Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Rotman

A View from David Rotman

Large Photovoltaic Plant Announced

A sprawling solar farm is planned for sunny central Washington State.

  • July 10, 2009

A private investment group called Teanaway Solar Reserve says that it plans to build a massive 75-megawatt solar facility that will sprawl over some 400 acres in Cle Elum, WA, a rural area about 80 miles east of Seattle. The solar farm will be by far the largest in the Northwest, and much larger than any existing photovoltaic plant anywhere. (A 60-megawatt plant in Spain now holds the world record, while a 14-megawatt photovoltaic facility at Nellis Air Force Base, in Nevada, is the largest photovoltaic facility in the United States.) However, the solar facility in Washington is only one of several larger photovoltaic plants that have been recently announced, including several in California that would exceed 200 megawatts; a 60-megawatt plant is planned for Chicago.

Washington appears to be an odd location for a solar plant. While central Washington is, unlike Seattle, actually quite sunny–Howard Trott, Teanaway’s managing director, estimates that the location has 300 sunny days a year–it is also home to some of the country’s cheapest electricity because of its hydroelectric capacity. However, Trott says, Washington’s consumers will favor photovoltaic-generated electricity because it is “very green,” and they will pay a premium for it, “which will make us profitable.”

Trott declined to disclose many financial details of the project or his company except to say that the costs of the solar farm will likely “run north of a hundred million.” His plan calls for a solar producer to build a manufacturing facility at the site to provide the 400,000 panels that the solar farm will need. Trott, who acknowledges that he has no previous experience in the solar industry, says that it has not yet been decided whether the new solar facility will use conventional silicon solar cells or thin-film photovoltaics. Indeed, it is still very early days for the private solar company and its Washington project. Says Trott: “Yesterday, we rented an office.”

Keep up with the latest in solar energy at EmTech MIT.
Discover where tech, business, and culture converge.

September 11-14, 2018
MIT Media Lab

Register now
More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.