Doral to commission 400MW Mammoth North project in Indiana this summer

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Doral is working with US companies Nextracker and SOLV Energy at the Mammoth project. Image: Doral Renewables.

US independent power producer (IPP) Doral Renewables has held a ceremony to commemorate the “upcoming” start of commercial operations at its 400MW Mammoth North solar project in the US state of Indiana.

The project, initially slated to begin commercial operation in late 2023, is now on track to begin producing power this summer. The Mammoth Solar complex is a US$1.5 billion investment, which will include the Mammoth North project in Starke County and the Mammoth South project in Pulaski County. The North project will be the first component to reach commercial operation.

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“Indiana continues to chart the path forward toward the future economy, ranking among the top states for new clean energy under development thanks to the commitment and partnership of companies like Doral Renewables,” said Indiana governor Eric J. Holcomb, who attended the Doral ceremony.

“This mammoth-sized project is not only creating new jobs and new opportunities across northwest Indiana, but it is elevating our state and showcasing Hoosier innovation on the world’s stage.”

While Indiana has not historically been a dominant force in the US solar sector, with just 1.9GW of operating capacity according to the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the state’s industry has grown rapidly. The state added over 200GW of new utility-scale capacity in each of 2022 and 2023, and these installations more than doubled to around 500MW of new utility-scale capacity in 2023.

The SEIA expects the state to add a further 10.8GW of capacity over the next five years, the sixth-most among the 50 US states.

The Mammoth North project is also notable as a collaboration between a wide range of industry players, with US tracker manufacturer Nextracker providing trackers and US engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm SOLV Energy providing construction services.

The use of local companies to provide these services follows the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022, which sought to encourage greater domestic manufacturing of clean energy components, and, as of this year, contributed to more than a quarter of the US’ operating solar projects coming online since the passage of the act.

The project will also make use of agrivoltaic (agriPV) facilities, with Doral noting that 1,500 sheep are currently in place at the site, to function as the project’s “vegetation management,” although the company did not specify how much of the total power generation capacity would be provided by agriPV. The news follows increasing attention being paid to the agriPV potential of a number of markets, including Greece and New Zealand.

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