Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Rivian anchors BrightNight solar plant at former coal mine

Illustration of golden solar panels.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Rivian is anchoring a planned 800 MW solar plant that developer BrightNight is building at a former coal mine in Kentucky.

Why it matters: The anticipated $1 billion project would be the state's largest renewable energy project by capacity and one of the biggest to be built at a former coal mine.

What's happening: Rivian has committed to buy 100 MW from the Starfire Mine solar project.

  • That represents nearly half the project's initial Phase 1 generating capacity of 210 MW.
  • Environmental nonprofit The Nature Conservancy is buying another 2.5 MW.

Zoom in: Project developer BrightNight's founder is Martin Hermann, who previously launched utility-scale developer 8minute Solar — now called Avantus. That company has raised about $600 million, per PitchBook.

  • He earlier sold another company, semiconductor startup CAD-UL, to Intel in 2001.

State of play: With BrightNight, Hermann is angling to build a global greenfield developer and independent power producer.

  • The company, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., has built a 20 GW pipeline spanning 70 projects.
  • It expects to begin constructing its first U.S. project, a 300 MW plant in Arizona, next year.
Go deeper