The world is moving towards renewable energies, and one of the newest and most amazing renewable energy installations is the Centinela Solar Energy Facility. The creators of this incredible project aim to provide clean energy to the people of South Central Los Angeles and surrounding areas of California. In addition, they want to help combat climate change. To put this into perspective, the United Nations released a report in May 2019 revealing that climate change is already affecting us as much as it is affecting the planet. This is especially true in regards to the weather patterns which are changing and causing more intense droughts and floods.
If you’re unfamiliar, climate change is the long-term, gradual change in the earth’s climate. This occurs due to human activity and is considered one of the biggest threats to humanity as we know it. Fortunately, there are solutions to combat climate change, and one of the most effective is renewable energy, i.e. energy derived from natural resources such as water and the sun.
The key to fighting climate change is in finding sustainable solutions to energy use, and the Centinela Solar Energy Facility provides just that. In fact, it’s one of the most effective and sustainable solar power plants you’ll ever hear of.
Why Is This Solar Power Plant So Special?
First off, this solar farm uses a special type of solar photovoltaic cells, or solar cells for short, that are more efficient than traditional solar cells. These solar cells are known as tandem solar cells because they’re made up of two layers: an efficient front layer and a less efficient back layer. The front layer allows more light to pass through it than the back layer, transmitting more energy to the solar farm’s storage system. Traditional solar cells only have one layer, and because more light is absorbed by the second layer, less energy is transmitted to the grid. This means that more energy is available for the home or business owner.
Additionally, this solar farm was constructed with sustainability in mind. The creators of this incredible project wanted to build an energy source that would require very little maintenance and would last years of continuous use. Construction on the Centinela Solar Energy Facility began in 2016 and was completed in May 2019. The project is part of the larger Centinela Initiative, which is a public-private partnership created to provide sustainable energy options to low-income communities. In this case, the public sector is playing a vital role in providing low-cost loans for solar panel installations, while businesses, such as Velveteri Construction, specialize in constructing the solar farms themselves.
Where Is This Solar Farm Located?
The Centinela Solar Energy Facility is located in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County in California. As the name implies, this facility is within the boundaries of the city of Los Angeles, but it’s actually located in unincorporated county land. This means that the owners and operators of this solar farm don’t have to pay taxes to the city of Los Angeles but they do have to pay property taxes to the county. In any case, this certainly doesn’t pose any problems for the solar farm’s creators and operators.
Who’s Behind This Amazing Solar Power Plant?
To be specific, this solar farm is being built by NuScale Power, a company that designs, manufactures, and installs smart power plants. NuScale Power was founded in 2006 and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a very unique and innovative company that provides clean energy for low-income communities, and they’ve actually installed solar power plants in 20 different countries. Additionally, they design and build small modular nuclear reactors which are intended to provide reliable and clean energy for communities that can’t afford large conventional power plants.
NuScale Power is also involved in a host of other environmental initiatives, and they’ve received some incredible praise for their work. For example, in 2018, the United Nations Environment Program named NuScale Power one of the world’s top ten eco-friendly companies. In 2019, the American Institute of Stress named NuScale Power one of the country’s most promising companies for reinventing the way we generate and consume power.
How Much Energy Does This Solar Farm Generate?
When completed, the Centinela Solar Energy Facility will be one of the largest standalone solar power plants in the world. This means that it will generate more energy than most homes use in a year. When the solar farm is at its full capacity, it will be able to produce up to 10 megawatts of power which is enough electricity for over 1,000 homes. The installed capacity of this solar farm is 13.5 megawatts, so it will be able to generate more energy than the initial 10 megawatts within a few months of operation.
In terms of how much energy this particular solar farm saves the surrounding community, the city of Los Angeles estimates that it will save 50,000 metric tons of carbon emissions (the main source of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change) per year. To put this into perspective, the city of Los Angeles doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to climate change, so it’s safe to assume that this solar farm will help reduce the city’s carbon footprint significantly.
What About The Cost Of This Solar Farm?
The cost of this solar farm is approximately $30,000 per year to maintain. In terms of the bigger picture, the cost of electricity from this type of power plant is approximately 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is cheaper than what most people are paying now. In other words, this solar farm is a great investment, particularly for those in the surrounding community who want to combat climate change and get off the grid.
If you’re interested in owning a part of this amazing project, you can apply for a community solar farm membership by visiting the city of Los Angeles’ website. As previously mentioned, the city of Los Angeles provides low-cost loans for solar energy installations, and if you meet the financial criteria, you can have access to these loans and become a part of the clean energy revolution. Of course, this is only available for residents of Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
How Is This Solar Power Plant Changing The Way We Generate And Consume Energy?
This solar farm is changing the way we generate and consume energy, and not just in Los Angeles. This type of power plant is the wave of the future, and it will provide an innovative and sustainable alternative for all those who use and value power. When completed, the Centinela Solar Energy Facility will be the largest standalone solar power plant in the world, and it will serve as an example for others to follow. It will also be a great addition to Los Angeles’ clean energy portfolio, which currently consists of rooftop solar installations and small-scale solar farms built on school campuses.
This particular solar farm is designed to store energy for use during times of peak demand, which is typically from 10 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. As previously mentioned, during the day, the sun’s energy is concentrated in short but powerful bursts, and at night, the energy is relatively low. As a result, this solar farm will only produce a small amount of energy at night and will require some sort of backup system (backup generator, inverter, or battery system). During times of peak demand, the city of Los Angeles purchases energy from this solar farm and uses it to help meet the demand for electricity. This also means that at other times with lower demand, this energy is lost, so having a backup during these times is critical to prevent blackouts and brownouts. In summary, having intermittent power production increases the system’s resiliency and dependability significantly.
Additionally, this solar farm’s storage system is one of the main reasons it’s effective and sustainable. The sun isn’t always available to power stations, particularly in the winter, so having a storage system allows for much more reliable and consistent energy production. When the sun isn’t shining, the storage system allows the electricity to be generated when needed, preventing frequent blackouts and brownouts. Most importantly, the storage system allows power to be dispatched during times of low energy production when supplies are high and demand is low, resulting in reduced emissions and greater efficiency compared to traditional power plants. In other words, this solar farm provides an alternative to fossil fuels and is considered a clean energy source.
Is This Type Of Power Plant Reliable?
This type of power plant is completely reliable, and it’s designed to be operated for many years without having to be fixed or maintained. This is a major selling point of these smart power plants, and it prevents the need for frequent repairs and downtime. In contrast, traditional power plants have to be inspected and maintained regularly which results in higher costs and more downtime.