Tyler Poulson (pictured) from SLCgreen traveled to Parowan, UT with a busload of other solar enthusiasts to tour Utah’s first utility scale solar project. The tour was hosted by Utah Clean Energy, EDCUtah, and the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development.
This project is the first of many large-scale solar installations that will occur in Utah by the end of 2016. Additional details are included below:
• This 340,000 solar panel project is being developed by a Norwegian company (Scatec Solar), but over 80% of the onsite labor to-date and sub-contracted work is from Utah. Part of the land is being leased from an alfalfa farmer who eagerly moved his operations, and water rights, elsewhere in spacious Iron County.
• Scatec Solar has signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Rocky Mountain Power (RMP). The contract locks in an electricity price for RMP and its customers.
• This specific solar power plant covers 630 acres. Each row of panels will track the sun east-to-west daily to produce enough electricity for about 60,000 energy-efficient residential customers (assuming use of 3,400 kWh / year). See a panoramic view of the plant. Generating the same amount of electricity with coal over a 25-year time frame (equal to the warranty of the panels), would require about 13,000 pounds of coal per individual panel installed.
• This 104 megawatt (DC) solar project will be fully operational in December 2015, but represents just 10% of the total new utility-scale solar development that will occur in Utah over the next 17 months. An additional 900 MW, over roughly 3,000,000 new solar panels, will be added by third-party companies. All of these arrangements are contracted through PPAs with RMP at Avoided Cost pricing, locking in a fixed rate for energy for decades.