The Public Utilities Commission approved three renewable energy agreements that add 129 megawatts of solar generation capacity in Nevada and bolster the efforts of Apple and Switch to operate their Nevada data centers with 100% green energy.

The PUCN approved a stipulation signed by all parties in four consolidated applications for power purchase agreements to build two new solar plants — the 79-megawatt Playa Solar 1 project owned by First Solar and the 50-megawatt Boulder Solar II facility owned by SunPower. Both projects will be located in Clark County near existing solar facilities.

To achieve Apple’s and Switch’s long-term goals of operating with 100-percent renewable energy at their facilities in both Northern and Southern Nevada, the companies will purchase the portfolio energy credits from each of the new solar plants.

"Consumers are demanding renewable power, and world-class developers, along with NV Energy, have created a new model for such projects to come on line. Nevada’s GreenEnergy Rider Tariff enables companies to pre-purchase renewable credits, off-setting the cost of renewable energy contracts, allowing NV Energy to develop solar resources at rates lower than the current Long Term Avoided Cost," said PUCN Chairman Paul Thomsen, who is the presiding officer in this proceeding. "This innovative structure enables additional renewable development, reduces gas and coal purchases, and facilitates Clean Power Plan compliance, all at prices that do not negatively affect ratepayers."

With its approval of these 20-year power purchase agreements, the PUCN has in the past five months added 329 megawatts of new solar generation to Nevada’s portfolio of renewable energy resources. At prices averaging less than 4.0 cents per kilowatt-hour, these substantial commitments to solar energy will decrease the state’s reliance on fossil fuel generation in a cost-effective manner that benefits all ratepayers.

Further, because the power plants are owned by non-utility independent power producers, ratepayers will not incur risks associated with construction and will avoid paying a return on investment to the utility.