Duke Energy Renewables is expanding its solar energy portfolio by acquiring the 200 MW Holstein project in west-central Texas from 8minute Solar Energy.
Once complete, the facility, located in Nolan County, will be the largest solar project in Duke Energy Renewables’ fleet. It will also represent the company’s third solar generation facility in Texas.
“We’re pleased to add another Texas project to our growing renewables portfolio,” comments Rob Caldwell, president of Duke Energy Renewables. “The state has some of the best solar resources in the nation, making it a cost-efficient way to meet the energy needs of Texans. Besides clean energy, the project will also bring significant economic benefits to the state.
“There is no question in our mind that solar PV will be the dominant form of energy in Texas in the near future,” adds Tom Buttgenbach, president and CEO of 8minute Solar Energy. “We’re proud to be working with Duke Energy and our other partners on this innovative project to deliver low-cost clean power to Texas’ residents and businesses.”
The project will contain over 709,000 solar panels across approximately 1,300 acres in the community of Wingate. Construction began this summer and is expected to be complete in summer 2020. The project is expected to power the equivalent of 40,000 homes and employ up to 400 workers during peak construction.
8minute Solar Energy led the project’s development and brought the EPC, operations and maintenance, hedge, tax equity, and debt counterparties to the project.
Much of the energy generated from the project will be sold through a 12-year hedge agreement to J. Aron & Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. This is the first Duke Energy Renewables solar project to use a hedge agreement.
SunTrust is providing a tax equity investment in the project. CIT Group and a consortium of banks are providing a construction loan, letter of credit and term loan facility.
The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, balance of plant systems and construction are being performed by Blattner Energy. First Solar will provide O&M services for five years, beginning when the project has reached substantial completion.
Duke Energy recently passed a 1 GW threshold of utility-scale owned and operated solar facilities nationwide.