Google and Prudential Capital Group fund 104 MW Utah solar plant

The appetite for tax equity on the back of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) shows few signs of abating, with Google’s latest deal providing part of the finance for a $188 million solar power plant in Utah. Norway’s Scatec and Google will own the plant in partnership. The Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park will supply power to PacifiCorp Rocky Mountain Power under a 20-year PPA.

The plant is expected to be operational by the end of the year and will be Utah’s largest solar farm on completion. The project will be Scatec Solar’s largest North American project.

Google has agreed to finance over $1.5 billion of renewable energy projects across three continents, totally in excess of 2.5 GW of capacity across 18 projects.

"This investment from industry leaders Google and Prudential Capital Group represents a major step forward in providing Rocky Mountain Power access to the superb solar power potential available in Southern Utah," said Luigi Resta, Managing Director of Scatec Solar North America.

The Utah Red Hills project will be built on privately held land. Single-axis tracking technology will be utilized for the 325,000 modules being deployed. The PV power plant will utilize existing grid infrastructure.

The 30% ITC is set to be reduced on January 1, 2017. GTM Research believes that the change will result in the U.S. PV market installing 12 GW in 2016, as developers hustle to finish projects before the ITC changes.

"We expect 2017 to be the beginning of a big shift in the U.S. where the market will shift away from utility-scale solar and the residential market will be the biggest market segment," GTM Research’s solar analyst Corey Honeyman told pv magazine.

The January edition of pv magazine includes a feature article on the U.S. solar market after 2016.