The 200MW Garland solar facility in Kent county, California, was commissioned in December 2016. Image courtesy of Recurrent Energy.
Electricity from the Garland solar facility is sold to Southern California Edison (SCE). Image courtesy of Pieter Morlion.

The Garland solar facility is a 200MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant in operation in Kern County, California, US.

The solar energy project broke ground in November 2015 and was commissioned in December 2016.

Developed by Recurrent Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar, Garland is the ninth solar power project in Kern County.

Southern Power, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southern Company, became the controlling owner of the project by acquiring 51% interest in the project in December 2015. Recurrent Energy holds remaining 49% interest of the facility.

Garland solar power plant generates enough clean energy to power approximately 50,000 Californian homes. The expected operational life of the photovoltaic power project is 35 years.

Garland solar facility location

The Garland solar power plant is spread on two sites totaling 2,000 acres in a sparsely developed rural area in southeastern Kern County, California. The project site is situated in the Mojave Desert on the southern slope of the Tehachapi Mountains.

Garland solar power plant make-up and technology

The 200MW solar power facility consists of 723,000 Canadian Solar high-performance CS6X-P photovoltaic (PV) solar modules mounted on Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ single-axis tracking system.

Canadian Solar CS6X-P 72-cell polycrystalline modules, featuring module efficiency of up to 16.94% and PV-USA Test Conditions (PTC) rating of up to 91.97%, come with 25-year linear power output warranty. The modules are also designed for heavy snow and wind load of up to 5,400 pascal pressure units (Pa) and 2,400Pa respectively.

The use of tracking technology maximises power generation with the trackers tilting solar modules in the direction of the Sun’s movement throughout the day. The fully-lubricated DuraTrack HZ trackers, fitted with sealed-for-life gear boxes, are deemed suitable in extreme desert conditions prevalent at the site of the Garland solar facility.

The trackers are designed to withstand sand dunes and high temperature without any maintenance for 30 years.

The plant has the capacity to generate 300,000MWH of clean solar energy a year.

Power off-take and transmission

Electricity and the associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the Garland solar facility are sold to Southern California Edison (SCE) under two long-term power purchase agreements. SCE has the option to retain or sell the RECs.

The 200MW solar facility is interconnected with SCE’s Whirlwind 220kV Substation located 4.8km north-east of the project site via an overhead transmission line running from a 220kV substation near the solar facility.

Socio-economic benefits of the solar power project

Garland solar power project created 572 jobs during the peak construction period, with 51% of  employees belonging to communities located within a radius of 50km from the project.

The renewable project is also estimated to generate $25.7m of tax revenue for the Kern County and $16.9m of tax revenue for the state of California.

Financing of Garland solar facility

The Garland solar project was financed through a combined construction, line of credit (LC) and term debt facility of $480m provided by a syndicate of five banks including Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (NORD/LB), CIT Group, Rabobank, Santander and KeyBanc.

Contractors involved with the solar facility in Kern county

Signal Energy Constructors was the turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for all civil, structural, mechanical and electrical works of the Garland solar power project.

Blue Oak Energy was engaged as the engineering subcontractor for civil, structural and electrical works of the project.

Trimark Associates was subcontracted by Signal Energy Constructors to provide supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), remote intelligent gateway (RIG), revenue metering and meteorological stations for the Garland solar facility, in September 2015.