Construction begins on the 191 MW-DC Springbok 2 Solar Farm in Southern California


California is home to some of the largest solar projects in the world, and that club gained a new entrant today with the beginning of construction on the Springbok 2 Solar Farm, a 191 MW-DC (150 MW-AC) PV project north of Los Angeles in Kern County.

Minnesota’s Swinerton Renewable Energy, which recently surpassed 1 GW of solar PV projects built, is constructing Springbok 2 on behalf of developer 8minutenergy and majority investor D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments LLC. Swinerton will install over 600,000 PV modules on Array Technologies trackers, covering an area of over 3 square kilometers. The project will additionally utilize SMA inverters.

The project holds a power purchase agreement (PPA) with public utility Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), at a rate of $58.65 per megawatt-hour (MWh), and 8minutenergy describes this as one of the first to beat fossil fuel prices.

However, PPAs in the United States are being recorded at even lower prices. Texas municipal utility Austin Energy’s latest 450 MW of power contracts came in at around $40/MWh, and the City of Palo Alto is considering a power contract for $37/MWh.

The project will be sited on abandoned farmland which the developers say was taken out of service more than 20 years prior. Springbok 2 follows the 137 MW-DC (105 MW-AC) Springbok 1 Solar Farm, which Swinerton began construction of last July. Both projects are expected to reach completion by the end of 2016.