According to Greenbacker Renewable Energy Co., owner and operator of sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency projects, rPlus Energies, a Utah-based modern power plant developer, recently broke ground for Graphite Solar I, a 104 MW DC / 80 MW AC utility solar project owned by Greenbacker in Carbon County, Utah.
The project will be one of the largest solar plants in the nation's portfolio of greenbacker renewable energy projects and will bring renewable energy to Facebook's new data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
Greenbacker says the Graphite Solar project is demonstrating its continued growth as an investor and driver of major renewable energy infrastructure projects that power communities, large corporations like Apple and Facebook, and many other companies across the country. The groundbreaking ceremony follows Greenbacker's announcement in March that it has completed construction of the Turquoise Solar Project, a 61 MW solar park in Washoe County, Nevada, that powers Apple's data center in Reno Technology Park.
The Graphite Solar project has entered into a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with PacifiCorp on behalf of Facebook. The contract was developed under Rocky Mountain Power's Schedule 34 green power tariff, which enables large customers to purchase renewable energy produced on their behalf.
Greenbacker bought the pre-operational solar project from rPlus Energies in December 2020 and commissioned rPlus to develop the project through to construction. rPlus Energies hired Utah-based Sundt Renewables and Sundt Construction to design, source and provide construction support for the project, which will include the installation of more than a quarter of a million solar panels.
“Large-scale projects like Graphite will increasingly be necessary to meet the power needs of the technology industry and provide CO2-neutral alternatives to conventional power sources,” said Charles Wheeler, CEO of Greenbacker. “We are pleased to be contributing to the ongoing positive effects of this sustainable infrastructure project in promoting local employment, supporting the regional economy and creating more reliable power grids.”
Graphite is being built in Wellington, Utah, a city with multiple coal mines, a recently decommissioned coal-fired power plant, and a long history of generating electricity for the area. With the construction of this solar system, the municipality further diversifies its contribution to the local energy infrastructure and catalyzes the economic development of the region.
Photo: The rPlus Energies team was supported for the groundbreaking ceremony by Greenbacker and Sundt Construction, who will act as Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) lead for the project.