Data center company Switch and asset management firm Capital Dynamics broke ground on three solar energy and battery projects this week.
Together, along with an existing development, the solar farms will generate 555MW and have 800MW hours of battery storage.
Known as 'Gigawatt 1,' the developments will use panels from First Solar, Tesla Megapack batteries, and be integrated by Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses.
Capital Dynamics affiliate Arevon will handle energy shaping, development, construction, asset management & operations of all four projects.
“In the midst of this unprecedented moment in our state’s history, Switch and its partners are investing $1.3 billion, creating over a thousand new jobs and accelerating Nevada’s leadership in the world’s renewable energy economy,” Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said.
“Projects like this are exactly what the Legislature had in mind when it passed and I signed SB547 to expand investment and jobs in Nevada.”
SB547 allows for certain plants or equipment used by a data center to be excluded from regulation as a public utility, allowing for more flexibility on how they buy energy.
The bill came after intensive lobbying from Switch and Tesla. In 2016, the data center company sued utility NV Energy and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada after it was not allowed to leave NV Energy and use First Solar.
Now, Switch will use thousands of First Solar panels, as well as Tesla Megapacks - which will be manufactured at the Tesla Gigafactory, located in the same Reno business park as a Switch data center. Megapacks are the automotive company's largest lithium-ion battery storage system, with 3MW of energy capacity per pack.
“We are also pleased to have collaborated with Tesla to install Megapack energy storage systems on four hybrid solar and storage projects in California and Nevada," Benoit Allehaut, Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure team MD, said. "We believe that industry leadership is achieved through scale and innovation and are pleased with the tremendous progress we have made in combined solar and storage plants thanks to Switch and Tesla.”
The Storey County, Citadel project will include 127MW of solar power, and 240MW of battery storage. The existing-but-expanding Clark County, Townsite runs at 240MW power, 360MW storage. And the Moapa Band of Paiutes and Southern Nevada projects will have 188MW of solar power, and 200MW of battery storage.
“With today’s announcement [Switch CEO] Rob Roy’s Gigawatt Nevada now has four solar with battery storage projects in the state creating nearly 1 gigawatt of energy solutions,” said Adam Kramer, Switch EVP of Strategy.
“This project also ensures Switch’s power costs will remain in the five cent a KWh range and Switch clients will continue to enjoy low-cost, 100 percent renewable power for decades to come.”