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Update: Wisconsin solar farm back on schedule after threat of COVID-19 coronavirus delay; impact uncertain for Badger Hollow

Update: Wisconsin solar farm back on schedule after threat of COVID-19 coronavirus delay; impact uncertain for Badger Hollow


One of Wisconsin’s first two large-scale solar farms is back on track a month after developers warned of potential delays resulting from the outbreak of the coronavirus.

NextEra Energy, which is building the 150-megawatt Two Creeks solar farm in Manitowoc County, on Wednesday notified the utilities that have contracted to buy the facility that it has withdrawn notice of a potential force majeure event — unforeseeable circumstances that could have affected the contract terms.

NextEra said the subcontractor who had warned of potential supply chain disruptions caused by factory shutdowns in China now says no cost impacts or delays are expected to result from those events.

Wisconsin Public Service Corp., which will co-own the facility with Madison Gas and Electric, notified the Public Service Commission of the update on Thursday.

NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel said there are no schedule impacts to any of the company’s renewable energy projects as a result of coronavirus issues.

Invenergy, which is developing the 300-megawatt Badger Hollow solar farm in Iowa County, notified its utility buyers of the potential for delays but said uncertainty around the outbreak make it difficult to predict the final impact.

Invenergy spokesman Ben Lambrecht said Thursday the company has no updates to report.

Greentech Media reported this week that projects under construction in 2020 may be delayed by two to four weeks at most, but developers are bracing for ripple effects in the supply chain that could affect their ability to claim federal tax credits, which drop in each of the next two years.

Developers can lock in credits by purchasing a certain amount of equipment prior to construction, but if supply chains dry up they might be forced to use “safe harbored” equipment reserved for future projects to complete those under construction now.

Any cost overruns with Wisconsin’s first two large-scale solar farms — with a combined price tag of $597 million — would not automatically be passed on to ratepayers, though utilities could argue for that in future rate cases.

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