The Edwards & Sanborn Solar + Energy Storage site is now operational in Kern County, California. The project generates 875 MWdc of solar energy and has 3,287 MWh of energy storage. Its total interconnection capacity is 1,300 MW, earning Edwards & Sanborn the often-temporary title of “world’s largest” solar + storage site.

The site is a public-private partnership with the U.S. Air Force, located on a mixture of private land and land belonging to Edwards Air Force base – making it the largest public-private collaboration in the history of the U.S. Department of Defense. The site supplies power to the city of San Jose, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the Clean Power Alliance, and Starbucks, among others.

The 4,660-acre project, developed by Terra-Gen and constructed by Mortenson, began construction in early 2021, with “substantial completion” reported last year. Construction efforts included installing over 98 miles of MV Wire, over 361 miles of DC Wire, 120,720 LG Chem, Samsung, and BYD batteries, and more than 1.9 million First Solar panels. [Editor’s note: I’m reading this like this meme.]

Last month, NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite captured an image of the project as seen from space.

The Edwards Sanborn Solar + Storage project, captured by NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite (Credit: NASA).

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center, a primary subordinate unit of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, worked with Edwards AFB to solicit lease proposals for the underutilized parcel of land on the northwest corner of the base using the Air Force Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) program. The Air Force and Terra-Gen signed a 35-year EUL agreement in November 2018.

“Through the program, Air Force installations can lease non-excess, underused land to private sector developers in return for rent or in-kind consideration subject to approval by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations,” said Jeffrey Domm, Director for AFCEC’s Installations Directorate.

The Edwards array is the fifth and largest solar EUL project in the Air Force, with the others located at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and two at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Originally published in Renewable Energy World.

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