Eastern Kern County's vast renewable-energy potential will shine brightly Friday as corporate and government leaders celebrate the completion of an eight-year, roughly 1,400-acre photovoltaic project designed to generate enough electricity to power more than 150,000 homes in the Los Angeles area.

With a price tag estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, L.A.-based 8minute Solar Energy's three-phase Springbok project in Cantil has put the area's otherwise underused real estate to use creating some 850 construction and maintenance positions, as well as 1,100 indirect jobs.

Viewed in the context of existing wind farms in the Tehachapi area and a larger solar plant under development nearby by the same company, the project demonstrates the renewable-energy potential of a county that is sometimes overshadowed by its better-known oil and gas portfolio.

The project's developer described its achievement in historic terms.

"The Springbok cluster is the first place in the country where solar beat the price of fossil fuels," 8minute Solar spokesman Jeff McKay said by email. "This is where we helped prove to the world that the future of energy belongs to solar."

County Supervisor Zack Scrivner, whose district encompasses the project, welcomed the project's completion.

"I support appropriately located renewable energy projects that hire locally and contribute to the organizations and needs of the community," Scrivner said by email. "8Minute Energy has shown they are here for the long term and I congratulate them on another successful project in the center of energy for California."

The project's 448-megawatt-dc of electricity is being sold to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the city of Glendale.

Next up for 8minute Solar is the project known as Eland, a more than $1 billion installation touted as the nation's largest solar energy project. Sited a little more than half a mile away from the Springbok cluster, it was recently approved by the city of Los Angeles.

What makes Eland special is its energy-storage capacity. Besides generating some 400 megawatts of power, it is designed to store up to 1,200 megawatt-hours of electricity when it opens in 2023, according to 8minute Solar.

Also extraordinary is its cost: Eland is said to offer the lowest combined solar and storage prices anywhere.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at Bakersfield.com for free newsletters about local business.

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(7) comments


To paraphrase Joni mitchell, "They've saved paradise, put up a solar farm".


Until the skies cloud up and 150,000 homes light candles, or wait they are backed up by fossil fuel generation......


I also find the scale of these projects somewhat off-putting when shown in terms of “homes powered”. However, I believe we should look at these projects as one part of a future energy portfolio. Solar on the roofs of most homes in LA would create another large footprint. Making the home itself more energy efficient is another important part of the equation. If each home sips energy from the grid vs gulping it as they do today, overall demand is lowered and we need fewer of these large arrays in the desert.


Fossil fuels are dead. The future is here


If 1,500 acres can power 150,000 LA homes, that is a ratio of 0.01 acre per home.

According to the 2013-2017 American Community Survey, there are 3,506,903 homes in LA and 13,996,299 homes in California.

If we have .01 acre of solar per home, that's 35,069 acres, or 54.8 square miles, of solar panels required to power LA. To power California, 139,963 acres, or 218.7 square miles, of solar would be required.

Los Angeles itself is around 503 square miles, so you would need a solar field a little less than half the size of Los Angeles to power the state.

Is it really more environmentally friendly to build half a Los Angeles in the Mojave?


The problem in your math is assuming that you need 1500 acres to power 150,000 homes. It just said the size of that facility is 1500 acres. It did not say that it's being fully utilized. A better way would be to calculate the other way; what is output per square yard? What is usage? etc. etc. You will find an answer much different than what you posited above.

Masked 2020

isn't that somethin......interesting story

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