Progress Energy Florida to Establish Connection to the Transmission System by Year End
LAKE MARY, FL., February 29, 2012 - BlueChip Energy, LLC (BCE), a leading solar PV equipment manufacturer, systems integrator and independent power producer, today announced it has received a completed system impact study from Progress Energy Florida for the 100 MW Sorrento Solar plant.
The study results are pending review by the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council, Seminole Electric Cooperative, SECO Energy, and Orlando Utilities Commission. The latter three utilities have transmission buses downstream of the Sorrento Substation. BCE has requested a commercial operation date for the Sorrento Solar Farm to be connected to the transmission system by December 31, 2012.
The current theoretical model of the power grid forecasts that there should be no thermal or voltage violations associated with the interconnection of this plant. There were no projections of transmission breakers identified on the Progress Energy Florida, Inc. (PEF) system that are projected to be pushed above their interrupting rating by the addition of the plant. In the model, the Sorrento Solar plant is projected to not cause power system instability.
Theoretical Voltage stability (P-V curve) analyses were performed under high-import scenario conditions and projections show that the Sorrento Solar Plant should not have a negative impact on the import capability of the State of Florida. The study projections concluded there should be no third-party impacts that would push them beyond their interrupting capability by the interconnection of this plant. The Sorrento Solar site is adjacent to PEF's Sorrento Substation and will require BCE to build and pay for a new transmission line from BCE's step-up transformer to the Sorrento bus.
The 100 Megawatt (MW) Sorrento Solar Farm project, currently under construction by BlueChip Energy, LLC, will be one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the United States. The project – covering 500 acres of open field in Lake County, Florida – BCE is developing the project in two stages, 40 MW and 60 MW. The project site enjoys the economic and engineering benefits of being adjacent to two existing utility substations. Upon completion, 160 million kilowatt hours of clean energy will be generated annually from the power plant.
BlueChip Energy, LLC (BCE) is a fully-integrated solar PV power generator, occupying all segments of the solar power value chain, from manufacturing of solar panels and balance of systems components, to the sale of turnkey solar power plants – and electricity – to utility, commercial and residential customers. BCE develops finances, constructs, operates, and monitors solar plants for companies and individuals, as well as for its own portfolio.
The initial phases of BlueChip Energy's two flagship utility scale solar projects, the Rinehart Solar Farm (10 MW) and the Sorrento Solar Farm (40 MW), received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as self-certified small power production facilities, or Qualified Facilities (QFs) in 2011, requiring the local utility to provide interconnection to them and purchase the electricity they produce. Additionally, FERC approved these two solar farms' status as Exempt Wholesale Generators (EWGs), providing the facilities with undisputed access to the power distribution network. FERC has also granted the company Market-Based Rate Authorization, allowing BCE to purchase and sell wholesale electricity and offer renewable energy products to customers.