US ROUND-UP: Agilitas secures 8.9MW solar-plus-storage in MA, Duke Energy Renewables buys fifth Texas solar project

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Agilitas is constructing two community solar projects in Massachusetts Image: Agilitas

Duke Energy Renewables acquires fifth solar project in Texas

7 January 2021: Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of developer Canadian Solar has sold a 144MWac solar project in Texas to Duke Energy Renewables.

The Pflugerville Solar project is currently under construction in Travis County, Texas, and is due to begin commercial operation later this year. Power from the plant will be sold to local utility Austin Energy through a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) on completion.

Austin Energy general manager Jackie Sargent said the project will bring the utility closer to meeting its “affordability and climate protection goals”, which include sourcing 65% of its energy requirements from renewable sources.

It is Duke’s fifth solar acquisition in the state, having started operations at three others last year including the 100MW Lapetus Solar project in Andrews County, and the 280MW Holstein farm acquired from solar-plus-storage developer 8minute energy in 2019, and the Rambler Solar project, which Duke Energy bought from Recurrent Energy in 2019. Duke Energy has said it will ramp up investment in clean energy over the next decade, with an aim of bringing its renewables portfolio to 16GW by 2025.

“We're excited to add this terrific project to our growing Texas solar portfolio…and support our longstanding relationship with Austin Energy,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables.


Military housing provider adds rooftop solar project in Illinois

6 January 2021: Forces housing group Hunt Military Communities (HMC) is developing a 2.8MW rooftop PV system at the Scot Air Force base in Belleville, Illinois.

The system, which is due to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2021, will produce an estimated 3.5 GWh annually and ensure between 15% and 20% of the local community’s energy supply is drawn from renewable sources.

The systems will be built by affiliates of Connecticut-based asset manager True Green Capital Management. It comes more than two years after Illinois State Representative Will Davis announced new legislation that would bring the state to a 100% clean energy mix.

Col J Scot Heathman, Scott Air Force Base installation commander, said the project represents “the next step in a broad-based effort to improve the sustainability of military housing nationwide.”


Agilitas Energy acquires 8.9MW community solar-plus-storage project in Rochester, MA

5 January 2021: Developer Agilitas Energy has acquired a 8.9MW community solar-plus-storage project in Rochester, Massachusetts, which is to come online in early 2022.

The project has been enrolled in the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) programme, which launched in 2019, and as such will power a number of local businesses including grocery chain Roche Brothers. Roche’s chief financial officer Mark Sullivan said the long-term energy agreement with Agilitas will help the grocer “realise guaranteed savings on our electric bills.”

Agilitas is also developing a second SMART project in the Town of Auburn. Both projects will comprise of 35MW of solar and 12MW of energy storage capacity in total.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts put forward a new bill last week that would require the state to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The legislation included a requirement for the state to run on 40% renewables within a decade, and incentives for entities in the SMART programme to serve lower income areas.

“This acquisition is the second in a series of substantial Massachusetts SMART program projects we are constructing over the next two years,” said Barrett Bilotta, president of Agilitas Energy. “We look forward to working with the Town of Rochester and other townships to build out our new Massachusetts SMART programme portfolio.”

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