Construction on 7 MW Ohio energy storage facility slated for mid-October

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The solar+storage system is expected to be the biggest of its kind in the U.S. when complete. American Renewable Energy and Power LLC (AREP) is developing both systems, while Half Moon Ventures (HMV) is the owner.

A spokesperson for AREP tells pv magazine construction on the 4.31 MW solar PV project, located in Minster, is already underway, with work scheduled for completion this December. Design Energy of Columbus providing construction management services.

S&C Electric Company contracted by HMV this September, meanwhile, to provide EPC services to the energy storage component of the project, which will comprise S&C’s PureWave Storage Management System. Work on this element should begin in mid-October and be completed by next February.

While battery costs are said to comprise around 50% of the overall storage project costs, according to S&C, no details were available on the total investment amount (for either the solar or storage systems). "While we cannot disclose the value of the contract, we expect the [storage] system to pay for itself within 3-4 years, depending on PJM market constructs," a spokesperson for the company said.

Storage not planned

Originally, AREP presented the solar project to Minster city council in March 2014 and a PPA was approved two months later, in June. However, legislation passed last July – SB 310 – saw changes to SRECs, including a freezing of scheduled increases for two years; and the termination of a requirement that 50% of the SRECs purchased to meet the terms of the state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) be produced in Ohio.

"SB 310 had the calculated effect of taking the value out of Ohio in-state SRECs, removing investor confidence in the Ohio SREC market as a whole, and devaluing any projects in development and planning due to the RPS cancelation threat," explained the AREP spokesperson.

They continued, "Prior to SB 310, solar investors could, with confidence, factor the SREC production into their financial modeling. By the most conservative of pricing models, without [SB] 310, SRECs would have added nearly 1.5 million dollars in value to the 4.3 Mw Minster solar project in the first 10 years of operation."

After evaluating the benefits of energy storage, AREP decided to expand the original solar project to include a storage facility. It received conditional approval from the Minster council in December 2014. After that, HMV was brought on board to provide financing for both projects; it is now the owner.

Between January and March 2015, AREP worked with Minster officials, attorneys and consultants to amend the original solar PPA, so that a 7Mw/3.5 Mwh energy storage facility could be included. "Minster and AREP signed the Energy Storage Amendment and Lease in March 2015," said the spokesperson. They added that community solar investment options will also be made available.