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Wed November 20 2019

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LA backs record-breaking solar and battery plant

12 Sep Los Angeles has approved plans for what will be the largest solar and battery energy storage project in the USA.

The site will be developed by 8Minutenergy
The site will be developed by 8Minutenergy

The Eland Solar & Storage Center will capture and store enough energy to power more than 283,000 homes, reducing the need for natural gas at night or on cloudy days. The project is expected to create 700 jobs over the 14-month construction period and employ 40 long-term operations and maintenance staff when in service.   

The city’s Department of Water & Power (DWP) has approved power purchase agreements for the center. The agreements will now go to the city council for approval.

The project site is located on 2,650 acres in Kern County, California. It will include two major solar facilities that will capture 400MW of solar energy and store up to 1,200MWh of energy — all of which can be distributed to meet peak demand.

The proposal, which will be built in two phases, was selected out of a pool of 130 submissions because of its scope and competitive price. It includes a fixed cost of less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar power, the lowest price offered in US history. Operator 8Minutenergy will also cover all costs associated with the development, maintenance, and operation of the facility.

Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti said: “The climate crisis has never been more dire, but the solutions have never been clearer or cheaper — and Los Angeles is investing in renewable energy and cleaning our air as part of my DWP reform agenda. The Eland Solar and Storage Center will help us keep the lights on without the help of dirty fossil fuels — even when the sun isn’t shining — and power our progress toward a low-carbon, green-energy future.”

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power interim general manager Martin Adams added: “Eland Solar and Storage Center will offer reliable, cost-competitive energy as we expand solar and other renewable resources to meet our aggressive climate change goals. Among other benefits, the project will bridge the gap between day and night, dramatically increasing the operational value of the project.”

The unanimous vote by the LADWP Board of Commissioners approves two power purchase agreements with 8Minutenergy to develop the project and begin commercial operation no later than 31st December 2023. The contract will cost less than US$5 per year for each LADWP customer, said the city.

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