Community solar in Nevada reduces energy costs

Customer success stories

Project details

  • 17.5 megawatts (17,500 kilowatts)
  • 51,480 SolarWorld Sunmodule XL 340-watt solar panels
  • Estimated annual production: 32,680,000 kwh or enough to power 3,500 homes
  • Unique Solar FlexRack racking for habitat preservation
  • Solectria Solar SGI XTM Utility-scale inverters
  • All components made in the U.S.A.

American-made solar in the Mojave Desert

This solar power plant installed by SolarWorld Authorized Installer, Bombard Renewable Energy, is unique in that it was designed to provide low-cost, renewable, American-made energy and protect an endangered animal habitat. Approximately 200 Nevada union workers constructed this solar power plant that consists of American made solar panels, inverters and racking.

See the initial news release here.

Sixty miles outside of Las Vegas in Pahrump, Nevada this 80-acre stretch of Mojave Desert is owned by Nevada Valley Solar Solutions I, LLC (NVSSI). NVSSI will run the solar plant and sell the energy to local member-owned utility Valley Electric Association (VEA). The power purchase agreement with NVSSI will make VEA's fixed-rate one of the lowest-priced solar energy contracts in the nation.

"We are developing this community solar program to meet the growing demand for alternatives to rooftop photovoltaic systems in our communities," Chris Brooks, VEA's executive vice president of energy services told the Pahrump Valley Times. "We look forward to providing our member-owners with a new, cost-effective option that can immediately reduce their energy expenses."

The energy generated from this solar power plant will be available for all VEA members at a lower price than their current electric rates with no need for any initial upfront investment or on-site construction on their part.

High quality commercial solar panels

This project consists of 51,480 Sunmodule XL 340-watt solar panels with 72-cells each. The Sunmodule XL is available in 1500V format with up to 350 watts per panel. The 1500V panels (as opposed to the standard 1000V panels) allow for up to 50% longer strings, reducing labor and equipment for large-scale projects.

Pahrump desert tortoise

Protecting an endangered species

Most people don't think of the Mojave Desert as much more than sun and sand. This particular stretch is unique in that it is home to the Gopherus agassizii, or Desert Tortoise, an endangered species of tortoise that lives primarily underground. These tortoises were discovered during the initial phases of the project by the Bombard team. The finding put the entire project in question. Bombard worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if the project could go forward and protect the tortoise habitat. The solar industry is closely related to environmental conservation and sustainability. To that end, protecting the tortoises and their habitat was a priority. A decision was made to alter the system design to minimize habitat disruption using Solar FlexRack to mount the solar modules on the terrain without the standard grading and leveling normally performed. Learn about all of the changes made to ensure the current and ongoing protection of these tortoises in the downloadable case study below.

Download the case study "Protecting an endangered species and a solar energy project"

Manufactured in the USA

The high-quality solar panels used for this project were all assembled in the newly expanded SolarWorld facility located in Hillsboro, Oregon. American manufacturing was a key requirement for this project and all major components were made in the U.S.A.. The cost savings that VEA customers will see is a testament to the American manufacturing industry and the quality products produced here.