November 26, 2020: RWE Renewables, a subsidiary of the German RWE Group, is building a 200MW solar plant to be paired with 40MW/80MWh of battery storage in the US state of Georgia, the firm announced on November 17.
The Hickory Park Solar plant is RWE’s first in the Peach State, and will sell its power to the state utility Georgia Power Company under a 30-year power purchase agreement that was signed in November. Georgia Power has 2.6 million customers.
As well as being the first in Georgia, RWE says Hickory Park is also the largest of its solar-plus-storage projects in the US.
Georgia, on the south-eastern coast of the US, has no shortage of sun to be tapped by the 650,000 solar panels at Hickory Park, which covers an area of 1,800 acres (7.3km2).
According to the US Department of Energy, the use of solar has grown 35-fold nationwide since 2008 to an estimated 62.5GW, and now powers more than 12 million homes.
Battery storage has seen fast growth, with the US Energy Information Administration recording a mere seven large-scale battery systems in 2010, with just 59MW of power capacity. By 2015 this had grown seven-fold, and by the end of 2018, 125 large-scale systems had a power capacity of 870MW, with about 1.2GWh of storage capacity.