SunPower kicks off construction on 100-MW solar project in Nevada

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) announced Dec. 3 that construction has commenced on Boulder Solar, a 100-MW (ac) solar plant located in the Eldorado Valley of Boulder City, Nev.

NV Energy has contracted to buy the power generated at the plant under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Boulder Solar is expected to create approximately 200 jobs during construction. Anticipated to be operational in 2016, the project may generate enough electricity to serve the needs of more than 60,000 homes during daylight hours, based on estimates provided by NV Energy. Boulder Solar is being constructed on approximately 600 acres that are owned by Boulder City and are being leased to SunPower under a long-term lease agreement.

“With more than 5.8 gigawatts of operating solar systems worldwide, the power plants we deliver leverage SunPower’s proven experience and innovative, high performance technology,” said Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive vice president, global power plants. “We are pleased to partner again with NV Energy to power more Nevada homes and businesses with sustainable, cost-competitive solar.”.

SunPower is constructing a SunPower Oasis Power Plant system at the site. Oasis is a fully-integrated, modular solar power block that is engineered for rapid and cost-effective deployment of utility-scale solar projects while optimizing land use. The technology includes robotic solar panel cleaning capability that uses 75% less water than traditional cleaning methods and can help improve system performance by up to 15%.

SunPower acquired the project earlier this year from KOMIPO America Inc. (KOMIPO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Korea Midland Power Co. Ltd. KOMIPO will participate in the construction and operation of the project.

SunPower is also completing construction on a 15-MW solar power plant for NV Energy at Nellis Air Force Base, which is now generating power to serve base operations. The company completed a 13.2-MW solar plant at Nellis in 2007. According to the U.S. Air Force, the two Nellis plants combined represent the largest photovoltaic system in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Notably, Sierra Pacific Power d/b/a NV Energy on Nov. 30 applied with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission for approvals of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with two solar projects. Under one of those deals, Sierra Pacific wants to buy all of the output from Boulder Solar Power II LLC of the 50-MW (ac) Boulder Solar II project. Boulder Solar Power II is an affiliate of SunPower. The Boulder Solar II project would be located in Boulder City, near the 100-MW Boulder Solar project of SunPower. This power would be fed into NV Energy’s Nevada Solar One substation. This is a 20-year PPA, with a first-year price of $39.90/MWh, escalating at 3% per year.

As one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable energy companies, SunPower provides a diverse group of customers with complete solar solutions and services. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, SunPower has dedicated, customer-focused employees in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.