From dams to casinos to billboards, nothing is done small in Nevada. Sun and land are large commodities, too. Recently, two companies tapped into those abundant resources in what they are describing as “one of the largest solar footprint and battery storage projects in the technology industry.”
Local data center designer Switch announced that it has partnered with Swiss asset management firm Capital Dynamics to construct a massive solar plus storage project in the Nevada desert. In another superlative, Greentech Media calls it “the largest customer-sited solar-storage project in the world.”
No matter how you slice it, the project is big.
Dubbed Gigawatt 1, it is breaking ground in three different locations and will be combined with an earlier phase to create a combined generating capacity of 555 megawatts (MW) of solar power, plus 800 megawatt hours (MWh) of battery storage.
Groundbreakings in Clark and Storey counties will be combined with the Townsite Solar Project, an existing solar project located in Boulder City, Nev., which Capital Dynamics acquired last year. That project includes 90 MW of solar and 360 MWh of energy storage.
The Storey County location by itself will be the largest behind-the-meter solar project in the world, according to Switch. It will produce 127 MW and including a 240 MWh battery storage system.
Gigawatt 1 will use thousands of solar panels made by the Tempe, Ariz.-based manufacturer First Solar. The storage component of the project will use the Tesla Megapack, which is manufactured in Storey County at the Tesla Gigafactory. The project will power Switch’s massive Citadel data center campus in the Tahoe-Reno area.
Gigawatt 1 is the implementation of Gigawatt Nevada, an initiative launched by Rob Roy, Switch founder and CEO. The goal of that endeavor is to harness Nevada’s plentiful solar energy resources to create new jobs, generate tax revenue and provide the state with a valuable energy export and low-cost electricity for its residents.