Orbital picked to lead on US$725m, 1GW plan to turn US coal plants into solar farms

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Akon speaking at the Clean Energy America Inargural Ball on 20 January. Image: Orbital Solar Services

US singer and philanthropist Akon’s renewable investment fund, The Black Sunrise Half Century Fund, is to partner with a North Carolina installer to convert coal-fired power plants into solar farms.

The fund has named North Carolina-based installer Orbital Solar Services (OSS), a subsidiary of Orbital Energy Group, the fund’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner for the deal.

The Black Sunrise fund was created through US solar developer Akon Lighting America, and expects to build 1GW of solar capacity within three years with a minimum investment of US$725 million.

Akon told attendees of President Biden’s Clean Energy America Inaugural Ball on 20 January that the fund and OSS have partnered to decommission coal-fired power plants in the US and repurpose them as utility-scale solar farms. The decommissioning project will begin later this year.

OSS is responsible for providing full EPC services for the projects. The company has installed roughly 600MW of solar capacity across 40 projects to date.

Jim O’Neil, Orbital Energy’s vice-chairman and chief executive, said the partnership will “enhance our presence in the renewable energy marketplace well into 2021 and beyond.”

Artist Akon said in a statement that the joint venture will open up “significant opportunities for black entrepreneurs and black-owned companies throughout the industry.” During his speech at the ball, he said the fund would also commit to an employee development programme that would serve “underrepresented communities” with OSS.

“It furthers my commitment to diversify this industry while increasing the opportunities and quality of life for people in need around the world.”

The partnership follows the launch of a diversity and inclusion initiative for the solar sector last October, which has committed to educational and fundraising programmes to support US civil rights organisations the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Urban League.

14 June 2022
Join us in Napa to unlock the key to reliable PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2022 & 2023. We'll also be gathering the main players in the US solar market for some wine tasting!
4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.

Read Next

May 27, 2022
The CEO of US solar and energy storage developer Borrego has said the company’s project development business will be less capital constrained under the new ownership of investment firm ECP, following a deal announced earlier this week to spin off and sell the unit.
May 26, 2022
The Solar Media Podcast returns to discuss the continued rise of TOPCon PV modules and energy storage demand throughout Europe.
May 25, 2022
Module price increases, higher raw material costs and logistical challenges will pull down the return on equity (ROE) for 25GW of India solar projects, with 5GW of those at high risk given when they submitted their bids.
May 25, 2022
Supply chain woes, spiralling energy prices and the COVID-19 pandemic have reversed the downward trend in average business interruption (BI) claims for renewables developers, with sector-wide average business downtime days up by 38% on 2016.  
May 25, 2022
TotalEnergies has made its “largest investment in US renewables” to date, acquiring a stake in developer Clearway Energy.
May 24, 2022
Canadian Solar has unveiled a new PV manufacturing strategy, bringing more upstream capacity inhouse to reduce its exposure to pricing volatility.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
June 7, 2022
Leonardo Royal London City, London, UK
Solar Media Events
June 14, 2022
Napa, USA
Solar Media Events
June 22, 2022
Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, Austin, Texas