The United States is one step closer to building a giant solar power project that will bring 400 new green jobs to Arizona. Dubbed Agua Caliente, the new 290-megawatt solar facility will be based on two new technologies that are expected to improve the predictability and reliability of the energy produced by solar power plants and supplied to the grid.
These technologies (fault ride-through and dynamic voltage regulation) are new to the solar industry, so their implementation in the Agua Caliente project could make them industry standards throughout the U.S..
“These are two technologies that are already in use in some other forms of generation and help to ensure the reliability and stability of transmission systems,” Alan Bernheimer, spokesperson for First Solar (the company delivering thin-film solar panels) said.
Currently, the working principle of the conventional solar power plants is based on lithium ion-battery storage to smooth transmission bumps.
The construction of the Agua Caliente solar plant will be possible due to a $967 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. According to the project’s sponsor, NRG Solar, it will the world’s largest photovoltaic generation facility when completed. The company also anticipates that the project will save about 237,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Approximately 100,000 homes could be powered by the new solar power plant.