Recurrent Energy is celebrating a big victory today — landing a long-term power purchase contract for 50 megawatts with major utility Southern California Edison. All of this energy will be generated by the small-scale solar systems Recurrent has become known for.
The deal is important for two reasons. First, it furthers SoCal Edison’s goal of generating 33 percent of its power output from renewable sources, complying with the California state mandate. While no financial details have been released, it is likely the agreement rivals that recently made between Pacific Gas & Electric and small-scale solar installer SolarCity for $60 million in tax equity.
Second, it demonstrates exactly how distributed solar is moving up in the world. For a while now, the federal and state governments have been more in favor of utility-scale solar arrays in remote areas. But rooftop and smaller arrays are picking up momentum (San Francisco just worked with SunWheel Energy Partners on something similar). Not only have the biggest utilities in California endorsed distributed solar systems — they have the potential to save millions in energy transmission costs, something the state needs to do badly.
The new money will so go toward the construction of two smaller solar arrays in its coverage area. Now all eyes are turning to Recurrent to see which solar panel distributor it will select to make this major undertaking a reality. The goal is to have the solar facilities — one generating 22 megawatts and one generating 28 megawatts — up and running by 2012.
Recurrent is a venture-backed startup based in San Francisco. It raised $75 million in July 2008 from Hudson Clean Energy Partners. Before that, it brought in $10 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures in June 2007. It says it has more than 1 gigawatt-worth of projects in its pipeline.