National Grid Renewables celebrated the activation of the Noble Solar project, the largest yet developed by the company, and among the largest in the nation. The 275 MW solar, 125 MWh battery energy storage Noble Solar project began construction last year and is now feeding renewable energy into the Texas ERCOT grid-controlled region.
The project installed First Solar Series 6 thin-film solar modules and Fluence Energy’s Gridstack battery energy storage system. Signal Energy constructed the project, which employed over 600 construction workers. Six full-time operations and maintenance workers will retain long-term jobs at the site.
National Grid’s project is expected to avoid 450,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year, the equivalent of nearly 100,000 gas-powered electric vehicles each year. During the first 20 years of operation, Noble Solar is estimated to produce $26 million in new tax revenues.
The project included high-profile corporate offtakers that signed on to power purchase agreements (PPA) for a portion of the project’s capacity. The Home Depot executed a 100 MW PPA and The Hershey Company contracted for 50 MW of capacity via PPA.
“This partnership will further our renewable energy capacity, as we work towards our pledge of producing or procuring 100 percent renewable electricity equivalent to the electricity needs for all Home Depot facilities by 2030,” said Ron Jarvis, chief sustainability officer for The Home Depot.
National Grid selected First Solar Series 6 panels for the installation, and the partnership will extend beyond the Noble Solar project. Recently, the company signed on to purchase 2 GW of solar modules from First Solar, with deliveries expected in 2024 to 2025.
The Series 6 is a Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin-film module featuring up to 485 W capacity, 19.2% efficiency, and a 30-year linear performance warranty. The company warrants an annual degradation rate of 0.3%.
The module’s design incorporates an under-mount frame, which the company said enables faster installation times. It contains a dual-junction box, thereby reducing wire management complexity. First Solar said its Series 6 also comes with the industry’s only cell cracking warranty.
Fluence’s Gridstack battery is configurable from 2 MW to 500 MW +, with durations ranging from one hour to six or more. The liquid-cooled battery is IP55 rated and has numerous safety features, including fast stop, fire detection and suppression system (solid aerosol), gas detection (carbon monoxide), deflagration panels, lockable disconnect switch, open door sensor, gas spring damper, and a sliding door lock.
The battery comes with the Fluence OS operating system for control, asset management, and system visibility. It is also equipped with Fluence IQ, a software that automates wholesale market participation to boost revenues.
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