The combined 58 megawatt (MW) alternating current (AC) El Dorado and Copper Mountain Solar Projects are located about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. Owned by Sempra Generation, they comprise one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar plants in North America. Together, they generate enough clean, affordable energy to serve the needs of about 20,000 average California homes, displacing approximately 35,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually—the equivalent of taking about 6,000 cars off of the road. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is contracted to purchase the projects’ power output under two 20-year agreements.
First Solar acted as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for both projects. The 10MW (AC) El Dorado and the 48MW (AC) Copper Mountain projects were completed in December of 2008 and December of 2010, respectively. Together, the solar arrays consist of approximately one million 2’ x 4’ PV panels manufactured with First Solar’s advanced thin film semiconductor technology. By co-locating the sites adjacent to its existing El Dorado natural gas-fired power plant, Sempra Generation was able to take advantage of existing infrastructure and the associated interconnection and transmission facilities.
The El Dorado and Copper Mountain Solar Projects demonstrate leadership for Nevada in the utility-scale solar market, while providing the cleanest, most affordable PV solar energy on the market.