8minute signs PPA with community energy groups for 250MW /150MWh California solar-plus-storage plant

An artist's rendering of an 8minute Solar Energy solar-plus-storage plant. Aratina is scheduled to come online by 2023. Image: 8minute Solar Energy.

Two of California’s Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with 8minute Solar Energy for a 250MW solar PV plant with 150MWh of battery storage.

8minute Solar Energy (8minute) announced the deal yesterday, the developer’s first PPA with community choice groups. CCAs exist in several states of the US and enable communities to choose their own energy providers while sitting within the service areas of utility companies. 

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Monterey Bay Community Power Authority (MBCP) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), the two CCAs that signed the deal with 8minute, are in the California investor-owned utility PG&E’s service area. The pair have pushed out several requests for proposals (RFPs) for clean energy that have led to agreements with major California solar and solar-plus-storage facilities, resulting in deals with the likes of First Solar this April and with Canadian Solar and then EDF in late 2018, among others. The pair announced in April a 2,000MW procurement drive and RFP.

From 8minute’s Aratina Solar Center, currently under development and scheduled for commissioning in 2023, MBCP will purchase 120MWac of solar and 30MWac of battery storage with three-hour discharge duration, SCVE will contract for 80MWac of solar generation capacity and 20MWac of three-hour discharge duration battery capacity from the 250MWdc / 200MWac power plant.

Located in California’s Kern County – pretty much the state’s 'Solar Farm Valley' in terms of the number of big projects built there – power from Aratina will serve up to 8% of MBCP’s retail load and 6.6% of SVCE’s annual retail load.

“Securing renewable, reliable, affordable energy to power our community and support our clean energy goals is our top priority, and we have been proud to work with the state’s largest solar developer to ensure that we meet that goal. This large-scale, long-term solar project with storage launches us into an even stronger position in doing our part to reduce carbon emissions while meeting our customers’ needs,” MCBP’s CEO Tom Habashi said.

8minute Solar Energy announced it had secured US$225 million in financing from five major banks at the beginning of June for a pipeline of solar projects claimed to be around 18GW. Chief development officer Sean Kiernan told sister site Energy-Storage.news this week that the vast majority of that pipeline is solar with energy storage.

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