Equipment suppliers and construction partners have been chosen for the $1.2 billion Gemini solar-plus-storage installation in Nevada, which when complete will be among the largest solar projects in the U.S.
Oakland, California-based Primergy Solar, part of Australia-based Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners and Gemini’s developer, owner, and operator, on March 3 said it has chosen Kiewit Power Constructors as the project’s engineering, procurement, and construction lead. IHI Terrasun Solutions will serve as the battery storage integrator. Maxeon Solar Technologies, based in Singapore, has been selected to provide high-efficiency, bifacial solar modules.
The Gemini project is a 690-MWac/966-MWdc solar array, coupled with a 1,416-MWh storage facility that will deliver power mostly to Nevada when complete. Gemini, sited on about 6,500 acres of federal land near Las Vegas, will include more than 1.8 million solar modules. The project is expected to create about 1,000 jobs during the construction phase, with completion expected in 2023.
Gemini’s size is rivaled by the Mammoth Solar Project in Indiana, a two-phase installation that when complete is expected to have 700 MW of generation capacity. The first 400-MW phase of Mammoth is expected to come online in 2023, with a 300-MW second phase scheduled to enter commercial operation the following year.
The Mammoth project is led by Doral Renewables, an Israeli company. The installation is sited across about 13,000 acres in Starke and Pulaski counties in Indiana, about 50 miles southwest of South Bend. Doral is building the solar farm as part of an agreement with Ohio-based American Electric Power.
The Gemini project was approved by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior in 2020, after months of delays in part due to extensive environmental reviews.
“The final selection of equipment supply and construction partners for Gemini has been a long, detailed and thoughtful process,” said David Scaysbrook, managing partner of Quinbrook. “The Quinbrook and Primergy teams have worked diligently to evaluate each supplier’s credentials and track record from an ESG [environmental, social, governance] perspective in accordance with Quinbrook policies. This includes detailed supply chain investigation and materials sourcing to ensure we have procured responsibly, especially in a challenging market and regulatory environment for solar and storage equipment. We believe we have chosen the best possible technical combinations for a milestone project and applaud our respective teams for their efforts to get to this point.”
“The Gemini Project is extraordinary in its scope and scale, and we are excited to join Primergy in significantly expanding the availability of clean energy,” said Dave Flickinger, executive vice president of Kiewit Energy Group, part of Omaha, Nebraska-based Kiewit, a company with a long history of power plant construction projects. “With more than 40 years of experience in developing renewable energy projects, we are well equipped to deliver an outstanding solar array and battery system while also supporting Primergy’s commitment to safety, reliability, environmental stewardship and the surrounding community.”
Jamal Burki, president of Chicago, Illinois-based IHI Terrasun, said, “IHI Terrasun is proud to be part of such a historic moment. We look forward to bringing our advanced DC-coupled solar and storage solutions to the Gemini Project while employing our lifecycle services aimed at ensuring a smooth and reliable operations for all involved.”
Tortoise Relocation Plan
Opponents of the Gemini project have said they don’t think the installation’s benefits outweigh its environmental impact, arguing over the past few years that it will disrupt a desert ecosystem of flora and fauna about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Primergy has repeatedly said it has “invested significant resources” to minimize risks, including a partnership with biologists to create a Desert Tortoise Relocation Plan that “tracks, cares for and will safely reintroduce the protected species back into their natural habitat once construction is complete.”
Primergy has said the project’s construction will minimize impact to the area, with narrow road corridors to the construction site, and “building appropriately spaced, raised rows of solar modules to ensure nearly 80% of the land on site remains open to the sky.”
“While the size, scale and innovative integration of solar PV coupled with battery storage makes Gemini one of the most complex clean energy projects ever developed, Gemini also sets new and timely benchmarks in sustainable infrastructure development,” said Ty Daul, CEO of Primergy. “Through Gemini, Primergy has pioneered a holistic approach to responsible project development that considers complete ecosystem management, collaborative partnerships with local and community stakeholders and undertakes careful due diligence in supply chain and equipment selection. This ensures the company procures responsibly, minimizes environmental impact and delivers lasting community benefits across jobs, training and ongoing education in the benefits of large-scale clean energy infrastructure.”
Primergy, founded in 2020, on Thursday said the company’s Nevada portfolio already exceeds 1,300 MWac of solar and 3,330 MWh of battery energy storage systems under contract with Las Vegas-based NV Energy, as well as multiple additional projects in the development phase. The company has more than 6 GW of operational and development assets across the U.S.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).