Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

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Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
02-09-15 First Solar Desert Sunlight Solar Farm (15863210084).jpg
Solar arrays at Desert Sunlight
CountryUnited States
LocationRiverside County, California
Coordinates33°49′17″N 115°23′38″W / 33.82139°N 115.39389°W / 33.82139; -115.39389Coordinates: 33°49′17″N 115°23′38″W / 33.82139°N 115.39389°W / 33.82139; -115.39389
StatusOperational
Construction began2011
Commission date2015
Owner(s)NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services, Sumitomo Group
Solar farm
TypeFlat-panel PV
Site area16 square kilometres (6.2 sq mi), 3900acres
Power generation
Nameplate capacity550 MWAC
Capacity factor26.7% (2015 EIA)
Annual net output1,287 GW·h, 330 MW·h/acre
External links
Websitefirstsolar.com

The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 megawatt (MWAC) photovoltaic power station approximately six miles north of Desert Center, California, in the Mojave Desert. It uses approximately 8.8 million cadmium telluride modules made by the US thin-film manufacturer First Solar. As of Fall 2015, the Solar Farm has the same 550 MW installed capacity as the Topaz Solar Farm in the Carrizo Plain region of Central California, making both of them tied for the second largest completed solar plants by installed capacity.[1][2]

Project details[edit]

Project construction took place in two phases, both of which are supported by power purchase agreements.

Phase I has a capacity of 300 MW, which will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Phase II has a capacity of 250 MW, which will be sold to Southern California Edison. The project was expected to involve more than 550 construction jobs in Riverside County, California.[3] The project was built on over 6 square miles (16 km2) of creosote bush-dominated desert habitat near Desert Center next to Joshua Tree National Park.[4] Construction began in September, 2011 and final completion was in January 2015.[2]

The $1.46 billion in loans for the project are partially guaranteed by DOE and will be funded by a group of investors led by Goldman Sachs Lending Partners, which submitted the project under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. as co-lead arranger.[3]

Land use for the solar farm is 3.0acres/GW·h/yr (= 330 MW·h/acre annual production).

Electricity production statistics[edit]

Generation (MW·h) of Desert Sunlight 250, LLC [5]
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2013 12,877 15,657 28,534
2014 21,773 27,207 34,901 41,461 39,400 43,829 51,572 39,497 46,360 46,364 46,793 34,333 473,490
2015 40,399 47,894 56,371 59,569 60,775 57,715 58,348 58,787 39,097 47,562 45,791 41,633 613,941
2016 39,151 50,933 55,135 54,198 63,118 59,008 61,051 57,526 53,062 50,947 43,476 36,137 623,742
2017 24,521 27,389 51,199 54,629 69,666 75,460 68,717 63,573 59,240 54,578 33,735 35,494 618,201
Total 2,357,908
Generation (MW·h) of Desert Sunlight 300, LLC [6]
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2013 10,015 32,709 33,043 75,767
2014 32,312 34,615 44,998 45,876 43,733 47,205 45,698 44,642 66,531 51,571 52,960 37,274 547,415
2015 45,802 52,966 60,742 64,541 61,367 63,147 63,620 63,517 44,398 53,467 51,543 47,712 672,822
2016 44,903 58,492 61,875 60,223 74,220 70,241 72,661 67,907 61,623 58,041 50,542 41,812 722,540
2017 27,882 31,143 58,216 62,117 79,214 85,803 78,135 72,286 67,359 62,058 38,359 40,358 702,928
Total 2,721,472

Environmental issues[edit]

In 2012 the National Parks Conservation Association issued a report identifying three desert solar power plants sited within five miles of National Parks in the California Desert as projects that they suggest should not have been approved in their locations, including the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.[7] The group cites damage to visual resources, and impacts on desert species.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldenstein, Taylor ( 9 February 2015) "Huge solar farm opens in California: Enough energy for 160,000 homes" Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b FirstSolar.com Desert Sunlight Solar Farm
  3. ^ a b "DOE Closes on Four Major Solar Projects". Renewable Energy World. 30 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Desert Sunlight 250, LLC, Monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Desert Sunlight 300, LLC, Monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Danelski, David (April 16, 2015). "SOLAR POWER: Inland plants boost state to No. 1". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California.
  8. ^ "Group Calls For Strict Limits on Solar Power Near National Parks". KCET. Retrieved 30 November 2012.