Greenbacker, rPlus Energies and Sundt Construction break ground on major new solar project in Carbon County, Utah
104 Megawatt (dc) / 80 Megawatt (ac) Graphite Solar Plant to power Facebook’s Eagle Mountain Data Center
New York, NY, May 25, 2021 (Globe Newswire) – Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company (Greenbacker), a leading owner and operator of sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency projects, announced today that rPlus Energies, a Utah-based developer of modern power plants, recently broke ground on Graphite Solar I, a 104 Megawatt (dc) / 80 Megawatt (ac) utility-scale solar project owned by Greenbacker in Carbon County, Utah. The project will be one of the largest solar plants in Greenbacker’s nationwide portfolio of renewable energy projects and will contribute renewable power to Facebook’s new data center in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
The Graphite Solar project demonstrates Greenbacker’s continued growth as a key investor in and driver of significant renewable energy infrastructure projects supplying power to municipalities, major companies including Apple and Facebook and many other entities across the country. The groundbreaking follows Greenbacker’s announcement in March that it has 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 (PPA) in place with the investment-grade utility 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.
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.
“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, CEO of Greenbacker. “We’re thrilled to play a role in the ongoing positive impact that this sustainable infrastructure project will have on boosting local employment, supporting regional economies, and creating more reliable power grids.”
Graphite is being built in Wellington, Utah, a town with several coal mines, a recently retired coal plant, and a long history of generating power for the area. With the construction of this solar facility, the community further diversifies its contributions to the local energy infrastructure and catalyzes the region’s economic development.
The rPlus Energies team was joined for the groundbreaking by Greenbacker and by Sundt Construction, which will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) lead for the project.
“rPlus Energies is proud to work with Carbon County, as it continues its legacy in energy development–with Graphite Solar capturing the benefits of solar power in the region for years to come,” said Luigi Resta, CEO, rPlus Energies. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Carbon County community through project construction, with a focus on energizing the economy and local hiring.”
“It has been great to see the Graphite Solar project bringing the community together,” said Carbon County Commissioner, Tony Martines, during the groundbreaking ceremony. “With several local companies playing a large part in this endeavor, the project has provided new job opportunities and allowed our community to see energy in a new light.”
Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company LLC purchased the pre-operational solar project from rPlus Energies LLC in December 2020 and contracted rPlus to continue to develop the project through construction. rPlus Energies has engaged Utah’s Sundt Renewables and Sundt Construction to provide engineering, procurement and construction support for the project, which will include the installation of more than a quarter million solar panels.