SMYRNA – The e-commerce giant Amazon announced its largest investment in renewable energy yet in Delaware on Wednesday as it has brokered a deal for more than half of the power produced by the Cedar Creek Solar Farm in Kent and New Castle counties.
Developed by Connecticut-based Freepoint Solar, Cedar Creek will total about 114 megawatts of power, or nearly 10 times larger than Delaware’s largest current solar array. It faced vocal local opposition from Kent County farmers as it is located in an agricultural conservation district, however, and required a reworked proposal before it was approved by the county’s Levy Court. A separate part of the project is working through New Castle County’s permitting process right now.
Scheduled to be operational by the end of 2024, Amazon has reportedly signed a deal to purchase 74.7 megawatts of the produced power from the project, or 65% of the total power, according to a company spokesman. It will also be known as the Amazon Solar Farm Delaware – Cedar Creek.
Peter Ford, head of solar development at Freepoint, who has been leading the project locally, declined to comment on the Amazon announcement Wednesday. Freepoint plans to build 230,000 solar panels on about 260 acres of farmland east of Smyrna along Woodland Beach Road and Lighthouse Road, according to plans filed with the county.
Amazon has agreed to purchase the power produced by the array through what’s known as a power purchase agreement (PPA), which locks in energy rates and purchases for a specified time period. Such agreements give assurance to solar developers that they will recoup their costs over the long term, while energy buyers can lock in long-term low rates. The terms of Amazon’s PPA with Freepoint were not disclosed.
It’s the second major solar investment for Amazon in the area, as it partnered with French wind and solar farm developer Engie in late 2020 on a 50-megawatt solar farm just west of Townsend. That project will be named Amazon Solar Farm Delaware – Solidago, in reference to the project’s original development name.