World’s Largest Solar Power Plant May Use First Solar &/Or Yingli Solar Modules… Or Not
NextEra Energy’s 485 MW Blythe Solar Power Project, expected to be the world’s largest when it’s complete, just had revised plans submitted to the California Energy Commission.
Blythe Solar Power Project Timeline
Before this revision, the most recent revision to the plans was submitted on June 28, 2012. As indicated when NextEra Energy bought the project from bankrupt Solar Trust of America (a subsidiary of Solar Millennium AG) in December 2011, the project is going to be a solar PV plant rather than the initially planned concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. “NextEra Blythe Solar files this revised PTA to convert the electrical generating technology from concentrating solar thermal collection (CSP) and steam turbine technology of the BSPP to PV solar technology,” the April 2013 filing states. NextEra Energy also downgraded it from a whopping 1 GW power plant to a still very large 485 MW power plant.
NextEra Energy also noted in the filing the phasing of the project. “NextEra Blythe Solar (Applicant) proposes to develop BSPP in four operational phases designed to generate a total of approximately 485 MW nominal of electricity. The first three units (phases) would consist of approximately 125 MW alternating current (AC) of nominal electricity each. The fourth unit would generate approximately 110 MW AC, as shown on the Preliminary Layout, Figure 2-1.”
Blythe Solar Power Project Solar Modules
Also, while the application includes the use of First Solar and Yingli Solar modules in the draft plans and specifications, it also notes that these could change, due to the rapidly changing solar module landscape.
“Because of the industry’s rapid development and advancement in PV technology, the equipment shown for each unit is only representative of one type of technology that could be selected in the final design. NextEra Blythe Solar has not selected the specific PV modules nor has it decided on whether a tracker system, fixed tilt system, or combination of the two systems would be installed. Therefore, the analysis of the impacts associated with the Modified Project assumes a worst-case in terms of the technology employed.”
Here’s more from later in the filing: “The modules being considered for this Modified Project are produced by a number of manufacturers of both crystalline silicon and thin film modules. Brief descriptions of these technologies are included in Section 2.2.1. This technology is changing rapidly primarily in the areas of cost and efficiency. For reasons of availability to support the Modified Project delivery requirements and to allow NextEra Blythe Solar to capitalize on the latest technological advances, multiple manufacturing sources might be utilized.”
The specific modules used in the filing are modules from: First Solar’s FS Series 3 (CdTe thin-film solar modules) and Yingli Solar’s YGE 300 Series (polycrystalline silicon modules).
Start & Completion of Construction
If certain transmission upgrades and permits move along as expected, the filing states that the project could start construction as early as mid-2014. From the start of Phase 1 to the end of project construction, NextEra Energy projects 48 months of work.
For a lot more detail, check out the full California Energy Commission filing.