Project update: Construction underway on the 100 MW/50 MWh Rabbitbrush Solar project


McCarthy Building Companies has provided a construction update regarding progress on Leeward Renewable Energy’s 100 MW/50 MWh Rabbitbrush Solar project, located in Kern County, California.

According to the company, McCarthy began work at the site in October, which will consist of more than 415,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic modules, as well as a 20 MW, 50 MWh battery energy storage system.

Central Coast Community Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy both signed on to purchase generation from the project via 15-year power purchase agreements.

Construction on the Rabbitbrush Solar Project is expected to be completed by end of July 2022, and the facility is estimated to begin operation by the end of August 2022.  Along the way, the project’s construction is expected to generate roughly 300 new union jobs, with additional long-term operations jobs to come after completion.

Construction progress at the Rabbitbrush Solar project Image: McCarthy Building Companies

According to the company, McCarthy and its partners are working closely with area groups, including the native Tejon Indian Tribe, to ensure respect for the area and its people is maintained throughout the construction process.

Central Coast Community Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy are both California community choice aggregators. A recent order requires the state’s load-serving entities, including CCAs, to build at least 11.5 GW of new resources by 2026.

Also in October, Valley Clean Energy signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for power from the Leeward Renewable Energy-developed Willow Springs 3 facility, also in Kern County.

Willow Springs is a 72 MW solar, 36 MW (144 MWh) storage project that is expected to supply enough energy to serve around 27% of VCE’s 125,000 customers. Leeward will own and operate the facility. Construction is set to begin this December.

Also slated to begin construction in Kern County this December is Leeward’s Chaparral Solar facility, which is planned to sell its power to Peninsula Clean Energy, a CCA that serves San Mateo County. The project is a 102 MW solar, 52 MW (208 MWh) storage facility that is  expected to come online by the end of 2023.

Other notable solar projects in Kern County include the Springbok solar cluster, a group of three projects, all developed by 8minute Solar Energy. The three have a combined capacity of 443 MW and were completed in three phases.

Kern County is also home to the 192 MW Rosamond Central solar project. Constructed by McCarthy Building Cos., this Kern County installation has power purchase agreements with regional community choice aggregators East Bay Community Energy and Clean Power Alliance, as well as the City of Palo Alto Utilities.

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