EDF Renewables to Provide Energy to Southern California Public Power Authority 

Michael Webster

EDF Renewables North America has signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) for the energy and renewable attributes related to the 117 MW AC /148 MW DC Sapphire Solar project.  

Sapphire Solar will begin delivery of carbon-free electricity to SCPPA’s participating members, Anaheim, Pasadena and Vernon, by December 31, 2026. In addition to solar production, SCPPA reserves the option to a 59 MW AC, 4-hour battery energy storage system.

Sapphire Solar expects to create approximately 250 jobs during the construction phase with more than $253 million generated in tax revenue over the operating life for taxing entities.  Sapphire Solar will generate clean energy while minimizing impacts to wildlife, habitat and other environmental resources.

“This project will help our participating SCPPA Members meet and exceed renewable energy and resource adequacy requirements, while at the same time minimizing costs and maintaining reliability,” says Michael Webster, executive director of SCPPA.

In addition to its economic benefits for Riverside County, the project is expected to generate 375,800 MWh of clean energy annually, enough to meet the consumption of over 58,000 homes. This is equivalent to avoiding over 266,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which represents the greenhouse gas emissions from over 57,000 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year.

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Utilities in Wisconsin MGE, WEC invest in another large-scale solar-plus-storage plant

The Koshkonong Solar Energy Centre will be operational in late 2025. Image: Invenergy

US energy company Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) will buy output from a solar and battery storage centre with a total capacity of 465MW in partnership with WEC Energy Group’s subsidiaries We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS). 

The project, expected to begin operation in late 2025, will include 300MW solar energy capacity and a 165MW battery storage system. After the acquisition, MGE will own 10% of the Koshkonong Solar Energy Centre, in Wisconsin’s Dane County. 

We Energies and WPS will own the remaining 270MW solar capacity and 148.5MW battery storage from the centre.

“We are working aggressively to reduce our carbon emissions at least 80% from 2005 levels by the end of this decade and achieve net zero carbon electricity by 2050,” said Jeff Keebler, MGE’s Chairman, president and CEO. 

The Koshkonong Solar Energy Centre got regulatory approval in April 2022 and is one of three announced investments by MGE in large-scale solar energy and battery storage. MGE also will own a 10% share of the Paris Solar-Battery Park and the Darien Solar Energy Centre, both of which are under construction. 

US developer Invenergy is working on both the Koshkonong and Paris projects, while a developer for Darien had not been announced when MGE and WEC put the project up for Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approval in March 2021, as reported by Energy-Storage.news.

Darien will pair 250MW of solar PV with a 75MW battery energy storage system (BESS), and will be jointly-owned by the two utilities in a similar structure to the Koshkonong deal. Meanwhile, Paris Solar-Battery Park will combine 310MW of solar PV with 110MW BESS with both Darien and Paris originally scheduled to go online in 2023. WEC and MGE were granted Commission approval to buy the Paris project in March 2022.

This story first appeared on PV Tech.

Additional reporting for Energy-Storage.news by Andy Colthorpe.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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‘Innovation tender’ solar-plus-storage project commissioned in Saxony, Germany

The solar-plus-storage project in Saxony. Image: Leipziger Stadtwerke.

A solar-plus-storage project has been commissioned in Saxony, Germany, the first in the state from the recent ‘innovation tenders’ to do so.

The project pairs a 13.5MWp solar PV array with a 3.7MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) from Intilion, the lithium-ion energy storage arm of the Hoppecke battery company.

Developer and independent power producer (IPP) Qair Energy developed the project in collaboration with the utility Stadtwerke Leipzig which will operate the site in Priestewitz, in the district of Meißen.

The companies claimed that the project is the first in the state from the Federal Network Agency’s innovation tenders for co-located projects to connect to the grid in Saxony. The tender, which took place in two lots in early and late 2021, saw around 400MW of energy storage capacity awarded contracts.

The contracts allow asset owners to receive a fixed Eurocents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) sum, in addition to market-based revenues they are able to earn. But they require the energy storage portion to only charge from the renewables, something which has been criticised by industry participants interviewed by Energy-Storage.news for a special report on the Germany market for PV Tech Power (sister site PV Tech’s quarterly journal).

Priestewitz Mayor Manuela Gajewi said: “The construction of new photovoltaic systems and wind power should not be the only goal for the expansion of renewable energy: more efficient systems, the expansion of the distribution grid and the development of efficient energy storage solutions must be the focus.”

“After all, what use is green energy if it does not arrive at the place and time where and when it is needed. We are therefore pleased that the linking of green energy with innovative storage technology is being used in our community of Priestewitz.”

A media statement added that a subsidy-free green power purchase agreement (PPA) with a fixed term and fixed price was concluded with the funding partner Umweltbank. Umweltbank focuses on ecology and energy transition loans.

The first innovation tender solar-plus-storage projects in Germany started coming online last year, with energy firm RWE announcing it was ‘weeks away’ from turning on a 14.4MW PV, 9.6MWh project in April 2022.

The utility-scale market picked up over the course of the year, going from around 30MW of deployments in 2021 to between 200-400MW deployed in 2022, depending on whose numbers you choose. LCP Delta provided data to Energy-Storage.news yesterday which said 236MW was deployed last year and 215MW will be deployed this year.

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SSE puts £100 million into Scotland pumped hydro project but new policy needed for FID

A render of the inside of the Coire Glas pumped hydro energy storage (PHES). Image: SSE.

UK utility SSE has put £100 million (US$123 million) into its Coire Glas pumped hydro project in Scotland for pre-construction activities, but said that new policy is needed for it go to final investment decision (FID).

SSE has confirmed it will allocate £100 million in capital to boost Coire Glas – a Scottish-based pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) project with the potential to be the “biggest” in 40 years.

Situated near Loch Lochy, between Fort William and Inverness, the Coire Glas project could more than double Britain’s total current electricity storage capacity and would require a capital investment of over £1.5 billion to construct.

The project would be capable of delivering 30GWh of long duration storage, though SSE said its estimated 2031 completion date is “…subject to positive development progress and prevailing policy environment”.

Announcing the £100 million funding, Gregor Alexander, finance director at SSE, was more specific: “Whilst Coire Glas doesn’t need subsidy, it does require more certainty around its revenues and it is critically important the UK government urgently confirms its intention on exactly how they will help facilitate the deployment of such projects.”

The need to change the UK’s electricity market to create the right signals for large flexibility and long-duration energy storage (LDES) assets was a talking point at the Energy Storage Summit in London last month. In one panel discussion, Robert Hull of Riverswan Energy Advisory said of the UK’s many PHES projects:

“The market signals are just not there for large flexibility assets. They are ready to go but can’t because of the way the market is designed.”

SSE hopes to make a final investment decision on Coire Glas in 2024. Excess energy would be taken from the grid to pump water 500 metres up a hill from the Loch to a upper reservoir similar in size to around 11,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. When required, this water would then be released to power the grid when intermittent energy generation capacity, such as solar and wind, is low and demand is high.

Michael Matheson, net zero and energy secretary for the Scottish government, agreed that the market needs to change for the PHES sector to grow:

“The Scottish government has long been supportive of pumped hydro storage capacity, which we believe will play a key role in the energy transition and is a vital component of a more flexible, resilient and secure electricity supply.”

“However, it is critical that the UK government puts in place the appropriate market and regulatory arrangements to support the industry’s development as a matter of urgency. Only with a supportive policy environment can this sector realise its full potential.”

Additional reporting by George Hynes from Solar Power Portal.

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Bolivar Energy Authority, Silicon Ranch, TVA Debut Bolivar Solar Farm

Tony Kirk

Silicon Ranch Corporation, an independent power producer and a community-focused renewable energy company, Bolivar Energy Authority (BEA) and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have opened the 3.25-MW AC Bolivar Solar Farm in Hardeman County, Tenn. 

The solar facility will provide enough solar energy to power more than 500 homes and help keep rates low for BEA’s more than 11,000 customers.

In 2020, TVA began offering local power companies (LPCs) the flexibility to meet a portion of their power needs with generating sources through its generation flexibility program. As one of the first LPCs to execute a deal with TVA under those new terms, BEA chose Silicon Ranch as its partner for the solar project to help keep rates as low as possible.“As a public power utility in the fifth largest county in Tennessee, BEA is extremely pleased to offer our community a low-cost, reliable energy solution from trusted local partners,” says Tony Kirk, BEA president and CEO. “TVA is enabling us and LPCs across the valley to do just that through its generation flexibility program by providing our community with the opportunity to partner with dependable, renewable energy providers like Silicon Ranch to procure local energy solutions.”

On behalf of BEA and TVA, Silicon Ranch funded construction and will own, operate and maintain the solar facility for the duration of its lifetime, an approach the company takes with every project it develops.

The Bolivar Solar Farm was supported by the USDA through its Rural Energy for America Program initiative, which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to support agricultural producers and rural small businesses with renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. 

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Ellomay Capital Enters U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Market

Ran Fridrich

Ellomay Capital Ltd., a renewable energy and power generator and developer of renewable energy and power projects in Europe and Israel, says it has entered into a joint development agreement (JDA) for solar photovoltaic projects in Texas.

The JDA was executed with a project development company experienced in the development of energy projects, site acquisition, capital markets and commercial management. The JDA provides for the initial development, design, construction and finance of two solar PV projects with an aggregate projected DC capacity of 23 MW (the first projects). The first projects are in advanced stages of development with estimated capital costs of $25-$27 million. 

The company’s share of the capital costs of the first projects is estimated at approximately $18-$20 million, and the balance is intended to be provided by tax equity sources. The sites for the first projects will be leased under long-term leases from special purpose companies controlled by the development team.  

One of the first projects, with a DC capacity of approximately 13 MW, is expected to achieve ready-to-build status within six months. The JDA also provides for the development of three additional solar PV projects with an aggregate capacity of approximately 30 MW DC.

The projects to be developed under the JDA will be subject to the ERCOT distributed generation (DG) scheme for projects of up to 10 MW AC capacity. The applicable electricity market is the ERCOT North zone market (ERCOT is the electricity regulator of the state of Texas).

Under the DG Scheme, ERCOT allows owners of generation assets to sell electricity to qualified service entities at market rates under real-time or day-ahead prices at the local nodes of the projects and/or designated behind the meter clients under power purchase agreements.

“The execution of the JDA follows a very careful and in-depth analysis of the U.S. solar PV market by the company and fulfills Ellomay’s strategy to enter into the U.S. market in a careful and gradual manner,” says Ran Fridrich, CEO of Ellomay. “Ellomay identified potential partners for the joint development of solar PV projects in the state of Texas with particular focus on sites in the metro Dallas area, a densely populated area experiencing high economic growth and large potential for future growth in electricity demand.”

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Foss & Company, Birch Creek Energy Partner on $130 Million Tax Equity Investment

Max Whitacre

Foss & Company, an institutional investment fund sponsor, says it has closed on a tax equity partnership with Birch Creek Energy for approximately $130 million of investment. The investment funds Project Beech, a 258 MW DC solar PV project located in Pecos County, Texas.

This project reduces 425,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being produced each year, the equivalent to removing 48 million gallons of gasoline consumption or the powering of over 53,000 homes using clean energy.

“We are thrilled to complete this tax equity financing with Foss & Company,” says Max Whitacre, EVP of project finance for Birch Creek. “Project Beech is the first project we have completed that pairs strategic load with traditional energy consumption. Completing this financing is a milestone for all of us and opens up the door to additional financing opportunities for projects with similar profiles within key markets.”

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Energy Toolbase and Arch Solar Deploy Storage System on 40-Acre Senior Community Center 

Mike Cornell

Energy Toolbase (ETB) has deployed its Acumen EMS controls software on an energy storage system installed by Arch Solar, a solar contractor based in Plymouth, Wisconsin. In 2022, Arch Solar installed the BYD Chess unit, equipped with Acumen EMS, for a 40-acre senior community center in Sheboygan. 

This project, supported by the state’s Office of Energy Innovation grant (EIGP), is projected to reduce at least 28% of the current energy mix for the campus, saving more than $27,000 annually. The building was designed for sustainability and includes several notable renewable features, including water backup systems and a 200 kW panel solar energy field.

Sited with a 120 kW BYD Chess unit, the Acumen EMS-operated system will reduce demand costs through peak demand shaving. By utilizing the modeling and deployment functions of Energy Toolbase, Arch Solar and the host customer will also have visibility into the energy storage system’s operation with the ETB Monitor platform; moreover, the platform allows the customer to analyze system performance in real-time and oversee bill savings, customize alerts, override events, schedule dispatch commands, and more.

The project has garnered generous community support, with several community members contributing financially in hopes of using the site as a model for other nonprofits transitioning to solar within the state. In addition to the EIGP grant, Arch Solar was a recipient of a grant from Solar for Good, which contributed $25,000 worth of solar panels to the project.

“Working with ETB for a reliable storage solution in times where half of China is shut down along with all the supply chain issues has been a blessing,” says Mike Cornell, project manager and CIO of Arch Solar. “ETB not only supplied us with the right solution on time, but the all-in-one package made the installation much simpler and more efficient. We will be installing ETB-sourced products again and again.”

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Holcim US, TotalEnergies Partner on Clean Energy Services at Colorado Cement Plant

Atl Martinez

Holcim US and TotalEnergies have solidified a partnership to bring large-scale solar power and battery energy storage to Holcim’s Portland cement plant in Florence, Colorado. 

In line with Holcim’s pledge to power all of its U.S. operations with 100% renewable energy by 2050, TotalEnergies will install, maintain and operate a 33 MW DC ground-mounted solar array and 38.5 MWh battery energy storage system at the factory.

“As we work to accelerate green growth across the United States, it’s critical that we come to the table with partners who share similar goals around circularity and renewable energy,” says Atl Martinez, vice president of procurement for Holcim North America. “This initiative with TotalEnergies demonstrates an ongoing determination to transform our operations and lower our carbon footprint.”

The project’s solar array will be optimized for maximum energy yield with single-axis solar trackers that follow the sun’s movement through the day and high-performance bifacial solar panels that generate power on both the front and back sides. The energy storage system aims to reduce the factory’s impact on the local utility grid, particularly during on-peak periods when regional demand for electricity is high.

The TotalEnergies solar-plus-storage solution is anticipated to reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by more than 40,000 tons annually and offset over 40% of its current energy demand. Holcim will receive roughly 71,000 MWh of clean power from the project per year under a power purchase and storage services agreement with a minimum term of 15 years.

Operations of the renewable energy system are expected to begin in 2025.

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EnergySage Reports Solar Prices, Installer Brand Loyalty Increase

EnergySage has released its 16th Solar and Storage Marketplace Report. 

This semiannual report analyzes millions of transaction-level data points generated by quotes sent to homeowners shopping on EnergySage.com for solar panels, inverters, batteries and more from solar companies in 41 states and Washington, D.C., in 2022.

Below are key insights from the report:

Solar prices continue to increase, rising over six percent year-over-year: Ongoing equipment supply constraints continue to impact pricing, as the quoted price of solar on EnergySage has increased to $2.85 per watt, a 6.7 percent increase since the lowest price in early 2021.

The installed cost of energy storage is up as well, increasing by $50 per kWh stored, or 3.9 percent, in 2022.

There were more shifts in market share for the top quoted solar panel brands: In the second half of 2022, Q CELLS overtook REC as the most frequently quoted panel brand on EnergySage with more than one-quarter of all quotes including Q CELLS panels.

Additionally, as installers looked to secure their supply during shortages in 2022, the share of quotes represented by the top three brands on EnergySage continued to drop – from 66% in 2021 to 58% in 2022. Enphase remained the most quoted inverter and battery storage brand.

In the second half of 2022, 59% of installers offered only a single inverter brand, the highest level of brand loyalty since EnergySage began tracking this information in 2014.

Similarly, over one-third of installers only worked with a single solar panel brand, the highest level since 2015. More than just installer brand loyalty, these trends provide insight into consumer choice and supply chain availability as well.

“While the solar tax credit was extended and expanded under the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in August, we also saw California pass new rules that negatively affect its net metering program,” says Vikram Aggarwal, EnergySage CEO and founder. “Through these highs and lows, consumers continue to depend on EnergySage for help understanding and navigating the complexities of their electrification journey.”

Download the full report here.

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