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NextEra Energy’s 1GW plans for the Blythe solar farm in California, once expected to be the world’s largest solar energy power plant, have been cut in half to make the project viable.
Documents submitted to the California Energy Commission as part of the revised permitting procedures reveale that the project is now being planned as a 485MW plant, using modules from First Solar and/or Yingli Green. NextEra Energy has worked with First Solar on other projects.
The revised project proposals indicated the power plant would be built in three phases of roughly 125MW per phase, while a smaller fourth phase would equate to around 110MW. However, subject to approval, the first phase construction could start in June 2014 and take four years to complete.
NextEra Energy originally acquired the 1GW planned project from bankrupt Solar Trust of America, a subsidiary of Solar Millennium AG, which filed for insolvency in December, 2011. Solar Millennium had planned to employ its CSP technology. NextEra Energy had previously said it would change the deployment of technology to PV.
The documents also highlight that NextEra Energy had pre-selected First Solar’s recently launched Series 3 CdTe thin-film modules as well as Yingli Green’s YGE-U 72 Cell based 300W modules, specifically designed for large-scale utility projects, only announced last year at Solar Power International 2012.
Both fixed tilt and single axis tracker mounting systems could be employed. The revised project is estimated to cost in excess of US$1.0 billion.