Electrify America has entered into a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with developer Terra-Gen to build a solar photovoltaic renewable energy generation project in San Bernardino County, Calif., called Electrify America Solar Glow 1.
The new solar project is expected to generate 75 MW per hour at peak solar capacity or an estimated annual production of 225,000 MWh. It is projected to produce enough 100% renewable energy annually to more than offset the energy currently delivered on an annualized basis to Electrify America’s customers charging on its extensive network. The solar project is targeted to be operational by mid-2023.
Electrify America is purchasing and retiring all bundled environmental certificates associated with the new solar project over a 15-year period, shifting away from the business-as-usual approach of buying environmental certificates from a third-party supplier on an unbundled basis, which does less to support additional renewable energy generation.
“Electrify America’s business model – and purpose – have always been at the forefront of efforts to reduce emissions through enabling electric mobility,” says Giovanni Palazzo, president and CEO of Electrify America. “Our commitment to customers and to a sustainable future go hand-in-hand, which is why we are investing in renewable energy generation to commit to a net-zero carbon footprint associated with the energy delivered to our customers.”
Electrify America’s first solar project in the Southern California Mojave Desert may also be expanded at the option of Terra-Gen to include a co-located battery energy storage system to further increase the delivery of renewable energy to the grid during times when more costly – and often more polluting – peaking power plants may be used to meet customer needs. The potential use of a co-located battery energy storage system at the facility would add to Electrify America’s ongoing effort of deploying over 30 MW of co-located behind-the-meter energy storage systems at charging stations across the U.S.
The groundbreaking is expected in late 2022 with a target operation date of Summer 2023. Although the new solar facility will not be online until mid-2023, Electrify America’s charging network is already backed by 100% renewable energy effective April 2022 through the purchase of environmental certificates from existing renewable generation.
In addition, and to further bolster near-term sustainability impact, Electrify America has entered into an interim VPPA, effective October 2022, with Terra-Gen to support Terra-Gen’s existing Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) IX solar thermal plant until the adjacent new solar photovoltaic facility in San Bernardino County is fully operational.
Electrify America will receive the bundled environmental certificates and purchase renewable energy from SEGS IX, once part of the largest solar thermal energy generating facility in the world when completed in 1990 and also the world’s longest-operating solar thermal facility.
“Electrify America is proud to support SEGS, which was instrumental to fostering renewable energy generation in the 20th Century and parallels to Electrify America’s mission to advance electric vehicle adoption today,” states Jigar Shah, head of energy services at Electrify America. “In aggregate, these 100% renewable energy commitments address Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions for all energy delivered to our customers, and amount to an estimated 2 million metric tons in avoided CO2 emissions over 15 years – comparable to the carbon sequestered by planting nearly 40 million trees.”