Valley Electric Association (VEA), a nonprofit, member-owned electric cooperative, has announced plans to begin construction on a 15MW solar energy generation project in Pahrump, Nevada.
The project is expected to begin producing energy on 1 July 2016. Bombard Renewable Energy, a division of Bombard Electric, LLC (Bombard), will be responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project, which will include the installation of 54,000 PV panels across a 32-hectare site.
Thomas Husted, CEO of VEA, said: “Our status as a member-owned electric cooperative allows us to develop opportunities that promote local economic development while strengthening Nevada’s renewable energy industry. We are committed to positioning Nevada as a leader in the national renewable energy market, and we hope this innovative endeavor serves as a benchmark for future community solar projects across the country.”
The installation will utilise union labor and will produce an estimated 200 jobs during the construction process. VEA and Bombard will also collaborate with state and federal agencies to protect Mojave Desert tortoises at the project site, with proposed plans including the creation of a temporary habitat for the tortoises.
VEA has signed off on a fixed-rate power purchase agreement with Nevada Valley Solar Solutions I, LLC, which will operate the plant.
Chris Brooks, VEA’s executive vice president of energy services, added: “We are developing this community solar program to meet the growing demand for alternatives to rooftop photovoltaic systems in our communities. We look forward to providing our member-owners with a new, cost-effective option that can immediately reduce their energy expenses.”