There has been some talk of a slowdown in California’s large-scale solar market, following over-procurement by the state’s large investor-owned utilities to meet their targets under the state’s renewable energy mandate. However, large solar plants are still being developed, deals are getting signed and plants are being put online.
This week came news that one of the largest clusters of solar projects in the state had been finished, with Capital Dynamics announcing the completion of the 121 MWdc Springbok 3 solar project. This is the third plant in a 448 MWdc cluster of projects in Kern County, at the southern end of California’s Central Valley.
Like the other two in the series, Springbok 3 is contracted to sell power to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and municipal utilities in Southern California through the Southern California Public Power Authority. The plant’s contract lasts for 27 years and runs at 5.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Exact project details were not available by press time, but previous projects in the group have utilized single-axis trackers by Array Technologies.
On a roll
Capital Dynamics bought a controlling stake in Springbok 3 from developer 8minute Solar last year, as part of sustained series of solar projects acquisitions that have been going on for at least a year and a half. The Swiss asset manager first came to pv magazine’s attention when it acquired yieldco 8point3 from First Solar and Sunpower, and as recently as August the company bought the 180 MW Townsite solar project, part of 1 GW of projects that Tenaska and Switch are developing in Nevada.
According to the Capital Dynamics website, the company’s electricity generation portfolio currently covers more than 100 projects, totaling 4.7 GW, including at least 1.6 GW of operational large-scale solar. And the company is branching out; in July, Capital Dynamics announced a new joint venture with Sol Systems to develop up to 100 MW of commercial and industrial solar annually.
These investments are not just limited to the West Coast. Last November, Capital Dynamics announced a deal with Tenaska to develop solar projects in six midwestern U.S. states, with a portfolio that is larger than the entire installed solar capacity of those states.
These investments suggest that the asset manager is betting on the boom that is currently underway in the U.S. solar market – a boom that shows no sign of slowing any time soon.