Dominion Adds 42 MW of Solar to its Growing Portfolio

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Dominion (NYSE: D) has announced an agreement to acquire two solar energy projects totaling 42 MW from EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE). This is repeat business for Dominion, which already purchased the 20 MW CID solar project from EDF RE back in May. The acquisitions of the California projects are expected to close in 2015. Subject to customary conditions, the acquisitions are expected to close upon completion of installation. EDF RE will manage the commissioning and place the projects in service.

Cottonwood Solar consists of three sites, two of which are ground-mount facilities located on private land in the central California counties of Kern and Kings totaling 23 MWac of capacity. The third site is a 1 MWac carport structure to be built in Marin County. The project has secured a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA)

Catalina Solar 2, located on 270 acres in the Mojave Desert of Kern County, is designed as an 18 MWac horizontal axis tracker project and has secured a 20-year PPA.

Construction on both projects is anticipated to begin in Q4 2014, with commercial operation expected in Q2 of 2015.

“These planned acquisitions would increase our renewable energy generation and align with our portfolio of regulated and long-term contracted assets,” said David A. Christian, chief executive officer of Dominion Generation. “We are working to identify additional solar projects to boost Dominion’s renewable energy portfolio and support our long-term growth plan.”

“We are glad to extend our relationship with Dominion having first worked together on the sale of CID Solar in May 2014. With this sale agreement in place, we have sold a total of 84 MWp of EDF RE developed solar projects to Dominion,” said Raphael Declercq, EDF Renewable Energy’s Director of Divestiture and Portfolio Management.

With the anticipated addition of Cottonwood and Catalina Solar 2, Dominion’s total contracted solar generating portfolio would consist of 274 MW. The company has developed or is developing utility-scale solar energy facilities in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, and Tennessee. Additionally, in Virginia, Dominion’s electric utility is implementing the Solar Partnership Program, which will construct and operate up to 30 MW of company-owned solar facilities on leased rooftops or on the grounds of commercial businesses and public properties throughout the Virginia service area.

Some might say this is yet another attempt on the part of large utilities to maintain control of solar as it spreads at exponential rates throughout the U.S. It’s certainly the case that we’re seeing a number of utilities getting deeper into the solar game these days.