the developer, Clenera, works to come to terms on pricing with Northwestern Energy, the project’s initial interested buyer. The goal was to bring this project on-line by the end of 2021. Without a power contract in place, that timetable may be hard to achieve.

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