Currently, the City of Georgetown is taking steps to end one of the long-term contracts. Georgetown recently announced it is suing Buckthorn Westex, the company contracted to provide the city with solar power. The city claims that Buckthorn Westex breached at least three portions of its contract and withheld information about the expected performance of its solar project.
In the lawsuit, the City of Georgetown seeks $1 million in damages and an immediate cancellation of the 25-year contract.
“Unfortunately, since the solar farm became operational in 2018, the city became aware of several problems at the facility related to its operation and performance,” says David Morgan, Georgetown City Manager. “These ongoing problems have resulted in financial losses for the city.” He claims Buckthorn was aware of some of these issues and did not disclose them during negotiations.
Buckthorn recently released a statement on the lawsuit: “Buckthorn strongly disputes all claims in the Complaint made by the City of Georgetown. Buckthorn has and will continue to honor all terms of its contractual agreement with the City and any claims to the contrary are inaccurate. Just two days before filing its lawsuit, the City agreed to formal mediation. Rather than working in good faith, Georgetown elected to pursue litigation in a clear attempt to terminate its contractual obligations. Buckthorn is eager to present the facts in the legal process.”
The Buckthorn Westex solar project spans approximately 1,250 acres with 1.7 million solar panels on the property. In 2016, Buckthorn Westex’s parent company, SunEdison Utility Solutions, filed for bankruptcy. The solar project was then purchased by NRG Energy Inc. for $11 million. In 2018, the solar project was sold again, this time to Clearwater Energy Inc. (formerly NRG Yield Inc.).
Caitlin Ritchie is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.