A Green Light For Super-Cheap Solar And Battery Storage PPA 

Solar and storage PPA Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commission has given its nod to power purchase agreements offering the utility dirt cheap solar + storage supplied electricity.

The electricity will come from 8minute Solar Energy’s1 proposed Eland Solar and Storage Center in California. To be located on a 2,650 acre site in Kern County, the project will include two large-scale solar energy facilities with 400MW collective capacity and battery storage of up to 1,200MWh (the only figure provided by LADWP re: storage).

“The Eland Solar and Storage Center will help us keep the lights on without the help of dirty fossil fuels — even when the sun isn’t shining — and power our progress toward a low-carbon, green-energy future,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The LADWP release says the PPA offers a fixed cost of less than $USD 2 cents per kilowatt-hour ($AUD ~2.9c) for solar power only, claimed to be the lowest price offered in U.S. history. The Los Angeles Times puts the price of combined solar power and energy storage supply at 3.3 cents per kilowatt-hour ($AUD ~4.8c) . LADWP says the contract will cost less than $5 per year for each customer.

The agreements are still subject to City Council approval, but assuming all goes ahead it’s expected the Eland Solar and Storage Center will commence commercial operation no later than December 31, 2023. The project is to be constructed in two stages, each of 200MW PV capacity.

8minute Solar Energy states it has more than 15 GW of solar energy and storage under development and 2+ GW of operational solar facilities. The company was behind the largest solar farm in the USA – the 800 MW Mount Signal plant in California.

A “Green New Deal” In Practice

The Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign’s Evan Gillespie praised the LADWP deal, stating:

” This is what a Green New Deal looks like in practice: creating good union jobs, replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, and providing Angelenos with power cheaper than coal or gas.”

The Eland Solar and Storage Center project is expected to create 700 jobs over its 14-month construction period and employ 40 long-term operations and maintenance staff when operational.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is the USA’s largest municipal utility, serving over four million residents. LADWP currently sources 31% of its energy from renewables – around 11% from solar power.

In September last year, California’s Governor signed the California Clean Energy Act (SB 100) into law. Part of the bill requires 100 percent of all retail sales of electricity come from eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources by 2045.

Footnotes

  1. The company’s name comes from the time it takes for sunlight to reach the Earth. It actually takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds, but that would make for a rather lengthy name and doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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