Dominion and SunEdison grow solar partnership

Following on a new partnership to co-develop the Four Brothers solar project announced last month, Dominion and SunEdison have agreed to team up on 25 further sites.

US energy producer-transporter Dominion has announced plans to invest $320 million into SunEdison's Three Cedars solar project, a 265-megawatt (MW) DC array currently under construction in Utah. 

The move expands on a joint venture announced last month between the two companies that saw Dominion investing in the 420MW Four Brothers solar project, also in Utah. The production of both projects will be sold to Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary PacifiCorp under 20-year power purchase agreements. 

The Three Cedars plant is expected to produce enough electricity to power 36,000 homes, create 250 construction jobs, and produce roughly $17 million in direct property and income taxes over the next 20 years. 

SunEdison plans to fully finance the $80 million balance of the capital for the Three Cedars project via a loan from Deutsche Bank through construction and long-term ownership, according to a statement by the firm. 

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Dominion to a total of over 685MW of solar in Utah,” said SunEdison executive vice president of EMEA & America's Paul Gaynor. “Our joint ventures with Dominion demonstrate the market appetite for SunEdison's high-quality, long-term contracted assets. SunEdison power plants put hundreds of people to work, create real and lasting benefits for local residents, and deliver clean energy to Utah homes at a competitive price.” 

For its aggregate investment of $830 million into the joint venture, Dominion acquires a 50 percent cash equity stake and a 99 percent tax equity stake both in the Three Cedars and the Four Brothers projects, including funding of construction.  

In a separate partnership announced simultaneously, Dominion divulged that SunEdison had also agreed to purchase a 33 percent stake in a 425MW solar production portfolio of 24 solar projects across six states for $300 million with an option to later buy out Dominion's remaining 67 percent stake. The partnership was made possible through another new adjoining arrangement between SunEdison and institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management-Global Real Assets, which aims to invest in both operating and construction stages. Both Key Bank and Santander Bank have committed to providing project debt financing on the endeavor subject to certain conditions. 

By the year's end, Dominion has set a goal to grow its solar portfolio to 625MW. According to the company's recently released annual Citizenship & Sustainability Report the company cut its generating fleet's CO2 emissions per unit of electric output by 28 percent between 2008 and 2014. 

The company owns a portfolio of approximately 24,600MW of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,455 miles of electric transmission lines, as well as one of the largest natural gas storage systems in the US with 928 billion cubic feet of storage capacity.