California community groups sign PPAs for Canadian Solar’s 150MW / 180MWh PV-plus-storage project

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Already-completed Recurrent Energy solar projects in the US. Image: Recurrent Energy.

Two community energy groups in California have partnered to buy the energy output of a 150MW solar farm with 180MWh of battery energy storage from Recurrent Energy, the US-based utility-scale solar project developer subsidiary of Canadian Solar.

Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SCVE) and Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) launched a joint procurement process in September 2017 to find renewable energy at cost-effective prices for the communities they serve. SCVE buys and builds carbon-free energy supplies for 13 communities in the service area of investor-owned utility (IOU) Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), with the IOU remaining responsible for distribution lines and power delivery. Monterey Bay Community Power meanwhile is a so-called ‘Community Choice Energy’ company which started serving carbon-free electricity to customers this year in three communities.

SCVE and MBCP have jointly agreed on and signed two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) for energy produced by Slate, Recurrent Energy’s project being built in Kings County, California. SCVE will offtake 55% of the farm’s combined output, MBCP the remaining 45%. Slate is scheduled to reach commercial operation during 2021. The lithium-ion battery’s output and capacity will be 45MW / 150MWh – enabling up to four hours of dispatchable solar generation.

“With the integrated storage component, both CCAs will have the flexibility to fill the battery when wholesale energy prices are low and then discharge the energy when prices are higher to meet their unique load requirements in a cost-competitive manner,” Canadian Solar’s chairman and CEO Dr Shawn Qu.

“Recurrent Energy was the first developer to close financing for a utility-scale solar project with CCA off-takers and we will leverage this expertise to ensure the project is successful.”

The announcement of the PPAs’ signing yesterday corroborates widely-heard comments at SPI this year that the US solar industry is on its way to making solar-plus-storage the mainstream option for developers of large-scale PV. Nowhere is this being seen in greater evidence than in California, which has a 100% renewable electricity goal by 2045 for its retail markets.

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