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USA’s Biggest Solar Farm Consented

USA’s Biggest Solar Farm Consented
May 14, 2020 Danny Scrivener

Overview

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, the USA’s biggest solar photovoltaic (PV) development has gained planning consent from the Trump administration. The solar development is to be located 30 miles north east of Las Vegas in the state of the Nevada. Its development is expected to cost in the region of $1billion[1].

Development details 

The Gemini Project, which will consist of solar panels co-located with battery storage, will have a capacity of 690MW split over two phases. The total land coverage of the first phase will be approximately 28.5 square kilometres and consist of 440MW of capacity. The development will be one of the first developments in Nevada to implement batteries and an overall storage capacity of 390MW is anticipated.  

The aim in the state of Nevada is to generate half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. This makes sense in a state like Nevada because of the relatively large amount of solar irradiance received compared to the rest of the country. This is shown in Figure 1 below[2]. Nevada is located in the south west (highlighted).

USA's biggest solar farm
Figure 1: USA total solar irradiance

The proposed development has not been without its objectors, however. One of the main issues raised was the potential impact on the Mojave Desert tortoise, which is currently endangered, because of the perceived risk of damage to their habitat[3].

Largest existing solar development

The current record holder for the largest capacity solar PV development in the USA is held by the Solar Star Project which is located in Kern and Los Angeles Counties, California. The total footprint of the development is 13 square kilometres.

The capacity of the development is 579MW which was split over two phases and it utilises single axis tracker panels for improved efficiency. The development produces enough energy to power 255,000 households. 

Whilst the Solar Star Project has held this record since it was completed in 2015, by 2022 its place as the largest solar development in the USA will be lost to the Gemini Project[4].

Completion date

The Gemini Project is due for completion in 2022 and is expected to produce enough energy to power 260,000 homes.

Pager Power

A common requirement for developers is to ensure that Solar PV developments will not cause unacceptable impacts associated with reflected sunlight by the panels. Pager Power’s glint and glare assessments are comprehensive, covering all technical aspects that are regularly required. If you wish to discuss any of your existing or upcoming projects, please do not hesitate to contact the team.

References

[1]Construction to Begin on Biggest Solar Farm in U.S. by Toby Howel, Morning Brew, 11/05/20. Last Accessed 14/05/2020.
[2] U.S Annual Solar GHI, NREL, 22/02/2018. Last Accessed 14/05/2020.
[3] Biggest U.S. solar project approved in Nevada despite critics by Scott Sonner, Nevada Appeal, 12/05/2020. Last Accessed 14/05/2020.
[4] Top 10 Biggest Solar Farms in the USA by Sumit Chakrabarti, Solar Feeds, 13/09/2019. Last Accessed 14/05/2020.

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