Holstein Solar Project Achieves Commercial Operation in Texas

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8minute Solar Energy, a company that specializes in solar+storage solutions, and Duke Energy Renewables say the 280 MW Holstein solar project in Nolan County, Texas, has begun commercial operation. 

Holstein is 8minute’s first solar project to come online in Texas, marking a significant milestone as the company expands its operational footprint outside of California. 

“We are bringing our utility-scale project development expertise to forge a new energy model in Texas,” says Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, president and CEO of 8minute. 

“In a state with no solar mandate, and where competition is purely on price, our success with Holstein and our other Texas projects are proof that solar will power the future,” he adds.

The 280 MW DC Holstein solar project contains over 709,000 solar panels across approximately 1,300 acres in Wingate, Texas. The project employed up to 400 workers during peak construction. 

Texas is a valuable growth market for 8minute, with four other projects in late stages of development. 8minute’s Texas projects represent nearly 1 GW of energy and are expected to generate about a billion dollars of capital investment, as well as $60 million in land payments, more than $120 million in local tax revenues, over 1,000 construction jobs and another 2,000 indirect jobs.

Duke Energy Renewables, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, acquired the project from 8minute in July 2019. 8minute continued to oversee all development aspects through to commercial operation and brought the EPC, operation and maintenance (O&M), hedge, tax equity and debt counterparties to the Holstein project.  

SunTrust provided the tax equity investment. CIT Group led a consortium of banks that provided the construction loan, letter of credit and term loan facility for the project.

Much of the energy generated from the Holstein solar project will be sold through a 12-year term hedge agreement to J. Aron & Co. LLC., a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.

The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, balance of plant systems and construction of the project were performed by Blattner Energy. First Solar Energy Services will provide O&M services for the project under a 5-year agreement. 

Duke Energy currently owns, operates and contracts more than 8,000 MW of capacity and plans to double that by 2025.

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