Longroad Energy has achieved financial close on a solar-plus-storage project in Arizona’s Maricopa County which will pair 285MWdc of solar PV with 215MW/860MWh of battery storage.
The US renewable energy developer said yesterday that on reaching financial close, construction of its Sun Streams 3 project has begun. Commissioning is scheduled for an unspecified date in 2024.
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Company CEO Paul Gaynor said Longroad now has 4GW of projects in operation or development in Arizona, and that the state is an “important growth market” in which the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is set to open up even more opportunity in the coming years.
US thin-film manufacturer First Solar will supply its Series 6+ line of modules to Longroad. The developer bought the project from First Solar’s development arm, together with other Arizona projects including the 200MWdc Sun Stream 2 standalone solar project which went online in 2021.
Meanwhile solar inverters will be provided by Sungrow and NEXTracker, currently in the process of floating an IPO, will supply solar tracking equipment.
Oregon-headquartered battery energy storage system (BESS) manufacturer and system integrator Powin Energy will provide the project’s BESS, as well as provide long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) services in partnership with Longroad’s affiliated energy services group Longroad Energy Services and specialist O&M provider NovaSource.
Powin sources battery cells from multiple vendors for its global energy storage projects including established players like CATL and, starting in 2024, startups like Europe’s FREYR Battery, integrating them into Powin’s modular BESS hardware.
For Sun Streams 3, cells will be supplied by Envision AESC and energy storage inverter and power conversion system (PCS) equipment from SMA. Powin and SMA Americas signed a recent 2GW component supply deal, announced last November.
Powin last year bought Spanish inverter and PCS manufacturer EKS Energy to help bring more technology in-house over the longer-term, especially for projects that require engineering for deployment in regions with weak grids, but the company has said it remains committed to working with third party providers as well.
Longroad Energy has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) in place for the power plant’s output with utility Arizona Public Service (APS). APS aims to provide all customers with “carbon-free electricity” by 2050, pursuing an interim goal of 65% clean energy by 2030, including 45% renewable energy in that mix through targets set in 2020.
Additionally, around 300 people will be employed during the construction phase, with the locally based renewable energy team of building services company McCarthy acting as EPC. Through a land leasing deal with local authorities, schools in the region will gain total long-term revenues of about US$65 million from the project, Longroad said.
The project’s financial terms were not disclosed, but debt financing was led by CIBC and KeyBank, with participants including ANZ, Commerzbank, PNC and Silicon Valley Bank, while tax equity investment is coming from US Bank.
Longroad has the backing of investors including sovereign wealth fund New Zealand Superannuation Fund. In August the developer secured a US$500 million equity investment to help fuel its planned shift towards developing assets to own, rather than for sale, as reported by our colleagues at PV Tech.
At the time that latter announcement was made, Longroad said it has a 4.5GWh multi-year BESS deal in place with Powin to 2025 as well as a 4GW PV module deal with First Solar to 2026.
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