Scatec Solar switches on Utah’s first utility PV plant

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Norway-based IPP Scatec Solar has completed its first project in the US, a 104MW PV power plant in Utah.

The Utah Red Hills Renewable Park is also the state’s first utility-scale solar plant and will more than double Utah’s current solar footprint, according to Scatec.

The project has been less than a year in construction, having reached financial close at the start of 2015. Shortly after the deal was announced, it emerged that tech giant Google was one of the main investors in the project.

“The commissioning of the Utah plant is a significant landmark for Scatec Solar. The fact that we were able to build this 104MW plant within 12 months is the proof of our company's capability to deploy solar power rapidly. The Utah plant also underlines the importance of delivering results and choosing partners whose core values match our own – in this case, Swinerton, Google and Prudential Capital Group,” said Scatec Solar CEO, Raymond Carlsen..

Utah Red Hills comprises some 340,000 modules mounted on single-axis trackers. The panels were supplied by Chinese manufacturer, Jinko Solar.

The plant is expected to generate up to 210 million kWh a year, according to Scatec, with power sold to utility PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

With a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal of 20% by 2025, Utah has come relatively late to the utility solar party, despite having some of the best solar resources in the US.

But with Red Hills now complete, the state appears to be in line for a flurry of activity in the utility segment. Scatec itself is planning another project in the state, an 80MW system in Iron County – the Three Peaks Power Plant.

Meanwhile, SunEdison announced some 262MW of utility projects in Utah earlier this year.

“We are very proud of our role in advancing solar energy in Utah – a state with such excellent solar potential,” said Luigi Resta, CEO, Scatec Solar North America. “Utah Red Hills Renewable Park-the state's first utility-scale solar plant-and other projects in our pipeline represent a huge step forward in bringing the sun's clean, sustainable energy to more Utahns.”

“This experience has helped Rocky Mountain Power learn what works to help other solar projects that will be starting up soon here in Utah,” said Paul Clements, Rocky Mountain Power director of commercial services. “This project is part of Rocky Mountain Power's commitment to be good guardians of our environment and wise stewards who work to keep electricity prices at some of the lowest rates in the nation.”

Scatec Solar's 104MW project in Utah. Image: Scatec Solar.

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