Gemini solar project is a 690MW integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage facility proposed to be built on US federal lands near Las Vegas, Nevada. It is expected to be the biggest solar power facility in the US, as well as one of the biggest renewable energy projects of its kind globally.
The Gemini project is proposed to be developed and operated by Solar Partners XI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Valley of Fire, which acquired it from BrightSource Energy in April 2017. Arevia Power, a US-based privately-held company will serve as the development manager for the project.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the US Department of the Interior (DOI) released the final environmental impact statement for the Gemini solar project in December 2019. It is expected to issue a Record of Decision (ROD) for the project by March 2020.
If approved, construction works on the £770m ($1bn) project are expected to start in the second half of 2020 with completion expected by the end of 2023.
The project is expected to create up to 2,000 jobs during the peak construction phase.
Location and site details
The Gemini solar PV and battery storage project is proposed to be developed on 7,100 acres of federally-owned land administered by the BLM in Clark County, Nevada, approximately 53km north-east of the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
Gemini solar and battery storage facility make-up
The Gemini solar project comprises 690MW of solar PV installations as well as a 380MW battery energy storage facility.
The solar facility will comprise multiple solar array blocks comprising either traditional or bifacial PV modules mounted on horizontal, single-axis trackers.
Each array block will comprise 32 solar panel rows spaced 6m from each other. The space between the bottom of each panel and the ground will vary between 1ft and 8ft.
The integrated battery energy storage system (BESS) will consist of approximately 425 units of 5MWh, four-hour battery storage systems to store excess electricity generation from the PV panels.
Each battery system will comprise approximately 126 individual batteries enclosed within a 12.2m-long, 2.9m-wide and 2.4m-tall container, which will be installed at each power conversion station (PCS) of the solar facility.
One PCS is proposed for every four solar array blocks of the PV solar park.
Electricity from each PCS is proposed to be conveyed to one of the three substations (two 230kV and one 500kV) of the solar facility through 34.5kV collector cables.
Other facilities proposed for the project include a 9.1m-tall meteorological tower, an operation and maintenance (O&M) building, four temporary water ponds, apart from a 20ft-wide perimeter road as well as internal access roads.
The electricity generated by the Gemini solar facility is proposed to be evacuated through two 230kV and one 500kV gen-tie lines interconnected with NV Energy’s Crystal Substation. The length of each gen-tie line will be up to 7.6km.
Power purchase agreement
NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 690MW Gemini solar project in June 2019.
The PPA was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) in December 2019.
NV Energy serves more than 1.2 million people throughout Nevada.
Solar Partners XI also plans to sell part of the electricity output from the Gemini solar project to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).