The parent company of We Energies plans to spend $250 million to acquire an 80% stake in a solar project located around 140 miles northeast of Dallas, Texas.
Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group will acquire the stake in the 250-megawatt Samson I Solar Energy Center, which was developed and built by Chicago-based Invenergy. The project began commercial operation in May 2022 and AT&T has a long-term power purchase agreement for the electricity it generates.
The acquisition is being made by WEC’s non-utility energy infrastructure segment, which has made a number of investments in renewable projects in recent years. Most of the projects have been wind farms located in Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The company did announce a $360 million investment in the Maple Flats solar project in October.
“The Samson Solar project is an exciting addition to our Infrastructure business and highlights our continued investment in affordable, reliable and clean energy. This project will help one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies meet their clean energy needs for years to come,” said Gale Klappa, executive chairman of WEC Energy Group.
Samson I is the first of a five-phase project that will cover 18,000 acres in northeast Texas. It will total 1,300 MW when complete and is the largest solar project under construction in the country, according to WEC.
Investments made by the energy infrastructure segment help WEC reduce its tax liabilities through production tax credits. In the first nine months of 2022, the company generated $86 million in PTCs, helping to pull its effective tax rate down from the statutory 21% to 18.6%.
The segment also generated almost $243 million in net income over those three quarters, up from $204 million in 2021.