Big Solar Comes to Utah

The US could soon have another enormous solar plant with Energy Capital Group’s announcement that it plans to build a 300 megawatt (MW) solar park – the first in Utah.

ECG Utah Solar 1 would be among the largest in the US and will cost $600 million to build. The company is leasing 1754 acres from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Land Administration, which already has a transmission line to California.

It hasn’t yet lined up a purchaser for its power, but it will be in California, where the energy is needed to fulfill its 33% by 2020 Renewable Portfolio Standard. The company says it’s waiting on selecting a solar panel supplier until a power purchase agreement is signed. It is still working on getting permits in Utah.

The project will create approximately 200 construction jobs, power an estimated 80,000 homes, generate substantial tax revenue for local & state government, and benefit Utah’s K-12 grade schools through lease payments for the land. 

Energy Capital Group is based in Utah and this would be its biggest project by far, probably operational in two to three years. Utah has a voluntary goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020, but no mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard, so even though it’s been approved for three solar zones, it has seen little solar development so far.

The biggest solar project under development in the US is the 579 MW Solar Star Project, previously called Antelope Valley. It is owned by Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy utility.

Solar Star:

Antelope Valley Solar Project

An even larger solar plant has been approved – the mammoth 750 MW McCoy Solar Energy Project in California.

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