Aggreko funds 500MW community solar projects on US farmland

 

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Aggreko’s Energy Transition Solutions division will become the capital partner for the Farmers Powering Communities community solar initiative.

Aggreko Energy Transition Solutions (ETS), a division of Aggreko formed last year, will provide capital to the partnership and will also own and operate several community solar assets.

The Farmers Powering Communities initiative is a collaborative effort between development firm Edelen Renewables; farmland preservation organisation, American Farmland Trust (AFT); and one the nation’s largest subscribers of community solar power, Arcadia.

Through Farmers Powering Communities, Aggreko ETS will join the three firms in building out 500MW of community solar projects over the next ten years.

Prashanth Prakash, Aggreko ETS’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement: “Expanding access to community solar, which offers a cost-efficient way for people to use solar energy, aligns with our mission to accelerate the energy transition through clean energy infrastructure that delivers reliable, economic energy.

“Working together, we are confident of our success in bringing the economic and environmental benefits of community solar to small-town America.”

Ultimately, the $1 billion solar project portfolio will allow solar energy production to be ramped up while farmlands and ranches are retained.

John Piotti, AFT president, said: “We also know that farms can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Farmland can draw carbon from the air to rebuild soil when farmed using climate-smart practices like cover crops and reduced tillage…That’s what this partnership is all about. Doing solar the right way and putting it in the right place is what we call Smart Solar.”

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), community solar, also known as shared solar or solar gardens, is a distributed solar energy deployment model that allows customers to buy or lease part of a larger, off-site shared solar PV system.

Wood Mackenzie states that US community solar installed capacity declined 16% in 2022 mainly due to interconnection delays hindering growth in key state markets.

The consulting firm sees this contraction as temporary, forecasting the US community solar market to grow 118% over the next five years, with at least 6GWdc of community solar capacity expected to come online in existing markets between 2023 – 2027.

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