Rocky Mountain Institute Issues Request for Proposals for Solar Photovoltaics and Battery Storage in Texas
RFP seeks bids for as much as 13.25 MW of solar photovoltiaic generation for two electric cooperatives and a university in Texas
Boulder, Colorado – January 5, 2018 —Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop as much as 13.25 megawatts (MW) of distribution-scale solar and storage in Texas on behalf of Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, CoServ Electric and University of North Texas.
The buyers are primarily motivated by the opportunity to generate economic value through local energy solutions. Distribution-scale solar—defined as solar photovoltaic (PV) projects sized between 0.5 MW and 5 MW—can access economies of scale similar to those found in utility-scale solar while providing the benefits of a distributed energy resource, making community-scale solar economically competitive without subsidies.
A recent RMI-supported RFP process for new distribution-scale solar in New Mexico resulted in a record-low reported U.S. power-purchase price of less than $45/MWh for 25-year flat power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 1–5 MW arrays. Since distribution-scale solar offsets not only wholesale generation costs but also transmission costs, these PPAs can create millions of dollars of lifetime economic benefit.
Alongside today’s announced RFP, RMI is providing a detailed financial evaluation model that quantifies the value from more than a half-dozen value streams to the electricity buyers. These include energy savings, avoided transmission and generation charges, avoided hedge costs and deferred substation upgrades. This financial evaluation model will support decisions by Bluebonnet, CoServ and the University of North Texas (UNT). Bidders can use the model to design solar PV and solar-plus-storage systems for maximum net value to electricity buyers.
“We’re seeing a strong interest from electricity buyers in Texas in community-scale solar and we are pleased to work with Bluebonnet, CoServ and UNT to bring more clean energy to their communities,” Thomas Koch Blank, a principal at RMI, said. “The quantitative valuation of different community-scale solar benefits in this RFP will make it very clear to buyers how they will benefit. We anticipate that our model will help electricity buyers as well as project developers better understand the value of community-scale solar, unlocking more solar value for customers around the state.”
In addition to Texas, RMI is supporting ongoing distribution-scale solar projects in New Mexico, New York and Colorado. This is in line with RMI’s goal to support 1 gigawatt of new community-scale solar systems by 2020—generating power equivalent of two average-sized coal plants. In 2016, RMI supported the procurement of more than 60 MW of distribution-scale solar through three RFP processes. Market interest in distribution-scale solar is growing nationwide and RMI is expanding its efforts to address this interest.
RMI supports all aspects of the community-scale solar procurement process, including creation of a competitive RFP, administration, evaluation and negotiation. RMI provides electricity buyers—including electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and public entities—with energy recommendations based on economic analysis and data-driven evaluation. RMI supports buyers during negotiation and PPA execution and throughout the development and construction process.
Today’s RFP was developed in partnership with Texas Energy Aggregation (TEA) and Texas Coalition for Clean Energy (TCEC). TEA has helped public organizations in Texas buy low-cost power since 2002. In 2017, TEA was awarded a contract from the Texas State Comptroller’s office to provide electricity-sourcing services to state agencies.
Commitments of intent to participate in the RFP are due by January 19th, 2018, with questions and clarifications due by the same date. Final bids are due by February 2nd, 2018.
The RFP can be found here.
Marketing Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute
About Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
About Texas Energy Aggregation
Texas Energy Aggregation, LLC (TEA), has helped electricity buyers in Texas to procure affordable electricity since 2002. Recently, TEA was awarded a three-year contract by the Texas State Comptroller to provide energy-sourcing services to Texas state agencies. Via this contract state agencies and any other public entity in Texas can access reliable, affordable electricity at low prices directly via TEA, without the need to run an independent competitive procurement.
About Texas Clean Energy Coalition
Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC) is a nonprofit committed to enhancing Texas’ economy by positioning our state as the world leader in the new clean energy industry as a complement to the traditional oil and gas energy industry leadership. The Texas Clean Energy Coalition sponsors original research on the impact of clean energy and energy efficiency on the Texas economy, and highlights outstanding new research by others.