Data center giant Switch is launching a new initiative to construct the “single largest solar project portfolio” in the United States.
The company said in a release provided to The Nevada Independent that it would construct the “Gigawatt 1” solar project throughout Northern and Southern Nevada, aiming to eventually generate one gigawatt of solar electricity — enough to power one million homes, while offering a renewable energy rate at a price far below those offered by the state’s primary utility, NV Energy
“The foundation of Gigawatt Nevada is that Nevada should harness the sun the same way Alaska harnesses its oil to significantly benefit all Nevadans,” Switch CEO Rob Roy said in a statement. “Nevada enjoys the best solar window in the nation and so we Nevadans should not only be using solar for ourselves, but exporting it throughout the Western U.S. to create new jobs, tax revenue, economic diversification, and raise energy independence.”
The company said it planned to offer an ambitious price of 4.9 cents per kilowatt hour, which it said was far below the residential service and “green rider” prices offered by NV Energy for similar service to residential (16.2 cents) and large industrial (9.9 cents) customers.
The company said that the solar assets would be owned and developed by Capital Dynamics, a major investment firm that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in clean energy plants. The company announced on Monday that it had purchased a joint venture of solar developers First Solar and SunPower Corp in a blockbuster $976.6 million deal.
Switch will be an ‘anchor’ tenant for the company, and the company said that several of the businesses that contract with them for data center services would also join the project. The company said that it will construct the project with “American-made solar panels,” and would employ Nevadans to help build the facilities. It estimated the project would create 1,250 construction jobs.
“NV Energy welcomes additional investment in the state of Nevada’s renewable energy industry, including the project announced by the Switch team today,” Paul Caudill, NV Energy’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “These investments benefit the communities where they are located through job creation and other ancillary economic development benefits. Nevada has a great natural resource, the sun, and it is exciting to see these kind of projects being announced,”
Update: This story was updated at 10:55 AM to clarify that Capital Dynamics purchased a joint venture, not the two companies.