The Gainesville City Commission has voted to authorize Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) to expand the size of Sand Bluff Solar, which is being developed by Origis Energy.
The original power purchase agreement for Sand Bluff Solar was announced in July 2020 as a 50 MW solar project coupled with 12 MW of energy storage. The commissioners’ vote allows for the expansion of the project size to 74.9 MW and includes additional storage capabilities and a price amendment to reflect market-driven cost factors.
“We are already a state leader in renewable energy, and this solidifies our commitment to maintaining that status in a cost-effective manner,” says GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham.
Gainesville adopted a Net Zero 2045 resolution aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in a way that balances economics, customer impacts and climate. Sand Bluff Solar will be constructed about 15 miles west of downtown Gainesville in Alachua County, Fla. The new location for the project honors all the requirements of an agreement reached and announced last year with the local community southeast of Archer.
“Origis is honored to have worked with the Archer Historic African-American Community to reach an agreement in June 2022 on new parameters for the proposed project location,” says Origis Energy Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer Johan Vanhee.
“Today’s vote ensures the project delivers in two important ways for residents in Gainesville and Alachua County. The Sand Bluff Solar Project will help the city fulfill its net zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions goals by delivering clean energy to the grid, while at the same time, Sand Bluff Solar will deliver millions in property tax contributions and construction related economic benefits,” he adds.
In addition to the increased solar generation, the revised agreement will also add more grid services to the scope of the battery storage. Originally engineered to provide ramp control only, the vote builds on the ramp control by adding energy shifting capabilities to serve the GRU grid with clean energy outside sunshine hours.