Onyx Renewables and Qcells partner on solar-plus-storage projects in Massachusetts


Onyx Renewable Partners L.P. is developing two community solar and energy storage projects in Massachusetts that will have a total of 6.2 MW of solar and 5.5 MWh of energy storage.

The two projects, which are planned to be located within the ISO New England (ISO-NE) region, are expected to offset 3,900 tons of carbon dioxide per year the equivalent to powering approximately 700 homes, according to the U.S. EPA.

Both solar-plus-storage installations feature Qcells modules along with DC-coupled battery storage technology and its Geli Energy Management System (EMS). Qcells and Onyx plan to deploy a risk-sharing partnership structure on the projects, including a revenue share agreement and Qcells’ Network Operations Center (NOC) Services offering to mitigate risk on the long-term assets.

 The Qcells Geli EMS reportedly uses the same machine learning algorithm to model the financial returns on projects as used in real-time battery operation, providing what Qcells says is accurate and reliable project revenue projections.

The projects are expected to benefit from the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program. This program is capped at an aggregate 1.6 GW of deployment and provides per-kWh incentives for PV projects 5 MW or less, with about 20% to35% of the allotted capacity designed for projects 25 kW or less. It works on a declining-block program in 80 MW blocks, meaning that earlier projects will be more heavily incentivized, and as the program passes through the blocks, incentive values will drop by 4% per block.

Both projects will also participate in the state’s Clean Peak Energy Standard (CPS), an initiative aimed at meeting high electricity demands with clean energy to create a more sustainable and reliable power grid.

 The Geli EMS will help optimize battery charging and discharging to comply with program requirements for SMART and CPS, the companies report.

Qcells announced the expansion of its solar module factory in Dalton, Georgia where it added 2 GW of solar capacity, bringing the U.S. factory’s output to more than 5.1 GW. The company said its Dalton factory is the largest manufacturing plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and the first solar panel plant expansion since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The expanded factory will manufacture nearly 30,000 solar modules a day, and will create 510 new jobs.

Onyx Renewables, based in New York City, is an institutionally backed, vertically integrated, developer, owner and operator of solar and energy storage projects. The company was established in 2014 by Blackstone Group, and is now, Onyx is owned by SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust (SEEIT), a global investor in sustainable energy solutions. The company reports that it has completed more than 11 GW of renewable energy, with an operating portfolio of over 380 projects and a development pipeline spanning 35 states.

Onyx and Qcells announced interest in expanding the solar-plus-storage partnership to projects in ISO-NE, California ISO, NYISO, and more.

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