Agua Caliente Solar Project

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Yuma County, Arizona, USA

The Agua Caliente Solar Project, located 65 miles east of the city of Yuma, Arizona, is the world’s largest operational PV power plant with 250MW (AC) connected to the electricity grid. First Solar designed and is constructing the plant and will operate and maintain the facility for owners NRG Energy and MidAmerican Solar. During the construction period, the site will employ a daily average of 400 to 450 workers. Upon completion, Agua Caliente will have a generating capacity of 290MW (AC).

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
  • Power for 100,000 average homes
  • Displaces 220,000 tons of CO2 annually—equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road
  • Lowest environmental impact of any PV technology
  • No water used for electricity generation
COMMUNITY BENEFITS
  • Wages and benefits from up to 400 construction jobs over four-year period
  • Increased state and local tax revenues
  • Local benefits to businesses in the area, from engineering and design firms to construction subcontractors, supplier, and service providers 

First Solar is committed to being a good neighbor. First Solar will continue to engage the community, educational institutions, environmental groups, and business organizations to ensure that the Agua Caliente Solar Project is a valued and respected business in Yuma County. The project will provide employment opportunities for local residents both during construction and after the commencement of full-time operations. First Solar expects to build partnerships with local community organizations and educational institutions with an emphasis on green technology and environmental sustainability.

Agua Caliente is one of the first PV plants of its size to be connected to a 500kV transmission line and employs First Solar’s industry-leading grid integration and plant control system, which is critical for managing grid reliability and stability. The plant can also be controlled remotely from First Solar’s world-class Operations Center. Advanced plant features include the ability to:

  • Regulate voltage, frequency and power factor
  • Control active and reactive power, ramp rates, and curtail power when necessary
  • Ride through faults and disturbances
  • Minimize the impacts of cloud cover 

Type:

Ground Mount

Developer:

First Solar, Inc.

Number Of Modules:

5,200,000

Owners:

NRG Energy, Mid American Renewables, LLC.

PPA:

Pacific Gas & Electric

Download More Information About This Project

Project Size:

290MW

Homes Powered:

100,000

Cars Removed:

40,000

Tons CO2 Displaced Annually:

220,000

Project Timeline

  • 2008-2009
  • 2009-2010
  • 2010-2014
  • 2014-2034

Planning

2008

Project proposed by NextLight

September 2009

Power Purchase Agreement with PG&E

Construction

2010

Start Construction

JULY 2010

Interconnection Agreement approved by FERC

Permitting

SEPTEMBER 2010

Approved by AZ Corporation Commission

SEPTEMBER 2010

Special Use Permit approved by County

JUNE 2010

PPA approved by California PUC

Operations

2014

Estimated project operation

Project Status: Under Construction

Agua Caliente Yuma County, Arizona, USA View Map

Construction Updates

April 28, 2010

Construction contract for early site work completed and early site work in progress; switchyard rough-grading and off-site road improvements to be completed by September 2010.

April 28, 2010

On April 28, 2010, NextLight and First Solar announced a definitive agreement for First Solar to acquire NextLight. First Solar is a leading manufacturer of PV solar panels and provider of solar solutions. The acquisition brings a number of benefits to the project, including First Solar’s advanced thin film technology and its engineering, procurement, and construction expertise.

May 28, 2010

Interconnection Agreement executed and filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

June 03, 2010

The California Public Utilities Commission approved Power Purchase Agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric Company on June 3, 2010

July 07, 2010

Order accepting the Interconnection Agreement and established an effective date of 07.28.10

August 05, 2010

NRG Energy Acquires 290-Megawatt Agua Caliente Solar Project from First Solar.