US ROUND-UP: 250MW project completed in California, Black & Veatch secures Texas EPC contract

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A 100MWac solar plant in Texas. Image: RWE Renewables.

A round-up of the latest news from the US solar market, featuring the completion of a 250MW plant in California, an EPC deal for Black & Veatch in Texas and a new PPA from DESRI.

Initial phase of 2.7GW solar park completed in California

1 February 2022: Commercial operation has been reached at the first phase of a California solar park that could eventually reach more than 2.7GW of generation capacity.

Real estate investment firm CIM Group this week commemorated the completion of the 250MW Aquamarine plant, the first phase of the 20,000-acre Westlands Solar Park located in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquamarine is now delivering on power purchase agreements (PPAs) with off-takers including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Valley Clean Energy Alliance and the City of Santa Clara.

CIM Group said was negotiating additional PPAs with other potential counterparties for Aquamarine and future projects within Westlands Solar Park, some of which it expects to begin construction on this year.

“We anticipate that approximately US$3 billion will be invested in developing projects within Westlands Solar Park as we complete build-out,” said Avi Shemesh, CIM Group co-founder and principal.

Black & Veatch secures EPC contract for Texas plant

27 January 2022: Black & Veatch has been selected to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for a 270MW solar project in Texas.

Spanning two adjacent sites near Waco, the Project Parker installation is being developed by oil pipeline operator Buckeye Partners as part of efforts to expand its renewables portfolio.

Set to feature more than 500,000 solar panels, the plant is due to be completed in early 2023.

Also in Texas, Black & Veatch’s Diode Ventures subsidiary reached financial close on a 140MW solar plant last year.

DESRI signs PPA for Louisiana solar plant

1 February 2022: Solar developer and operator D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) has signed a PPA with utility Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) for a 72.5MWac PV project in Louisiana.

Expected to come online in late 2024, the Rocking R solar plant will be backed by a 20-year offtake deal with SWEPCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (AEP).

Representing DESRI’s first contract with SWEPCO, Rocking R is part of the developer’s contracted portfolio of 500MW of solar projects in Louisiana, where it recently broke ground on two plants with a combined capacity of 70MW.

PV Tech reported last month that New York-headquartered DESRI is planning to raise up to US$100 million in an initial public offering.

Mississippi Power issues request for proposals

1 February 2022: Mississippi Power has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for solar PV projects with a capacity of at least 20MWac.

The utility said it will consider proposals for 25-year term PPAs from bidders that are not affiliated with it or its parent company, Southern Company.

The resources must be located in Mississippi and be directly interconnected with Mississippi Power’s transmission system, with the utility to receive all the environmental attributes from the projects.

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