ConEdison Development, a subsidiary of mammoth US utility company ConEdison developing and operating solar and wind power projects, has acquired a 50% stake in a 335MW DC solar farm in California.
ConEdison Development has bought the stake in Panoche Valley Solar Farm in San Benito County, California, from Renewable Energy Trust Capital Inc, (RET Capital) a specialist low-cost financier of renewable energy projects. Financial details have not been disclosed.
RET Capital was the sole owner, having invested in the plant early on, and ConEdison will now provide construction management as well as operations and maintenance, with the two partners now owning an equal share of the project’s ownership.
Construction on the 335 MW DC (240 MW AC) power plant is expected to commence by the end of this year. It will require 1.1 million PV panels and is around 140 miles southeast of San Francisco.
“America is steadily increasing its reliance on solar and wind energy, and our company is proud to be playing an increasingly significant role in boosting our country’s clean energy capabilities,” Mark Noyes, COO and senior VP of ConEdison said.
Reporting from the Solar Power International industry convention in Anaheim this week, PV Tech’s Ben Willis wrote that one of the recurring themes of the show was the growing involvement of utilities in solar.
According to sources at the event, the US public is choosing to adopt solar in such great numbers and demonstrating an appetite for solar that utilities are increasingly having little choice but to embrace the clean energy technology. In addition to ConEdison and others, Florida Power & Light, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, this week laid out its aim to develop 225MW of PV in Florida by the end of 2016.
Acceptance by utilities is a “tremendous sea change” from the previous situation where there seemed to be more hostility towards PV from electricity companies, Tony Clifford, chief exec of Standard Solar said, while pointing out that challenges remain.