RES to build 156-MW solar project in Colorado for SunEdison

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) on Aug. 20 announced that it has been selected by the world’s largest renewable energy developer, SunEdison, to construct the 156-MW (dc) Comanche Solar project, to be located seven miles southeast of Pueblo, Colo.

RES will install the plant’s balance of systems. Developed by SunEdison, the facility will generate more than 300 gigawatt-hours of energy a year for Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSCo), a subsidiary of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL). The project will utilize photovoltaic technology equipped with single axis trackers. The project is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2016.

PSCo, which services more than 1.4 million customers, will purchase electricity generated by the solar plant under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunEdison. The PPA was awarded through an open solicitation in which Comanche Solar was selected over other sources of energy, including natural gas.

Comanche Solar will be the second renewable energy project constructed by RES in Colorado, where the company is headquartered. In 2011, RES built the 250-MW Cedar Point wind facility located in Limon, 80 miles outside of Denver.

“RES is pleased to continue our working relationship with SunEdison as one of their Solar Alliance group of companies. Colorado has consistently demonstrated leadership in renewable energy and Comanche Solar advances that legacy. Together we are creating jobs, reducing emissions and delivering economic benefits to local communities,” said Andrew Fowler, Chief Operating officer of RES.

“SunEdison and RES are teaming up to build the largest solar facility in Colorado and the biggest east of the Rockies. This project will deliver clean energy to Colorado homes and businesses at a competitive price, and is an excellent proof point demonstrating that we can support the Administration’s Clean Power Plan with cost-competitive, solar technology,” said Paul Gaynor, Executive Vice President of SunEdison’s EMEA & Americas business unit.

SunEdison nails down project financing

SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) on Aug. 20 separately announced that it has closed financing and begun construction on one of its largest solar power plants to date, the 156-MW (dc)/120 MW (ac) Comanche Solar project. When completed, the project will be the largest solar power plant east of the Rocky Mountains.

“The Comanche Solar project demonstrates SunEdison’s ability to deliver renewable energy at a price competitive with conventional resources,” said Paul Gaynor, SunEdison executive vice president for EMEA and the Americas. “In addition, the Comanche Solar project will be financed through SunEdison’s $1.5 billion non-recourse, First Reserve Warehouse. This facility is designed to expand as projects move into construction without incremental equity contributions by SunEdison.”

“SunEdison, through the Comanche Solar project, is helping move us in the right direction. It demonstrates that large-scale solar power can play an increasingly larger role in our customers’ energy future at a competitive price point,” said David Eves, president of Public Service Co. of Colorado. “Our participation in this project demonstrates that Xcel Energy is committed to providing customers the clean energy they want, at an affordable price.”

SunEdison acquired Comanche Solar in 2014 from the original developer, Community Energy, based in Boulder, Colo. Wells Fargo is providing tax equity for the project.

Operation and maintenance of the solar power plant will be performed by SunEdison Services, which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services.

SunEdison is the world’s largest renewable energy development company and is transforming the way energy is generated, distributed, and owned around the globe. Corporate headquarters are in the United States with additional offices and technology manufacturing around the world.

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.5 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies.

First Reserve is the largest global private equity and infrastructure investment firm exclusively focused on energy.

Since 1997, RES has been providing development, engineering, construction, and operations services to the utility-scale wind, solar, transmission, and energy storage markets across the Americas. RES has developed and/or built over 10 GW of renewable energy capacity worldwide, has an asset management portfolio exceeding 1 GW, and is active in a range of renewable technologies including onshore wind, solar, energy storage, transmission, and demand side management.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.