Leeward Renewable Energy inaugurates 100MW North Carolina solar farm for Verizon VPPA

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Leeward’s 100MW Rabbitbrush solar facility in California. Credit: Leeward Renewable Energy

US solar developer Leeward Renewable Energy has completed construction and started commercial operations at its 100MW Oak Trail solar project in North Carolina.

The project is supported by a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) signed with telecommunications company Verizon.

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Leeward said that Oak Trail will deploy First Solar’s cadmium telluride (CadTel) solar modules and Nextracker’s solar tracking systems. This follow two long-term supply agreements that Leeward signed with both First Solar and Nextracker and supports its “vision of establishing a resilient domestic renewable energy industry”.

Jason Allen, Leeward Renewable Energy’s CEO, said: “Oak Trail Solar is another example of how LRE seeks to meaningfully contribute to the communities where we live and operate. Our engagement goes well beyond job creation, economic investment, and the generation of clean, renewable energy. We strive to build lasting partnerships with civic leaders, property owners, and community members. At Oak Trail Solar, we are committed to doing just that while preserving and protecting the environment.”

In November 2022, Leeward received just over US$600 million in construction and tax equity financing from MUFG Bank and Wells Fargo to support 296MW of US solar projects including the Oak Trail project.

Solar PV is going to overtake coal generation in North Carolina’s energy mix in the coming years, according to the state Sustainable Energy Association. More broadly, a report from the International Energy Agency found that solar PV will see more investment than oil across the world for the first time ever in 2023.

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