Clēnera begins operations at 105MW Apex Solar project in Montana

The Apex Solar project has a capacity of 105MW. Image: Enlight Energy

US renewable power company Clēnera has started operations at its 105MW Apex Solar facility in the US state of Montana, one of the largest solar projects in the state.

Enlight Energy, an Israeli renewables developer of which Clēnera is a subsidiary, announced last Friday that operations at the project had started on 4 August. The project is the first of Clēnera’s facilities to achieve commercial operation since it was purchased by Enlight in August 2021, and the company has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility NorthWestern Energy to sell power generated at the project.

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“We are pleased to reach this important milestone, delivering as per our previously announced schedule, and are excited to deliver increased access to affordable, clean renewable energy in Montana,” said Clēnera CEO Jason Ellsworth.

“We look forward to a fruitful long-term relationship with community stakeholders including Beaverhead County, the City of Dillon and NorthWestern Energy, as we continue to develop additional renewable energy projects in the state.”

Clēnera closed financing for the project last September, and the start of commercial operations is a significant milestone for a state that has struggled to keep up with the growing interest in solar power in the wake of the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act.

According to the US Solar Energy Industries Association, Montana had just 242MW of solar capacity installed in the first quarter of this year, the 40th-most among US states, which accounted for just 0.38% of the state’s electricity production.

However, Montana is home to a number of projects in the solar manufacturing sector, including REC Silicon’s silane gas production facility in the city of Butte. Silane gas is used for semiconductor insulation, so has significant benefits for solar module manufacturers, and the REC Silicon project is the world’s largest supplier of silane gas.

Developers have also sought to build new solar generating facilities in Montana in recent months, with the 80MW MTSUN project coming online in November 2022 following years of legal disputes, which could set an encouraging precedent for new solar projects in the state.

Clēnera also plans to build the 150MW Cabin Creek solar project in Montana, having signed a PPA with the Basin Electric Power Cooperative in 2020, but construction work has not yet started on the project.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.

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