Construction has begun on the 191 megawatt Springbok 2 Solar photovoltaic project in Southern California, according to recent reports.
The project, which is being built in Kern County, north of Los Angeles, is particularly notable as it is tied to a power purchase agreement (PPA) that will see electricity generated by the project sold to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power at a rate of $58.65 per megawatt-hour (MWh).
This means that the Springbok 2 project — according to the developer 8minutenergy, and the majority investor DE Shaw Renewable Investments — represents one of the first solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to undercut conventional fossil fuel fired power plants (coal-fired and gas-fired).
Of course, other lower PPAs have been announced in recent days, but they mostly relate to future projects rather than those under construction now. Many of these other projects aren’t even slated to begin construction for years — and are mostly banking on solar PV module prices dropping notably before then.
The construction work — which will see 600,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules installed on solar trackers, across more than 3 square kilometers — is being done by Minnesota’s Swinerton Renewable Energy. The project will reportedly utilize SMA inverters.
Part of the reason for the relatively low PPA for the project is that it is situated on old farmland that had turned into a bit of a dust bowl, and as a result, the environmental concerns are notably lessened, thereby leading to the requirement of less in the way of damage mitigation. In order to deal with the dust issue (which affects solar PV productivity of course), the ground will reportedly be sprayed with a polymer — binding up the dust to some degree.
The Springbok 2 solar PV project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
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