NV Energy has been named as one of the select group of energy companies that connected the most megawatts of solar energy to the power grid in the United States in 2015, earning a spot on the annual Top 10 utility solar lists compiled by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), formerly the Solar Electric Power Association.
In survey results released April 12, NV Energy ranked No. 7 among investor-owned utilities. The company had added 224 megawatts of installed solar capacity in 2015 alone. The 2015 listings are the fourth time that NV Energy has made SEPA’s Top 10 list.
The 2015 success was primarily based on three large-scale solar projects that achieved commercial operation during the year, as well as NV Energy’s support of private solar energy installations through its SolarGenerations program. The 19.5-megawatt Fort Churchill Solar Array near Yerington, Nevada came on line early in 2015, and both the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar project near Tonopah, Nevada and 15-megawatt Nellis Solar Array II project came on line late in the year.
When producing, these three solar projects can meet the energy needs of nearly 100,000 homes in Nevada.
The awards were announced at SEPA’s Utility Solar Conference, which was held in Denver, Colorado this year. The ninth annual survey includes entries from more than 300 utilities across the country.
NV Energy recently announced that it also exceeded Nevada’s 20 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement for 2015 and continues to support solar energy growth. For example, the company is currently reviewing bids to acquire 35 megawatts of nameplate renewable energy capacity and to secure a long-term Power Purchase Agreement for a minimum of 100 megawatts of additional renewable energy in Nevada.
Two large-scale solar projects from previously awarded long-term contracts are in the construction or final development phase – the 150-megawatt Boulder Solar I and II projects near Boulder City and the 179-megawatt Switch Station 1 and 2 north of Las Vegas. These two projects are creating more than 500 direct construction jobs and many more indirect jobs. The projects are expected to be operational in 2017.
NV Energy noted that it is increasing the renewable energy benefits to customers at the same time it is lowering its reliance on coal-fueled generation and keeping rates to customers as low as possible. NV Energy announced April 1 that Southern Nevada customers experienced the fourth rate decrease since July 1, 2015. NV Energy customer rates today are lower than they were five years ago.