Renewable power harnesses sustainable natural resources in the places where they are plentiful, so it makes sense that Nevada would have plenty of solar power. A Las Vegas data center company understands this fundamental concept and is opening what it calls “the single largest solar project portfolio in the United States.”
On Feb. 7, the technology infrastructure corporation Switch announced a project it is calling “Gigawatt 1.” It will be built in Northern and Southern Nevada and will generate enough electricity to power nearly 1 million homes. The concept comes from an initiative of the company’s founder, Rob Roy, called “Gigawatt Nevada.”
In describing the initiative, Roy said, “Nevada enjoys the best solar window in the nation, and so we Nevadans should not only be using solar for ourselves but exporting it throughout the Western U.S.”
Roy said that Nevada should harness the sun “the same way Alaska harnesses its oil.”
Gigawatt 1 will be owned and developed by Capital Dynamics, an asset management company based in Switzerland. Switch will be among the project’s anchor tenants, along with some of the company’s clients plus additional customers from the private and public sector.
Switch also boasts that the cost of electricity purchased from Gigawatt 1 will be substantially lower than renewable power currently purchased from the state utility, NV Energy. According to Switch, Gigawatt 1 customers will pay $0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) compared to $0.16 per kWh under NV Energy’s Green Rider Program.
Several years ago, Switch and several other companies negotiated with NV Energy to leave the utility’s service and purchase green energy on the open market.
According to Switch, the project will be built with American-made solar panels and will use local Nevada labor. Switch and Capital Dynamics say they will negotiate with their EPC contractors and labor to build the portfolio. The project is expected to create 1,250 construction jobs.