Baltimore-based Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) reached across the U.S. to purchase 30 megawatts of solar farms in development this year that are under power-purchase agreements with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The company bought the projects from developer Germany-based Belectric, Inc., which develops and sells photovoltaic projects.
Belectric will install approximately 381,000 First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) modules, at the sites, according to Constellation.
The purchase vastly increases the amount of solar that Constellation now has in its generating portfolio. With the addition, it now has 95 megawatts of solar installations that have been completed or are under construction.
“This utility-scale generation project is an attractive opportunity for Constellation Energy to grow its existing solar portfolio,” said Andrew Good, senior vice president of corporate strategy and development for Constellation Energy.
With the purchase, Constellation now has more solar outside of its home state of Maryland, where it owns the municipal utility Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., and where it has roughly 18.3 megawatts in development.
Belectric will soon break ground on the arrays, which will be in Elk Grove and Galt, Calif., according to Constellation. They will be among the first solar power installations under SMUD’s new feed-in tariff program, under which the utility will purchase 100 megawatts of solar power, said Sherri Eklof, SMUD’s senior power contracts specialist.
“The program started in January 2010,” she said. “One [feed-in tariff] project is online, a 93 kilowatt system. That came on in July 2010, the next projects are the Constellation projects; they’re all set to come on this year.”
In all, SMUD will start buying power from 29 megawatts of solar farms this year, with the remainder of projects, totaling 71 megawatts, slated for completion in 2012, according to Eklof. Under SMUD’s feed-in tariff program, all the solar power-producers are offered the same rate for the power generated.
Belectric expects to work on future projects with both SMUD and Constellation, said David Taggart, president and COO of Belectric, Inc.
“For the past 18 months, the Belectric Team has worked closely with SMUD, Sacramento County and local land owners to develop this project,” he said in a press release. “Based on the great experience we have had with both Constellation and Smart Energy, we look forward to further collaboration.”
Image courtesy of Belectric.