Los Angeles utility approves 300MW of solar PV projects

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Los Angeles utility approves 300MW of solar PV projects

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has approved agreements for the development of 300MW of solar power projects in the state of California.

The approved projects include the 250MW Beacon solar park in Kern County and schemes for the construction of 50MW of additional photovoltaic (PV) facilities in Los Angeles.

LADWP offered the Beacon project in five blocks. Winning bidder SunEdison, which was awarded two of the five blocks,  plans to build 88MW of the Beacon Project. Hecate Energy LLC, which was awarded the remaining three, will build 162MW of Beacon. The Kern County projects will be located 22 kilometers north of Mojave, California along State Route 14.

As part of the bids for these utility-scale projects, SunEdison and Hecate Energy were offered a portion of 50MW of projects in Los Angeles. 22 MW will be build by SunEdison and the remaining 28MW by Hecate Energy.

About 200 MW of the Beacon project’s capacity will be installed through four power purchase agreements. The four installations will operate under LADWP’s small-scale feed-in-tariff (FiT) programme, while the last installation of 50 MW will not be tied to a FiT scheme.

In May 2013, LADWP expanded its FIT program, adding 50 MW to the first 100 MW FIT program approved in January 2013. The price cap for the FIT program was set at US$140 per MWh, while the cap for the Beacon project was set at US$85 per MWh.

The projects still require approval by the City Council, but could power up to 150,000 homes while having solar generate energy were it will be used will save transmission costs and increasing grid stability. Los Angeles aims to cover 25% of its electricity demand with renewable energy by 2016 and 33% by 2020.

The Beacon project is a concentrated solar electric generating facility proposed on an approximately 2,012-acre site in Kern County, California. The project will use well-established parabolic trough solar thermal technology to produce electrical power using a steam turbine generator (STG) fed from a solar steam generator (SSG). 

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