Construction begins on Pflugerville Solar Project, edging Austin Energy closer to renewable energy goals
August 18, 2020
Construction began this week on the Pflugerville Solar Project, a utility-scale solar project with 144 megawatts of capacity, approved by the Austin City Council in 2018.
With the approval and support of Council, Austin Energy entered into the long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Canadian Solar Inc. ("Canadian Solar") (NASDAQ: CSIQ) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Recurrent Energy, LLC ("Recurrent Energy") to purchase the renewable energy generated from the plant. The Pflugerville Solar Project will provide low-cost solar power to Austin Energy’s customers for 15 years following the start of operation. The project brings Austin Energy’s solar capacity to nearly 966 megawatts.
The project is unique due to its close proximity to Austin, helping Austin Energy build up its local solar portfolio economically.
"Austin Energy is thankful for the support from City Council to bring these resources to our customers. We are thrilled about this partnership with Recurrent Energy on the Pflugerville Solar Project," said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager. "The project not only expands our renewable portfolio and advances our climate protection goals, it is located close to our customer base. It's affordable and enables us to continue to demonstrate Austin Energy’s fiscal responsibility and environmental leadership. This project is a win-win."
Currently, about 40 percent of customers' energy needs are met with renewable resources as Austin Energy continues to move toward carbon-free power. With this latest addition, the Utility is expected to become 52 percent renewable in 2021, edging the utility closer to its council directed goal of 65 percent renewable energy by 2027.
The agreement does not require Austin Energy to invest any funds in the construction, operation, or maintenance of the project, which is expected to be operational in 2021. Austin Energy has the option to purchase the solar facility at a future date.
The Pflugerville Solar Project is expected to create long-term permanent jobs to support operation and maintenance, as well as more than 350 construction jobs, of which at least 50 percent will be performed by local workers. It will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing additional tax revenues for Travis County and the Elgin ISD, which will total approximately $350 million throughout the life of the project.
"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," said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. "We are pleased to partner again with Austin Energy as we share their commitment to provide 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."
About Austin Energy
Customer Driven. Community Focused.
Austin Energy, the City of Austin's electric utility, lights a brighter future for more than 500,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents in Greater Austin. The utility's commitment to providing value powers the community and the innovation and culture that has made Austin a destination city. Austin Energy has powered the community for 125 years, delivering safe, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service. The publicly owned utility will continue to shine a light into the future. For more information about Austin Energy, visit www.austinenergy.com.
About Recurrent Energy
Recurrent Energy is a leading utility-scale solar and storage project developer, delivering competitive, clean electricity to large energy buyers. Based in the U.S., Recurrent Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. and functions as Canadian Solar's North American project development arm. Recurrent Energy has approximately 5 GW of solar and storage projects in development in the U.S. Additional details are available at www.recurrentenergy.com.
About Canadian Solar Inc.
Canadian Solar was founded in 2001 in Canada and is one of the world's largest solar power companies. It is a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules and provider of solar energy solutions and has a geographically diversified pipeline of utility-scale solar power projects in various stages of development. Over the past 19 years, Canadian Solar has successfully delivered over 43 GW of premium-quality, solar photovoltaic modules to customers in over 150 countries. Canadian Solar is one of the most bankable companies in the solar industry, having been publicly listed on NASDAQ since 2006. For additional information about the Company, follow Canadian Solar on LinkedIn or visit www.canadiansolar.com.