Construction starts on 191 MW-DC PV plant in California's Central Valley


The market for large-scale solar plants in the United States is currently enjoying a boom, as developers rush to get projects online before the drop-down of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to 10% at the end of 2016.

GTM Research reported that at the end of the third quarter, 18.7 GW of new utility-scale solar projects hold contracts to sell their power, and 5.7 GW of these are already under construction.

Another 191 MW-DC can be added to the latter number. Today 8minutenenergy and D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments announced that engineering, procurement and construction contractor Swinerton Renewable Energy has begun construction on their 191 MW-DC solar PV project 70 miles north of Los Angeles, California.

This follows completion of permitting and financial close on the Springbok 2 project. D.E. Shaw investmed most of the equity in the project, and arranged debt financing from eight banks led by Santander and tax equity financing from two others.

Springbok 2 already holds a power purchase agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority, on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

Springbok 2 will be located on roughly three square kilometers of abandoned farmland, which was taken out of service 20 more than 20 years ago. The developers expect this project to reach completion in the fourth quarter of 2016, just in time to claim the full 30% ITC.

In late October, 8minutenergy also celebrated the start of construction on the 137 MW-DC Springbok 1 Solar Farm, which it expects to put online in June 2016.

These projects will not be alone, as GTM Research expects that the United States will install 15 GW over the course of 2016, more than any nation has installed in one year to date.