Scatec Solar completes Utah's first utility-scale PV plant

Norway’s Scatec Solar ASA has commissioned the first utility-scale solar park in the U.S. state of Utah.

Located in Parowan, the 104 MW Utah Red Hills Renewable Park (URHRP) will more than double the state’s current solar footprint. The plant covers approximately 632 acres (256 hectares) of privately-owned land, consisting of more than 340,000 PV modules on a single-axis tracking system.

Scatec Solar teamed up with Google to form a joint partnership that owns the plant. The $188 million project was financed by Google, which provided tax equity, Prudential Capital Group, which provided debt financing, and Scatec Solar, which provided sponsor equity. Swinerton Renewable Energy oversaw engineering, procurement and construction services for the solar park. Scatec Solar will manage and operate the plant, which was constructed in less than a year.

The plant, which is expected to be fully operational in a week, will generate some 210 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, equivalent to the electric power used by approximately 18,500 homes annually, to be fed into the grid under a 20-year power purchase agreement with PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power.

Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen described the commissioning of the plant as "a significant landmark" for the company. "The fact that we were able to build this 104 MW plant within 12 months is the proof of our company’s capability to deploy solar power rapidly."

Scatec Solar is currently developing a second PV plant of equal size, the Three Peaks Power Plant, in the surrounding Iron County.

With its sunny days and cool temperatures, Utah is among the top seven U.S. states with the greatest solar capacity potential. In 2008, Utah enacted the Energy Resource and Carbon Emission Reduction Initiative, setting a renewable portfolio goal of 20% by 2025 and requiring utilities to pursue renewable energy to the extent that it is cost-effective to do so.