Four 20 MWac solar power plants have begun operating in New York state, marking the first of 87 awarded solar projects, which currently total 6.8 GWac and continue to grow. These projects were initially awarded to developers in 2016 and 2017 as part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) annual.Large-scale Renewable Energy Standard program, which solicits eligible renewable energy projects such as solar photovoltaic, wind, and hydroelectric generation.
The four solar projects were announced alongside four other renewable projects, totaling 480 MW.
The Jasin Solar facility, a 20 MWac solar plant developed and constructed in the Town of Willet, was completed on March 17, 2023. According to New York’s Data.gov website, the facility signed a contract for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to sell a minimum of 35,898 MWh per year, with a maximum of 43,077 MWh. These values suggest an AC capacity factor between 20.5% and 24.6%. The project’s Index REC strike price* is $75.19.
Source: Jasin Solar 30% Preliminary Site Plan, Town of Willet Zoning Department
According to documents found online, the facility paid $704,685 for interconnection costs for adding or upgrading the following gear at the new Willet Substation:
- two (2) 3Ø 34.5kV motor operated disconnect switches;
- one (1) single phase voltage transformer (VT);
- three (3) surge arrestors;
- one (1) 34.5kV, 2000A, gas circuit breaker with four (4) sets of 1200/5A multi-ratio current transformers (CT);
- two (2) motor operated disconnect switch stands;
- one (1) 34.5 kV revenue metering CT/VT unit stand;
- one (1) 34.5 kV single phase VT stand;
- one (1) 34.5 kV riser stand;
- two (2) 3Ø bus supports;
- four (4) 3Ø 34.5 kV, 1200A motor operated disconnect switch foundations;
- two (2) 34.5 kV revenue metering CT/VT foundations;
- one (1) 34.5 kV single phase VT foundation;
- one (1) 3Ø riser stand foundation;
- one (1) 34.5 kV, 2000A gas circuit breaker foundation;
- three (3) 3Ø bus support foundations;
- minor materials (bus, conductor, fittings, grounding conductor fittings, grounding conductor, insulators, nuts, surge arrester brackets, and bolts).
In Mohawk Valley, two 20 MW solar facilities, Grissom Solar and Regan Solar, were completed on March 17, 2023 and December 29, 2022, respectively, while in the Southern Tier, the 20 MW Puckett Solar facility in the Town of Greene was completed on October 21, 2022. All four facilities were developed and constructed by CS Energy and are owned by MN8 Energy, with tax equity financing provided by M&T Community & Environmental Development LLC, a subsidiary of M&T.
NYSERDA solicited approximately 2 GW of new capacity for this program in the fall of 2022, equivalent to 4.5 million Tier 1 eligible RECs. The winning projects are set to be announced in the summer of 2023.
The NYSERDA Index REC Strike Price is designed to minimize risk of low power prices to power plant owners, while not also paying said owners a financial windfall in case of high energy prices.
First, the RECs represent only the environmental characteristics of solar electricity, allowing the electricity and capacity to be sold separately. This allows the state to research the current market rates for electricity and capacity and subtract them from the REC price.
This process provides the solar developer with a minimum price guaranteed by the State of New York, which encourages banks to finance and facilitates the construction of plants. To determine the amount the state pays, it first takes the REC Strike Price and subtracts the current rates of electricity and capacity. The remainder is paid to the solar asset owner.
If the price of electricity and capacity increases, the incentive decreases, potentially reaching zero. This arrangement allows the asset owner to benefit from market upside without burdening taxpayers. Additionally, over the contract’s twenty-year lifetime, 2% to 3% electricity price inflation is likely to significantly reduce the monthly REC price paid by the state.
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