On Wednesday, Canadian Solar—one of the world’s largest providers of solar technology and energy storage solutions—announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Recurrent Energy, has completed the sale of its Kings County, California Slate solar project to Goldman Sachs Renewable Power, a division of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Commercial operation on the project—one of the largest photovoltaic-plus-battery-storage projects in the U.S.—is expected to begin later this year.
Slate is a 300MWac solar plus 140.25 MW/561 MWh storage project currently under construction. System Solutions and Energy Storage (SSES), an energy-storage subsidiary that is majority-owned by Canadian Solar, will provide the storage component of the project. PNC Bank will provide a tax equity commitment to the project, which has already signed power purchase agreements (PPA’s) with five different off-takers, four for both solar and energy storage, and one solar energy only.
“The Slate project is Recurrent Energy’s largest solar-plus storage project, and represents continued investment in a community where we have done business for nearly a decade,” Canadian Solar Chairman and CEO Dr. Shawn Qu said upon announcing the deal. “Given the huge market opportunity presented by battery storage, both standalone as well as paired with solar, we have focused significant resources in developing our own technological, servicing and financing solutions over the past few years. We are now starting to see our efforts come to fruition and are solidly positioning Canadian Solar as a market leader in this space.”
Dr. Qu noted that Canadian Solar recently transacted with GSRP on the firm’s first large-scale storage integration and long-term service agreement for the 100MWac Mustang solar energy plant in California, combining solar PV with battery storage to address intermittency issues inherent to solar power by generating energy during the day that can be used at night.
…And Will Bring Jobs
According to Dr. Qu, U.S. solar-plus-storage installations like Slate are expected to have nearly tripled in 2020, and could more than double again in 2021. The Slate project alone will generate enough solar energy to power around 126,000 California homes, using 962,000 Canadian Solar BiKu solar modules spread across 2,400 acres at the Kings County site.
At peak construction, the project will provide 405 jobs—at least half of which are expected to be filled by local skilled tradesmen—and is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the Kings County area through tax revenues generated by increased local spending.
“We are very excited to partner with Canadian Solar once again on a landmark project that will provide a significant new source of clean, renewable energy to California and a battery storage system that will help facilitate California’s transition to a carbon free power grid,” said Jon Yoder, Head of the Renewable Power Group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
“This is a landmark solar-with-storage transaction and an exciting opportunity to support our respected clients Canadian Solar and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power,” said Michael Ziemke, managing director of Renewable Energy Finance Group for PNC Bank. “At PNC, we are proud to do our part to help successfully transition to a low-carbon economy by continuing to support our clients’ strategies for more sustainable operations and providing them with the sustainable financing programs they need.”
It’s only January
The Slate projects marks Canadian Solar’s third major deal announcement of 2021. Last week, Recurrent Energy completed the sale of the 144 Mac Pflugerville Solar project, currently under construction in Travis County, Texas, to Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy. The sale marked the fifth utility-scale project that Duke Energy Renewables has acquired from Recurrent Energy
Energy generated from the Pflugerville Solar project, which is expected to begin commercial operations in mid-2021, will be sold to Austin Energy under a 15-year power purchase agreement. Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 1 million residents in the Greater Austin area, and currently meets 63 percent of customer energy needs using carbon-free resources.
Also last week, Canadian Solar sold an ownership interest in its Hays and Jenner solar projects in southeast Alberta to Canadian independent renewable energy providers BluEarth Renewables. Both projects, each 31MWp in size, are co-owned by Conklin Métis Local 193, an indigenous community, and are part of the Athabasca Oil Sands region.
Currently, Canadian Solar has over 500 MWp of projects in operation, over 5 GWp of projects under construction or in backlog (late-stage), and an additional 11 GWp of projects in mid- to early-stage pipeline.