National Grid Renewables has broken ground on its 128MWac Wild Springs solar PV project in South Dakota, which it says will be the largest solar PV project in the state to date.
The project is anticipated to begin commercial operation later in the year and will utilise US manufacturer First Solar’s Series 6 thin-film modules. The two companies agreed a 1.7GW supply deal for thin-film modules in December and a larger, 2GW deal in June 2022, though this supply is set in place for 2024-25.
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National Grid Renewables, which is a division of UK utility National Grid, will offload 114MW worth of power from the Wild Springs site in a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Basin Electric Power Cooperative, a wholesale electricity generation and transmission cooperative from North Dakota.
The PPA was originally announced in 2020 under National Grid Renewables’ previous name, ‘Geronimo Energy’.
Engineering, procurement and construction for the project has been contracted to Ames Construction. The Wild Springs project is paired with a charitable fund that National Grid Renewables expects to donate US$500,000 to the local community in the first 20 years of operation.
“Wild Springs represents a continuation of our leadership in renewable energy and economic development in the state of South Dakota,” said Blake Nixon, president of National Grid Renewables.
“Our Crocker Wind Farm located in Clark County began operation in 2019, and now with Wild Springs, we will have nearly 330MW of clean energy projects in the state, all of which contribute significantly to the tax base, as well as the local communities that host the projects.”
In October last year, National Grid Renewables signed a 140MW PPA with chocolate makers The Hershey Company for power produced at its Texas solar project.