America’s Largest Solar-Plus-Storage Project Operational in Southern California’s Mojave Desert

by Anna

A monumental step towards renewable energy sustainability has been taken with the operational commencement of America’s largest solar-plus-storage facility in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. Spanning over 4,600 acres and strategically located within the Edwards Air Force Base, the installation marks a significant milestone in the nation’s transition towards clean energy sources.

The project, named the Edwards & Sanborn Solar and Energy Storage project, boasts an impressive capacity of 875 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and 3.2 GWh of battery storage containers, making it the highest-capacity installation of its kind in the United States. With a total investment of $2 billion, the project is a collaborative effort between Terra-Gen, a New York-based renewable energy firm, and Mortenson, a Minnesota-based engineering, procurement, and construction contractor.


Strategically positioned at one of the sunniest locations in the nation, the site on the western end of the Mojave Desert promises optimal solar energy generation potential. Utilizing nearly 2 million solar modules, half of which are situated on land leased by the Air Force, and the remainder on adjacent private land, the project is poised to deliver clean energy to approximately 238,000 homes.


Terra-Gen’s forward-thinking approach secured long-term offtake agreements with prominent utilities including Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and the Clean Power Alliance, as well as notable entities such as the City of San Jose and Starbucks. The involvement of Starbucks in a virtual power purchase agreement for utility-scale storage highlights the project’s appeal to diverse stakeholders and its contribution to corporate sustainability initiatives.


The technological prowess behind the project is evident in its collaboration with leading suppliers such as LG Chem, Samsung, BYD, and First Solar. The use of advanced lithium-ion batteries and cutting-edge solar modules underscores the commitment to efficiency and reliability in renewable energy infrastructure.


The significance of the Edwards & Sanborn Solar and Energy Storage project extends beyond its immediate impact. It aligns with broader trends in the energy sector, particularly the exponential growth of battery storage resources. With California Independent System Operator (CAISO) already leading the nation in battery storage capacity, the project adds substantial value to the region’s energy landscape.

Looking ahead, the project sets a precedent for future solar-plus-storage initiatives, both in California and across the nation. As the demand for clean energy continues to rise, projects of this scale will play a crucial role in meeting energy needs sustainably and mitigating the effects of climate change. With solar PV and battery storage resources projected to dominate utility-scale generating capacity additions in the coming years, the Edwards & Sanborn project stands as a beacon of innovation and progress in the renewable energy transition.

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