• June 17, 2019

Facebook building solar farm in Andrews - Odessa American: Community

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Facebook building solar farm in Andrews

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Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 3:43 pm

Facebook is partnering with a US-based renewable energy developer to construct one of the largest solar farms in the country in Andrews County.

The solar farm, called the Prospero Solar project, will have a total cost of about $416 million and will have a capacity of 379 megawatts direct current, a press release from the developer Longroad Energy stated.

"From our community stakeholders, to our suppliers, energy off-takers and investors, it takes a lot of hard work and cooperation to complete a project of this magnitude," Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad said in a statement. "We are extremely lucky to have had such great partners and are proud to bring this much needed clean energy to the market."

This is Facebook’s first direct investment in a renewable energy project, and they will be the project’s sole tax equity investor.

"Facebook is excited to be one of the first companies to use a direct investment to meet our renewable energy goals," Peter Freed, energy strategy manager at Facebook said in a statement. "We hope such investments can be a new avenue of meaningfully engaging with projects, which might be easier for some companies than a long-term power purchase agreement, thereby unlocking new options for more organizations to meet their goals and grow the market."

The release detailed that Shell Energy North America signed a 12-year power purchase agreement for the solar farm’s power off-take, one of the first in the solar industry.

The solar farm will cover about 4,600 acres of Andrews County, the release stated, and will generate more than $21 million in property taxes, including more than $12 million to Andrews ISD. Several hundred construction jobs as well as operating facility jobs will also be created, expecting to pay more than $23 million in wages during the farm’s life.

Shell and Facebook will be sharing the renewable energy attributes generated by the farm’s energy production.

"We are proud to add this project to our portfolio of zero carbon assets and to further Shell's efforts to reduce our carbon footprint," Glenn Wright, President of SENA said in a statement. "This is another great opportunity to be a part of increasing the supply of renewable power into the grid while also helping our assets in the Permian to meet their sustainability goals."

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