Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, a publicly registered, non-traded limited liability company, recently broke ground on its Graphite Solar I, a utility-scale solar project in Carbon County, Utah. The company was joined at the groundbreaking by rPlus Energies, a Utah-based developer of power plants, and Sundt Construction, the engineering, procurement and construction lead for the project.
Graphite Solar I is a 104-megawatt (DC)/80-megawatt (AC) project that will include more than a quarter million solar panels and will contribute renewable power to Facebook’s new data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah. Greenbacker said that the project supports Facebook’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy for its operations and is expected to reach commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The groundbreaking follows Greenbacker’s announcement in March that it completed construction of the Turquoise Solar Project, a 61-megawatt solar farm in Washoe County, Nevada, that supplies renewable energy to Apple’s data center in the Reno Technology Park.
The Graphite Solar project has a long-term power purchase agreement with electric power company, PacifiCorp, on behalf of Facebook. The contract was developed under Rocky Mountain Power’s Schedule 34 green energy tariff, which allows large customers to purchase renewable energy generated on their behalf.
“Large projects like Graphite will increasingly be necessary to meet the electricity needs of the technology economy and provide carbon neutral alternatives to traditional power sources,” said Charles Wheeler, chief executive officer of Greenbacker.
Greenbacker purchased the pre-operational solar project from rPlus Energies in December 2020 for an undisclosed amount and contracted the company to continue to develop the project through construction.
Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company acquires and manages renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, as well as other energy-related businesses. The company invests in solar and wind facilities, and then sells power under long-term contract to counterparties such as utilities, municipalities, and corporations.
The company has raised $816.6 million in investor equity from February 2017 through April 2021, with sales in 2021 totaling approximately $481.8 million. As of March 31, 2021, Greenbacker has made solar, wind, biomass, battery storage, and energy efficiency investments in 12 portfolios in the United States and Canada, as well as seven secured loans in the United States. As of the first quarter, the company’s investments totaled approximately $1.1 billion.