Large Scale Solar Energy Farm Begins Supplying Energy To Guam

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Test underway of facility with capacity to supply 10,000 homes

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 17, 2015) – Solar panels that stretch as far as the eyes could see in Inarajan have begun producing test energy.

Guam’s first utility-scale solar farm began feeding that test energy to Guam Power Authority on Thursday.

Bolted to the ground on concrete and steel platforms, to ensure they withstand super typhoon-strength winds, 121,792 photovoltaic solar panels are on the solar farm, said Bill Alexander, project manager for NRG Renew, the company that owns and operates the facility.

With a capacity to meet the power needs of about 10,000 homes, or 25.6 megawatts of power, the solar farm produces energy for GPA to buy.

It’s the first time GPA does so on a large scale.

Before this privately funded project, GPA has relied on imported, air-polluting fuel oil.

A nationally known industry player in energy powered by the sun or wind, NRG Renew dove into the Guam project in 2013, in a partnership with aircraft maker Boeing.

The investor bought the Guam project from a wholly owned affiliate of Quantum Utility Generation LLC.

More tests to feed the solar farm’s energy to GPA’s grid will be made in the coming days.

An official ceremony marking the project’s completion is scheduled for Oct. 7, the company has announced.

GPA agreed a few years ago to buy energy from the solar farm for 25 years.

GPA’s power purchase agreement with NRG allows the local utility company to meet a local law’s mandate that at least 5 percent of its power should come from renewable energy sources by December this year.

According to previous GPA estimates, the project is expected to generate enough power during the 25-year purchase agreement to offset consumption of almost 2 million barrels of residual fuel oil and diesel, according to NRG Renew.

The company is a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc., which is one of the largest renewable energy companies in the United States, with more than 150 renewable energy projects totaling approximately 4,500 gross megawatts of solar and wind capacity in operation throughout North America, U.S. territories and the Caribbean, according to the company’s profile.

In addition to the clean energy the solar farm produces, it also left wetlands in the 160-acre property untouched, Alexander said.

The solar panels are mounted above ground and are installed in arrays that follow the contour of the hills and valleys.

From a distance, the solar panel arrays look like a deep blue, shimmering sea.

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