Los Angeles plans America’s largest solar and battery storage project

By Daniel Brightmore
California’sEland Solar and Storage Centre will capture and store enough energy to power 283,330 homes in Los Angeles, reducing the need for natural g...

California’s Eland Solar and Storage Centre will capture and store enough energy to power 283,330 homes in Los Angeles, reducing the need for natural gas at night or on cloudy days.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has approved the power purchase agreement for what will be the largest solar energy storage system in the US.

“The climate crisis has never been more dire, but the solutions have never been clearer or cheaper - and Los Angeles is investing in renewable energy and cleaning our air as part of my DWP reform agenda,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The Eland Solar and Storage Center will help us keep the lights on without the help of dirty fossil fuels - even when the sun isn’t shining - and power our progress toward a low-carbon, green-energy future.”

The development of the Eland Solar and Storage Centre is a direct result of the zero-carbon vision laid out in Mayor Garcetti’s Green New Deal - and is expected to play a key role in helping Los Angeles reach 55% renewable energy by 2025, 80% renewable energy by 2036, and 100% renewable energy by 2045.

“Eland Solar and Storage Center will offer reliable, cost-competitive energy as we expand solar and other renewable resources to meet our aggressive climate change goals,” said LADWP Interim General Manager Martin L. Adams. “Among other benefits, the project will bridge the gap between day and night, dramatically increasing the operational value of the project.”

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Located on 2,650 acres in Kern County, California, the project will include two large-scale solar facilities that will capture 400 megawatts (MW) of solar energy and store up to 1,200 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy - all of which can be distributed to meet peak demand, reducing the need for natural gas at night or on cloudy days. The site will hold enough energy to power 283,330 homes across Los Angeles.

The Eland proposal, which will be built in two phases, was selected out of a pool of 130 proposals because of the project’s scope and competitive price, which includes a fixed cost of less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar power, the lowest price offered in U.S. history. 8Minute Solar Energy will also cover all costs associated with the development, maintenance, and operation of the facility.

The unanimous vote from the LADWP Board of Commissioners approves two power purchase agreements with 8Minute Solar Energy to develop the project and begin commercial operation no later than December 31, 2023. The contract will cost less than $5 per year for each LADWP customer.

Currently, LADWP receives 31% of its energy from renewable sources, and the Eland Solar and Storage Center will increase that number by up to 7.1%. That would enable the City to prevent up to 727,360 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from a conventional fossil fuel power plant - the equivalent of taking 148,700 cars off the road for a year.

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