20 March 2017
First Solar begins operation of 250MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA – which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services – and the Moapa Band of Paiutes joined Senator Dean Heller, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada State Energy Office Director Angela Dykema, Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, executives from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and other community and energy industry leaders to celebrate the commissioning of the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. Officials from the US Department of Energy, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs also participated.
Located on the Moapa River Indian reservation about 30 miles north of Las Vegas and capable of generating 250MWAC (enough energy to power an estimated 111,000 homes), the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project is the first utility-scale solar power plant to be built on tribal land and has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with LADWP.
“Nevada has the unparalleled natural resources to be a national leader in investment and development of clean energy technology and job creation,” commented Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
For the Moapa Band of Paiutes, the solar facility is providing lease revenues over the lifetime of the project and about 115 construction jobs for tribal members and other Native Americans, while also preserving their land and cultural heritage.
“As a first-of-its-kind project, the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project signifies our role as a leader in Indian Country, creating a template for other tribes to follow,” says Darren Daboda, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribal Council. “Tribes across the nation have the perfect areas in which to build utility-scale projects.”
Constructed and operated by First Solar, the project features over 3.2 million CdTe solar panels covering more than 25 million square feet (enough to cover more than 450 NFL football fields). The project will avoid about 341,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions (equivalent to taking nearly 73,000 cars off the road).
The project will help the City of Los Angeles to achieve 33% of all energy from renewable resources by 2020 and 50% by 2025, states Reiko A. Kerr, senior assistant general manager, LADWP Power System.