NRG Energy deploys 1,200 MW of solar power capacity on longest day

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June 21, the northern hemisphere will reach summer solstice, the longest day of the year. NRG Energy is ready to make the most of it, with the capacity to generate more than 1,200 MW of solar power, enough electricity to support more than one million homes.

Since the beginning of the year, NRG’s utility-scale solar facilities have collectively produced more than 957,000 MWh of electricity from 12 major projects.

Given the timely start of summer, the power generated so far this year could power 9.6 million ceiling fans, 1.4 million refrigerators or 1.2 million pool pumps for the entire year.

NRG’s portfolio also includes interest in 125 distributed solar systems for a variety of businesses and organizations that share the in the vision of a clean energy future. These locations include hotels, universities and hospitals, as well as several iconic installations powering the stadiums of some of the country’s most beloved professional football teams.

This year, NRG expanded its solar capacity by completing several milestone projects, including:

Ivanpah — Completed earlier this year, Ivanpah is the largest solar thermal facility in the world and is located near Ivanpah, Calif., in the Mojave Desert. On June 1, the plant produced 3,300 MWh of energy — a record for solar thermal production, all while having only used 6 percent of its allotted 100 acrefeet of water this year. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation System, comprised of three separate plants, generates nearly 400 MW of electricity — enough to support a yearly average of 140,000 homes and more than twice that number when operating at maximum capacity during the peak hours of the day. Ivanpah is now producing half of the total solar thermal power in the state of California.

Agua Caliente — The Agua Caliente Solar Photovoltaic Facility that debuted in April is the largest, fully operational solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the world at 290 MW. Through an agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric, residents in Southern California are benefitting from Agua Caliente. The electricity generated at peak times is enough to serve more than 230,000 homes and offsets about 324,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking nearly 70,000 cars off the road.

Community Solar Initiatives — NRG partnered with Boeing for engineering, procurement and construction of the Community 1 Generating Facility in Brawley, Calif., a community solar power program. Local residents can opt to purchase energy from the facility through a community solar program, which offers the energy at a competitive rate. The Community 1 Generating Facility is a six-megawatt solar facility capable of generating enough emission-free electricity to power nearly 2,200 homes. Additionally, it will reduce emissions and lower the demand on the Southern California electricity grid.

NRG also constructed a similar community solar project in Rutland, Vermont, that went online in May. A 150-kilowatt array within the city limits, the community serves 50 local residential and commercial customers who signed up for the service and in turn receive a credit on their electricity bill for the energy produced by the solar panels.

Global Initiatives – Earlier this year, NRG broke ground on a 25 MW solar project on the Island of Guam. The solar solution will offset the consumption of almost two million barrels of residual fuel oil and diesel, minimizing Guam’s reliance on imported fuel and the island’s carbon footprint.

Additionally, NRG is developing a renewables-driven micro-grid for Necker Island, one of the British Virgin Islands, that will include solar technologies to help the island reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. At least 75 percent of the renewable-based solution will be powered by solar, wind and energy storage technologies.

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October 2014
Volume 18, Issue 9

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