Invenergy Announces 1.3 GW Series of Solar Projects in Texas

Invenergy has begun construction on a five-phase, 1,310-megawatt
solar center spanning three Texas counties, the energy developer
and operator said on Wednesday.

The company has already secured offtake agreements with several
cities and large corporations for its Samson Solar Energy Center,
with phases coming online in 2022 and 2023. Though the solar will
be divided over numerous neighboring sites, its total capacity is
significantly greater than the 690-megawatt Gemini project, which
currently holds the title for largest solar project planned in the
U.S. �

In recent years Texas has
become an epicenter
for utility-scale solar development. While
solar accounts for only about 2 percent of generating capacity in
the territory of system operator ERCOT, it outranks all others in
its interconnection queue. In an April report, ERCOT forecast that
its installed solar capacity of about 2.3 gigawatts could double
this year.

While much solar development in the state has concentrated in
West Texas, Invenergy will construct its first Texas solar project
in the Northeast, near the Oklahoma border. It’s expected to
yield more than $250 million for private landowners and create
about 600 jobs during construction.  

Credit: Invenergy

The greatest portion of Samson’s power output will go to
telecommunications giant AT&T, which has signed a power
purchase agreement for 500 megawatts of capacity — a record
C&I purchase for the United States. Honda is the next largest
offtaker with 200 megawatts. McDonald’s will offtake 160
megawatts, the city of Bryan, Texas snapped up 150 megawatts and
Google contracted for 100 megawatts. The Home Depot and the cities
of Denton and Garland also each contracted for less than 100
megawatts of the project’s total. Invenergy declined to provide
details on the contract prices.

Chicago-based Invenergy is among the leading renewables
developers in the U.S., with over 3.5 gigawatts of solar and wind
contracted in U.S. and Mexico. Long a
heavyweight in wind
, Invenergy’s interest in solar is more
recent, though it ranks in the top ten solar developers in the
U.S., according to Wood Mackenzie. Just earlier this year it began
operating what was then its largest solar project, a 160-megawatt
array in Georgia. This Texas project is “at a new scale,†said
Ted Romaine, the company’s senior vice president of origination,
in a statement.

The project will also provide a significant boost to annual
counts of corporate and industrial renewables procurement, which
has become a significant force in driving solar demand. WoodMac
tracked 6.7 gigawatts of offsite C&I solar last year. With the
pandemic rattling the solar industry, analysts were unsure if
buyers would keep up their streak of record-breaking purchases.

“There was fear that uncertain market conditions would cause
C&I customers to slow down procurement,†said Colin Smith, a
senior solar analyst at WoodMac. “This shows that they have
remained relatively strong.â€

Still, Smith acknowledged that corporate solar procurement is
not on pace with 2019 levels. Currently, the consultancy expects
2020 to come in at just 6.3 gigawatts of procurements, with
expectations that a third of those deals — just like
Invenergy’s announcement — will crop up in the notoriously
buzzy last quarter of the year.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Invenergy Announces 1.3 GW Series of Solar Projects in