Canadian Solar breaks ground on 144MW solar plant in Texas

WCN Editorial Team 19 Aug 2020 NORTH AMERICA ENERGY & UTILITIES

Canadian Solar’s subsidiary Recurrent Energy has broken ground on the 144MW Pflugerville solar plant located in Travis County in the US state of Texas.

Expected to be operational by the end of 2022, the Pflugerville solar plant will create more than 350 jobs during its construction phase while bringing up to $350m to the local economy through tax revenues during the lifetime of the project.

Once operational, the solar plant could generate energy to nearly 25,000 Texas homes.

The solar plant is supported by a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) under which entire power generated from the project will be supplied to Austin Energy, a Texas-based utility serving over 500,000 customers.

The PPA, which was signed in 2018, will support the utility in achieving its renewable energy goals of reducing carbon emissions, while also shifting completely from coal-fired power generation by the end of 2022.

Austin Energy general manager Jackie Sargent said: “We are thrilled about this partnership with Recurrent Energy on the Pflugerville Solar Project. The project not only expands our renewable portfolio and advances our climate protection goals, but it is also located near our customer base.

“The solar project will also deliver affordable energy to our customers and it demonstrates Austin Energy's continued dedication to fiscal responsibility and environmental leadership. This project is a win-win.”

By supporting the solar plant with a long-term PPA, Recurrent Energy is expanding its footprint in Texas.

The Pflugerville solar plant’s construction is supported by the recently closed financing of $234m, which includes both tax equity and debt financing.

While the tax equity financing has been offered by US Bank, the debt financing has been provided with a bank consortium which includes CIT Bank which included Norddeutsche Landes bank, Rabobank, and Zions Bank.

Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Shawn Qu said: “This is an incredible accomplishment given the ongoing financing and construction challenges due to the pandemic.

“It demonstrates the dedication and capabilities of our Recurrent team, both in the tax equity financing and on-the-ground execution, and the resilience of all our partners to overcome the unique challenges together.

“We are pleased to partner again with Austin Energy as we share their commitment to providing low-cost clean energy to customers. We appreciate our trusted partners, such as U.S. Bank, CIT, Nord/LB, Rabobank, and Zions Bank, who helped to bring this project to fruition and thank the local Travis County community for their continued support through the development process.”

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Canadian Solar to build new solar plant in the US. (Credit: Pixabay/Samuel Faber)

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