A round-up of recent developments in the US, where EDF Renewables strikes 22-year PPA in Nevada and First Solar announces senior leadership changes.
EDF Renewables secures PPA for Nevada solar-plus-storage project
29 July 2020: Independent power producer EDF Renewables North America has signed a 22-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy for a 200MWac solar project coupled with a 180MW, four-hour battery storage system.
Located around 35 miles northeast Las Vegas, Nevada, the Chuckwalla Solar+Storage project is expected to come online by the end of 2023.
“The battery and solar system work together to provide more energy during the summer evening peak hours when system needs are the greatest,” said Ian Black, vice president, west region development at EDF Renewables North America. “NV Energy can utilise the battery at their discretion in all months of the year, allowing mitigation of demand spikes.”
Plans for the Chuckwalla plant and two other Nevada solar farms were announced by NV Energy last week. The three solar-plus-storage projects, which form part of the utility’s Integrated Resource Plan filing, total 478MW of new solar photovoltaic generation and 338MW of battery storage.
The Chuckwalla collaboration builds on the 2019 agreement between EDF Renewables and NV Energy to develop the Arrow Canyon Solar+Storage project, also located in Nevada.
EDF Renewables’ North American portfolio consists of 16GW of developed projects and 10GW under service contracts.
Philip Tymen deJong steps down as First Solar COO
29 July 2020: First Solar has announced that chief operating officer Philip Tymen deJong will retire from the company, effective April 2021.
deJong’s career spans over four decades, with ten years at First Solar, five of which having been spent as COO. He played a key role in establishing the company’s international Series 6 module manufacturing footprint, with five factories currently in production and a sixth on track to commence production during Q1 2021.
During the next eight months, deJong will transition the majority of his responsibilities to Michael Koralewski, chief manufacturing operations officer; Kuntal Kumar Verma, chief manufacturing engineering officer; and Patrick Buehler, chief quality and reliability officer, each of whom will join First Solar’s executive leadership team.
“With Series 6 deployed, and a strong team in place to carry it forward, I am confident that the timing is right for me to retire with the business in good hands,” said deJong.
First Solar also announced that Markus Gloeckler has been appointed co-chief technology officer alongside Raffi Garabedian, the company’s CTO since 2012, as part of its new co-CTO structure.
Duke begins construction of nearly 100MW of solar capacity in North Carolina
27 July 2020: US utility Duke Energy has started work on two North Carolina solar projects: the 69MW Maiden Creek facility in Catawba County and the 25MW Gaston solar park in Gaston County.
The developments will feature around 400,000 panels and are expected to come online by the end of the year.
“Building more solar supports Duke Energy’s strategy of lowering carbon emissions as we strive to meet our 2050 net-zero carbon goal,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We participated in a rigorous bidding process, competing with other companies to bring more renewable energy to the state.”
Duke Energy also announced plans this week to build a new solar power plant on a retired landfill in Buncombe County, North Carolina. The 5MW facility in the town of Woodfin is due for completion in the second half of 2021.
The landfill stopped operating in 1996. To avoid disturbing the ground covering, the solar racking system will be built on concrete blocks instead of being anchored into the ground.
Duke said the project is an “innovative example” of how to creatively repurpose land to advance community goals.