Holland & Hart Helps Negotiate Largest U.S. Non-utility Power Purchase Agreement

Holland & Hart Helps Negotiate Largest U.S. Non-utility Power Purchase Agreement
Holland & Hart LLP represented Duke Energy Renewables in the successful negotiation of the largest non-utility solar photovoltaic power purchase in the United States.

The deal involves a 20-year power purchase agreement between Duke Energy Renewables and the George Washington University (GW), American University (AU) and the George Washington University Hospital (GWUH). The agreement allows for the creation of a renewable energy project that will bring solar power from North Carolina to the D.C. institutions.

The project, named Capital Partners Solar Project and supplied by Duke Energy Renewables, comprises 52 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) power, which is the equivalent of the electricity used in 8,200 homes every year. It is the largest non-utility solar PV power purchase agreement in the United States in total contracted megawatt hours and the largest PV project east of the Mississippi River.

The partners will break ground on the first site this summer and panels will begin to deliver electricity by the end of the year. When fully operational at the end of 2015, Capital Partners Solar Project will generate 123 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of emissions-free electricity per year, drawn from 243,000 solar panels at three sites. That translates to eliminating roughly 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year or taking 12,500 cars off the road.

Under the agreement and once the project is complete, GW will receive roughly 86.6 million kWh, AU will receive 30 million kWh and GWUH will receive approximately 6.3 million kWh annually. The solar power will fuel more than half of GW’s and AU’s electricity needs and more than a third of GWUH’s need.

For the partners, the 20-year agreement will provide fixed pricing for the solar energy at a lower total price than current power solutions and is expected to yield greater economic savings for the partners as traditional power prices are anticipated to increase at a higher rate over the same period.

“Duke Energy looks forward to working with these leading D.C. institutions on an innovative solar project that demonstrates their leadership in sustainability and, at the same time, provides them with low-cost energy at a stable price for years to come,” said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables.

Duke Energy Renewables has invested more than $3 billion in renewable energy over the past seven years and currently owns and operates almost 1,800 MW of large-scale wind and solar energy facilities across the nation. In 2013, Duke Energy company-wide owned or contracted for 2,620 MW of renewable energy—wind, solar and biomass—and is on track to reach 6,000 MW of renewable energy by 2020.

Two Duke Energy businesses were among the top 10 utilities in the nation in 2013 for adopting new solar energy, according to rankings released last month by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). The company also recently completed a 10-year, $9 billion generation fleet modernization program that allowed the company to retire more than 3,800 MW of older coal-fired units and reduce its carbon emissions by 20 percent since 2005. For eight consecutive years, Duke Energy has been named to the elite Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for excellence in environmental, social and financial performance. 

CustomerFirst Renewables (CFR) designed and structured the end-to-end solution, including helping to select and negotiate the deal between the partners and Duke Energy Renewables.

Holland & Hart attorney Rochelle N. Rabeler negotiated the deal on behalf of Duke Energy Renewables. Rabeler's practice focuses on project development, project financing, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, with emphasis in the renewable energy and infrastructure sector. She has advised developers, investors, sponsors and independent power producers in connection with wind, solar and geothermal projects throughout the United States, varying in size from 100 kw to 1000 MW. 

Click here to read more about the Capital Partners Solar Project.

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