Construction has begun on the 250MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. The project is located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation to the north of Las Vegas. It is expected that the plant will be fully operational by the end of 2015. By that time it will be capable of providing solar energy to meet the needs of over 93,000 homes.
There is a Power Purchase Agreement in place with the LADWP to deliver solar energy for 25 years to the City of Los Angeles. A ground breaking ceremony has been held to kick off the start of the project and was attended by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He told the crowd, “The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar project is the first utility-scale solar project on tribal land and will deliver much needed economic benefits to the Tribe and Nevada. It will also create about 400 construction jobs, and replace dirty energy with clean solar power.”
When the power plant is producing its renewable energy it will displace approximately 313,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year.
It is the aim of LADWP to expand its use of renewable energy to 33 percent of its total power supply as it attempts to build a clean energy future. The Moapa plant provides 2.4 percent towards achieving this goal.
Moapa Southern Paiute Solar, LLC (a subsidiary of First Solar Electric, LLC) is the project owner and will construct the project using First Solar’s advanced photovoltaic (PV) thin film solar modules. The project will be built on 2,000 acres of land on the Moapa River Indian Reservation and include an onsite substation and a new 5.5 mile 500 kV transmission line that will connect the project to the existing Crystal Substation, serving energy users in California.
According to the press release that was issued by First Solar, “Once the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar facility becomes fully operational, LADWP will be able to repurpose existing transmission systems that now bring high-carbon coal power from Navajo Generating Station. The Moapa plant, along with a second utility-scale solar power plant in that region of Nevada, will enable LADWP to stop receiving coal power from the Navajo plant by the end of 2015, four years before it is required by California state law—reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8.4 million metric tons (MMT) between 2014 and 2019 cumulatively. The renewable energy from the two solar power projects in Nevada will contribute over 4 percent to LADWP’s goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020.”