Clean Power

Published on May 7th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


127 MW Solar Power Plant Opened in Arizona

May 7th, 2013 by  

A massive, 127-megawatt solar power installation was officially opened in Arizona last week. Block 1 (of 5) of the Arlington Valley Solar Energy II (AV Solar II) utility-scale installation is located in Maricopa County in southwest Arizona on about 1,160 acres of land. The rest of the power plant / solar farm will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2013 — one of the beauties of solar power plants is the speed at which they can go up.

kyocera solar power plant

Kyocera, one of the world’s biggest solar module manufacturers, has supplied 25 MW of solar panels for the project.

kyocera solar

“Today’s opening of the AV Solar II mega-installation marks a major milestone in Kyocera’s four decades of manufacturing high-quality, long-lasting solar modules,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc. “We’re proud to provide U.S.-made products to this utility-scale installation, which adds to the mega-installations around the world showcasing Kyocera’s unrivaled solar solutions including a 204MW project in Thailand and a 70MW installation in Kagoshima, Japan.”

kyocera groundbreaking
Kyocera is a Kyoto-based company. However, it has US headquarters in Arizona.

This article was originally published on Solar Love as: 127-Megawatt Utility-Scale Solar Installation Opens In Arizona.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Columbo1

    Electric generating costs are valued in $ per kwh NOT $ per kw. So, you have to factor in what is called a “capacity factor” for solar that converts kw or mw to kwh or mwh. In many parts of the country such as where I live in the northeast the capacity factor is small because we do not have much daily sunlight compared to say AZ. The company I work for installed a 1.6 MW solar unit a few yrs ago. In order for it to breakeven against what was nominally about 12 cents per kwh prevailing cost, half the capital had to be subsidized through Federal tax credits, stimulus $, state tax credits and another grant. Then there had to be recognized revenue from energy certificates which at the time were forecasted to be as high as $500/mwh and are now only $75/mwh. The capital cost per kw was about twice as high as #’s cited here and I suspect that has to do with economies of scale with larger units and also with improved solar conversion to electricity since 2009. If one were to remove all the subsidies and get rid of the energy certicates, and adjsut for improved conversion, solar would be about 35 cents per kw in the NE which is far cry from prevailing rates in the 5-7 range for natural gas.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The Northeast averages 4.2 solar hours per day annually. The Southwest averages 5 to 5.5. That’s 76% to 84% as much in the NE as SW.

      We’ve recently seen a large solar array installed for $1.59/watt in the UK and a new one in Spain for $1.41/watt. This is where per watt prices are headed. Germany is installing in this range. Australia is installing residential rooftop for $2/watt. The US is lagging a bit in terms of price but coming down.

      Those sorts of prices along with 4.2 solar hours (17.5% capacity) and 4% financing brings the non-subsidized price of electricity to under 8 cents per kWh.

      “a few yrs ago” is ancient history in the world of solar power.

  • Andrew Willard

    : LS Power announced today that it had completed financing and authorized construction of

    the $550 million Arlington Valley Solar Energy II Project (“AV Solar”), a 127 megawatt (AC)

    photovoltaic solar farm, near Arlington, Arizona. The AV Solar Project, to be constructed on more than

    1,100 acres of land, will directly convert sunlight to electricity. The Project, to be operational in 2013

    • This makes $4.3 per watt. Why are American solar parks so expensive? Recent German ca. 100 MW solar parks cost just $2.5 per watt (in September 2012).

      • Bob_Wallace

        Average US utility scale installed solar was $2.37/watt during 4th quarter 2012. (Greentech Media)

        I don’t understand the $4.30/watt.

        • $500Million/127megawatts = $3.937 per watt

          Higher than Germany or Bob’s $2.37/watt but close to Ross’s $3.873/Watt. So where did the $4.3/watt come from?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Includes non-system costs such as land, transmission, permits, etc.?

            But it doesn’t seem those things would add up to $2/watt.

            (And I just saw a post that reported that the UK just completed a large PV installation for $1.60/W. Haven’t confirmed the claim yet.)

          • There is also a new Spanish 250 MW solar park with planned budged €270M. This is $1.4 per watt.

            250 MW, Unsubsidized Solar PV Power Plant Planned For Western Spain

          • Bob_Wallace

            That one is planned, not yet built. If they can bring it in for $1.40/W then we will have leaped far ahead toward bring cheap solar to the grid.

            $1.60/W would mean 5.6c to 9.5c/kWh electricity in the US. (Sunniest to least sunny places, excluding the foggy Seattle coast and Alaska.)

            $1.40/W would mean 4.9c to 7c/kWh electricity.

            Those are numbers that will make solar a very major player. Those prices lock in for 20 years and then the cost of electricity from those installations drop to about zero/kWh for another 20+ years.

            If one takes the longer look, panels operating for at least 40 years, they would see electricity for less than five cents per kWh and locked in, not rising with inflation. Installing solar today is buying extremely cheap electricity for the grid of a couple decades from now.

          • it was 550 megadollars / 127 megawatts = $4.33 per watt.

            From picture, it did not look like there was single axis following of the Sun. Sun following of course increases the cost.

      • Ross

        This April 2013 capital costs table from the EIA has solar PV at the 150MW scale coming in at $3,873 per kW.

        Perhaps that $4.3 per watt figure doesn’t include tax breaks.

      • Andrew Willard

        Lets try not to get too hung up on price per MW or kW. Panels are cheaper today than they were 2011/2012 but some costs many not be stated such as Transmission line upgrades, land costs, permit fees, environmental reports. Many of these things are local costs, and a comparison to a built out in Germany or Spain may not be apples to oranges.

        Permitting in the USA is higher than in other countries, its something still being worked on, there is not USA “standard” its 50 separate states and inside each state are multiple counties and even multiple power providers. Lots of cooks in the kitchen which adds more cost. (sometimes).

        Hopefully some of this work for this project included enough transmission upgrades so future plants can be built faster and cheaper.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Price per MW/kW is important. We know the price of solar panels. The system price tells us how quickly the BOS prices are falling.

          We can get our permitting costs down in the US. We’ve been whittling them down. The federal government took a big hunk off by pre-approving a lot of federal land for renewable use.

          We’re installing our large, non-rooftop arrays close to existing transmission lines and where land is cheap. (I can’t believe Germany or the UK has cheaper land than does the US.)

          My guess is that there will be a relatively short “sweet spot” for building large solar arrays. As we drop the price of residential and rooftop solar I’m guessing that is where most of our panels are going to end up.

          No real estate costs. No transmission costs. Very widely distributed which smooths out variability. Competing against end-user power costs and not against wholesale power costs.

  • Bob_Wallace


  • jburt56

    Economies of scale will be kicking in shortly!!!

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