A 137 MW DC or 105 MW AC solar power plant will be developed at Springbok 1 Solar Farm in Kern County, CA, about 70 miles north of LA, by 8minuteenergy Renewables.
A power purchase agreement was signed by Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) and 8minuteenergy Renewables, a leading American solar power developer. The new solar power plant will be a distributed utility-scale facility on about 700 acres of farmland that has not been used for 20 years. This last detail is important, because sometimes critics of solar power say solar power plants use land that could have been better utilized for other other purposes. In this case, locating a solar power plant there is a beneficial arrangement.
Plant operations are expected to begin in June of 2016. Of course, the plant will have many PV modules, but it will also utilize sun tracking systems to boost electricity production. An estimated 700 jobs will have been created by the time the project has been completed – either directly or indirectly. Most of these will be for the construction phases.
The electricity generated by the plant will be used in Los Angeles, which is already a leading American solar city with a solar power capacity of 140 MW.
It probably isn’t surprising to anyone that electricity costs more in LA than in many other American places to live, “The 20.5 cents per kWh Los Angeles households paid for electricity in September 2015 was 45.4 percent more than the nationwide average of 14.1 cents per kWh. Last September, electricity costs were 53.2 percent higher in Los Angeles compared to the nation. In the past five years, prices paid by Los Angeles area consumers for electricity exceeded the U.S. average by 37.8 percent or more in the month of September.”
California imports electricity from the Pacific Northwest, burns natural gas, has its own hydro power and some nuclear. Increasingly, renewables have been contributing as well. In fact, the Golden State has a goal to be running on 50% renewables by 2030.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL