The Maplewood solar farm is a 250MW photovoltaic power project being developed in Pecos County, Texas, US. The project portfolio includes the Maplewood and Maplewood 2 solar farms, with a power generation capacity of 222MW and 28MW, respectively.

Recurrent Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, owns the Maplewood project. Estimated to cost approximately $200m, the Maplewood solar farm is estimated to produce sufficient clean electricity to power approximately 62,000 US households.

Approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in December 2017, the project is expected to have an operational life of 30 years.

Construction of the project is anticipated to be started by the end of 2019, while commissioning is expected in 2021. The two solar power projects together are expected to generate up to 500 jobs.

Maplewood solar plant make-up

The Maplewood solar project is located in the Permian Basin of West Texas, near the cities of Fort Stockton and McCamey. Encompassing an area of roughly 9km², the project is located within the Tunas Creek and Tunas Creek Two reinvestment zones.

The plant will comprise high-efficiency HiKu photovoltaic solar modules manufactured by Canadian Solar that have a module efficiency between 17.84% and 18.65%.

HiKu is the first polycrystalline module with a power rating up to 415W and is capable of producing 24% more power compared to conventional modules. The nominal maximum power of the modules ranges between 330W and 345W, while their operating voltage range is between 32.2V and 32.8V.

Made up of anodized aluminum alloy, the modules offer up to 4.5% lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and up to 2.7 % lower system cost.

The modules provide better shading tolerance and have minimal cell crack risk. They are capable of withstanding heavy snow load up to 5,400Pa and a wind load of up to 3,600Pa, while operating in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 85°C.

The 222MW Maplewood solar farm is expected to feature 799,300 photovoltaic solar modules along with 91 central inverters.

Infrastructure facilities

The Maplewood solar project site is easily accessible via national highways and thereafter travelling on the Interstate 10 service road leading to unincorporated communities of Iraan and Sheffield.

The primary infrastructure of the project will include the solar modules, mounting system, underground electrical power lines for electricity collection, combiner boxes, inverters, and a substation.

Associated support infrastructure components include the operations and maintenance facility, transmission facility, and related ancillary equipment such as meteorological equipment, which is required for safe and reliable operations of the project.

Power transmission details

The power generated will be evacuated to the national grid through a new 345kV terminal at the existing Bakersfield substation of Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).

Power transmission from Bakersfield substation will be through a new 3.15km (1.96 miles) 345kV double-circuit transmission line connecting to the Red Barn substation.

Power will be transmitted to the interconnection as part of the ERCOT Standard Generation Interconnection Agreement executed with Electric Transmission Texas (ETT), an investor-owned electric utility.

Off-take agreements

In June 2019, Anheuser-Busch signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Recurrent Energy to purchase the entire power generated by the Maplewood project.

The PPA supports Anheuser-Busch’s 2025 Renewable Electricity goal in the US and also represents the single biggest purchase of solar energy in the US beverage industry.

The power generated by the 28MW Maplewood 2 will be purchased by Energy Transfer, under a 15-year PPA signed with Recurrent Energy.

Contractors involved

KE Andrews prepared the valuation, taxation, and legal documents for the Maplewood solar project.