Some solar companies are still able to find work in Nevada. SunPower Corp. joined NV Energy, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Miranda Ballentine and 99th Air Base Wing Commander Colonel Richard Boutwell in dedicating a new 15-MW SunPower solar power system that is now operating at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
SunPower designed and constructed the project. Approximately 150 jobs were created during construction of the plant and to strengthen NV Energy’s transmission and distribution infrastructure for the Air Force base.
Called the Nellis Solar Array II Generating Station, the project is the first large-scale solar resource that is owned by NV Energy, and the 11th large-scale solar generating resource serving NV Energy customers.
“We appreciate the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, Senator Reid, Governor Sandoval and others for their support of our efforts to reduce our dependency on coal-fired generation and to replace it with environmentally friendly renewable resources,” said NV Energy President and CEO Paul Caudill.
The plant is the second large-scale solar project operating on the base. The first was also built by SunPower, and is a 13.2-MW solar field that has been operational since 2007. Together, the two solar projects can meet the energy requirements of the base during daylight hours, according to NV Energy.
“Increasingly, the U.S. military is relying on solar power to ensure a cost-effective, emission-free electricity supply for its operations,” said Tom Werner, SunPower President and CEO. “We congratulate Nellis Air Force Base for its leading commitment to solar, and we are proud to partner with NV Energy on innovative large-scale solar projects like this one that deliver high-performance and long-term value for the utility and its customers.”
As part of the project, NV Energy built a new adjacent substation and underground distribution lines to provide additional redundancy and electricity reliability at the Nellis Air Force Base.
The Nellis Solar Array II project was constructed over a closed landfill using SunPower Oasis Power Plant technology, a fully integrated, modular solar power block that is engineered to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy large solar projects that maximize power generation while optimizing land use.
SunPower is also currently constructing the 100-MW Boulder Solar I solar project under a power purchase agreement (PPA) with NV Energy. A second PPA with NV Energy, for the 50-megawatt Boulder Solar II project, was recently approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.
— Solar Builder magazine