On the 30th of December, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Gemini solar project. It is planned to be a 7,100-acre installation outside Las Vegas, Nevada, with a proposed generation capacity of 690 MW. The $1 billion project will be the largest U.S. solar farm in terms of generation and includes a minimum of 380 MW of energy storage capacity using lithium-ion batteries.
Currently, the largest operating solar farm in the U.S. is the 579-MW Solar Star installation in California, which came online in 2015 and at the time was the largest solar array in the world. The Pavagada Solar Park in India, which became completely operational on Dec. 17, 2019, is currently the world’s largest solar farm with a generation capacity of 2,050 MW. The facility covers around 13,000 acres in the Tumakuru district of Karnataka.
Construction of the Plant
The US$ 1 Billion project is going to be developed by Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a global investment management company specializing in renewable energy. The project could be fully operational by year-end 2023. It will be located along Interstate 15 about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas, in the vicinity of two other solar farms already operating on the other side of the highway.
The Gemini Solar Project would serve customers of NV Energy, Nevada’s largest electrical utility. The project requires approval from the Bureau of Land Management because it would be built on federal land. The agency in its Environmental Impact Statement said the federal government is likely to approve the project after a final round of public comments over the next three months. Construction could start in early 2020. The Gemini project would join over two dozen other solar farms approved by federal officials on BLM land since 2010 when the agency approved its first solar project. That includes the Dodge Flat Solar Energy Center approved last year, part of NV Energy’s latest Integrated Resource Plan.