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GRU

Solar

Solar

GRU has reached an agreement to add 50 megawatts of solar power generation to its renewable energy portfolio through a power purchase agreement with Origis Energy. The agreement enables GRU to bring affordable solar power to our community and moves us closer to our goal of 100 percent renewable by 2045.


 

UAB Questions and Answers - May 13 


 

Solar PPA Frequently Asked Questions: 

Would a solar facility increase electric rates?

No. The cost of the solar power is less than GRU’s average cost of power.

How is this PPA different than the biomass contract?

• GRU will not have fixed payments

• GRU will have the ability to curtail output year-round

• GRU will have options to purchase the solar facilities at years 8, 12 and 16

• Very competitive price 

Why doesn’t GRU just build the facility itself?

Significant tax credits are available to income tax-paying developers which are not available to GRU. However, these tax credits reduce the cost of the facility, which in turn reduces the solar energy cost to GRU.

We’re adding solar, but down the road why will we also need to add fast-response generation?

• GRU must match generation with demand at all times.

• Solar is extremely variable based on the weather.

• Fast-response generation such as natural gas-powered engines will maintain reliability and fill in solar gaps.  

What happens next?

• Origis Energy will secure land rights for the project site

• Origis Energy will apply for all required permits and approvals from Alachua County, FAA, etc. (approximate one-year approval process anticipated)

• Origis Energy will apply for an interconnection agreement with GRU

• GRU will conduct interconnection studies, minor construction at the Parker Rd. Substation to facilitate the receipt of power on its side of the point of interconnection, and for conveyance of land rights for associated equipment.

• Origis will be responsible for design and construction of the grid tie up to the point of interconnection at GRU’s Parker Rd Substation. 

What due diligence did GRU perform as preparation?

GRU staff met with many (>8) firms with extensive experience in designing and constructing utility-scale solar installations under a solar PPA, attended several conferences, visited multiple utility-scale solar facilities and conducted lessons-learned and best-practices sessions with other Florida utilities.

Trucks, construction noise, changed land use, aviation glare, sensitive areas and habitats?

• Short-term construction duration (<6 months).

• Land use must be approved by county (not likely to be within city limits due to large land area required).

• FAA must approve of facilities in close proximity to airports.

• Sensitive areas will be respected and managed by environmental experts.

Why does the contract contain redactions?

The vendors may make trade-secret claims for the purposes of public disclosure of contract terms and conditions and technical information and will be responsible for defending such claims in accordance with Florida Law and Statutes.

Where will the facility be located?

The facility will be located approximately 2 miles South of GRU’s Parker Road substation, located at the intersection of Archer and Parker roads.

What happens to the land where the solar array is installed?

The Vendor will be responsible for determining the management of the property.  Typically, the property will be mowed several times annually with minimal disruption. 

Would we be sending money to out of town investors?

The cost to customers will be lower through a Solar PPA than if GRU were to own it outright. All of the respondents experienced with large utility scale installations were located outside the Gainesville area.

How does this support the Commission’s resolution for 100% renewable by 2045?

GRU already has the highest percentage of renewable electric in Florida.   The 50 MW of additional solar will be significantly larger than the existing 26 MW in our system.  This will allow GRU to further decrease its use of non-renewable fuel sources and make progress toward Gainesville’s renewable goal.

Can we anticipate more solar down the road?

GRU will continue to monitor and evaluate its energy needs, fleet condition, and market economics as well as operational needs.  It is likely that additional tranches of solar power will require the installation of flexible generation to economically balance solar output and to meet reserve and operational requirements.