Sunrise brief: Oil major to pay $220 million for 9 GW solar development pipeline


Oil major bp said it will pay $220 million for 9 GW of solar development projects in the U.S. from Austin, Texas-based 7X Energy. The assets will be developed through bp’s 50-50 solar joint venture Lightsource bp.

Under terms of the deal, bp will include 1 GW of “safe harbor” equipment and expects the acquisition to close in 30 days. The projects are expected to generate returns of at least 8-10%.

The projects are spread across 12 states, with the largest portfolios in Texas (ERCOT) and the Midwest (PJM). Assets with a combined generating capacity of 2.2 GW are expected to reach final investment decision by 2025, with the remaining progressing by 2030.

7X has developed multiple utility-scale solar projects with over 1,600 MW under construction or operational. It has safe-harbored $100 million worth of inverters to qualify more than 2,000 MW of projects for Investment Tax Credits.

The deal will move bp toward its target of growing its renewable generating capacity to 20 GW by 2025 and 50 GW by 2030.

Challenges to long-duration storage

A new report from Guidehouse Insights said that North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific are expected to account for almost 90% of the new long-duration energy storage capacity installed worldwide through 2030.

The report said that little agreement exists on which attributes of energy storage will be required and valued over time, specifically the energy capacity or duration of energy storage that could be cost-effective for certain electricity grid services and applications. Even so, as plans to deploy new renewable energy generation advance, future electricity grids will likely require different types of energy storage than those currently being deployed, particularly for long-duration challenges and seasonal capacity challenges.

The report said that despite the advantages of long-duration energy storage technologies, actual deployments have been limited so far. Barriers to broader adoption include geographic restrictions, lack of trust in new technologies, low round-trip efficiencies, improved lithium-ion battery technology, and higher upfront project costs.

Share sale to support storage venture

Canadian Solar filed notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to sell up to $150 million of its common shares to support its long-term growth plans, including investing in its battery storage business and growing its storage pipeline.

The company may also use a portion of the proceeds to invest in or acquire businesses, assets or technologies that it believes are complementary to its business, including. The company expects to complete the offering over the course of around six months, or longer if necessary.

The common shares will be sold through US Tiger Securities as sales agent.

Rooftop solar for Houston office building

XL Solar Partners said it will deploy a 250 kW commercial rooftop solar system at FR8T Yard, a commercial office building in Houston. The system will include monocrystalline modules to maximize power generation on the project’s constrained land area.

According to Project Sunroof, Houston represents one of the largest commercial and residential rooftops solar development opportunities in the U.S. By one estimate, Houston has the most solar energy potential of any U.S. city with an estimated 18,940 GWh of rooftop solar generation potential per year. FR8T Yard expects to export excess power into the ERCOT grid.

Oregon expands EV access

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 2165 into law, expanding access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, particularly to people with low incomes and people of color.

In addition to Oregon’s goals for electrification and vehicle emission reductions, Brown, as the chair of the Western Governors’ Association, launched the Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative to lay out a path to the adoption of zero-emission technology across the West.

HB 2165 removes the current sunset on funding for the state’s EV rebate programs. It also aims to strengthen the Charge Ahead EV Rebate Program to better serve targeted communities. And it is intended to streamline investment in EV infrastructure by Portland General Electric and Pacific Power through a small charge, with the requirement that at least half of the investment benefit targeted communities.

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