Dominion returns for more US solar

Dominion has acquired a 5MW (AC) ground-mount PV array in the US state of Connecticut from Japan’s Kyocera and developer CleanPath, adding momentum to the solar push the Virginia-based power utility began earlier this year.

The deal closed on 22 October for an undisclosed sum.

The project – in Somers, north central Connecticut – represents the third large PV acquisition this year by Dominion, one of the ten largest investor-owned US utilities.

In February Dominion acquired the 7.7MW Azalea project in Georgia, while this summer it bought three arrays – known as Indy I, II and II – totaling 28.6MW near Indianapolis.

All three projects – Somers, Azalea and Indy – are due for completion by the end of the year, and have lengthy power-purchase agreements, with the Somers array to feed its output to Connecticut Light & Power.

“The Somers project joins a growing list of renewable projects that Dominion has announced or brought online this year as we maintain our focus on providing a mix of affordable, clean and reliable power,” says Dominion Generation chief executive David Christian.

Prime Solutions, a Connecticut-based renewables specialist, will act as EPC contractor for the Somers array, with 80 workers expected on site at peak construction./

Dominion, which boasts 23.5GW of power-generation capacity, is taking increasingly significant steps to decarbonise its energy portfolio.

The utility owns 50% stakes in two existing onshore wind farms – the 301MW Fowler Ridge wind farm in Indiana and the 264MW Mount Storm project in West Virginia.

Meanwhile, earlier this month it signed a federal lease agreement for an up to 2GW offshore wind zone off Virginia’s Atlantic coast, although generation – should it ever happen – is likely a decade away.

Kyocera, the second largest Japan-based supplier of PV modules after Sharp, has nabbed a number of big orders in the US over the past year, including a 25MW chunk of the 127MW Arlington Valley array under construction in Arizona.

Kyocera, which has been assembling modules at a US factory in San Diego since 2010, last week announced a “strategic alliance” with IronRidge, a California-based maker of PV mounting hardware.