8minutenergy and Capital Dynamics complete Mount Signal 3 solar farm
8minutenergy Renewables, LLC and Capital Dynamics, an independent global private asset management firm, today celebrated the completion and commercial operation of the 328 megawatt-dc (MW) Mount Signal 3 Solar Farm.
Mount Signal 3 Solar Farm is the largest in the 800 MW Mount Signal solar cluster, which is not only the largest PV project in California, but also among the largest in the world.
Mount Signal 3, acquired by Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure (CEI) business in 2017, commenced construction earlier this year and is being brought to commercial operation ahead of schedule.
8minutenergy was the original developer of all three solar farms in the Mount Signal cluster. With Mount Signal 1 and Mount Signal 3 both now complete, the cluster has approximately 80% of its total final capacity online.
Mount Signal 1 and 3 will generate a combined 1.29 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean, renewable power annually for the residents of 15 Southern California counties – enough energy to power over 1 million people during the daytime and reduce carbon emissions by more than 850,000 metric tons each year. Southern California Edison and 8minutenergy signed a long-term power purchase agreement for Mount Signal 3’s energy in 2014.
Mortenson Construction provided the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracting for the Mount Signal 3 plant. Key suppliers included First Solar with 2.8 million Series 4 thin-film solar panels, NEXTracker with its NX Horizon smart solar tracker, and TMEIC with 96 of their Solar Ware® Samurai 2700 Central inverters.
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Tom Buttgenbach, CEO & President of 8minutenergy said: “This is a big day for California and the entire solar industry. As the original developer of the Mount Signal solar cluster, 8minutenergy is incredibly proud to bring this phase of the largest solar plant in the state to completion. Mount Signal is a clear demonstration that solar is ready to power California’s 100% clean energy future ahead of schedule. The Imperial County Board of Supervisors, their staff, our dedicated partners, and the outstanding local workforce were all critical in ensuring that we beat our aggressive timeline in bringing Mount Signal 3 to completion. I’d also like to thank Capital Dynamics and Southern California Edison for being tremendous partners on this project.”
“Capital Dynamics is proud to have the development of Mount Signal 3 completed and now providing hundreds of millions of clean kilowatt hours to the grid. Large-scale solar delivers what California needs, massive amounts of clean energy, reliably, and at a low-cost,” said John Breckenridge, Head of Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure team. “By completing such a massive PV project ahead of schedule, 8minutenergy has again proven its world-class development and construction management capabilities.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.