The Yellow Pine solar project (YPSP) is a proposed 500MW solar generating project in Nevada, US. Image courtesy of Jonathan Cutrer.
The Yellow Pine solar project will supply enough clean electricity for approximately 100,000 households. Image courtesy of Jonathan Cutrer.
The Yellow Pine solar project is proposed to be developed by NextEra Energy Resources. Image courtesy of Jonathan Cutrer.

The Yellow Pine solar project (YPSP) is a 500MW photovoltaic (PV) solar farm planned to be developed in Nevada, US. The project is being undertaken by Yellow Pine Solar, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources.

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a right-of-way (ROW) grant for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Yellow Pine Solar project in November 2020, while the overall timeline of project development is expected to be finalised by the end of 2020.

The project is expected to be completed in 24 months from the start of construction and create up to 400 employment opportunities during the peak construction phase.

The project has the potential to contribute approximately £222m ($297m) to the local economy and supply enough clean electricity for approximately 100,000 households.

Location and site details

The proposed Yellow Pine solar project will be located in Clark County, Nevada, approximately 16km southeast of Pahrump and 51km west of Las Vegas. The project will occupy approximately 3, 000 acres of public land.

The project site is in the Pahrump Valley which is adjacent to the intersection of the Nevada State Route 160 and the Tecopa Road.

Yellow Pine solar farm make-up

The Yellow Pine solar farm will use photovoltaic (PV) panel modules of standard technology and size, measuring approximately 6.5ft (78.2in) in height and 3.25ft (39.1in) in width.

The PV panels will be installed on a solar racking system with support piles firmly set up in the ground. The panels will be grouped together in solar arrays to generate electricity using the photoelectric effect.

Two types of tracker systems are being considered for the YPSP, a ganged tracker system, which uses one actuator to control several rows of PV panels, or a standalone tracker system, which uses a single actuator for each row.

The other facilities of the solar farm will include the power blocks, a battery storage system, a switchyard, site stormwater management/drainage facility, administrative buildings, and other ancillary facilities.

YPSP battery storage system details

The solar power plant will use an energy storage system, which will be connected to an AC or DC-coupled system based on the electricity off-taker’s preferences and contract terms. The energy storage system at the site will comprise battery units based on lithium-ion or equivalent technology.

In the case of an AC-coupled system, the battery units will be connected to a bi-directional inverter to convert DC to AC.

Transmission details

The electricity generated by the solar arrays will be gathered and transmitted through a 34.5kV internal electrical collection system connecting an on-site substation.

The proposed on-site substation will be built in an area of eight acres. The electricity will be stepped up to 230kV and transmitted to the Gridliance West’s Trout Cayon substation through a 161m-long gen-tie line.

Contractors involved

SWCA Environmental Consultants was engaged to prepare the environmental impact study (EIS) for the Yellow Pine solar project. The EIS was later revised and finally approved in July 2020.

Yellow Pine solar project background

The project was originally known as the Sandy Valley Solar project by NextEra’s subsidiary Boulevard Associates, which applied for a right-of-way grant from the BLM Southern Nevada District Office in October 2011.

The application was filed prior to the BLM’s final solar programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for solar energy development in six southwestern states which was prepared in July 2012. Therefore, the record of decision for the solar PEIS was not applicable for the pending Sandy Valley Solar project application.

Later, Yellow Pine Solar submitted an amended application for the project in June 2016.

The project comes into prominence following the revision of the Nevada renewable portfolio standard by Senate Bill 358 in April 2019.