Oriana Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Sonnedix Group, in partnership with Yarotek, announced Tuesday it has commenced energization of the $160 million Oriana Solar Farm, a 45MW AC (58 MW) solar power plant in Isabela.
With an investment in excess of $160 million, the construction of this renewable energy facility created more than 1,000 direct jobs during construction, mostly residents of Isabela and nearby communities.
Greece-based company METKA-EGN built the facility, and will commission and operate it following completion later this year. The plant will be the second of its kind recently built by the partnership in Puerto Rico and the largest of its kind in in the Caribbean.
The announcement comes at a period of significant growth for Sonnedix, with recent acquisitions and new connections of over 100 MWs in Italy, Chile and South Africa.
In addition, on Aug. 31, it was announced that institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management acquired substantially all of the Sonnedix Group to pursue opportunities in the rapidly expanding global solar market.
“The energization of the largest solar power plant in the Caribbean will bring a huge amount of clean, green energy to Puerto Rico,” said Andreas Mustad, CEO of Sonnedix. “It is a landmark moment for Sonnedix. With this, we have more than tripled our operating capacity over the past 18 months.”
The energization process, defined as Initial Synchronization Date, marks the date when Oriana’s solar energy generating equipment is synchronized to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (PREPA) electrical transmission grid. This process is executed progressively, integrating the energy produced into PREPA’s grid in a safe manner, company officials explained.
This includes monitoring the PREPA’s energization requirements at incremental power levels. Further acceptance tests are conducted to assure a smooth transition of energy into the grid introducing clean energy into the grid.
“To keep our promise to begin producing clean energy in the month of August, we worked hand in hand with PREPA and our contractors to meet our goal and the commitment made to the people of Puerto Rico,” said Joern Hackbarth, executive vice-president for Sonnedix Group.
Sonnedix and Yarotek will also be planting some 3,500 trees at a nature reserve near to the site as part of the environmental mitigation.
“The Oriana Solar Farm undoubtedly represents another important step in helping PREPA reduce the purchase of oil-based fuel and integrate clean energy sources into our grid,” said PREPA Executive Director Javier Quintana. “Projects of this nature lead us toward environmental compliance and fuel price stabilization for the benefit of our customers.”