Electrify America Opens Photo voltaic Plant To Offset Car Charging

Yesterday, we heard from Electrify America a couple of cool new undertaking that simply went on-line: a solar energy plant that places sufficient renewable vitality into the grid to greater than make up for its EV charging periods.

Particulars On The Deal

Electrify America has commenced business operation of the brand new 75 MW Electrify America Photo voltaic Glow™ 1 photo voltaic photovoltaic renewable vitality technology undertaking in San Bernardino County, California. This undertaking, which was introduced final 12 months, is the end result of a 15-year digital energy buy settlement (VPPA) with developer Terra-Gen.

Electrify America, who says it’s the most important open community of DC quick chargers for electrical autos within the U.S., has not too long ago entered right into a digital energy buy settlement for brand new renewable vitality technology. This new development provides to the present renewable vitality sources on the market, offering further vitality that is probably not readily accessible in any other case.

“Electrify America Photo voltaic Glow™ 1 is a vital milestone in our dedication to cut back our vitality carbon footprint,” mentioned Robert Barrosa, President and CEO of Electrify America. “Electrify America is dedicated to being part of the broader charging answer for EV drivers at this time and sooner or later.”

This funding is projected to generate 75 MW of solar energy at peak capability, equal to the vitality consumed by 500 EVs charging concurrently at a mean pace of 150 kilowatts. The overall annual manufacturing is estimated to be 225 gigawatt-hours (GWh). In 2022, Electrify America says it facilitated over 5 million buyer charging periods, which is 3.5 occasions the variety of periods in 2021. These periods resulted in roughly 173 GWh of electrical energy, enabling an estimated 493 million miles of electrical driving and avoiding the consumption of round 21 million gallons of gasoline.

In different phrases, this deal goes to place extra renewable vitality into the nationwide grid than Electrify America consumes for its charging periods, successfully offsetting its utilization.

“We count on the demand on our charging community to proceed to rise with the rise in EV possession,” mentioned Jigar Shah, Director of Vitality Providers at Electrify America. “Photo voltaic Glow™ 1 provides new further 100% renewable vitality technology with estimated annual manufacturing that exceeds our 2022 community utilization.”

I requested Electrify America’s rep about future demand and future Photo voltaic Glow amenities, and the corporate mentioned it doesn’t have any bulletins to make. However, it appears apparent that placing the number one after the identify signifies {that a} 2, 3, and 4 are in all probability a minimum of hoped for.

“This photo voltaic undertaking is a major accomplishment reinforcing our dedication in 2022 to again all vitality delivered to clients on Electrify America’s coast-to-coast public, ultra-fast DC charging community with 100% renewable vitality,” Barrosa mentioned.

The Electrify America Photo voltaic Glow™ 1 undertaking contains 200,000+ photo voltaic panels. It spans over a sq. mile.

What’s A Digital Energy Buy Settlement?

A Energy Buy Settlement (PPA) is a authorized contract between an electrical energy generator and a purchaser, sometimes a utility firm or a company entity. It outlines the phrases and situations underneath which the generator will promote electrical energy to the client over a specified time period, often long-term agreements starting from 10 to 25 years.

In a PPA, the generator agrees to supply a specific amount of electrical energy, typically from renewable sources reminiscent of wind or photo voltaic, at an agreed-upon worth. The customer commits to buying this electrical energy on the specified worth during the settlement. This permits the generator to safe a secure income stream and helps the client meet its vitality wants with a hard and fast, predictable price.

PPAs are generally used within the renewable vitality business as a way to finance and develop new renewable vitality initiatives. They supply a manner for turbines to safe long-term contracts, which may also help entice funding and make sure the financial viability of renewable vitality initiatives.

PPA initiatives are sometimes on the property of the client, and it’s then as much as the client to make use of or promote the vitality themselves. For instance, the purchaser of a PPA on a residential roof will use the vitality inside their very own house and promote the remaining energy to the native grid, identical to they might in the event that they owned the photo voltaic panels themselves.

In a Digital Energy Buy Settlement, extra of the association is dealt with by the proprietor of the system. Within the case of Electrify America’s Photo voltaic Glow 1, Terra-Gen not solely produces, but additionally sells, the vitality on Electrify America’s behalf. When the electrical energy worth is above what Electrify America agreed on, they get no matter cash is left. When electrical energy sells for lower than Electrify America pays, they must cowl the distinction.

How This Helps Electrify America

The plain massive factor is that it helps scale back the environmental influence of charging at an Electrify America station. Its clients don’t use the photo voltaic vitality immediately usually, however different areas are utilizing much less fossil fuels. This makes charging at their stations (when working nicely) extra engaging to EV drivers, who have a tendency to care about environmental impacts.

Doing this additionally helps not solely Electrify America, however the mother or father firm VW to assist enhance their public picture. Not solely is there some dangerous historical past there, with Electrify America principally being VW’s punishment for the Dieselgate scandal, however they’re additionally fighting charging reliability at their older stations.

They’ll get each of those massive advantages with out having to personal and handle their very own solar energy crops. Whereas I’m positive Electrify America’s employees is aware of quite a bit concerning the electrical energy market, they in all probability don’t have the experience on employees for solar energy crops particularly. Outsourcing their renewable vitality purchases helps them stick with their core mission, which undoubtedly wants numerous consideration proper now.

It’s additionally a fantastic monetary association for Electrify America. When costs are excessive, and it prices extra to supply charging to clients, the photo voltaic plant will typically even be bringing in a revenue that helps the corporate degree off its personal bills. When costs are low, and the corporate can flip extra of a revenue from charging, it’s simpler for them to soak up the hit from any losses underneath the VPPA.

This doesn’t remedy all the firm’s issues, nevertheless it does assist them in these key methods to allow them to transfer ahead.

Featured picture offered by Electrify America.


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