The largest solar and storage project in the United States has just been launched

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The largest combined solar and energy storage project in the United States is now online and operating in California’s Mojave Desert.

The sprawling mega-project spans 4,600 acres in Kern County and is located on private land as well as Edwards Air Force Base. It is the largest public-private partnership in which the US Air Force has ever participated.

Known as the Edwards and Sanborn Project, it was developed by… Terra Jane And he built it Mortenson, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. Construction began in the first quarter of 2021 and was announced for completion last week. The project includes a staggering 1.9 million units from the panel maker First solarAnd 120,720 batteries from LG Chem, Samsung and BYD — making it the largest project of its kind in the United States, according to Mortenson. The equipment is connected by more than 400 miles of wire, according to Brent Berglund, vice president of project development at Mortenson.

Solar energy also constitutes a Bigger and bigger share From grid power, battery storage is needed to absorb excess daytime energy and make it available for use later in the day. For this Solar facilities are increasingly co-located With battery plants: Photovoltaics plus storage is a leading combination of hybrid renewables.

This project has a capacity to generate 875 megawatts of solar energy in addition to 3,287 megawatt-hours of energy storage.

The project provides power to more than 10 customers, or “offenders,” including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, the city of San Jose, the Clean Energy Alliance and Starbucks. The acquisition contracts with Terra-Gen, which will retain ownership and operation of the project, are a mix of solar-only agreements, storage-only agreements, and solar-plus-storage agreements, according to Berglund.

The batteries will be used for a variety of applications, including storing large quantities to provide constant power through the evening, among others Network services.

“A project like this is a critical source of energy to help grid operators and generators manage an ever-changing system,” Berglund said. “These projects can be used to balance and support the network in the middle of the day or provide immediate support to the market.”

He was Funded By the usual suspects in infrastructure funds, including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Cobank, U.S. Bank, ING, and Nomura, via two financing rounds totaling more than $1.7 billion in financing Construction, term financing, revolving credit, tax equity and loans. Tax and equity bridge facilities.

Berglund stressed that Mortenson has had a positive experience with the project’s 100 percent unionized workforce, which is “close to the peak of 1,000.”

Berglund, a veteran developer, said this is “probably the most complex project” he has worked on — given its size, large workforce, three separate connections to the grid, combination of solar and storage technologies and vendors, and diversity of energy sources. Takeover agreements.

The rise of utility-scale solar and grid storage are bright spots in the U.S. renewable energy landscape. power Learning curvedriven by Automation Software improvements as well as panel efficiency improvements continue to reduce the cost of large-scale solar, already the lowest-cost generation source. Batteries are moving down the cost curve as well, and storage capacity is set at Nearly doubled in the United States this year.

We expect these forces to lead to more giant storage and solar projects in the coming years.

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