DE Shaw commissions 80MW Elektron solar project in Utah

alta luna desri
DESRI’s Elektron project has joined an operating portfolio that includes the Alta Luna project in New Mexico (pictured). Image: DESRI

US renewables developer DE Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) has launched commercial operations at its 80MW Elektron solar project in the US state of Utah.

DESRI acquired the project from fellow US firm Enyo Renewable Energy in 2020, and began construction work in 2021. NORD/LB, the National Bank of Canada and City National Bank provided financing for the deal, while US company SOLV Energy provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work at the project, and will continue to provide operations and maintenance services in the future.

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The developer has two power purchase agreements (PPAs) in place with local utility Rocky Mountain Power, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, which will involve the sale of electricity generated at the project for 20 years and 25 years, respectively.

These deals were signed under Rocky Mountain Power’s Schedule 34 programme, a system by which the utility can acquire power from a range of projects with a capacity of greater than 5MW, to serve a number of customers.

These customers can aggregate their electricity demand, to enable them to acquire power en masse from utility-scale renewables projects, and includes a number of Utah institutions, including Salt Lake City and the Utah Valley University.

“Rocky Mountain Power is pleased to continue its long partnership with customers and communities in Utah to take part in our renewable energy programs including our existing renewable tariff options,” said Craig Eller, vice president for business policy and development at PacifiCorp.

“This project represents a significant step forward in our collective efforts and we look forward to working with customers to develop additional projects and programs.”

While Utah is not a historic leader in the US solar space, its solar industry has grown rapidly in recent years. According to the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Utah had 2.7GW of solar installed at the end of 2023, the 14th-most among the 50 states, up from 32nd earlier in the year. The SEIA expects Utah to add over 4GW of new solar capacity over the next five years, the 13th-most in the US, with supportive legislation a key driver of new installations in the state.

Last August, Greenbacker Capital Management completed a US$148 million tax equity financing commitment to support the development of a 240MW project in the state, one of the first such deals to utilise the production tax credit (PTC) in the country.

8 October 2024
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