The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is taking comment until June 8 on an Environmental Assessment (EA) that analyzes potential impacts for the 50-MW Luning Solar Energy Project proposed by Invenergy Solar Development LLC.
The proposed location is about three miles north of Luning, Nevada, along State Highway 361 in Mineral County, Nevada. Invenergy Solar Development proposes to construct, operate and decommission a utility-scale, 50-MW (nameplate) solar photovoltaic facility on approximately 560 acres of public lands administered by the BLM.
The BLM previously prepared the Luning Solar Energy Right-of-way Grant EA in July 2009 in response to a solar energy right-of-way (ROW) application from Luning Solar Energy LLC for a similar project in the same location. The BLM issued a ROW grant in July 2010 to Luning Solar Energy. The company constructed a small solar measurement station within the project area in early 2011, but did not develop a solar generating facility. The ROW was voluntarily relinquished in January 2013 after the solar measurement station was removed. A new ROW application was received from Invenergy Solar in July 2013, which closely matched the Luning Solar Energy LLC ROW in terms of project area size and facilities.
This project would be located approximately 3 miles north of the unincorporated town of Luning, on public lands administered by the BLM. The project would use groundmounted PV panels with single axis trackers which rotate to follow the sun. Associated with the PV panels would be an electrical collection system to connect power inverters and transformers to a substation within the solar facility. A 120-kV generation-tie transmission line (gen-tie line) would connect the project substation to the existing Table Mountain substation, owned by NV Energy.
Commercial operation of the solar facility is expected to last for 30 years. Invenergy Services LLC operates most projects owned by Invenergy LLC affiliate companies in the United States, and it is anticipated Invenergy Services would also operate the solar facility, BLM noted. Project management, including remote monitoring and control, is performed from Chicago, Illinois.
The proposed solar panel specification is a 72-cell, 300-watt multicrystalline module. Each module measures 6.42 × 3.25 feet and would be placed in a rack with 10 to 30 other modules; the resulting assembly would be mounted approximately 2 feet off the ground on a single axis tracker which rotates 45 degrees to the east and west to optimize energy production. Each rack would be supported by steel posts driven into the ground.
Approximately 4,200 modules would be installed to form 1-MW blocks (each block would measure approximately 726 × 456 feet). Racks of modules would be installed with enough spacing between rows to minimize row-to-row shading; the planned ground coverage is approximately 33%. The solar panel arrays would be oriented north to south and track the sun from east to west to optimize energy production.
The combined area of all the solar panel arrays would create two large fields, separated by Highway 361 (PV field). Power from within each block would be routed to inverters within the blocks that would convert the DC current to AC current. The inverter output voltage would then be stepped up to 34.5 kV by transformer boxes mounted next to the inverters. The 34.5-kV output would be connected to a central substation via buried collector cables.