This past Wednesday, Arconauts, got to take an exciting tour of The Mesquite Solar project. One of the largest photovoltaic solar power installations in North America located in Tonopah, AZ. Split up into three phases of it’s construction, the 4000-acre Mesquite Solar complex, has enough Photovoltaic panels to potentially power over 200,000 California homes!

Max Mattia an Arcosanti Alumni, as well as a consultant for the Solar Project, graciously agreed to guide our group around the site.

Mesquite Solar 1 is the first phase of the plant, the powerhouse has a capacity of 150-megawatts (MW), and it was among the first solar plants in the country to use liquid-cooled inverter technology, which was the basis for receiving a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in support of the project. Jointly owned by Sempra Renewables and Consolidated Edison Development, renewable power from Mesquite Solar 1 is sold to California’s Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year contract. Construction activities on the 100-megawatt (MW) expansion project, Mesquite Solar 2, began in fall 2015 and it was completed by December 2016. The entire output of the Mesquite Solar 2 expansion has been sold to Southern California Edison under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Mesquite Solar 3 is the latest phase of the landmark Mesquite Solar complex. Construction activities on the 150-megawatt (MW) expansion project began in August 2015. Mesquite Solar 3 generates enough clean energy to provide about a third of the electricity needed to power 14 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps bases in California. The power has been sold under a 25-year power purchase agreement with Western Area Power Administration on behalf of the United States Department of the Navy (DON). The agreement represents the largest purchase of clean renewable energy by a federal entity.

All of the Arconauts had a great time learning about how Solar is working on a larger scale to change the way others live, as well as it got plenty of minds thinking about how we can continue to work Solar into our current system. We can’t wait to see what the future holds with all of these new possibilities for renewable energy. Thanks for checking in to see how we are doing, and who knows, maybe you will be on one of our next trips!

(Photos by Jessica Sypher and Text by Jesse Fernandez)

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