Array due online in 2023 will generate enough clean energy during peaks to cover needs of nearby resort, says developer as 49% sold to APG
Australian investment house Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and its US renewables development company Primergy Solar have sold a 49% equity stake in the Gemini PV-plus-storage megaproject outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, to APG, the largest pension asset manager in the Netherlands.
With nameplate capacity of 690MW on an alternating current basis and a 1,417MWh (380MW) battery energy storage system, Gemini will be the largest US solar hybrid development once online in fourth quarter 2023.
Gemini is expected to generate enough clean energy to power more than 400,000 homes during peak periods and displace 1.5m tonnes of CO2 annually.
From its site 53km (33 miles) northeast of Las Vegas, the project will generate enough clean energy during peak generation periods to power the city, the US’ 26th biggest conurbation and internationally renowned resort destination populated with mega casino-hotels, claims Primergy.
Financial terms of the transaction were not made public. APG acquired minority ownership on behalf of its pension fund client ABP which has €558bn ($541bn) in assets under management.
“We are always looking for infrastructure investments that bring long-term financial returns for our pension clients and that have positive environmental and social impacts,” said Steven Hason, managing director of APG in the Americas.
“This transaction represents an ideal opportunity to invest in a state-of-the-art energy project that will provide clean, renewable electricity for Nevada,” he added.
NV Energy, Nevada’s largest electric utility, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, will buy the project’s electric power over 25 years.
In April, Quinbrook and Primergy closed $1.9bn in construction debt and tax equity financing for Gemini, which will be located on federal land in the Mojave Desert. The $532m tax equity commitment provided by Bank of America and Truist Bank is believed to be the largest for solar completed in the US.
Earlier this year, Quinbrook and Primergy began seeking equity partners for Gemini and selected APG following receipt of multiple offers from financial and industrial investors. They did not name the investors.
Primergy selected Kiewit Power Constructors as Gemini’s engineering, procurement, and construction partner and IHI Terrasun as the battery ESS integrator. Maxeon Solar Technologies, spun off from SunPower in 2020, will provide the bifacial solar modules from a US plant.
The US in 2021 installed 23.6GW of solar capacity, a 19% increase over 2020, according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a national trade group based in Washington, DC. Distributed and utility solar combined to supply 4% of the nation’s electricity. Roughly 80% of those installations used imported panels.
The Department of Energy’s Solar Futures Study last fall suggested PV’s share of electricity could increases to at least 37% by 2035 and 44% by mid-century under certain scenarios.
The new US climate law provides generous federal tax incentives for utility solar development and related domestic supply chain expansion.
SEIA claims those incentives will lure enough fresh investment to ensure the industry can meet its goal of 50GW of domestic manufacturing capacity by 2030.
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