World’s ‘largest behind-the-meter solar project’ breaks ground in Nevada

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Alongside panels made by First Solar, the facilities will feature Tesla Megapacks. Image: Switch and Capital Dynamics.

Technology infrastructure company Switch and asset management firm Capital Dynamics have announced the groundbreaking of three developments in Nevada, one of which is claimed to be the largest behind-the-meter solar project in the world.

All three projects comprise Switch’s Gigawatt 1 initiative, which will soon generate 555MW of solar power and create 800MW hours of battery storage.

Work has started on plants in Clark and Storey counties in the state. According to the companies, the Storey County location will be “the largest behind-the-meter solar project in the world”, producing 127MW and including a 240MWh battery storage system.

Alongside panels made by First Solar, the facilities will feature Tesla Megapacks, which are manufactured at the Tesla Gigafactory in Storey County.

The first phase of the Gigawatt 1 initiative is the 180MWac/231MWdc solar Townsite project that includes a 90MWac/360MWh energy storage facility. Located in Boulder City, the project was acquired by Capital Dynamics last year.

Gigawatt 1, which is described by Switch and Capital Dynamics as “one of the largest solar project portfolios in the world”, forms part of an initiative dubbed Rob Roy's Gigawatt Nevada, named after it was first proposed by Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy in 2015.

“With today's announcement, Rob Roy's Gigawatt Nevada now has four solar with battery storage projects in the state, creating nearly 1GW of energy solutions,” said Adam Kramer, Switch EVP of strategy. He added that the project ensures Switch's power costs will remain in the US$0.05-a-KWh range.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak added: “In the midst of this unprecedented moment in our state's history, Switch and its partners are investing US$1.3 billion, creating over a thousand new jobs and accelerating Nevada's leadership in the world's renewable energy economy.”

The groundbreaking follows an uptick in solar activity in Nevada after the state last year passed a bill requiring it to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and aim for 100% carbon-free resources by 2050.

Earlier this week, public utility NV Energy filed plans for three solar-plus-projects in the state, totalling 478MW of new solar photovoltaic generation and 338MW of battery storage.

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