On a patch of land owned by the SDSU lies the newly-built 6 MW (AC) Community 1 solar power plant, which comprises 25,000 solar panels that span 37 acres. This plant is large for a reason — it powers 2,200 households when operating at its maximum capacity.
This solar power plant was developed by Sol Orchard in collaboration with the Center for Energy Sustainability at San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Imperial Valley Campus. Boeing provided engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) for this project.
While I advocate capitalizing on rooftop solar energy the most (because it conserves a great deal of land — 37 acres in this case), the Community 1 solar project is still a step in the right direction and centralized solar power plants such as these can power buildings which lack roof space. They can also reduce the electricity demand burden on local power plants.
The Imperial Irrigation District will purchase all of the solar power plant’s electricity via a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) and sell it to interested customers via a community solar programme.
“At NRG, we challenge the status quo, joining forces with the best to push the industry on innovation and new design, all with consumer needs in mind,” said Randy Hickok, senior vice president of NRG. “We’re truly excited to empower the Imperial Irrigation District’s community solar program which brings pioneering spirit and clean technology to their customers while doing something that will help ensure the future of our planet.”
Indeed! Solar isn’t just about saving money. We can’t move to another planet. Even if we could: we can’t keep causing problems and running away from them. We have to face them. That is how we mature as a civilization.