Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 26th May
CIM Group says its Aquamarine solar PV project (250 MW), part of the first phase of its Westlands Solar Park (WSP), will be fully operational by fall 2021 and is on track to meet its contracted delivery of 50 MW of capacity to Valley Clean Energy Alliance. Valley Clean Energy Alliance, which executed a contract with WSP in early 2020, is a locally-governed electricity provider for the California cities of Davis, Woodland, Winters and unincorporated portions of Yolo County.
WSP has the opportunity to contribute to economic development in Central Valley communities by creating over 400 clean energy jobs for both construction and operations under a union labor agreement governing the entire project. WSP is also poised to generate direct and indirect revenue such as local taxes, purchasing and ancillary spending.
“Recently, we completed a new power purchase agreement with Silicon Valley Power which serves the City of Santa Clara. With the imminent completion of Aquamarine, we are in active discussions with numerous entities to supply the clean energy that is critical to meeting the short- and long-term goals for renewable energy – vital to improving communities,” noted Shemesh.
Aquamarine recently entered into a PPA with the City of Santa Clara, CA (Silicon Valley Power) to sell REC’s associated with 75 MW of capacity, joining other off-takers at WSP including Anaheim Public Utility, and is currently negotiating additional PPAs with other potential counterparties. Silicon Valley Power is the not-for-profit electric municipal utility of the City of Santa Clara.
“We believe Westlands Solar Park is ideally positioned to be a leader in California’s program to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and meet its Renewable Portfolio Standards targets. With Aquamarine advancing to full operation before year-end, we are realizing our vision for Westlands Solar Park to become a major clean energy provider as well as meeting a significant commitment in our company’s ongoing sustainability program,” said Avi Shemesh, Co-Founder and Principal, CIM Group. “With Aquamarine, and the future phases of Westlands Solar Park, we also are bringing clean energy jobs to the region and generating revenue for the local government and area businesses.”
CIM Group recently marked a significant milestone for the Aquamarine project, closing on debt and tax equity financing. Deutsche Bank was the lead arranger of the debt financing. “Deutsche Bank is excited to support CIM Group in its construction and operation of this first phase of the Westlands Solar Park. This is an important step towards our institutions’ shared goal to invest in sustainable and socially responsible projects. We look forward to continue working alongside CIM as they develop WSP and other projects beneficial to the energy transition,” says Jeremy Eisman, Head of Infrastructure & Energy Financing for Deutsche Bank in the Americas.
WSP is one of the largest permitted solar parks in the world, with the capacity to grow to more than 2.7 GW of renewable energy at full buildout and with the potential to provide clean energy to over 1,200,000 homes. The master-planned energy park encompasses more than 20,000 acres in California’s San Joaquin Valley in western Fresno and Kings Counties and is designed to open in phases to meet the needs of public and private utilities and other energy consumers. WSP has a completed and certified programmatic environmental impact report for the entire project and WSP is one of the few renewable energy zones identified as a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) thru the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) process.