Building work on the largest privately-held PV system in Florida is close to completion as Sybac Solar adds the final touches to its 2MW array in Gainesville. The 8600 modules which make up the system are located on nine acres of land adjacent to U.S. Route 441 and will cost US$7 million to install. Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase the electricity generated at a fixed rate of US$0.26 per kWh under the terms of the state’s feed in tariff (FiT) programme.
Despite being the location for 39% of Florida’s solar developments, projects in Gainesville have struggled to find financial backing and many have subsequently been left floundering at the planning stage. And it was one such project that was taken on by Sybac, which bought the land and allocation rights from Entrust Holdings before implementing the German investment model by funding the plant themselves.
“A feed-in tariff provides a solid bankable security that provides confidence for investors with a guaranteed return for 20-plus years,” said Sybac’s president, Artur Madej. “There are many in the investment community looking for turn-key solar farms with FiT contracts who are not interested in the project development phase. We just purchased the allocation rights for an additional 500kW system in Gainesville which will be built in the next four months and we are working on two 10MW development deals in Ontario, Canada which has a province-wide feed-in tariff programme.”
Sybac subcontracted construction work on the Gainesville site to 14 local firms and created 33 full-time jobs in the process. And this approach is advocated by project manager, Markus Falz, “We are giving back to the environment with every solar module that we install. We choose to work with a local workforce whenever possible to help the community grow.”
“The Gainesville Chamber of Commerce was a tremendous help. They put us in touch with the best local companies that included a fencing company, land clearing, surveyors, engineers and attorneys,” added Rick Falz, Sybac’s director of technology.