Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One, California, United States of America
The Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AV Solar Ranch One) is a ground-mount solar photovoltaic (PV) power project with an installed capacity of 230MW. The project is located in the Antelope Valley in North Los Angeles County of California, USA.
The AV Solar Ranch One project is owned by Exelon Power, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation. First Solar is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the project, which is estimated to cost about $1.36bn.
Initial construction works for the renewable project began in August 2011. A peak generating capacity of 100MW was connected to the grid in February 2013. The solar farm is expected to produce enough power to meet the needs of 75,000 homes annually.
The solar PV project will result in an annual reduction of about 140,000t of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to removing 3,000 cars from the roads. It will have low environmental impact with no air emissions, waste production, minimal noise and low visual impact. It will also support California's goal of securing at least 33% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.
History of AV Solar Ranch One project
Development of AV Solar Ranch One was originally initiated by NextLight Renewable Power. Planning for the project began in 2009, application for the Zoning/ZUP was submitted in March 2009 and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Notice of Preparation was filed in April 2009.
First Solar became the developer of the project through acquisition of NextLight Renewable Power in July 2010.
Provisional permission for the solar power plant was issued by the statutory authorities in 2010. The final environmental approval for the construction was given in January 2011. The project was acquired by Exelon Corporation in September 2011. First Solar will, however, remain as the developer of the facility.
Financing for the AV Solar Ranch One project
The AV Solar Ranch One project is supported by a loan guarantee of $646m, which was approved by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in September 2011. DOE provided the first advance of the guaranteed loan in April 2012.
Details and construction
The AV Solar Ranch One plant covers 2,100 acres (850ha) of fallow farmland near Lancaster in the Antelope Valley area of the Western Mojave Desert. The project comprises 3.8million of alternating-current (AC) PV modules. Installation of modules began in June 2012 and approximately one million solar panels were installed by September 2012.
The plant would employ 400 local workers during construction and 15 during operations and maintenance.
Generation and sale of power from AV Solar Ranch One
The clean, renewable power generated from AV Solar Ranch One will be sent to Southern California's Whirlwind substation that is located about three miles (4.8km) away from the plant site.
The electricity generated from the plant will be purchased by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement, which has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.
The power project will use First Solar's FS Series 3 PV Module platform. The FS Series 3 PV Module features thin film cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar panels, which can be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Each PV module measures 1,200mm in length, 600mm in width, and 6.8mm in thickness.
The solar module uses a thin-layered semiconductor material formed from cadmium and tellurium (Cd-Te). The material is placed in between two glass sheets.
A tracking system deployed on a portion of the plant will tilt the solar panels according to the Sun's movement to optimise the electricity production. A new type of inverters with voltage regulation and monitoring technologies will be installed at the plant to enhance the plant efficiency and reliability.