More super-sized solar could be coming to California

In the most inspiring of ways, California is a very selfish state. It seems that every time massive development is announced somewhere in the country, it isn’t long until the Golden State takes notice and yells “Wait, wait, look at ME!” with some more massive news.

Welp, the same is true this week. You may have heard about the more than 1 GWac of solar in Ohio that already has siting board approval, a lofty feat for a a state that currently contains just over 200 MWdc in capacity. Well not to take the attention away from a market that most assuredly deserves it, but today the Kern County Board of Supervisors will be considering a 500 MW project to be located on 2,652 acres just southeast of the unincorporated area of Cantil, California.

At this point it goes without saying, but that is MASSIVE. We don’t usually use the standard football field comparison that’s thrown around for sizing perspective, but post-season depression is setting in early this year, so here it is: that’s over 2,000 football fields worth of solar panels. For further perspective, that’s more yards than Jerry Rice gained over his entire career.

The developer behind the project, which has been dubbed the Eland 1 Solar Project: 8minutenergy. This is unsurprising, as the company is no stranger to developing massive solar projects.

And speaking of storage, according to the project’s application and environmental impact report, it is expected to be paired with additional energy storage, though it was not stated at what capacity this storage would be. Also left up to question are the brand of panels that will be used, the inverters, racking and whether or not the panels will be mounted on fixed-tilt racking or trackers.

There is reason for hope that this project will be approved, not only because it is being proposed in California, but because The Kern County Planning Commission approved it at their hearing on it last month.

Fully, the commission will be considering rezoning a couple of areas the project will be located on, as those areas are currently only zoned for limited agriculture, mobile homes and suburban residential housing. Additionally, the project’s five conditional use permits will be reviewed.

If the project is approved, the move to construction will likely be a quick one. 8minutenergy anticipates that the project will take just one year to build, and had optimistically looked at Q1 of this year to begin, but since that time has passed it is likely the company will want to get a move on when and if Eland 1 Solar is approved.

 

More super-sized solar could be coming to California, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine, April 9, 2019.

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