Investment firm Capital Dynamics added another of the largest U.S. solar projects underway to its growing portfolio, announcing Wednesday the purchase of the 400-megawatt Eland project in Kern County, California from 8minute Solar Energy.
The groundbreaking Eland project is due to reach full commercial operation in 2023 some 70 miles outside of Los Angeles and will feature a 300-megawatt/1,200-megawatt-hour energy storage facility, making it one of the country's largest solar-plus-storage projects announced to date.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. California-based 8minutenergy will stay on to bring Eland through its final stages of development and has the right to repurchase a portion of the project upon its completion.
The deal underlines the growing partnership between Capital Dynamics, a Switzerland-based asset manager, and 8minute, the California-based solar developer.
Including its acquisition of the 387-megawatt Eagle Shadow Mountain Project in Nevada earlier this month, CapDyn now appears to own seven of the 20 largest solar projects currently announced in the United States. 8minute is behind several of those projects, including Eland, which received final approval this fall.
In a statement, Capital Dynamics called 8minute the “uncontested leading solar developer in the country” (in fact, this title goes to First Solar for projects operating and in development, but 8minute ranks in the top five according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables). Meanwhile, 8minute applauded the “significant financial resources” Capital Dynamics brings to a project, which 8minute can use for construction.
The project also marks Capital Dynamics' fourth delivering power to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the city’s municipal utility (and the largest municipal utility in the country).
Beyond its expanding base of huge solar projects, Capital Dynamics has taken a growing interest in solar-plus-storage. Eland will be the third such hybrid project in its portfolio.
The solar power-purchase agreement with LADWP undercuts previous records, coming in at less than $20 per megawatt-hour. Combined with storage, the price is likely to be sub-$40 per megawatt-hour, below other deals of its kind.
Funneling the power to Los Angeles is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s vision to replace gas plants with renewable energy, a mission that energy storage will help the city meet.
"With storage, the effective capacity factor is in the 60 percent range, so it is able to power California for a big portion of the day and eat into peak load," Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at WoodMac, told GTM this fall.