First Solar has broken ground on the 250 MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar project in Nevada with members of Congress, officials from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and representatives of the Moapa Band of Paiutes in attendance.
The project is located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation and has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the LADWP. The plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2015.
Moapa Southern Paiute Solar LLC, a subsidiary of First Solar Electric LLC, is the project owner and will construct the project using First Solar's thin-film solar modules. The 2,000-acre project will include an on-site substation and a new 5.5 mile 500 kV transmission line that will connect the project to the existing Crystal substation that serves California.
Solar energy from the Moapa plant will contribute 2.4% toward the LADWP's renewable energy portfolio. The Moapa plant, along with a second utility-scale solar power plant in the region, will enable the LADWP to stop receiving power from its coal-fired Navajo Generating Station.
‘The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar project is a significant step toward the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's effort to achieve a major transformation of the city's power supply – one that has greater reliance on renewable energy resources and zero coal power,’ says Marcie L. Edwards, the LADWP's general manager.
Once the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar facility becomes fully operational, the LADWP will be able to repurpose existing transmission systems that now bring high-carbon coal power from the Navajo Generating Station. The Moapa plant, along with the Copper Mountain Solar 3 facility under development by Sempra and Consolidated Edison, will enable LADWP to stop receiving coal power from the Navajo plant by the end of 2015, four years before it is required by California state law.
The electricity from the two solar power projects in Nevada will contribute over 4% to LADWP's goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.