Asset manager Capital Dynamics has purchased the Eland 400MW solar-plus-storage complex under development by 8minute Solar Energy, contracted to supply power to the city of Los Angeles at ultra-low prices.

8minute remains the developer and an equity partner in the Eland Solar & Storage project, located 70 miles north of Los Angeles, and will oversee engineering, design, procurement and construction. The firm has yet to select an EPC contractor, PV Tech understands. 

Capital Dynamics, meanwhile, will be the facility’s long-term majority equity investor.

The project, which boasts a 300MW/1,200MWh energy storage facility, is set to reach full commercial operations in 2023. Its backers claim it is the second-largest solar project in the US.

The Eland project is contracted to supply power to utility Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) at record-breaking fixed tariffs for solar (US$0.01997/kWh) and energy storage (US$0.013/kWh) for a period of 25 years.

“Eland is a breakthrough project, setting records for low-cost solar, and incorporates a large battery energy storage centre that demonstrates solar’s ability to power California’s vibrant and growing economy 24/7,” 8minute CEO and president Tom Buttgenbach said in a statement this week. 

8minute retains the right to repurchase a portion of the project upon its completion.

The move adds to a growing portfolio shared by the Swiss asset manager and Californian solar developer. Earlier this month, the pair announced the purchase of a 300MWac/873MWdc project in Nevada, due to be commissioned in late 2021.

Storage-backed renewables are central to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to replace gas plants with renewable energy, in order to reach its 100%-by-2045 clean energy target.

The Eland project – and the wider aims and goals of LADWP and other entities were the focus of recent analysis contributed to this site by Janice Lin and Jack Chang of Strategen Consulting, as featured in our Energy Storage Special Report 2019, which you can read here. There’s also more on the low price PPA procurements by Los Angeles municipal utilities in this Energy-Storage.news article from September 2019. 

Download the full Energy Storage Special Report 2019 as a PDF, from our ‘Resources’ page (subscription details required). 

Sacramento municipal utility joins solar-plus-storage wave of action

California’s state planning authorities have waved through a plan by a Sacramento utility to roll out gigawatts’ worth of green energy over the next two decades, including utility-scale storage.

Earlier this week, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) said the California Energy Commission has given the all-clear to its plans to install nearly 4GW of renewables and demand-side resources by 2040.

The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proposed by the firm – a not-for-profit entity servicing an area home to 1.5 million – would see major volumes of utility-scale solar (1.5GW), rooftop solar (600MW), wind power (670MW) and utility-scale storage (560MW) installed within two decades.

The Sacramento utility is working towards a goal to supply net-zero-emission electricity to its customers by 2040. Delivering the IRP would cost US$6.5 to US$7.3 billion but slash SMUD’s 2020-2040 greenhouse gas emissions by 57%, the firm estimates.

The IRP documents approved this week were adopted by SMUD’s Board of Directors in October 2018, and spell out how the utility will go about meeting its solar installation targets. The firm plans to build 300MW of the 1.5GW of utility-scale solar within three years.

SMUD is targeting sites around Sacramento for the PV build-out – it estimates 80,000 acres may be available county-wide for such a purpose – but also considering other locations in California, despite misgivings around missed green and economic benefits for Sacramento.

The IRP also sheds light on the approach the utility intends to follow with energy storage. The firm currently sees the segment as “not generally cost effective” but expects costs to come down. The plan, SMUD says, is to first focus on R&D and then ramp up deployment by 2030, when storage might take off.

In addition, SMUD believes “niche” storage applications – including co-location with solar – could see the technology embraced by “early-adopter” customers. By 2040, the utility wants to drive over 200MW in battery systems installed by its customers.

This section by Jose Rojo Martin. 

These stories appeared in their original form earlier this week on our sister site, PV Tech.

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