8minutenergy breaks ground on 137 MW Californian solar project


8minutenergy, one of the largest renewable energy developers in the U.S., has hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its 137 MW solar farm, Springbok 1, in California’s Kern County.

Development of the large-scale PV project began in July, and this week’s event sees the completion of the solar farm move one step closer. Commercial operation is scheduled to begin in June 2016, at which point the farm will deliver clean solar energy to Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

During the construction phase the project will create between 300 and 400 direct and indirect jobs, and 8minutenergy has already hosted local job fairs in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to seek out suitable employees.

The project’s economic impact is just the first positive it will deliver to the region. Once connected to the grid the solar park will offset around 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, and will transform a 700 acre swathe of abandoned farmland into a functioning, clean addition to the local grid.

"This is an exciting day for everyone involved in the Springbok 1 project as we move one step closer to providing clean energy to the people of Los Angeles," said Martin Hermann, CEO of 8minutenergy.

Tom Buttgenbach, 8minutenergy’s president, added that the project is a "model for productive private and public partnership", citing the positive economic impact it will have and the close ties the company has developed with SCPPA and its member, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

During development of the Springbok 1 solar farm 8minutenergy will also work with Homeboy Industries – an LA-based training program developed to help former gang members find gainful employment in the solar energy industry.