Enel begins construction of its largest solar project in the US

Enel’s subsidiary, Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA), has started construction of the the Aurora utility-scale distributed photovoltaic (PV) solar project in Minnesota
Enel begins construction of its largest solar project in the US

Once completed, EGPNA’s Aurora project will be Enel Group’s largest solar power plant in North America. It will consist of 16 PV plants with a total installed capacity of 150 MW DC and will be able to generate over 210 million kWh annually, representing enough energy to power over 17,000 US households while avoiding the emission of over 150,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. All 16 sites are expected to be online by the end of the year.

“The Aurora project marks a significant step forward in the growth of our solar portfolio” said Rafael Gonzalez, Head of Enel Green Power North America. “By maximising the distributed solar model, Aurora highlights how innovation and design are driving the future of renewables, while providing communities with access to energy that delivers both the biggest possible environmental benefits and the most economic value.”

The construction of the project will require investment of approximately $290 million and is in line with Enel’s strategic plan. The investment will be partly funded through a capital contribution agreement with State Street Bank and Trust amounting to $140 million. The project has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) in place with utility Xcel Energy in Minnesota and features a distributed solar design that consists of the installation of multiple small-scale solar sites. This will deliver a range of benefits, including a reduction in line loss, elimination of mass transmission costs and geographic diversification of generation assets.

Each of the 16 solar facilities will utilise linear axis tracking devices to maximise efficiency and production and will provide energy and capacity to local distribution networks. They will also create approximately 400 construction jobs at the peak of the building process.

Aurora is EGPNA’s third PV solar project in the US and in combination with the existing Stillwater Solar and Sheldon Springs Solar sites, increases its total solar portfolio to almost 180 MW. The company already owns and operates two wind farms in the state of Minnesota – Prairie Rose and Minnesota Wind – which have a combined installed capacity of 230 MW. Once online, the Aurora project will increase EGPNA’s total installed capacity in the state to 380 MW. 

EGPNA has a presence in 21 US states and two Canadian provinces with more than 2.5 GW of installed capacity spread across four different renewable energy technologies: wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower.

Image: Istia solar farm in Italy

For additional information:

Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA)

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