The around USD$7 million project is scheduled to be completed next month. Comprised of 8,600 modules, it will be spread across nine acres of land. Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) will reportedly purchase the generated electricity for 20 years at a fixed rate of 0.26 per kilowatt (kW) hours under the terms of their feed in tariff program (FIT).
According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, Gainesville accounts for 39 percent of all PV installations in Florida. Of these, Sybac says its solar farm, when completed, will be the largest to be built under GRUs program.
In terms of financing, Sybac Solar, a subsidiary of Sybac Germany, says it has introduced a German investment model to the U.S. market, having purchased the land and allocation rights from Entrust Holdings, and funded the project itself.
The reason cited is that many investors have already reserved the allocation rights to participate in GRUs FIT program, which has a cap of four MW a year. As a result, investment deals are reportedly taking longer to finance, which has made it difficult for many to move on to the construction stage.
Artur Madej, Sybacs president explains that the Lakeland office follows the same business model as its German parent in that it provides full EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) services, including installation and maintenance for individual investors, in addition to building its own portfolio of solar farms for resale to investors.
"A FIT provides a solid bankable security that provides confidence for investors with a guaranteed return for 20+ years," said Madej, adding, "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 500 kW system in Gainesville, which will be built in the next four months and we are working on two 10 MW development deals in Ontario, Canada, which has a province wide feed in tariff program."