Greenbacker Breaks Ground on Utah’s Graphite Solar I


Greenbacker Renewable Energy Co., an owner and operator of sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency projects, says Utah-based developer rPlus Energies recently broke ground on Graphite Solar I, a 104 MW DC/80 MW AC utility-scale solar project owned by Greenbacker in Carbon County, Utah. 

The project will be one of the largest solar plants in Greenbacker’s nationwide portfolio of renewable energy projects and will contribute renewable power to Facebook’s new data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Greenbacker says the Graphite Solar project demonstrates its continued growth as an investor in, and driver of, significant renewable energy infrastructure projects supplying power to municipalities, major companies including Apple and Facebook, and many other entities across the country. The groundbreaking follows Greenbacker’s announcement in March that it has completed construction of the Turquoise Solar Project, a 61 MW solar farm in Washoe County, Nev., that supplies renewable energy to Apple’s data center in the Reno Technology Park.

The Graphite Solar project has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) in place with PacifiCorp on behalf of Facebook. The contract was developed under Rocky Mountain Power’s Schedule 34 green energy tariff, which allows large customers to purchase renewable energy generated on their behalf.

Greenbacker purchased the pre-operational solar project from rPlus Energies in December 2020 and contracted rPlus to continue to develop the project through construction. rPlus Energies has engaged Utah’s Sundt Renewables and Sundt Construction to provide engineering, procurement and construction support for the project, which will include the installation of more than a quarter-million solar panels.

“Large projects like Graphite will increasingly be necessary to meet the electricity needs of the technology economy and provide carbon neutral alternatives to traditional power sources,” says Charles Wheeler, CEO of Greenbacker. “We’re thrilled to play a role in the ongoing positive impact that this sustainable infrastructure project will have on boosting local employment, supporting regional economies and creating more reliable power grids.”

Graphite is being built in Wellington, Utah, a town with several coal mines, a recently retired coal plant and a long history of generating power for the area. With the construction of this solar facility, the community says it further diversifies its contributions to the local energy infrastructure and catalyzes the region’s economic development.

Photo: The rPlus Energies team was joined for the groundbreaking by Greenbacker and by Sundt Construction, which will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) lead for the project.

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