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Draft Plan of Development

Silver State Solar South Project

NVN-085077, NVN-085801, NVN-089530

Prepared for

Bureau of Land Management


Las Vegas Field Office
Prepared by Silver State Solar Power South, LLC
A wholly owned subsidiary of

With technical assistance from


2285 Corporate Circle Suite 200 Henderson, NV 89074

July 2011

Contents
Section Page Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary .................................................................................... vii Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................... ES-1 1. Project Description ...................................................................................................................... 1-1 1.1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 1-1 1.1.1 Type of Facility, Planned Uses, Generation Output .............................................. 1-1 1.1.2 Applicants Schedule for the Project ........................................................................ 1-3 1.2 Proponents Purpose and Need for the Project................................................................ 1-3 1.2.1 Need for Renewable Energy ..................................................................................... 1-3 1.2.2 Project Purpose and Need ......................................................................................... 1-4 1.2.3 Power Market and Project Benefits .......................................................................... 1-4 1.3 General Facility Description, Design, and Operation ..................................................... 1-5 1.3.1 Project Location, Land Ownership, and Jurisdiction ............................................ 1-5 1.3.2 Legal Land Description ............................................................................................. 1-5 1.3.3 Total Acreage and General Dimensions of All Facilities and Components ....... 1-5 1.3.4 Power Plant Facilities, Photovoltaic Conversion Process ................................... 1-15 1.3.5 Numbers and Dimensions of Solar Array and Other Equipment ..................... 1-17 1.3.6 Temporary Construction Workspace, Yards, Staging Areas ............................. 1-27 1.3.7 Geotechnical Studies and Data Needs ................................................................... 1-28 1.3.8 Ancillary Facilities .................................................................................................... 1-29 1.3.9 Erosion Control and Stormwater Drainage .......................................................... 1-34 1.3.10 Vegetation Treatment and Weed Management ................................................. 1-34 1.3.11 Waste and Hazardous Materials Management .................................................. 1-34 1.3.12 Fire Protection ......................................................................................................... 1-36 1.3.13 Site Security and Fencing ...................................................................................... 1-37 1.3.14 Electrical Components, New Equipment, and Upgrades ................................. 1-37 1.3.15 Interconnection to the Electrical Grid .................................................................. 1-38 1.3.16 Spill Prevention and Containment for Construction and Operation .............. 1-38 1.3.17 Health and Safety Program ................................................................................... 1-38 1.4 Alternatives Considered ................................................................................................... 1-39 1.5 Other Federal and Local Permit Requirements ............................................................. 1-40 1.6 Financial and Technical Capability of the Applicant .................................................... 1-42 2. Construction of the Facilities .................................................................................................... 2-1 2.1 Solar Field Design, Layout, Installation, and Construction Processes Including Timetable and Sequence ..................................................................................................... 2-1 2.1.1 Design, Layout, and Installation .............................................................................. 2-1 2.1.2 Major Construction Process Milestones .................................................................. 2-1 2.1.3 Construction Process Timetable and Sequence ...................................................... 2-1 2.1.4 Construction Description .......................................................................................... 2-2 2.2 Approach to Phased Construction and Operations ........................................................ 2-7

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CONTENTS, CONTINUED

2.3 Access and Transportation System, Component Delivery, Worker Access................ 2-7 2.4 Construction Workforce Numbers, Vehicles, Equipment, Timeframes ...................... 2-7 2.5 Site Preparation: Surveying and Staking ......................................................................... 2-8 2.6 Site Preparation: Vegetation Removal and Treatment ................................................... 2-8 2.7 Site Clearing, Grading, and Excavation ........................................................................... 2-8 2.8 Solar Array Assembly and Construction ....................................................................... 2-10 2.9 Construction Waste Management ................................................................................... 2-11 2.9.1 Nonhazardous Solid Waste .................................................................................... 2-12 2.9.2 Wastewater ............................................................................................................... 2-12 2.9.3 Hazardous Waste ..................................................................................................... 2-12 2.10 Gravel, Aggregate, and Concrete Needs and Sources ............................................... 2-12 2.11 Electrical Construction Activities .................................................................................. 2-13 2.11.1 34.5kV Collection System ...................................................................................... 2-13 2.11.2 230kV/220kV Transmission Line ........................................................................ 2-14 2.11.3 Standard Transmission Line Construction Techniques.................................... 2-14 2.12 Aviation Lighting ............................................................................................................ 2-16 2.13 Site Stabilization, Protection, and Reclamation Practices .......................................... 2-16 2.13.1 Erosion and Sediment Control Measures ........................................................... 2-16 2.13.2 Sediment Control Measures ................................................................................. 2-17 2.13.3 Dust Control ........................................................................................................... 2-17 2.13.4 Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plans ...................................................... 2-17 2.14 Construction Water Usage ............................................................................................. 2-17 3. Related Facilities and Systems ................................................................................................. 3-1 3.1 Transmission System Interconnect ................................................................................... 3-1 3.1.1 Existing and Proposed Transmission System ........................................................ 3-1 3.1.2 Ancillary Facilities ..................................................................................................... 3-1 3.1.3 Status of Power Purchase Agreements ................................................................... 3-2 3.1.4 Status of Interconnect Agreement ........................................................................... 3-2 3.1.5 General Design and Construction Standards......................................................... 3-2 3.2 Gas Supply Systems ............................................................................................................ 3-3 3.3 Other Related Systems ........................................................................................................ 3-3 3.3.1 Communication System Requirements during Construction and Operation ... 3-3 3.3.2 Project Access Road ................................................................................................... 3-3 4. Operation and Maintenance ..................................................................................................... 4-1 4.1 Operation and Maintenance Needs .................................................................................. 4-1 4.2 Maintenance Activities ....................................................................................................... 4-1 4.2.1 Periodic Maintenance ................................................................................................ 4-1 4.3 Operations Workforce and Equipment ............................................................................ 4-3 4.4 Emergency Response Planning ......................................................................................... 4-4 5. Environmental Considerations................................................................................................. 5-5 5.1 General Description of Site Characteristics and Potential Environmental Issues ...... 5-5 5.2 Mitigation Measures Proposed by the Applicant ........................................................... 5-6 6. References..................................................................................................................................... 6-1

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Appendix A Tables 1-1 1-2 1-3 1-4 1-5 1-6 1-7 2-1 2-2 2-3 4-1 PV Technology General Comparison Project Schedule Township/Range and Section Information Project Facilities, Acreage, and Dimensions Hazardous Materials That May Be Used During Operation Wastes Potentially Generated by the Project Federal, State, and Local Permits and Authorizations That May Be Required for the Project Project Construction Schedule Major Milestones Construction Area of Disturbance Wastes Generated during Construction Routine Maintenance Protocol Solar Panel Technical Specifications

Figures 1-1 1-2 1-3 1-4 1-5a 1-5b 1-6a 1-6b 1-7 3-1a 3-1b Project Vicinity Project Location Township/Range, Section, and Subdivision Information Site Layout Fixed Tilt 1.25MWac Block Detail Examples of Fixed Tilt Solar Panel Tracker 1.25MWac Block Detail Tracker 1.25MWac Block Photos Overlay of Silver State Solar South Project Boundary with Boundary for Previous Phases 1, 2 and 3 Typical Transmission Towers Typical Transmission Tower, Wood Pole

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Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary


AC BLM BMP CAISO CFR CSP DAQEM DC EIS EITP FAA FEIS First Solar FLPMA FTE HASP HVAC kV kVA kW MSDS MWac NACE NDEP NEMA NEPA NFPA alternating current Bureau of Land Management best management practice California Independent System Operator Code of Federal Regulations concentrating solar power Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management direct current Environmental Impact Statement Eldorado to Ivanpah Transmission Project Federal Aviation Administration Final Environmental Impact Statement First Solar, Inc. Federal Land Policy and Management Act full-time-equivalent Health and Safety Plan heating, ventilation, and air conditioning kilovolt(s) kilovolt-amperes kilowatt(s) Material Safety Data Sheets megawatt(s) alternating current National Association of Corrosion Engineers Nevada Department of Environmental Protection National Electric Manufacturers Association National Environmental Policy Act National Fire Protection Association

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ACRONYMS, ABBREVIATIONS, AND GLOSSARY

NHPA NOI NPDES O&M OSHA PCS POD PPA PV PVCS RCRA ROD ROW SCADA SCE SHPO SMS SPCC SUT SWPPP TDR TSDF UPRR UPS USACE USFWS

National Historic Preservation Act Notice of Intent National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System operation and maintenance Occupational Safety and Health Administration power conversion station Plan of Development Power Purchase Agreement photovoltaic photovoltaic combining switchgear Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Record of Decision right-of-way Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Southern California Edison State Historic Preservation Office Solar Meteorological Station Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures plan step-up transformer Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Technical Drainage Report treatment, storage, and disposal facility Union Pacific Railroad uninterruptible power supply United States Army Corps of Engineers United States Fish and Wildlife Service

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Executive Summary
Introduction
Silver State Solar Power South, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, Inc. [First Solar]), proposes to construct, own, and operate a 350-megawatt alternating current (MWac) (nominal plant capacity) solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation facility, the Silver State Solar South Project (Project). 250MWac of the Projects output will be delivered to Southern California Edison (SCE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) announced in March 2011. The remaining generation from the Project is being marketed to both California and Nevada.

BLM Guidance
This POD has been prepared in accordance with BLMs guidance dated January 31, 2011, entitled Solar Energy Plan of Development (BLM, 2011a). The Project is designed to meet the increasing demand for clean, renewable electrical power. Development of solar resources reduces reliance on foreign sources of fuel, promotes national security, diversifies energy portfolios, and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Solar energy development is also consistent with recent federal policies including Executive Order 13423 (Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management) and U.S. Department of the Interior, BLM Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-097 (BLM, 2007a).

Project Background
Significant portions of the Project , along with the adjacent 50 MWac Silver State Solar Power North Project (or Phase 1), were previously evaluated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In September 2010, the U.S Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Silver State Solar Energy Project, DOI No. FES 10-50 (BLM, 2010a). On October 12, 2010, the BLM issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Silver State Solar Energy Development (Serial Numbers N-085077 and N-85801) (BLM, 2010b). The ROD encompassed 400 MWac of solar generation to be developed in three separate phases. The BLM issued the ROW for the Silver State Solar (50MWac) Project on October 13, 2010 (BLM, 2010c). The 50MWac Project is described in a separate POD (First Solar, 2011). The BLM issued a Notice to Proceed to construct, operation, maintain and terminate the Silver State Solar Phase 1 (50MWac) project on May 18, 2011 (BLM, 2011b). This POD describes the design, location, and proposed permitting and construction schedule for the Silver State South Project, which comprises areas previously surveyed and evaluated under the EIS referenced above as well as additional contiguous lands. BLM assessed the potential environmental impacts of awarding ROW grants through the NEPA review process and listed mitigation measures for impacts that could otherwise be

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

significant and adverse in the FEIS (DOI No. FES 10-50). The ROD was specific to the first phase (50MWac Silver State Solar Project) and indicated that subsequent phases, as described in this POD for the Silver State South Project, would be reviewed to assess consistency with prior environmental review. The updated design for the Project is in response to BLM and stakeholder feedback on potentially suitable areas of development and to avoid or minimize impacts to sensitive resources. The updated design is not anticipated to result in significant effects outside the range of effects analyzed in the FEIS. To secure additional lands for the modified design, Silver State Solar filed a Form SF-299 ROW grant application, totaling 5,176 acres, with the BLM Las Vegas Field Office in February 2011, and amended the application in March 2011. This application was assigned BLM serial number NVN-089530. In total, the lands defined in all of the applications referenced herein (NVN085077, NVN-085801, NVN-088592 and NVN-089530) are adjacent and contiguous and, combined, encompass approximately 13,181 acres. As noted previously, the BLM has issued a ROW grant for the 50MWac Silver State Solar Project. The 50MWac Silver State Solar Project ROW grant encompassed approximately 618 acres, leaving approximately 12,563 acres available under existing applications for the development of the Silver State South Solar Project. The Project site is on land administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) near the unincorporated community of Primm in Clark County, Nevada.

Project Location
The Project site is in Clark County, Nevada, approximately 2 miles east of Primm, Nevada. The Project boundary encompasses approximately 12,563 acres of federal, BLM-managed lands, comprised of all or portions of T26S, R59E, Sections 13, 14, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 34, 35, 36, and T27S, R59E, Sections 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12,13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian.

Project Construction
The Project will be constructed using First Solar cadmium tellurium thin-film modules mounted on both fixed-tilt mounting systems and single-axis, horizontal tracker structures. The mounting system for the modules will be supported by steel posts driven into the ground. Based on the general soil and drainage characteristics of the surrounding area, preliminary estimates are that the posts will be driven between four and seven feet into the ground for fixed-tilt structures and up to 12 feet (depending on soil conditions and location) for tracker structures. Tilt-brackets, which establish the plane of the fixed-tilt arrays (tilt angle), are bolted onto the posts. Steel table frames (tabletops) are then bolted to the tiltbrackets or tracker structures and the modules are mechanically fastened to the tables. In the event that the results of detailed geotechnical investigations indicate driven steel posts are not an optimal foundation, other embedded foundation designs may be utilized. Concrete foundations will be required for other Project components, including power conversion stations (PCSs) that house the inverters, photovoltaic combining switchgear (PVCS), transformers and substation equipment.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Project will include the following main elements: First Solar PV solar array field and associated interior accessways and perimeter road Fixed-tilt mounting systems (including tilt brackets and tabletops) and single-axis, horizontal tracker structures supported by driven steel posts, or other embedded foundation design First Solar PV solar modules Direct current (DC) collection system comprised of underground DC cabling and combiner boxes Weather stations (steel lattice) up to 33 feet high mounted on concrete foundations PCS, which include the DC to alternating current (AC) inverters and the medium voltage transformers which steps up the voltage to 34.5 kilovolts (kV). The PCS will also include emergency backup power for the tracker system in the event of high winds and loss of grid power. The backup power may include either a backup generator or batteries, subject to Clark County requirements. An underground and overhead 34.5kV collection system to convey electricity from the solar field to the South substation. An onsite substation, designated the South Substation, with 34.5kV to 230kV/220kV step-up transformers, breakers, buswork, protective relaying and associated substation equipment. The South Substation will provide interconnection to deliver renewable energy from the Project to the California market via SCEs Eldorado to Ivanpah Transmission Project (EITP). Potential delivery of renewable energy to the Nevada market would be via NV Energys Bighorn Substation. The substation area will be approximately 500 feet by 500 feet in size. The highest point within the substation will be approximately 85 feet. A 1-mile, 220kV transmission line to connect the South Substation with SCEs proposed EITP noted above. A 2-mile, 230kV transmission line from the South Substation to the NV Energy Bighorn Substation. An approximately 480 feet by 480 feet switchyard, at the connection point with SCEs EITP line. The switchyard will contain equipment for the 220kV interconnection of the transmission line from the South Substation to SCEs proposed EITP. This switchyard will be owned by First Solar. Within the switchyard some network equipment will be owned and operated by SCE. A 1.2-acre operation and maintenance (O&M) area that will accommodate a 2,000 square foot O&M building, parking area, and other associated facilities. Associated facilities in the O&M area will include above ground water storage tanks, septic system, security gate, signage, and flagpoles. Two groundwater wells to provide construction water, fire protection water, and other operational water supply requirements.

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A 3-mile-long Maintenance Road. A 20-foot-wide fire break around the exterior of the perimeter fence. A Project Access Road consisting of a 1-mile-long extension from the Silver State Solar North Project Maintenance Road. The Project Access Road may be compacted earth or improved to an aggregate or paved surface if determined appropriate by the applicant, or if necessary to comply with Clark County requirements. Site security facilities including perimeter security fencing, controlled access gates, and signage. Perimeter desert tortoise exclusion fencing. Fiber optic cable installation for communications to the Project will be installed underground or on overhead lines along the Project Access Road or transmission line corridors between the South Substation and the point of interconnection with the SCE or NV Energy systems.

Construction of the Project will require the following temporary facilities. These temporary facilities will be removed at the end of the construction period. A 4-acre temporary construction water storage pond. The two to four million gallon capacity construction water storage pond will allow for consistent well operation for water used to maintain dust control during construction. An 8-acre temporary construction mobilization and laydown area. The temporary mobilization and laydown area will contain temporary construction trailers, owner parking, above ground water tanks, materials receiving and materials storage. The temporary mobilization and laydown area will be graded/compacted earth An 8-acre temporary construction workforce parking area. The temporary construction workforce parking area will provide adequate parking for the construction workforce necessary for construction of the Project. Temporary construction utilities include temporary power connection to the NV Energy distribution or SCE transmission systems adjacent the Project, temporary power generator, and temporary above-ground water line.

The PV modules will convert sunlight into DC electricity. PV Modules are connected in arrays of 1.25MWac to 2.5MWac. Each array of PV-generated DC power will be collected from the PV modules through combiner boxes and conveyed to a PCS. Within the PCS for each array, inverters will convert the DC power to AC power, which will then flow to a medium-voltage transformer that converts the output of the inverter to 34.5kV. Multiple medium-voltage transformers will be connected in parallel in a daisy chain configuration and power will be delivered to the PVCS, then to the South substation, where it will be stepped up to 230kV/220kV. From the South substation power will then be delivered to the new switchyard located at SCEs proposed EITP, where it will enter the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) transmission system, or to NV Energys Bighorn substation where it will enter the Nevada market.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Project schedule includes environmental studies and permitting that have been ongoing since 3Q 2008 and are expected to be begin completed by 3Q 2012. Construction of the Project is anticipated to begin 4Q 2013 and be completed by 4Q 2016. The plant will be commissioned in 5MWac to 10MWac blocks that will begin generating power as soon as the Projects South Substation and switchyard are installed, and the SCE EITP project is completed. Initial delivery of power is scheduled for the 1Q 2015. A peak construction workforce of 230 to 400, including both field construction and PV module and foundation installation personnel, will be employed during Project construction (the actual workforce will depend on the rate of construction). Project operation will require up to 10 full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions and will consist of plant operators, security, and maintenance. These FTEs include personnel with responsibilities related O&M activities, 24-hour a day security, and remote monitoring. Preconstruction activities will include surveying, geotechnical work, well drilling, obtaining construction-related permits, and preparing a Construction Environmental Compliance Plan.

Permits
First Solar is pursuing federal permits that may be necessary. Numerous surveys and studies have been conducted under the FEIS that are relevant to the project described in this POD. Additional studies will be required to assess new impacts on new lands not considered in the FEIS, and these studies will include biological resources (rare plants, wildlife) conducted in support of the federal Endangered Species Act; identification of wetland resources, if any, under the federal Clean Water Act; cultural resources under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA); and visual resources, air emissions, and noise assessments. Cooperating federal agencies may include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and Nevada State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Permits from state and local agencies and authorities are required for construction and operation to address various issues (e.g., storm water management, air emissions). State agencies include the Nevada Divisions of Wildlife, Forestry, Water Resources, Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. The Project also requires local permits from agencies including the Clark County Development Services Department and Fire Department.

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Project Description
1.1 Introduction
1.1.1 Type of Facility, Planned Uses, Generation Output
The Project proposes to construct, own, and operate a 350 megawatt alternating current (MWac) (nominal plant capacity) solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation facility, the Silver State Solar South Project (Project). A 250MWac portion of the Projects output will be delivered to Southern California Edison (SCE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) announced in March 2011. The remaining generation from the Project is being marketed to both California and Nevada. This Plan of Development (POD) describes the design, location, and proposed permitting and construction schedule for the Project. It has been prepared in accordance with the January 31, 2011 Outline for Solar Energy Plan of Development issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (BLM, 2011a). NextLight filed Form SF-299 Right-of-Way (ROW) grant applications with the BLM Las Vegas Field Office in March and August of 2008 to use BLM-administered lands for solar power development. The first application was assigned project serial number NVN-085077. The second Form SF-299 ROW grant application, filed in August 2008 (and amended in September 2008 to incorporate additional land), was assigned BLM serial number NVN-085801. NextLight amended its application under NVN-085077 to change the technology originally identified in its Form SF-299 from concentrating solar power (CSP) to PV. A third Form SF-299 ROW grant application was filed in May 2010 to incorporate additional land for transmission line and access road facilities. This application was assigned BLM serial number NVN-088592. The lands defined in these applications are adjacent and contiguous and, combined, encompass approximately 8,005 acres. In September 2010, the BLM issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Silver State Solar Energy Project, DOI No. FEIS 10-50 (BLM, 2010a). On October 12, 2010, the BLM issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Silver State Solar Energy Development (Serial Numbers N-085077 and N-85801) (BLM, 2010b). The ROD encompassed 400 megawatts of solar generation to be developed in three separate phases. The BLM issued the ROW for the Silver State Solar (50MWac) Project on October 13, 2010 (BLM, 2010c). The 50MWac Project is described in a separate POD (First Solar, Inc. [First Solar], 2011). The BLM issued a Notice to Proceed to construct, operation, maintain and terminate the Silver State Solar (50MWac) Project on May 18, 2011 (BLM, 2011b). In response to BLM and stakeholder feedback, and to address sensitive resource and development issues, Silver State Solar South proposes a modified design for development of the remaining 350MWac of solar power generation addressed under the BLM Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and ROD referenced above. To secure additional lands for the modified design, Silver State Solar filed a Form SF-299 ROW grant application

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with the BLM Las Vegas Field Office in February 2011, and amended in March 2011. This application was assigned BLM serial number NVN-089530. In total, the lands defined in all of the applications referenced herein (NVN-085077, NVN-085801, NVN-088592 and NVN-089530) are adjacent and contiguous and, combined, encompass approximately 13,181 acres. As noted previously, the BLM has issued a ROW grant for the 50MWac Silver State Solar Project. The 50MWac Silver State Solar Project ROW grant encompassed approximately 618 acres, leaving approximately 12,563 acres available under existing applications for the development of the Silver State South Solar Project. The Project will be constructed using First Solar cadmium tellurium thin-film solar modules mounted on both fixed-tilt mounting systems and single-axis, horizontal tracker structures. The mounting system for the modules will be supported by steel posts driven into the ground. Based on the general soil and drainage characteristics of the surrounding area, preliminary estimates are that the posts will be driven between four and seven feet into the ground for fixed tilt structures and up to 12 feet for tracker structures. Tilt-brackets, which establish the plane of the fixed-tilt arrays (tilt angle), are bolted onto the posts (fixed tilt). Steel table frames (tabletops) are then bolted to the tilt-brackets or tracker structures and the modules are mechanically fastened to the tables. In the event that the results of detailed geotechnical investigations indicate driven steel posts are not an optimal foundation, other embedded foundation designs may be utilized. Concrete foundations will be required for other Project components, including power conversion stations (PCS) (which house the inverters), photovoltaic combining switchgear (PVCS) and transformers, weather stations, and substation equipment. Characteristics of the solar array are provided in Section 1.3.5. The fixed-tilt arrays, which do not track the sun, are positioned in a south-facing orientation at a tilt between 20 and 25 from horizontal (ground surface) to receive optimal solar energy throughout the year. The rows in each array are oriented in an east-west direction. On the single-axis, horizontal trackers, the PV modules are mounted horizontally (not tilted to the south). The tracking units are arranged into north to south-oriented rows, and are powered by a drive motor to track the east-west path of the sun on a single axis throughout the day. The tracking systems will be bolted onto posts. In the event that the results of detailed geotechnical investigations indicate driven steel posts are not an optimal foundation, other embedded foundation designs including concrete footings may be utilized. Table 1-1 is a general summary of PV technology for the Project.
TABLE 1-1

PV Technology General Comparison


Fixed Tilt Mounting Direction Degrees from Horizontal (ground surface) Arrangement of Rows Drive motor Tracks Movement of Sun Foundation South-facing 20-25 East to West No No Steel posts or embedded pier foundations Horizontal Tracker Horizontal 0 North to South Yes Yes Steel posts or embedded pier foundations (concrete footings may be used where dictated by subsurface soil conditions)

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Technical specifications for the solar panels are provided in Appendix A.

1.1.2 Applicants Schedule for the Project


Project development will include both permitting and construction, as shown in Table 1-2.
TABLE 1-2

Project Schedule
Activity Prepare POD Field studies and resource reports Notice of Intent (if required) Prepare required NEPA documents Obtain federal permits Required Federal approvals Project construction Total elapsed time Duration 2 months 22 months 6 months (concurrent) 10 months (concurrent) 39 months 86 months Estimated Dates May 2011 to June 2011 November 2009 to August 2011 July 2011 August 2011 to January 2012 December 2011 to September 2012 October 2012 October 2013 to December 2016

1.2 Proponents Purpose and Need for the Project


1.2.1 Need for Renewable Energy
The United States has a greater solar energy resource potential than any other industrialized nation. The multiple benefits associated with developing this resource have been recognized repeatedly by both federal and state policy-makers. Development of solar resources reduces reliance on foreign sources of fuel, promotes national security, diversifies energy portfolios and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The demand for power continues to grow in the Western United States. As older technology fossil-fuel plants reach the end of their useful lives, there is a need to replace them with clean, reliable resources. Recognizing this need, many Western states, including Nevada and California, have enacted legislation to encourage or mandate the development of renewable generation. In 2001, for example, the Nevada legislature passed SB 372, requiring that 15 percent of the electrical power provided by Nevadas electrical utilities be from renewable sources by the year 2013. In 2005, the Nevada legislature passed AB 03, increasing the renewable energy percentage goal to 20 percent and extending the deadline. In 2009, Nevada enacted SB 395, legislation that requires regulated entities to achieve a goal of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. California has also established a goal that requires certain load serving entities to increase their procurement from eligible renewable energy resources, so that 33 percent of their retail customers needs are served by such resources in 2020. 1 Both the Nevada and the California statutes operate by imposing mandates on obligated entities, such as investor owned electric utilities, to purchase an increasing amount of
[1] See SBX 1 2 (Simitian) signed by Governor Brown on April 12, 2011.

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renewable energy. These goals are typically effectuated through annual solicitations for renewable energy which result in the execution of long-term PPAs between the Project proponent and the purchasing utility. Thus, regardless of future advances in technology or changes in law, a Project designed and built to meet these regulatory demands will continue to operate under the terms of a binding long-term PPA. The federal government has also enacted legislation strongly encouraging the development of renewable energy. As part of an overall strategy to develop a diverse portfolio of domestic energy supplies for our future, the National Energy Policy of 2001 and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58, August 8, 2005) encourages the development of renewable energy resources, which includes solar energy. Section 211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 encourages the approval of at least 10,000MW of non-hydropower renewable energy Projects on the public lands within the next 10 years. Congress is also considering legislation that would implement greenhouse gas emissions requirements and/or national renewable portfolio standards. These federal and state laws, and the increasing public awareness of the need for regional measures to reduce carbon emissions, have combined to establish a durable and sustainable market for the output of the Project and other solar projects in the Western U.S. Because of its electrical location and proximity to multiple transmission paths, the Project has the ability to serve both the Nevada and California markets and to meet the regulatory goals of either state.

1.2.2 Project Purpose and Need


Solar energy has significant potential in the western United States for converting sunlight into electricity using technology that is rapidly improving. Solar energy currently accounts for less than one percent of total U.S. electricity supply. However, because of this potential and the ability of solar generating facilities to deliver on-peak when demand is high, solar energy will occupy an increasingly large share of the increment of renewable energy required to meet the demand of Western states. As the cost of producing solar energy declines, there will be a greater interest in locating large solar power systems on public lands. The Project will produce enough electricity to power an estimated 120,000 homes.

1.2.3 Power Market and Project Benefits


The Project will interconnect to SCEs Eldorado to Ivanpah Transmission Project (EITP). The interconnection will allow SCE to purchase renewable energy generated by the Project under a 20-year PPA to deliver energy from a (nominal) 250MWac size generating facility. The remaining generating capacity is being marketed to both the Nevada and California and it is anticipated that additional PPA(s) will be in place for the output before it is constructed. Deliveries into the California markets will be via the EITP described above. Deliveries into the Nevada market will be via a gen tie to NV Energys Bighorn substation, similar to the Silver State North project previously approved by the BLM. The Project is well suited to arid environments because of the technologys low water consumption. This is a key consideration in Clark County, Southern Nevada and the Western U.S., as the population grows and water supplies become more constrained. PV solar technology, which converts sunlight directly into electrical energy, entails no thermal process, and therefore does not require process or cooling water to produce electricity. Water consumption during operations will consist exclusively of dust control,

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panel washing and domestic use for on-site personnel and is between 95 and 99 percent less that of concentrating solar projects that employ conventional steam turbines to generate electricity. The Project will also create family-wage jobs for Southern Nevada. The Southern Nevada economy has been adversely affected by the turndown in the economy and, in particular, by the loss of construction jobs. The Project will create up to 230-400 jobs during peak construction, and up to 10 long-term full-time-equivalent (FTE) operational jobs. These jobs will in turn support many other jobs in the Southern Nevada economy.

1.3 General Facility Description, Design, and Operation


1.3.1 Project Location, Land Ownership, and Jurisdiction
The Project site is located in an unincorporated portion of Clark County, approximately 40 miles south of Las Vegas and 2 miles east of Primm (Figures 1-1 and 1-2). The Project is located within a right-of-way application area of approximately 12,563 acres of federal, BLM-managed lands. The Project development area would encompass approximately 2,800 acres within this larger filing area. It is proposed for portions of T26S, R59E, Sections 25, 35, 36 and portions of T27S, R59E, Sections 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 11, 12, 14, and 15, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian. The site is bounded by the Lucy Gray Mountains to the east and existing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power transmission lines to the north and west. The California state line is located to the southwest (Figure 1-2).

1.3.2 Legal Land Description


The Project site is located in T26S, R59E and T27S, R59E, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian. The legal description, township/range, and section for the Project development area, is shown in Table 1-3. Section lines are shown in Figure 1-3 and the facility layout is shown in Figure 1-4. All lands for new facilities are federal lands.

1.3.3 Total Acreage and General Dimensions of All Facilities and Components
Table 1-4 lists the Projects facilities and components and the associated acreages and general dimensions. The footprint for the Project and related facilities is approximately 2,800 acres. PV equipment will not be installed in certain corridors that traverse the Project site, including areas for transmission lines. Figure 1-4 shows the site layout, roads and transmission lines. The PV equipment characteristics are discussed in Section 1.3.5.

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

TABLE 1-3

Township/Range and Section Information


Facility Solar field (PV equipment, inverters, transformers/area enclosed by perimeter fence) Project Access Road (extension Silver State Solar Project access to facility gate) 220kV transmission line (South Substation to Switchyard) 230kV transmission line (South Substation to Bighorn Substation) O&M area South substation Switchyard Township/Range 26S 59E 27S 59E 27S 59E 27S 59E 27S 59E 27S 59E 27S 59E 27S 59E Section 25, 35, 36 1,2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 2, 3, 10 2, 3 2, 3, 10 2 2 3

TABLE 1-4

Project Facilities, Acreage, and Dimensions


Facility Facilities Within Perimeter Fence
a

Acreage 2700 1.2 4 8 5.0 Total 2718.2 6 12 5.3

Length Varies 400 ft 435 ft 800 ft 500 ft

Width Varies 130 ft 400 ft 435 ft 500 ft

PV Solar Array Field (including perimeter road and access ways) O&M Area Temporary Construction Water Storage Pond Temporary Construction Mobilization and Laydown Area South Substation Facilities Outside Perimeter Fence 220kV Transmission Line (South Substation to Switchyard) 230kV Transmission Line (South Substation to Bighorn Substation) Switchyard Maintenance Road Firebreak
b b b b

1 mi 2 mi 480 ft 3 mi 830 ft 21 mi 1 mi

Varies Varies 480 ft 30 ft 420 ft 20 ft Varies

11 8 51 5 Total 98.3 2816.5 Total Area

Construction Workforce Parking Area (Temporary) Project Access Road Project Facilities
a b

The entire area within the perimeter security fence is assumed to be disturbed. Facility is located outside of the perimeter security fence but inside the desert tortoise exclusion fence.

1-6

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LEGEND Project Access Road Silver State Solar South Right-of-Way Application

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FIGURE 1-2 PROJECT LOCATION


6,000

SILVER STATE SOLAR SOUTH PROJECT

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22

23

24

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LEGEND Project Access Road 1/8 Sections Quarter Sections Sections Townships Silver State Solar South Right-of-Way Application

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6,000

FIGURE 1-3 TOWNSHIP/RANGE, SECTION, AND SUBDIVISION INFORMATION


SILVER STATE SOLAR SOUTH PROJECT

\\GALT\PROJ\SILVERSTATESOLAR\408652_NEXTLIGHT\MAPFILES\FIG1_3_LEGALDESCRIPTIONSS_POD_RV7.MXD DDODS 6/24/2011 12:50:50

O & M Area


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LEGEND Project Access Road 220kv gen-tie 230kV gen-tie Maintenance Road Perimeter Fence/Desert Tortoise Fencing O & M Area Solar Array Switchyard South Substation NV Energy Walter M. Higgins Generating Station Silver State Solar South Right-of-Way Application

Silver State Solar Project Site

This map was compiled from various scale source data and maps and is intended for use as only an approximate representation of actual locations.

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N E V L IF AD O R A N IA

FIGURE 1-4 SITE LAYOUT


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SILVER STATE SOLAR SOUTH PROJECT

\\GALT\PROJ\SILVERSTATESOLAR\408652_NEXTLIGHT\MAPFILES\FIG1_4_SSS_POD_OVERVIEW.MXD DDODS 6/27/2011 18:48:36

SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

1.3.4 Power Plant Facilities, Photovoltaic Conversion Process


1.3.4.1 Power Plant Facilities
The Project will include the following main elements: First Solar PV solar array field and associated interior accessways and perimeter road Fixed-tilt mounting systems and single-axis, horizontal tracker systems, (including tilt brackets and tabletops) or supported by driven steel posts or other embedded foundation design, or a combination of both First Solar photovoltaic solar modules Direct current (DC) collection system comprised of underground DC cabling and combiner boxes Weather stations (steel lattice) up to 33 feet high mounted on concrete foundations PCSs, which include the DC to alternating current (AC) inverters and the medium voltage transformers which steps up the voltage to 34.5 kilovolts (kV). The PCS will also include emergency backup power for the tracker system in the event of high winds and loss of grid power. The backup power may include either a backup generator or batteries, subject to Clark County requirements. An underground and overhead 34.5kV collection system to convey electricity from the solar field to the South substation. An onsite substation, designated the South Substation, with 34.5kV to 230kV/220kV step-up transformers, breakers, buswork, protective relaying and associated substation equipment. The South Substation will provide interconnection to deliver renewable energy from the Project to the California market via SCEs EITP. Potential delivery of renewable energy to the Nevada market would be via NV Energys Bighorn Substation. The substation area will be approximately 500 feet by 500 feet in size, and will include a microwave tower, a control house, and one or more transformers. The highest point within the substation will be approximately 85 feet. A 1-mile, 220kV transmission line to connect the South Substation with SCEs proposed EITP noted above. A 2-mile, 230kV transmission line from the South Substation to the NV Energy Bighorn Substation. A 5.3-acre switchyard, at the connection point with SCEs EITP line. The switchyard will contain equipment for the 220kV interconnection of the transmission line from the South substation to SCEs proposed EITP. This switchyard will be owned by First Solar. Within the switchyard some network equipment will be owned and operated by SCE. A 1.2-acre operation and maintenance (O&M) area that will accommodate a 2,000 square foot O&M building, parking area, and other associated facilities. Associated facilities in the O&M area will include above ground water storage tanks, septic system, security gate, signage, and flagpoles.

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Two groundwater wells to provide construction water, fire protection water, and other operational water supply requirements. A 3-mile-long Maintenance Road. A 20-foot-wide fire break around the exterior of the perimeter fence. A Project Access Road consisting of a 1-mile-long extension from the Silver State Solar North Project Maintenance Road. The Project Access Road may be compacted earth or improved to an aggregate or paved surface if determined appropriate by the applicant, or if necessary to comply with Clark County requirements. Site security facilities including perimeter security fencing controlled access gates, and signage. Perimeter desert tortoise exclusion fencing. Fiber optic cable installation for communications to the Project will be installed underground or on overhead lines along the Project Access Road or transmission line corridors between the South Substation and the point of interconnection with the SCE or NV Energy systems.

Construction of the Project will require the following temporary facilities. These temporary facilities will be removed at the end of the construction period. One or more 4-acre temporary construction water storage ponds. The two to four million gallon capacity construction water storage pond(s) will allow for consistent well operation for water used to maintain dust control during construction. A 8-acre temporary construction mobilization and laydown area. The temporary mobilization and laydown area will contain temporary construction trailers, owner parking, above ground water tanks, materials receiving and materials storage. The temporary mobilization and laydown area will be graded/compacted earth. A 8-acre temporary construction workforce parking area. The temporary construction workforce parking area will provide adequate parking for the construction workforce necessary for construction of the Project. Temporary construction utilities include temporary power connection to the NV Energy distribution or SCE transmission system adjacent the Project, temporary power generator, and temporary above-ground water line.

The following sections describe the Project site arrangement and the processes, systems, and equipment that constitute the power plant.

1.3.4.2 Energy Conversion Equipment


As a solar PV facility, the Project relies on sunlight as its sole source of fuel. All of the electricity generated by the Project will be generated through the conversion of solar energy to electricity by the PV modules. The Project will not consume fossil fuels of any type for power generation. The design calls for PV modules, inverters, and transformers to be combined into 1.25MWac to 2.5MWac arrays that are repeated to reach the full contract capacity. The inverter and

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

transformer sizes will be selected based on the cost and market availability of these units. Design details and characteristics are discussed in Section 1.3.5. During operational daylight hours, the Project will generate its own power for equipment operation. During non-daylight hours, the Project will require power to keep transformers energized, maintain communications to Project equipment, and provide power for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting to the O&M building. The total annual power consumption of the Project during non-daylight hours will be approximately 8,000 MWh/year. This represents less than 1 percent of the total energy produced by the Project.

1.3.5 Numbers and Dimensions of Solar Array and Other Equipment


The Project will be constructed using First Solar PV modules mounted on fixed-tilt mounting systems and/or single-axis, horizontal tracker systems. The design layout calls for PV modules, inverters, and transformers to be combined into 1.25MWac to 2.5MWac arrays that are repeated to reach the full contract capacity. The site layout is shown on Figure 1-4. The primary Project components include the transmission lines, substation, switchyard, access road and O&M facilities. Power from multiple rows of PV modules will be collected through a system of combiner boxes to a PCS, inverters for conversion of power from DC to AC, transformers, and collection lines and delivered to the Project substation(s). Discussion of these Project electrical components and interconnection to the transmission grid is provided in Section 1.3.14. Technical specifications for the solar panels are provided in Appendix A.

1.3.5.1 Fixed Tilt


Fixed-tilt panels will be constructed in east-west oriented rows. The fixed-tilt panels will be positioned to receive optimal solar energy at an angle of 20 to 25 degrees, but the panels do not track the path of the sun. A 1.25MWac array layout using fixed-tilt panels is shown in Figure 1-5a, and representative photographs are shown on Figure 1-5b. Fixed-tilt panels would be approximately 5-6 feet off the ground surface at the highest point. The height of the individual panels may be slightly higher depending on site conditions since the solar field will not be graded to a level surface. The mounting system for the fixed-tilt module includes steel posts driven into the ground (or other embedded foundation design), with steel table frames bolted to the driven posts. The modules are then mechanically fastened to the tables.

1.3.5.2 Horizontal Tracker


On horizontal trackers, the PV modules are mounted horizontally and are not tilted to the south. A 1.25MWac array layout using horizontal trackers is shown in Figure 1-6a. The tracker units are arranged in north-south oriented rows and drive motors rotate the solar panels from east to west to follow the sun (on a single axis) throughout the day. The highest point for a horizontal tracker is achieved during the morning and evening hours when the trackers are tilted at their maximum angle, and is a maximum of 11.5 feet off the ground surface depending on the grade where the posts are installed. When the solar modules are roughly parallel to the ground, the overall height of the tracker unit will be a maximum of 9 feet off the ground surface depending on the grade where the posts are installed. The vertical support legs for the trackers consist of foundations that may include: (1) concrete piers approximately 18 to 24 inches in diameter and 6 to 8 feet deep or

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

(2) driven posts (wide flange I-beam) approximately 6-8 inches across and 6-12 feet deep. The preferred mounting configuration utilizes directly embedded driven posts and concrete piers will only be utilized if subsurface conditions do not support driven posts. Based on geotechnical studies completed to date, concrete piers are not expected except in isolated cases where subsurface rock may exist that hasnt yet been detected. Each tracker unit is approximately 65 feet long and powered by a low voltage, approximately 0.5 horsepower electric drive motor. The motors and actuator are mounted to one of the driven posts and do not require separate foundations for mounting. Hydraulic drive systems will not be used. The motors are only operated for a few seconds every 5-10 minutes during daylight conditions to move the panels in approximately 1 degree increments. The sound from the tracker motors is less than 70 decibels, A-weighted at 3 feet. Within each 1.25MWac tracker array, a 33-foot-tall weather station is centrally mounted to monitor wind speed and communicate with the tracker units. This allows for the trackers to rotate to a flat position during high wind activity. The weather station tower is made up of a steel lattice as depicted in the photos below. The weather station towers are located at the center of each tracker array The lattice structure of the tower reduces the visual impact. Each tower requires a small concrete foundation 3 feet x 3 feet that extends approximately 4 feet into the ground (depending on soil conditions).

Example View of Towers at 100 and 1,000 feet

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500'

20' 240' 240'


140

582' 274'

288'

FIGURE 1-5a Fixed Tilt 1.25MW Block Detail


Silver State Solar South Project Clark County, Nevada
IS011310152900BAO Nextlight_POD_Figure_1-5a.ai 06-26-11 ez

56

FIGURE 1-5b Examples of Fixed Tilt Solar Panels


Silver State Solar South Project Clark County, Nevada
IS011310152900BAO Nextlight_POD_Fig_1-5b.ai 06-26-11

684'

20' 332' 332'


11.5 max height

247'

516'

247'

1' typ

123' typ

FIGURE 1-6a Tracker 1.25MW Block Detail


Silver State Solar South Project Clark County, Nevada
IS011310152900BAO Nextlight_POD_Figure_1-6a.ai 06-26-11 ez

FIGURE 1-6b Tracker 1.25MW Block Photos


Silver State Solar South Project Clark County, Nevada
IS011310152900BAO Nextlight_POD_Figure_1-6b.ai 06-26-11 ez

SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Each PCS Shelter is equipped with communication equipment to wirelessly communicate with the tracker units to control operation and detect anomalous conditions. The PCS Shelter is also equipped with emergency backup power required to rotate the tracker units to their stow position in the unlikely event of high winds and a loss of the primary 220kV electrical connection from the Project to SCEs transmission system. The emergency backup power system may include batteries or a backup generator. Alternatively, a single backup power generator may be utilized rather than individual backup generators at each PCS shelter. Emergency Backup Power Alternatives The emergency back-up power requirement may be met by utilizing a small (approximately 15kVA, 2 feet x 3 feet x 4 feet high) battery-based uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with each PCS shelter. Batteries would be lead acid based and/or lithium ion. Sufficient cooling capacity to maintain ambient temperatures appropriate for the selected battery will be provided. Periodic replacement of the UPS batteries is expected based on usage and quarterly inspectionsas often as every 5 years (though it is not uncommon for the batteries to last greater than 10 years). Inspections would be performed to ensure ambient temperature requirements are met and visual inspections of all batteries as part of the preventative maintenance program. Alternatively, with distributed back-up generators, an approximately 25kW propane generator (approximately 8 feet x 3 feet x 4 feet high) will be installed at each of the PCS shelters within the tracker arrays. The propane tanks at each generator will be sized between 20 and 100 gallons. Each generator will consume up to 10 gallons annually to cycle the engine periodically throughout the year to maintain lubrication. Re-fueling would involve either change out of the existing tank or refill onsite. Replacement or refilling would occur no more frequently than annually except when loss of grid-power requires the back-up generators to engage. Large tanks will require less frequent re-filling. Engine oil would be replaced periodically during the life of the Project to maintain the generators in proper condition.

1.3.6 Temporary Construction Workspace, Yards, Staging Areas


The Project construction contractor will develop a temporary Construction Mobilization and Laydown Area 8 acres in size to build the Project. The Construction Mobilization and Laydown area will include the following facilities:

Mobile trailer construction offices Temporary water service and fire water supply holding tanks Temporary construction power and water service Portable toilets Parking for construction workers vehicles Tool sheds/containers Laydown area for construction equipment and material delivery

The Project site area itself will be used for construction laydown as further described in Section 2, Construction of Facilities. These areas will provide laydown for installation of solar equipment in the immediate vicinity of panel installation. Construction of the 230kV/220kV transmission lines at the site will require temporary construction areas at each tower location and at locations

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

required for conductor stringing and pulling operations. These areas will be required for staging equipment and materials for foundation construction and tower installation. Other temporary laydown areas will be located at the site based on construction requirements. Temporary construction power will be provided by a temporary connection to the local NV Energy distribution or SCE transmission service in the area. A temporary above-ground circuit will be located between the construction trailer area and the NV Energy point of interconnection. The temporary construction power service will be removed (including any towers if required) at the end of the construction period. Alternatively, generators may be used to provide temporary construction power. Prior to the construction of the well and temporary construction water storage pond, the Project may utilize a temporary, above ground, water hose to an adjacent property. All temporary power and water service lines will be located in within the Project site area and easements for their use. First Solar will provide 24-hour site security during construction.

1.3.7 Geotechnical Studies and Data Needs


1.3.7.1 Geotechnical Studies
The Project site is located on alluvial fan deposits. Review of available geologic information for the Project area indicates that the soils at the Project site are predominantly of the Tonopah-Arizo Association with 2 to 8 percent slope. The steeper Haleburu Association covers a smaller portion of the site. The Tonopah-Arizo association contains soils that are characterized as deep (at least 80 inches), excessively drained, formed in mixed alluvium and are found on alluvial fans, stream terraces, and floodplains of intermittent streams and channels. The uppermost horizon (0 to 9 inches) typically consists of extremely to very gravelly sandy loam. Below 9 inches, the soils are extremely gravelly sand. Alluvial fan deposits are often associated with collapsible soils. Collapsible soil is likely the primary geologic hazard present at the site. Potential hazards associated with collapsible soils can be effectively mitigated through foundation design selection. For larger structures and heavy localized loads (e.g., substation transformers and tanks), potential settlement hazards can be mitigated by removal and re-compaction of the upper 10 to 15 feet of soil. The mounting system for the fixed-tilt mounting system includes steel posts driven into the ground using a vibratory hammer, with steel table frames bolted to the driven posts. The modules are then mechanically fastened to the tables. Concrete footings and foundations are required for the inverters, transformers and substation equipment. To develop a geological profile of the area underlying the Project site, First Solar will conduct detailed geotechnical studies prior to construction of the Project to determine the engineering characteristics of local soils and geology. These geotechnical studies will include: Borings up to 25 feet in depth Test pits up to 15 feet in depth Driving of test posts

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Geotechnical and soils analysis will be performed to determine: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The presence or absence of rock, old excavation, or fill The classification of the soil strata The bearing capacity of the soil and depth at which footings must be founded Compaction, swelling, collapse and corrosion potential Thermal and electrical resistivity Infiltration

A geotechnical investigation was conducted by Copper State Engineering, Inc. for the Silver State Solar Project (N-85077), Silver State Solar Power North, LLCs 50-MW project that is adjacent to the Project addressed in this POD (Copper State Engineering, Inc., 2010). The field explorations were planned to obtain soils and geologic information sufficient for the design of the proposed construction. Based on results of the field and laboratory testing, native soils are considered moderately compressible and sensitive to moisture. Results of testing show equivalency to soil expansion index 0.0 and 0.0. The International Building Code (IBC, 2003) states that soils with an expansion index greater than 20 are considered expansive and foundations for structures resting on soils with an expansion index greater than 20 require special design. Therefore, the expansion potential of the existing site soils tested is considered to be very low.

1.3.7.2 Meteorological Stations


First Solar will install solar meteorological stations (SMSs) at the Project site to gather information on air temperature, wind direction and speed, and solar transmissivity. It is anticipated that four SMSs will be installed at the site. The SMSs will consist of either driven post or surface-mounted tri-pods containing meteorological instrumentation and communication equipment. The maximum height is approximately 10 feet. The SMS sites will be located within the Projects perimeter fence; thus they will not be fenced.

1.3.8 Ancillary Facilities


The following subsections describe the various power plant auxiliary systems associated with the Project.

1.3.8.1 Water
An estimated four hundred acre feet per year of water will be required during Project construction for construction-related activities, including dust control. After

Typical Meteorological Stations

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SECTION 1: PROJECT DESCRIPTION

construction is complete, the Projects annual water consumption during operation is expected to be not greater than 21 acre-feet per year. The Project does not require process water; however, the administrative area will require domestic potable water service. The main consumption of water during operation will be for occasional panel washing and/or dust control. To provide sufficient water for construction, two on-site wells and a temporary storage pond will be constructed. The water wells will be drilled to a depth of up to 800 feet using a truck-mounted drilling rig. Water treatment equipment (for well water) or a water storage tank for potable water deliveries will be installed at the O&M building for the potable water supply. One or more construction water storage pond(s) with two to four million gallon capacity will be excavated and lined for the temporary storage of water to be used for dust control and compaction of soils during the construction period. This will provide sufficient water for dust control during construction without negatively affecting well draw down during peak water usage periods. After the construction period, the construction water storage pond(s) will be re-leveled to grade and the lining removed. An analysis of 23 wells in the immediate vicinity of the Project was conducted to determine water availability. The estimated well depth is based on this existing groundwater basin information and actual depth at the Project location may vary. The analysis provides sufficient guidance that water consumption at the peak of construction activity is supported, without significant draw down, through the use of the well and temporary water storage pond. It is anticipated that water necessary for Project development and operation will be obtained from the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD). The LVVWD possesses sufficient rights in Basin 164-A to meet both the construction and operational requirements of the Project. Water will be supplied to the Project by an on-site well as described above. Permanent above ground water tanks will be located in the O&M area to provide storage for operational water needs and water for fire protection. The Project will establish a water service agreement with LVVWD. First Solar will prepare a Water Quality Management Plan that will include measures that First Solar will be take to minimize the impacts to water quality from operations, including measures for erosion and sediment control, flood control, and storm water monitoring and response.

1.3.8.2 Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System


The Project will have a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that will allow for the remote monitoring and control of inverters and other Project components. The SCADA system will be able to monitor Project output and availability, and to run diagnostics on the equipment. This equipment will be located in the O&M building. The SCADA system will provide control, monitoring, alarm, and data storage functions for the power plant systems. Redundant capability will be provided for critical SCADA components such that no single component failure will cause a plant outage. The SCADA will be linked to the inverters, met stations and relays via fiber optic and copper communications cable. These data links will provide control, monitoring, alarm, and data

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storage functions via the control operator interface and control technician workstation of the SCADA system.

1.3.8.3 Lighting System


First Solar has incorporated measures designed to reduce night lighting into the Projects lighting systems. Night lighting used during construction, operation, and maintenance of the Project will be controlled or reduced using directed lighting, shielding, and/or reduced lumen intensity. Permanent lighting will be provided at the O&M building and the main plant access road entrance. During operations the Project site would be staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. In addition, a perimeter security system may also be installed as necessary. First Solar will prepare a Lighting Management Plan.

1.3.8.4 Cathodic Protection Systems


While not expected, underground metal structures may have cathodic protection as necessary based on soil conditions. The only underground metal structures will be the driven posts (to support the PV modules and combiner boxes) and ground grid used under high voltage equipment to reduce touch potential. The ground grid will be composed of copper wire and will be limited to the substation portion of the Project. Cathodic protection is not anticipated at this time, but may be necessary if the soil corrosivity data from the geotechnical investigation recommends it. Galvanized metal posts and epoxy-coated rebar may be utilized in lieu of cathodic protection if supported by soil conditions. If cathodic protection is recommended, a sacrificial anode type cathodic protection system will be provided. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Electric Power Research Institute and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) guidelines will be used in establishing the necessity, type and extent of cathodic protection equipment. All cathodic protection equipment will be included within the area already designated for the substation.

1.3.8.5 Buildings, Roads, Fencing, and Security 1.3.8.5.1 Buildings

The Project will include an operation and maintenance area consisting of a permanent O&M building that will house administrative, operation, and maintenance equipment and personnel. The location of the O&M area is shown on Figure 1-4. The O&M building will not be greater than 30 feet by 65 feet, with a maximum height of approximately 18 feet, and will have an adjacent parking area. Additional components of the O&M area will be laydown and storage area, trash containers, water storage tanks and septic field. The O&M area will be equipped with exterior lighting as described in the Lighting Management Plan that First Solar will prepare. The O&M building will also include communication equipment and a storage and equipment area. It will contain offices, toilets and other features necessary for habitation on a daily basis. The design and construction of this building will be consistent with applicable county building standards. A separate, uninhabited communications enclosure will be located adjacent to the substation. The communications enclosure is approximately 12 feet x 20 feet x 12 feet high

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and will be either metal or pre-cast concrete. The communications enclosure will house the site communications and metering equipment. Water storage tanks, if required, will be located within the O&M area and will be designed to meet applicable federal, state, and local requirements..

1.3.8.5.2 Roads

Project-related roads are the access roads, perimeter road, Maintenance Road and solar field access ways as summarized in Table 1-5, and are further described below. During construction, a stabilized entrance/exit will be provided to clean vehicle wheels prior to exiting the construction area. Similar to the disturbance that would occur from other Project components (based on the assumption that all acreage within the fenced perimeter will be disturbed), the acreage identified for roads also is considered to be permanent disturbance. Project Access Road. The Project Access Road would be a 1-mile extension of the access road from East Primm Blvd. to the Silver State Solar Project site. The road surface may be improved to aggregate rock or paved, if necessary, to comply with Clark County requirements. See Section 3.2.2 for additional discussion of the access road. Perimeter Road. A new Perimeter Road will be located just inside of the sites perimeter fence and within the solar field area around specific blocks of equipment. The Perimeter Road will be constructed to allow access by maintenance and security personnel. This road will be approximately 21 miles long and 25 feet wide and will be composed of graded/compacted dirt. Alternatively, the Perimeter Road may utilize an aggregate base in some or all areas to meet Project dust and flood control requirements. The road will facilitate access through the site for non-four-wheel-drive vehicles and will be maintained to minimize dust that could be associated with use of vehicles for monitoring and security needs.
TABLE 1-5

Project and Project-related Roads


Road Project Perimeter Road Maintenance Road Solar Field Access Ways Project Access Road
a

Status

Surface

New New New Existing and New

graded/compacted earth

b c

graded/compacted earth Compacted earth graded/compacted earth

Access Road(s) may be constructed with an aggregate or paved surface if required by Clark County, or at the discretion of the Project. b Perimeter Road may be surfaced with aggregate rock if determined necessary by the Project to meet dust and flood control requirements. c Maintenance Road surface may be aggregate rock or paved as determined necessary by the Project to address dust control requirements.

Maintenance Road. A new 3-mile-long maintenance road will be constructed immediately outside the security fence (but within the tortoise fence perimeter). The road will be a graded/compacted earth road. Alternatively, the maintenance road may be constructed with an aggregate base or asphalt paved if necessary to meet Project dust and flood control requirements.

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Solar Field Access Ways. Within the solar field, new access ways will be built to provide vehicle access to the solar equipment (PV modules, inverters, transformers) for operation and maintenance activities. These access ways will be approximately 20 feet wide and approximately every 500 to 1300 feet across the solar field. The existing surface area will be graded and compacted using onsite materials to facilitate use by two-wheel-drive vehicles. The access ways will connect to the Perimeter Road at each end of each access way. The solar field and support facilities perimeter will be secured with chain link metal-fabric security fencing. Controlled access gates will be located at the site entrance. Access gates will also be located at specific locations along the Perimeter Road to allow maintenance and security crew access to all portions of the Project site. The location of the perimeter fence is shown on Figure 1-4. The perimeter fence will be a 6-foot-high chain link fence with 1-foot-high barbed-wire security strands at the top. Approved Desert Tortoise exclusion fencing will also be utilized and will either be installed outside the perimeter security fence or with Tortoise-proof halfinch hardware cloth metal mesh installed against the lower two feet of the chain link fence. Either tortoise fence option will extend an additional one foot below the ground. Below ground this tortoise fencing will be angled outward, away from the solar collector field, to discourage burrowing tortoises. The tortoise-proof fencing is intended to prevent federally listed desert tortoises from entering the solar field. Fencing will also be installed around the substation. Access gates will be provided to allow maintenance vehicle access to the equipment. Substation fencing will be similar in design to the perimeter fence.

1.3.8.5.3 Perimeter Fencing for Solar Field

Construction Fencing

Fencing during construction will consist of portable stand-alone chain link fence modules or plastic snow fencing supported by standard metal fencepost. Tortoise fencing will be installed prior to construction along the boundaries of the construction zone to clearly mark this zone, preventing vehicles or personnel from straying onto adjacent offsite habitat. A 20-foot-wide firebreak will be constructed on the exterior of the Perimeter Fence. Shrubs and other large vegetation will be removed from the firebreak. The firebreak will be maintained by a vegetation abatement plan or occasional disking.

1.3.8.5.4 Firebreak

1.3.8.5.5 Security

Security at the Project site will be achieved by fencing, lighting, and security patrols. The Project site will be staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This staff will include full time security, and regular security patrols will be conducted throughout the site. Lighting will be provided at the O&M building and Project Entrance Gate. See Section 1.3.8.3 for additional information on the Project lighting system. An unlighted perimeter security system may also be installed as necessary.

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1.3.9 Erosion Control and Stormwater Drainage


1.3.9.1 Technical Drainage Study
A conceptual drainage study is being conducted for the Project. This POD will be updated to incorporate that information once the study is complete.

1.3.9.2 Drainage Control Design


The majority of the Project site will be drained by sheet flow to existing onsite and offsite drainages. A conceptual drainage study is being conducted for the Project. This POD will be updated to incorporate that information once the study is complete.

1.3.10 Vegetation Treatment and Weed Management


1.3.10.1 Vegetation Treatment
Within the solar field areas, existing vegetation would be worked into the underlying surface soils using the technique of disk and roll. This approach uses conventional farming techniques and equipment to prepare the site for construction. The solar array field would be prepared using rubber tired tractors with disking equipment and drum rollers with limited use of scrapers to perform micrograding. Vegetation in other development areas, or where the disk and roll technique is not suitable, will be cut to a height of less than 12 inches. Vegetation will be permanently cleared from roadways, access ways and where concrete foundations are used for inverter equipment, substation and the O&M facilities. A 20-foot-wide fire break will be established around the outside of the perimeter fence. In general, plant root systems will be left in place, except where grading and trenching is required for placement of solar module foundations, underground electric lines, inverter and transformer pads, roads and access ways, and other facilities. Vegetation will be maintained to a height of no more than approximately 12 inches as needed for site maintenance and fire-risk management using mechanical and chemical controls.

1.3.10.2 Noxious Weed Control


A Weed Control Plan will be prepared for the Project. This plan will follow the Las Vegas Field Offices Resource Management Plan (BLM, 1998), Noxious Weed Plan (BLM, 2006), and the interagency guidance Partners Against Weeds (BLM, 2007b) for an active integrated weed management program using weed control best management practices (BMPs). The Project will implement the project-specific measures that are included in the Weed Control Plan.

1.3.11 Waste and Hazardous Materials Management


The primary waste generated at the Project during operations will be nonhazardous solid and liquid wastes. The types of wastes and their estimated quantities are discussed below. First Solar will prepare an Emergency Response Plan, which will address waste and hazardous materials management, including BMPs related to storage, spill response, transportation, and handling of materials and wastes. Waste management will emphasize the recycling of wastes where possible and will identify the specific landfills that will receive wastes that cannot be recycled.

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1.3.11.1 Nonhazardous Solid Waste


The Project will produce wastes typically associated with operation and maintenance activities. These will include defective or broken electrical materials, empty containers, the typical refuse generated by workers and small office operations, and other miscellaneous solid wastes. The quantity of all solid nonhazardous waste generated is estimated to be about 50 cubic yards per year (approximately 35 tons per year).

1.3.11.2 Nonhazardous Wastewater


The Project will generate onsite domestic water and sanitary sewer waste from the O&M building. A septic tank and drain field system will be used for collection, treatment, and disposal of sanitary sewer waste. The sanitary waste system will not receive other wastes or surface runoff from the O&M area (i.e., hazardous materials or contaminated runoff). No connection to any existing sanitary sewer system is anticipated.

1.3.11.3 Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Waste


Limited quantities of hazardous materials will be used and stored on site for operation and maintenance. A Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) plan will be developed in accordance with federal regulations to protect the environment from spills of petroleum products. The SPCC Plan will stipulate measures that will be taken to prevent spills, control them if they occur, and report spills as required to regulatory authorities and the BLM. First Solar will prepare hazardous materials management plans, if needed and in accordance with Clark County regulations, including hazardous materials information sheets (Clark County Fire Code, Article 80), and flammable/combustible materials storage tank permits (Clark County Fire Code, Article 79). Table 1-6 lists the hazardous materials anticipated to be stored and used on site. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for each of these materials will be provided in the Emergency Response Plan. Table 1-7 lists the wastes that may be generated by the Project, both hazardous and nonhazardous.
TABLE 1-6

Hazardous Materials That May Be Used During Operation


Hazardous Material Mineral Insulating Oil Storage Description; Capacity Carbon steel transformers; total onsite inventory of 40,000 gallons Storage Practices and Special Handling Precautions Used only in transformers, secondary containment for each transformer (will managed in accordance with the SPCC Plan). Sufficient cooling capacity to maintain ambient temperatures appropriate for the selected battery will be provided.

Batteries, lead acid based and/or lithium ion*

Battery-based emergency back-up power at each of the nine PCS shelters.

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TABLE 1-6

Hazardous Materials That May Be Used During Operation


Hazardous Material Propane* Storage Description; Capacity Generator-based emergency back-up power at each of the nine PCS shelters (or one centralized generator); tanks at PCS shelters will be sized between 20 and 100 gallons (or 500 gallons if one centralized tank). Brought on site by licensed contractor, used immediately Storage Practices and Special Handling Precautions Will be managed in accordance with the SPCC Plan.

Herbicide Roundup or equivalent

Inventory will be stored in original containers in accordance with Clark County Fire Code requirements and conditions of Clark County Hazardous Materials Permit.

*Emergency backup power requirements may be met by utilizing either batteries or propane generators.

TABLE 1-7

Wastes Potentially Generated by the Project


Waste Oily rags Origin Maintenance, etc. Composition Hydrocarbons, cloth Estimated Quantity 260 lb/yr (~600 rags/yr) Classification Hazardous Disposal Recycled or disposed of by certified oil recycler Recycled or disposed of by certified oil recycler Recycled or treated or disposed at permitted offsite facility

Oil sorbents

Cleanup of small spills

Hydrocarbons

~100 lb/yr

Hazardous

Universal Waste

Maintenance, etc.

Fluorescent bulbs, batteries

~100 lb/yr

Universal Waste

1.3.12 Fire Protection


The Projects fire protection water system, if required, will be supplied from up to two water storage tanks located near the O&M building. During construction, one electric and one diesel-fueled backup firewater pump will deliver water to the fire protection water-piping network. Fire protection pump flow rates will be in accordance with applicable standards. A smaller electric motor-driven jockey pump will maintain pressure in the piping network. If the jockey pump is unable to maintain a set operating pressure in the piping network, a main fire protection pump would start automatically. All fire protection system pumps must be shut off manually. The electrical equipment enclosures that house the inverters and transformers (see Section 1.3.14) will be either metal or concrete structures. Any fire that could potentially occur

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would be contained within the structures, which are designed to meet National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 1 or NEMA 3R IP44 standards for electrical enclosures (heavy duty sealed design to withstand harsh outdoor environmental conditions). First Solar will prepare a Fire Management Plan.

1.3.13 Site Security and Fencing


Site security and fencing is discussed under Section 1.3.8.5, Buildings, Roads, Fencing and Security.

1.3.14 Electrical Components, New Equipment, and Upgrades


1.3.14.1 Electrical Generation
The PV modules will convert sunlight into DC electricity. 1.25MWac to 2.5MWac arrays of PV-generated DC power will be collected from each of the multiple rows of PV modules through one or more combiner boxes and conveyed to an inverter (housed in the PCS shelter). The inverter will convert the DC power to AC power, which will then flow to a medium-voltage transformer that converts the output of the inverter to 34.5kV. Multiple medium-voltage transformers will be connected in parallel in a daisy chain configuration and power delivered to the South substation, where the power will be stepped up to 230kV/220kV for delivery to the SCE and NV Energy transmission systems.

1.3.14.2 Inverters, Transformers and Medium Voltage Switchgear


The Project inverters and medium voltage transformers, as well as other electrical equipment (such as medium voltage switchgear enclosures, also referred to as Photovoltaic Combining Switchgear, or PVCS), will be located within protective electrical equipment enclosures supported by concrete pads (see Figure 1-4). The inverters will be located in a pre-fabricated enclosure, the PCS. Each enclosure will be approximately 15 feet wide, 60 feet long, up to 14 feet in height, and will house one to four inverters. Each PCS will be connected to one or two transformers to support each array. Inverter, transformer and PVCS specifics are provided below; these may vary pending final Project design: Inverters Dimensions: 3.5 feet width by 20 feet length by 8 feet height Capacity: 500 - 2500 kilowatts (kW) Transformers Dimensions: 10 feet width by 10 feet length by 8 feet height Capacity: 1,000 2,500 kilovolt-amperes (kVA) Oil: Each transformer contains approximately 300-1000 gallons of dielectric oil PVCS Metal enclosed or gas insulated 34.5kV switchgear

1.3.14.3 Substation
The Project substation area (see Figure 1-4) will include an uninhabited control house, medium and high voltage switchgear and conductor structures. The substation will include one or more 34.5kV/220kV main power step up transformers.

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The containment area will be concrete lined and will drain to a below-grade sump. Any storm water or fluid drained to the sump will be inspected for a sheen. If a sheen is observed, the sump contents will be removed by vacuum truck and disposed at an approved disposal facility. If no sheen or contaminants are detected, the storm water will be drained on-site. The above containment system will be designed to accommodate the volume of the dielectric fluid in the transformer plus an allowance for precipitation.

1.3.14.4 Electrical System for Plant Auxiliaries


Power for plant auxiliaries will be supplied by the PV facility when the array is producing power and back feed from the electrical grid when the PV facility is not producing power Auxiliary electrical needs include power to keep the transformers energized at night and for plant lighting and security, and data acquisition/communications.

1.3.15 Interconnection to the Electrical Grid


The Project will be capable of delivering renewable energy into the California market, via SCEs proposed 220kV upgraded EITP transmission line. Connection to the SCE system will be made by a tap into the 220kV EITP transmission line. A new 1-mile, 220kV transmission line (gen-tie) will connect the South substation to the switchyard. The switchyard will contain 220kV circuit breakers and bus-work to combine output from the Project with the 220kV transmission line from the South substation and interconnect to SCEs EITP transmission line. The 220kV transmission gen-tie line will be single circuit and supported on galvanized or color treated steel towers. The Project will also be capable of delivering renewable energy into the Nevada market via a new 2-mile-long 230kV transmission line running from the South Substation to the 230kV bus at the existing NV Energy Bighorn Substation. The Bighorn Substation may need to be expanded to accommodate the additional equipment required to interconnect the Project. The 230kV transmission gen-tie line will be single circuit and supported on galvanized or color treated steel towers.

1.3.16 Spill Prevention and Containment for Construction and Operation


A SPCC plan will be developed in accordance with federal regulations to protect the environment from spills of petroleum products.

1.3.17 Health and Safety Program


First Solar considers the health and safety of its employees and contractors to be the highest priority for Project construction and operation and will require that all employees and contractors adhere to appropriate health and safety plans (HASPs) and emergency response plans. All construction and operation contractors will be required by First Solar to operate under a health and safety program that meets industry standards. All site personnel will be required to go through a new hire orientation which will address site specific safety, health and environmental concerns of the Project. A written plan, HASP, will be developed and administered on the construction site.

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1.4 Alternatives Considered


As discussed in the Executive Summary and Section 1.1 of this POD, a POD had previously been prepared and evaluated under NEPA for a 400 MWac project. In January 2010, NextLight issued a revised POD that combined the North and South projects into a single 400-MW (nominal plant capacity) solar PV Project (085077, as amended to include NVN085801). The January 2010 POD considered three possible solar modules (titled or horizontal tracker, and fixed panel), included the use of concrete ballasts or embedded pier foundations, and considered conventional grading for all areas proposed to be disturbed. These alternatives are not further considered for Silver State South because the 2010 FEIS considered those alternatives. The alternative considered in this POD for Silver State South is the additional acreage considered in the ROW application filing, as discussed in greater detail below. In September 2010, the BLM issued the FEIS for the Silver State Solar Energy Project, which included the North and South areas of the project. The ROD for that project encompassed 400 megawatts of solar generation to be developed in three separate phases. The BLM issued the ROW grant for Phase 1 (50MWac) of development (Silver State Project), which comprises approximately 618 acres. The remaining 350MWac of solar development is described in this POD, which updates the Phase 2 and Phase 3 portions of the project to include alternative contiguous BLM-lands for development. The Silver State South Project is the revised name for the former Phase 2 and 3 of the project evaluated in the 2010 FEIS, and this Project will be assessed based on updates to project design and inclusion of additional contiguous acreage for the development of the remaining 350MWac. Figure 1-7 shows the prior Phase 2 and 3 areas overlain with the updated Project boundary for the Silver State South Project, and depicts the areas common to the prior and current POD. As Silver State Solar initiates construction on the first 50MWac, it is also proceeding with an updated design for development of the remaining 350MWac of solar power generation addressed under the BLM EIS and ROD. Significant portions of the Project, along with an immediately adjacent 50 MWac Silver State Project (or Phase 1), were previously evaluated in the FEIS as Phases 2 and 3 of the 400MWac Silver State Project. This POD focuses on the former Phases 2 and 3 of the Silver State Project evaluated in the 2010 EIS, including a reconfigured project boundary that is proposed in response to BLM and stakeholder feedback on potentially suitable areas of development, and to avoid or minimize impacts to sensitive resources. Although the alternate project boundary for the Silver State South Project differs somewhat from the boundary previously evaluated in the FEIS, the acreage considered for development is approximate to what was evaluated in the FEIS. In addition, the BLM-lands described in this POD were chosen based on the potential to reduce environmental impacts from those considered in the FEIS for the original 350MWc area and would not result in significant effects outside the range of effects analyzed in the FEIS. For example, the alternate land areas north of the original location of Phases 2 and 3 of the previous POD evaluated in the 2010 FEIS are included for their potential to reduce impacts to waters of the United States. To secure additional lands for the updated design, Silver State Solar filed a Form SF-299 ROW grant application, totaling 5,176 acres, with the BLM Las Vegas Field Office in February 2011, and amended the application in March 2011(NVN-089530). In total, the

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lands defined in all the applications are adjacent, contiguous, and encompass approximately 13,181 acres. The acreage will remain essentially the same as what was evaluated in the FEIS but will be updated to include additional areas to the north of the Phase 2 and 3 acreages evaluated in the FEIS. With the 618 acres under development with BLMs issuance of the ROD for 50MW, this POD (June 2011) addresses the approximately 12,563 acres available under existing applications for the development of the South Project.

1.5 Other Federal and Local Permit Requirements


Table 1-8 lists other federal and state permits that may be required for the Project, and the county agencies from with the authority for issuing the permits. The BLMs ROW Grant will contain the final list of required permits.
TABLE 1-8

Federal, State, and Local Permits and Authorizations That May Be Required for the Project
I. Federal Permits or Authorizations U.S. Department of the Interior, BLM ROW authorization under Title V of FLPMA EIS Record of Decision Lease of Federal Lands

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management and State Historic Preservation Office/Advisory Council on Historic Preservation BLM/SHPO, NHPA Section 106

U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act Section 7 Biological Opinion/Incidental Take Permit II. State of Nevada Permits or Authorizations Nevada Bureau of Water Pollution Control NPDES Temporary Groundwater Discharge Permit Temporary Permit for Working in Waterways (formerly known as Rolling Stock Permit)

Nevada Department of Wildlife NDEP Stormwater Discharge Permit (NOI) Permit to capture, kill, or possess protected wildlife or written authorization of Department

Nevada Public Utilities Commission Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act Permit

Nevada Division of Water Resources (State Engineer) Water Rights Modifications, Change of Place of Use and Change of Point of Diversion.

Nevada State Fire Marshall Hazardous Materials Storage Permit

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TABLE 1-8

Federal, State, and Local Permits and Authorizations That May Be Required for the Project
III. Clark County Permits
Notes: DAQEM = Department of Air Quality and Environmental Management EIS = Environmental Impact Statement FLPMA = Federal Land Policy and Management Act NDEP = Nevada Division of Environmental Protection NHPA = National Historic Preservation Act NOI = Notice of Intent SHPO = State Historic Preservation Office

Clark County DAQEM Clark County Regional Flood Control District Clark County Development Services Department Clark County Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau Clark County Public Works Department Southern Nevada Health District

As discussed in Section 1.4, significant portions of the Project have been previously surveyed and evaluated in accordance with NEPA in the September 2010 FEIS for the Silver State Project (see Figure 1-1). The studies required to support federal permitting and environmental review include identification of biological resources (rare plants, wildlife) in accordance with the federal Endangered Species Act; identification of waters of the United States in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act; identification of cultural resources in accordance with the NHPA; and visual resources, air emissions, and noise assessments conducted as part of the NEPA process. Federal agencies with interest in project review include the U.S. Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Nevada SHPO. Existing relevant data and analyses from the 2010 FEIS will be supplemented with updated information to disclose potential impacts to areas not previously evaluated in the FEIS. Areas not included in the 2010 Silver State Project will be reviewed to determine the extent to which supplemental information is required to facilitate final Project review. As noted in Section 1.4, the prior and currently proposed areas for Silver State South are contiguous and, therefore, it is anticipated that impacts will be similar to those identified in the 2010 FEIS and would result in no significant effects outside the range of effects analyzed in the FEIS. The acreage will remain essentially the same as what was evaluated in the FEIS, but will be updated to include additional areas to the north of the Phase 2 and 3 acreages evaluated in the FEIS. In addition, the updated lands under consideration provide the flexibility to update the site layout to avoid and minimize potential impacts, such as impacts to waters of the United States. State and local permits will also be required for storm water management and air emissions. The Project will require a number of state permits from agencies, including the Nevada Divisions of Wildlife, Forestry, Water Resources, Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, and Public Utilities Commission. The Project will also require local permits from agencies, including the Clark County DAQEM, Development Services Department, Fire Department, and Division of Environmental Protection.

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1.6 Financial and Technical Capability of the Applicant


First Solar, Inc. is the worlds leading manufacturer of thin film PV modules and provider of solar solutions. By enabling clean, renewable electricity at competitive prices, First Solar provides an economically and environmentally viable alternative to peaking fossil-fuel electricity generation. First Solar has expanded manufacturing capacity to an annualized run rate of 59MWac per line in the 2nd quarter of 2010 and currently has over 4GW of modules contracted with leading utilities and developers of PV power plants. First Solar is a publicly traded company listed on NASDAQ as FLSR. First Solars corporate headquarters is located in Tempe, Arizona, and it has six other offices in the United States, an office in Ontario, Canada, and six offices in Europe. First Solars manufacturing facilities are located in Perrysburg, Ohio, Frankfurt-Oder, Germany, and Kulim, Malaysia. First Solar has the strongest track record of financing photovoltaic solar projects in the world. Its team of project finance professionals has raised hundreds of millions in debt and equity financings worldwide. Its financings include such notable projects as the 53MWac Lieberose project in Germany and the 21MWac Blythe project in California. First Solar's projects have been financed by a wide group of global institutions, including Dexia Bank, Union Bank, Credit Agricole, NordLB, DZ Bank, Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen and KfW IPEX. First Solar is an S&P 500 company, and brings its substantial corporate wherewithal to bear. For FY 2010, the company had total assets of $4.38 billion. In addition, the company typically selects another large experienced partner to be the equity owner, either during or after construction. Examples of solar projects that were financed in this manner include Blythe (with NRG Energy), Cimarron (Southern Company), and Sarnia (Enbridge). For more information on First Solar, please refer to the 2010 Annual Report, which can be found at: http://investor.firstsolar.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=573733

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15

Primm

N E V L IF A O DA R N IA

LEGEND Project Access Road Project Perimeter, Silver State Solar Project (Phase 2 and 3) Project Perimeter, Silver State Solar South Right-of-Way Application, Silver State Solar Project (Phase 1, 2 and 3) Right-of-Way Application, Silver State Solar South

This map was compiled from various scale source data and maps and is intended for use as only an approximate representation of actual locations.

3,000 Feet

6,000

FIGURE 1-7 OVERLAY OF SILVER STATE SOLAR SOUTH AND SILVER STATE SOLAR PHASES 1, 2 AND 3
SILVER STATE SOLAR SOUTH PROJECT

\\GALT\PROJ\SILVERSTATESOLAR\408652_NEXTLIGHT\MAPFILES\FIG1_7_RECONFIGUREDSSS_POD_V2.MXD DDODS 7/1/2011 11:39:16

SECTION 2

Construction of the Facilities


2.1 Solar Field Design, Layout, Installation, and Construction Processes Including Timetable and Sequence
Construction of the Project, from site preparation and grading to commercial operation, is expected to take place from the 4Q 2013 to the 4Q 2016. Construction will include the major phases of mobilization, construction grading and site preparation, installation of drainage and erosion controls, PV panel/tracker assembly, and solar field construction.

2.1.1 Design, Layout, and Installation


Detailed construction design will take place during the final phase of Project permitting. The site plan (Figure 1-4) and Technical Drainage Report (TDR) will be submitted to Clark County for review and approval, and licensed professional surveyors will conduct the final Project boundary surveys and will stake out the Project site design layout before construction.

2.1.2 Major Construction Process Milestones


Major construction process milestones are listed in Table 2-1. This schedule is conceptual and subject to change.
TABLE 2-1

Project Construction Schedule Major Milestones


Activity Federal Approvals Begin Construction First PV modules placed into commercial operation Full Commercial Operation of all PV modules Date 4th Quarter 2012 4th Quarter 2013 1st Quarter 2015 4th Quarter 2016

2.1.3 Construction Process Timetable and Sequence


Interconnection to the SCE transmission system will require completion of SCEs upgrades being conducted under the EITP project. It is not anticipated that the SCE improvements will constrain the Project development schedule. The construction schedule (see Table 2-2) is designed to accommodate the availability of transmission to the California market. The construction schedule may require modification to satisfy PPA obligations or to accommodate any changes in the scheduled interconnection availability.

SAC/400589/110610003(SILVER_STATE_SOUTH_POD_070111.DOCX)

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SECTION 2: CONSTRUCTION OF THE FACILITIES

Interconnection to Nevada market via the NV Energy Bighorn Substation may require expansion of the substation. It is not anticipated that any required NV Energy improvements will constrain the Project development schedule. The sequencing of construction is illustrated by: Figure 1-4 provides details of the facilities to be constructed Table 2-2 summarizes the surface area affected by construction Document sections 2.1.4.1 through 2.1.4.9 below provide additional details regarding the construction processes.

2.1.4 Construction Description


Project construction will begin after all necessary agency approvals have been issued, and preconstruction conditions in the BLM-issued ROW grant and other approvals have been met. Construction will be scheduled to align with the delivery dates negotiated with the utility customers. Prior to any activity on the site, required resource protection plans will be developed, and regulatory and permit conditions will be integrated into the final construction compliance documents.

2.1.4.1 Environmental Clearance


Initial site mobilization activities will include environmental clearance in which site activities are reviewed and approved for compliance with resource protection plans and approved construction-compliance documents. During the environmental clearance phase, the boundaries of the construction area will be delineated and marked. Tortoise fencing will be installed around the perimeter of the construction area to prevent tortoise from moving onto the site from adjacent areas. Professional biologists will be used to meet cactus salvage requirements, survey and relocate desert tortoise, and perform other sensitive species removal and mitigation. Environmental clearance will occur only during weather conditions permitted for the activity.

2.1.4.2 Site Access and Laydown


Following completion of environmental clearance for the site access and laydown areas (which include the Project Access Road and O&M area), the site access and laydown area will be prepared for use. The areas within the perimeter fence will prepared as described in Section 2.1.4.4. Depending on the site preparation technique, organic matter will either be worked into the upper soil layers, or mulched onsite and redistributed into the fill (except under equipment foundations, trenches and roadways) to aid in dust control. Preconstruction activities for the Project Access Road will include installation of tortoise fencing, relocation of desert tortoise and meeting cactus salvage requirements. The construction entrance and exit gates will be established. A tire wash area will be established to prevent the removal of soil and maintain a clean access road. Parking and staging areas

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will be staked for temporary and permanent building erection at a later stage. Temporary equipment storage and laydown areas will be compacted and marked with temporary stakes and signage. The compacted earth Maintenance Road will then be developed.

2.1.4.3 Well and Construction Water Storage


To provide sufficient water for construction activities, two on-site wells and a temporary storage pond will be constructed. The water wells will be drilled to a depth of up to 800 feet using a truck-mounted drilling rig. Estimated well depth is based on existing groundwater basin information and actual depth may vary. A construction water storage pond of 435 feet by 400 feet will be excavated and lined for the temporary storage of water during the construction period. This will provide sufficient water for dust control during construction without negatively affecting well draw down during peak water usage periods. After the construction period, the construction water storage pond will be re-leveled to grade and the lining removed.

2.1.4.4 Site Preparation


Within the solar field area, and following environmental clearance, a combination of the technique of disk and roll and where necessary, conventional grading, will be used to prepare the site for post and PV panel installation. The disk and roll technique involves conventional farming techniques and equipment to prepare the site surface. Under the diskand-roll approach, the area comprising the solar array field would be prepared using rubber tired tractors with disking equipment and drum rollers with limited use of scrapers to perform micrograding within sections of the solar array field. In areas where the terrain is not suitable for disk and roll, grading will be used to prepare the site surface. The desire and intent is not to change the macro-level topography (in order to utilize the existing drainage pattern across the site), but to flatten the surface of the existing topography to provide safe working conditions. At the completion of the disk-and-roll approach, there would be a limited use of a box scraper for micrograding to keep the change in elevation below three percent (3 feet vertical in 100 feet horizontal) within each of four quadrants of each of the solar arrays. The micrograding technique to be employed to minimize the change existing site drainage. This method also promotes better construction worker safety by eliminating trip hazards caused by rocks and soil mounds around vegetation. As opposed to conventional grading techniques alone where the site is prepared to meet a set of pre-engineered, finished grade contours, the combination of the disk-and-roll approach and grading better follows the existing contours without a pre-designed finished grade requirement. This significantly reduces the movement of earth as the goal is not to meet a specific finished grade and ensures the existing topography and drainage patterns are maintained. Conventional grading techniques will also be used in areas for access roads, concrete equipment foundations and laydown areas.

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TABLE 2-2

Construction Area of Disturbance


Facility Facilities Within Perimeter Fence PV Solar Array Field O&M Area South Substation Temporary Construction Water Storage Pond Temporary Construction Mobilization and Laydown Area Total Area Facilities Outside Perimeter Fence 220kV Transmission Line (South Substation to Switchyard) 230kV Transmission Line (South Substation to Bighorn Substation) Switchyard Maintenance Road Firebreak
b b a

Acres 2700 1.2 5 4 8 2718.2 6 12 5.3 11 8 51 5 Total 98.3 2816.5

Construction Workforce Parking (Temporary) Project Access Road Total Project Facilities Area
a b

The entire area within the perimeter security fence is assumed to be disturbed. Facility is located outside of the perimeter security fence but inside the desert tortoise exclusion fence.

2.1.4.5 O&M Area Construction


Following environmental clearance and site preparation of the O&M area, construction in the O&M area will commence. Concrete foundations will be poured to support the permanent O&M building and an area adjacent to the building may be paved for parking. The modular steel building will be erected. A 4-inch aggregate base will be installed on all unpaved areas within the O&M area. Above ground water tanks will be erected and connected to a service pump. The active and reserve septic field will be established and connected to O&M buildings waste system. Temporary construction power will be connected to the O&M building. The potable water treatment equipment will be installed in the O&M building and the water pump and line will be connected to the potable water well. Erection of a Clark County dust control sign will be installed at the main entrance gate at this time.

2.1.4.6 Drainage Control


The majority of the Project site will be drained by sheet flow to existing onsite and offsite drainages. A conceptual drainage study is being conducted for the Project. This POD will be updated to incorporate that information once the study is complete.

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2.1.4.7 Substation/Switchyard Construction


The Project substation and switchyard will be constructed based on applicable electrical safety codes. The substation and switchyard will be separately fenced to provide increased security around the medium and high voltage electrical equipment. The Project substation area will be approximately 500 feet by 500 feet with a drainage collection area of about 50 feet by 200 feet, and will include a microwave tower, a control house, and one or more transformers. The transformer containment area will be lined with an impermeable membrane covered with gravel, and will include a drain with a normally closed drain valve. Any storm water or fluid in the containment area will be inspected for a sheen prior to disposal. If a sheen is observed, the tank contents will be removed by vacuum truck to an appropriate disposal site. If no sheen or contaminants are detected, the storm water will be drained on-site. The containment and holding pond system will be designed to accommodate the volume of the dielectric fluid in the transformer plus an allowance for precipitation. Grounding of the Project substation will be accomplished by a ground grid designed to meet the requirements of IEEE 80, IEEE Guide for Safety in AC Substation Grounding. Final ground grid design will be based on site-specific information such as available fault current and local soil resistivity. Typical ground grids consist of direct buried copper conductors with 8-foot-long copper-clad ground rods arranged in a grid pattern to approximately 3 feet outside of the substation area. The substation and switchyard areas will be excavated to a depth of 10 feet. A copper grounding grid will be installed and the foundations for transformers and metal structures will be prepared. The areas will be backfilled, compacted and leveled followed by the application of 6 inches of aggregate rock base. Equipment installation of the transformers, breakers, buswork and metal dead-end structures will follow. A pre-fabricated control house will be installed to house the electronic components required of the substation equipment.

2.1.4.8 Transmission Line Construction


The 34.5kV collection system will be comprised of underground and aboveground cabling. The Project will utilize overhead 230kV/220kV towers for interconnection of the high voltage electrical system. Stringing areas will be established and the location of each tower will be surveyed and staked. Foundations for each tower will be constructed. The 230kV/220kV towers will have a foundation excavated to 12 to 30 feet in depth and 4 to 7 feet in diameter depending on the local soil conditions and the purpose of the towers (end and angle structures required deeper foundations). These foundations will be reinforced rebar foundations and backfilled with concrete. After tower erection, conductor stringing and grounding will be performed. Two types of overhead transmission line poles will be erected steel monopole 230kV/220kV poles for interconnection of the high voltage electrical system and wooden monopole 34.5kV poles for collection of the medium voltage electrical system. Stringing areas will be established and the location of each pole will be surveyed and staked. Foundations for each pole type will be constructed. The 230kV/220kV monopoles

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will have a foundation excavated to 12 to 30 feet in depth and 4 to 7 feet in diameter depending on the local soil conditions and the purpose of the poles (end and angle structures required deeper foundations). These foundations will be reinforced rebar foundations and backfilled with concrete. The 34.5kV poles will require a 2-foot-wide augured hole 8 feet deep. After pole erection, conductor stringing and grounding will be performed.

2.1.4.9 PV Equipment Installation


Prior to any construction in PV equipment areas, the environmental clearance and site preparation steps for those areas will be completed. Within each area designated for PV equipment, the construction sequence will follow a generally consecutive order. The construction of the solar field will proceed in 1.25MWac to 2.5MWac arrays. Each array will contain solar panels, a PCS and step-up transformer. Within each array, materials for each row of PV modules will be staged next to that row. Prepare trenches for underground cable Install underground cable Backfill trenches Install steel posts and table frames Install PV modules Install concrete footings for inverters, transformers and substation equipment Install inverter and transformer equipment Perform electrical terminations Inspect, test and commission equipment

Trenches will be excavated to a depth of 3 feet and width of 2 to 3 feet. Organic material will be mulched and redistributed on-site except under equipment foundations or as trench backfill material. Underground cable will be installed and stubbed up to provide cable access during the electrical terminations step. Trenches will be backfilled with a sand bed (or appropriate native material) 3 to 4 inches above and below buried cables. The trenches will be further backfilled with native soils and compacted. Excess soil will be redistributed on site and used to provide level ground for equipment foundations for inverters and transformers. The Project will be constructed using First Solar PV modules mounted on fixed-tilt mounting systems and single axis, horizontal tracker systems. The mounting system for the modules requires steel posts driven into the ground using a vibratory hammer. Based on the anticipated soil conditions, the posts will be driven between 4 and 7 feet into the ground (for fixed tilt posts) and up to 12 feet for tracker system posts. Steel table frames are then bolted to the driven posts and the modules are mechanically fastened to the tables. Concrete footings and foundations are required for the inverters, transformers and substation equipment. The inverter/transformer concrete equipment pad will be pre-cast off-site, or poured in place to provide a suitable mounting surface for the equipment. A pre-fabricated enclosure containing the inverters and communication equipment is installed on the equipment pad. A 3-phase, medium voltage transformer is also installed on the equipment pad.

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Once all equipment is physically and electrically inspected, PV modules are terminated to the inverters and the transformers are terminated to the underground cabling.

2.2 Approach to Phased Construction and Operations


Construction of Project facilities is described in Section 2.1.3 above.

2.3 Access and Transportation System, Component Delivery, Worker Access


Access to the site will be from Primm Boulevard and will utilize the access road to the Silver State Solar Project. a. A new 1-mile-long Project Access Road will be constructed to connect with the Project site. The access road will be graded compacted earth and will be used for delivery of all Project components, and will be used by workers traveling to the site for construction. If determined necessary by the Project, for dust control purposes, these roads may be upgraded to aggregate or paved surface. Construction access road beds will typically be 20 feet wide. A stabilized entrance/exit will be provided to clean vehicle wheels prior to exiting the construction area. Most construction staff and workers will come daily to the jobsite from within Clark County. During peak construction, a maximum 56 truck trips per day will be required to supply concrete, construction materials, Project components, and equipment to the site. To provide concrete for PV module foundations and other uses an off-site ready mix plant will be used. Temporary construction parking will be provided on the site near the O&M area shown on Figure 1-4. This area will provide sufficient parking for the construction workforce traveling to the Project site in their personal vehicles. Parking areas for construction vehicles and laydown areas for construction materials will be prepared inside the solar field area. First Solar will prepare a Transportation Management Plan.

2.4 Construction Workforce Numbers, Vehicles, Equipment, Timeframes


The onsite construction workforce will consist of laborers, craftsmen, supervisory personnel, support personnel, and construction management personnel. The onsite construction workforce is expected to be approximately 230 400 depending on the rate of construction. Construction will generally occur between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additional hours may be necessary to make up schedule deficiencies, or to complete critical construction activities. For instance, during hot weather, it may be necessary to start work earlier to avoid work during high ambient temperatures. Further, construction requirements will require some night-time activity for installation, service or electrical connection, inspection and testing activities. Nighttime activities will be performed with temporary lighting.

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Construction materials such as concrete, pipe, PV modules, wire and cable, fuels, reinforcing steel, and small tools and consumables will be delivered to the site by truck. Initial grading work will include the use of primarily rubber-tired tractors, tillers and vibratory rollers and limited use of track-driven excavators, graders, dump trucks, and end loaders, in addition to the support pickups, water trucks, and cranes. It is anticipated that approximately 40 pieces of this type of large equipment will be onsite for the grading. Throughout the construction process, temporary above ground fuel storage tanks will be located at the site for construction equipment fueling. It is anticipated that 4-1,000 gallon, 2-500 gallon, and 2-100 gallon fuel tanks will be required. As the Project moves into the next stages of civil work, equipment for foundations and road construction will be brought in, including paving machines (if required), trenching machines, pumps, additional excavators for foundation drilling, tractors, and additional support vehicles.

2.5 Site Preparation: Surveying and Staking


A licensed professional surveyor will conduct a land survey of the Project site and will stake the construction area as needed before construction begins.

2.6 Site Preparation: Vegetation Removal and Treatment


Site preparation is discussed in Section 2.1.4.4 above. The Project will establish a plant nursery on site during clearing as determined necessary in order to store salvage plants, including cactus and yucca and before clearing, field crews will salvage cacti and yucca to meet requirements applicable to federal lands.

2.7 Site Clearing, Grading, and Excavation


The Project will require a positive natural terrain slope of less than 5 percent (existing slope varies from 3.0 to 4.5 percent from east to west). Project development plans will strive to minimize the amount of grading and earthwork necessary to construct and operate the Project. Some grading is required for installation of major structures such as the O&M building, and substation. Road and access way development will require grading; however, within the solar field grading activities will occur only where necessary for foundation installation, trenching, and access ways. Trenching will be required for placement of electric lines within the solar field (see Section 2.8, Solar Array Assembly and Construction, for a discussion of trenching). Grading and excavation requirements are described for each of the primary Project components below. Solar Field. Within the solar field, some grading will be required for roads and access ways between the solar arrays, and for electrical equipment pads. In general, the design standard for the roads and access ways within the solar field will be consistent with the amount and type of use they will receive. Speed limit for vehicles using these roads will be 15 mph for dust control. The Maintenance Road will be designed to accommodate speeds up to 35 mph, although recommended posted speeds will be between 20 to 25 mph.

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The Perimeter Road will be an all weather compacted earth surface. This road will generally follow existing perimeter contours. Within the solar arrays the amount of the grading will be minimal when the panel support foundations are driven. For locations where driven foundations are not feasible, other types of embedded foundations may be employed. Grading will also be required within each solar array to accommodate a level concrete pad to support the inverter and transformer. Substation and Switchyard. The substation and switchyard require a graded site to create a relatively flat surface for proper operation, with approximately 1 percent maximum slope in either direction. The existing ground surface slope at these locations ranges between 3 to 4.5 percent. The substation and switchyard interiors will be covered with aggregate surfacing for safe operation. O&M Area. O&M area grading will include the area where the O&M building will be constructed. The remaining area will be graded and appropriately surfaced for parking, roads, material storage and the erection of a temporary assembly structure for use during the construction phase of the Project. A temporary lined pond, 435 feet by 400 feet, will be excavated near the well field to allow water trucks to draft water during the construction phase of the Project. The pond area will be restored to grade at the completion of the construction phase. Graded pads for two permanent water storage tanks will be installed at the well field to provide fire water, if required. Exterior Fire Break. A 20-foot-wide fire break will be constructed outside the Project perimeter fence. The fire break will follow existing contours. The purpose of the fire break is to remove vegetation to prevent the spread of wildfire to the Project site. Creation of the fire break will require removal of shrubs and bushes. It is anticipated that the firebreak will be scraped with a grader or disk periodically to reduce vegetation. Access Road. The Project Access Road would use the existing road and Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) overcrossing used to access the Silver State Solar 50MWac project, and would then continue for an additional 1 mile to the site entry gate. The Project Access Road is subject to obtaining private agreements for use of the existing road and railroad overpass. Improvements along the access route will include grading/compaction to support construction vehicle traffic. Optionally, the road may be further improved with aggregate rock and/or asphalt paving if required to meet Clark County requirements for dust and flood control. Also see Sections 1.3.8.5.2 and 3.2.2 for additional discussion of the access road. Water Well Construction. The Project water wells will be constructed using standard well drilling techniques to a depth of approximately 800 feet. Well design will be finalized based on estimated groundwater characteristics and potential aquifer yield. Well construction will utilize a truck-mounted drilling rig with supporting equipment for water supply and drilling fluid management. Drilling techniques will use either a drilling fluid or compressed air to stabilize the bore hole during the drilling process. If geologic conditions are suitable, a drilling fluid, consisting of water mixed with various types of clay (e.g., bentonite) will be used to cool the drill bit and remove materials and cuttings displaced by the advancing drill bit. Drilling fluid is circulated down the center of the drill

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stem, and allowed to flow back to the surface where it is routed to a surface tank where suspended gravel and sand can settle out of the drilling fluid. The drilling fluid is then recirculated through the drill stem. Supporting equipment often consists of a water truck and surface tanks for drilling fluid management. If geologic conditions do not permit use of a drilling fluid to stabilize the bore hole, compressed air may be used to remove drill bit cuttings and any groundwater encountered during the drilling process. Drilling will terminate when the required depth is reached to provide an adequate water supply. Once the bore hole is completed, a casing will be set to the bottom of the hole (or top of the bedrock if encountered). If the water bearing layer is sand or gravel, a fine mesh screen of variable length will be attached to the bottom of the well casing. Depending on well conditions, filter gravel, clay seal, and cement grout will be installed between the borehole and casing to complete the well construction. Once casing installation is complete, the well will be pumped for several hours to remove all sediment within the well casing generated during the installation process. Unless prevented by regulations, the water discharged by the pump test will be discharged to the ground surface. The well will be finalized by installing the well pump and sealing the top of the casing to prevent contamination.

2.8 Solar Array Assembly and Construction


The assembled solar equipment will be installed on steel posts to which steel table frames will be attached. Trucks will be used to transport the PV modules to the solar field. A small mobile crane may be used to assist construction workings in setting the solar modules on the driven steel posts. Trenching and excavating machines will be used for base trenching, light skiploaders for backfill, and light rollers for compaction. Final solar field assembly will require small cranes, tractors, and forklifts. Cable trenches will be used to provide underground connection of Project equipment. Trenches will contain electrical conductors for power generation and fiber optic cables for equipment communication. Trenches will vary between 2 to 3 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep depending on the number of conductors and voltage of equipment to comply with applicable electrical codes. Prior to trench excavation, the area to be trenched will be prepared using the methods described in Section 2.1.4.4. Trench excavation will be performed with conventional trenching equipment. Excavated soil will be maintained adjacent to the trench and used to backfill the trench once conductors are installed and tested. Excavated soil will not be removed from the Project site. Temporary sheeting or bracing shall be used as necessary to support trench side walls in areas where soils are soft or collapsible. The trench itself will be first backfilled with 3 to 4 inches of sand (or appropriate native material) to provide suitable bedding for installed conductors, and then 3 to 4 inches of sand (or appropriate native material) will be deposited on top of installed conductors. The remaining backfill will be composed of the native excavated soils and compacted to 90 percent of standard proctor density. During the backfill, underground utility marking tape will be installed 12 inches below grade to indicate the type of conductors installed beneath.

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2.9 Construction Waste Management


During construction, the primary waste generated will be nonhazardous solid waste. However, some nonhazardous liquid waste and hazardous waste (solid and liquid) will also be generated. All of the hazardous wastes will be generated at the plant site. The types of waste and their estimated quantities are described in the following discussion. Typical wastes generated during construction are identified in Table 2-3. First Solar will prepare a Waste Management Plan that will describe the storage, transportation, and handling of wastes and will emphasize the recycling of construction wastes where possible and will identify the specific landfills that will receive construction wastes that cannot be recycled. Construction wastes will be managed in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (42 USC 6901, et seq. and RCRAs implementing regulations at 40 CFR 260, et seq.) and other applicable state and local regulations.
TABLE 2-3

Wastes Generated during Construction


Waste Scrap wood, steel, glass, plastic, paper Scrap metals Origin Construction activities Construction activities Operation and maintenance of plant Composition Normal refuse Parts, containers Drums, containers, totes* Estimated Quantity 200 tons Classification Nonhazardous Disposal Recycle and/or dispose of in industrial or municipal landfill Recycle and/or dispose of in industrial or municipal landfill Containers <5 gal will be disposed as normal refuse. Containers >5 gal will be returned to vendors for recycling or reconditioning. Recycle at a permitted TSDF Recycle or dispose at a permitted TSDF Store no more than 10 batteries (up to 1 year)recycle off site. Recycle or dispose offsite at a Universal Waste Destination Facility Dispose at a permitted TSDF Remove by contracted sanitary service

<2 tons

Nonhazardous

Empty hazardous material containers

<1 ton

Hazardous and nonhazardous solids

Waste oil filters

Construction equipment and vehicles Cleanup of small spills Construction machinery Equipment

Solids

500 lb

Used Oil

Oily rags, oil sorbent excluding lube oil flushes Spent lead acid batteries Spent alkaline batteries

Hydrocarbons

100 cu ft

Used Oil

Heavy metals

10

Hazardous

Metals

50 lb

Universal waste solids

Waste oil Sanitary waste

Equipment, vehicles Portable toilet holding tanks

Hydrocarbons Solids and liquids

500 gal 200,000 gal

Used Oil Nonhazardous liquid

*Containers include <5-gallon containers and 55-gallon drums or totes Note: TSDF = Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility

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2.9.1 Nonhazardous Solid Waste


The following nonhazardous waste streams potentially could be generated from construction of the Project: Paper, wood, glass, and plastics. During construction, approximately 200 tons of paper, wood, glass, and plastics will be generated from packing materials, waste lumber, insulation, and empty nonhazardous chemical containers. These wastes will be recycled to the extent practical. Waste that cannot be recycled will be disposed of weekly in a municipal landfill. On site, the waste will be placed in dumpsters. Metal. Approximately 2 tons of metal including steel, packing materials, and empty nonhazardous chemical containers) and aluminum waste (from packing materials and electrical wiring) will be generated during construction. Waste will be recycled where practical. All wastes that that cannot be recycled (empty hazardous materials containers, waste oil) will be deposited in a municipal landfill.

Landfills located nearest the Project site include the Boulder City Landfill in Boulder City (Class I Municipal Solid Waste) and Wells Cargo Landfill in Las Vegas (Class III Industrial Waste).

2.9.2 Wastewater
Wastewater generated during construction will include sanitary waste, storm water runoff, equipment washdown water and water from excavation dewatering during construction (if dewatering is required). These wastewaters may be classified as hazardous or nonhazardous depending on their chemical quality and handled and disposed of in accordance with applicable law.

2.9.3 Hazardous Waste


Although highly unlikely with precautions and best practices implemented, a small amount of hazardous waste may be generated during construction primarily from small petroleum spills resulting from the operation of heavy equipment and filling of transformer and hydraulic equipment reservoirs. These spills will be cleaned up if they occur and the resultant waste material properly disposed in accordance with federal and state regulations. Most of the hazardous waste generated during construction will consist of liquid waste, such as water from excavation dewatering (if it contains contaminants), flushing and cleaning fluids. Wastewaters generated during construction could also be considered hazardous, based on sampling. A SPCC plan, for operation of the Project, will be developed in accordance with federal regulations to protect the environment from spills of petroleum products.

2.10 Gravel, Aggregate, and Concrete Needs and Sources


A small amount of concrete will be poured in place for equipment and building foundations, fence footing and miscellaneous small pads. Aggregate material will be used

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for the parking lot and substation and switchyard areas (and if determined necessary, for the Perimeter Road and Access Road). Concrete, mechanical, and electrical works will be performed with the aid of graders, rollers, front loaders, dump trucks, trenching machines, concrete mixer and pump trucks, cranes, and pick-ups.

2.11 Electrical Construction Activities


Electrical construction will include installation of electrical equipment and necessary infrastructure to energize the equipment. Construction areas will include the Project solar field and interconnecting transmission line. Electrical construction will consist primarily of the following elements: EquipmentInstallation of all electrical equipment including DC combiner boxes, PCS shelters (including inverters), transformers, circuit breakers, disconnect switches, switchgear and distribution panels, lighting, communication, control, and SCADA equipment. CablesInstallation of all cables necessary to energize the Project equipment including instrument control wiring. High, medium, and low voltage cables will be routed via cable trays, abovegrade conduits, below grade conduit in duct bank, and overhead structures as necessary. GroundingAll equipment and structures will be grounded as necessary. Within the solar field, an appropriate grounding system will be engineered and constructed in order to maintain personnel safety and equipment protection. TelecommunicationsMultiple communication systems will be required for the Project to properly operate, including T-1 internet cables, fiber optic, and telephone. All communications will be installed during electrical construction.

The site will include underground and overhead 34.5kV collection system and an overhead 230kV/220kV line. The transmission line interconnection details are detailed further in Section 3.1 of this document. Transmission line characteristics and construction techniques are briefly summarized below, and standard construction techniques that will be implemented also are provided.

2.11.1 34.5kV Collection System


The 34.5kV output from each medium voltage transformer will be daisy-chained together using underground trenched conductors. Daisy-chain refers to the manner in which the transformers are electrically connected together on the 34.5kV side. Transformers for this application will be ordered as loop-feed transformers meaning that they have two (2) sets of medium-voltage bushings. Each transformer will connect to the transformers from adjacent blocks (using buried conductors in trenches), except for the last transformer in each circuit which only connects to one other transformer.

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Each 34.5kV underground circuit from transformers will connect to the 35kV Photovoltaic Combining Switchgear using 35kV rated medium voltage cables listed for direct buried applications. 34.5kV cables from each Photovoltaic Combining Switchgear to the 34.5kV to 230kV/220kV Step-up transformer (SUT) at the Project substation will also be 35kV rated medium voltage cables listed for direct buried applications. Underground 34.5kV cables will be installed to comply with the minimum burial depth in accordance with the National Electrical Code. Overhead 34.5kV lines will be installed as double circuit lines on wood poles with post insulators (typical of medium voltage installations in electric distribution systems). Pole height will be 45 feet above grade. Spacing between individual circuits and phases will comply with National Electrical Safety Code requirements, typically 5 feet. A 23-foot ground clearance will be maintained under 34.5kV lines based on the highest expected temperature and loading. Wood poles will be installed with 150-foot spacing between poles. Wood poles will be directly embedded to 10 percent of the pole height plus 2 feet, typically 8 feet deep. A ground rod of 8 to 12 feet will be hammered into the ground adjacent to the wood pole.

2.11.2 230kV/220kV Transmission Line


The Project will use 230kV and 220kV transmission lines for interconnection to the utility transmission grid system. The overhead 230kV/220kV transmission line will be installed on steel structures of up to approximately 90 feet above grade with 15 foot spacing between conductors and minimum ground clearance of 26 feet per local and national electrical code requirements. Steel towers are galvanized steel with a dull gray appearance similar to existing steel poles installed adjacent to the Project or color treated. The 230kV/220kV transmission towers may be either the monopole type or H-frame (as depicted in Figure 3-1a) to support interconnection to the transmission system.

2.11.3 Standard Transmission Line Construction Techniques


Standard transmission line construction techniques will be used to construct the 230kV/220kV transmission lines and 34.5kV collector lines. Primary stages in transmission line construction are foundation installation, tower installation, and conductor stringing. These stages are briefly described below for each of the transmission line types that will be installed at the site. Foundation Installation. The 230kV/220kV steel towers will be supported by steelreinforced poured pier concrete foundations which are suitable for the sandy soils conditions at the site. These foundations are constructed by auguring a cylindrical hole using a truck-mounted drilling rig. Reinforcing steel and anchor bolt cages will be installed in the hole and then the hole will be backfilled with concrete. Steel tower foundations will range in size from approximately 4 to 7 feet in diameter, and range in depth from 12 to 30 feet. Larger diameter and deeper foundations will be located where the transmission line turns at an angle of 30 degrees or greater. Wood poles will be embedded into the ground to a depth of at least 10 percent of the pole height plus 2 feet. For the Project installation of wood poles is anticipated to require auguring holes approximately 2 feet in diameter and 8 feet deep. Aggregate or high-strength

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backfill will be used to stabilize the installed poles. One foundation hole for each transmission line structure and directly embedded pole is expected. Tower/Pole Installation. Poles will be staged either in a designated laydown/stringing area, or they may be delivered and unloaded adjacent to their respective final locations. Poles will be placed onto their foundations (for wood, placed into their holes) using backhoes or heavy lifter vehicles for the smaller, lighter poles, or a crane for longer poles. The poles will be supported, as necessary, during backfilling or bolting to the foundation to ensure correct pole seating and raking. Taller steel poles, typically those that are over 45 feet long, will be composed of multiple sections that will be stacked on each other and then jacked together (aligning the boltings on each pole so that they can be properly fastened). For dead-end wood poles or turning poles, guys and anchors will be installed with auger trucks placing the anchors. Wood pole dead-ends for a double circuit will possibly be two independent poles, two poles lashed together with guys, or more simply, a steel pole on a drilled pier foundation with davit arms designed to hold the tension of a double circuit. Conductor Stringing. Conductor stringing will likely be conducted one phase at a time, with all equipment in the same operational place until all phases of that operation are strung. The sequence of conductor stringing operations is summarized below. Finger Lines: The finger line is used to pull the later pilot line through travelers installed on each davit arm. The finger line is typically a small diameter synthetic rope that can be pulled by hand or crawler tractor. Pilot Lines: The finger line, once in place, is used to pull the pilot line which is a larger synthetic rope or small steel line. This requires a vehicle at each side of the pulling area, a Bullwheel tensioner truck doing the pulling of the pilot line, and a drum puller truck on the other side holding the reel. Conductor: Using the pilot line, the conductor is pulled through. Other activities may include offset clipping if suspension insulators are not plumb, or splicing together two reels of conductor. Once complete, the traveler equipment will be removed. Tensioning: After the conductor is completely strung through a section, the section is tensioned to comply with design specifications. Once the conductor has been tensioned or loosened to meet the appropriate sag specification given the ambient temperature, the dead-end clamps will be tightened.

Grounding. Ground rods will be hammered into the earth with a jackhammer device attached to a small excavator (such as a Bobcat). Typically, the rods are 8 to 12 feet long and can be longer if needed by joining multiple rods. For the 34.5kV wood poles, a 3-foot square by 2-foot-deep area will be excavated to expose the ground rod for connection to the plants grounding grid. The poles can then be connected by laying in ground wire below grade to connect to the ground grid via trenching. Ground rods can be connected to the pole or in the case of the steel pole, to the anchor bolts. The 220kV towers may be connected to the overall plant ground grid or remain independent. It is expected that an area of approximately 100 feet by 150 feet will be required at each 230kV/220kV tower location for use as temporary laydown or as a staging area for

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SECTION 2: CONSTRUCTION OF THE FACILITIES

equipment, towers, and hardware. In general, little to no grading is expected to be required for these areas. Typical equipment expected to be used for transmission line construction includes: (1) backhoe, (2) truck-mounted tower hole auger, (3) forklift, (4) crane, (5) line truck with air compressor, (6) various pickup and flatbed trucks, (7) conductor reel and tower trailers, (8) bucket trucks, and (9) truck-mounted tensioner and puller. Substation construction will consist of site grading, concrete equipment foundation forming and pouring, crane-placed electrical and structural equipment, underground and overhead cabling and cable termination, ground grid trenching and termination, control building erection, and installation of all associated systems including, but not limited to HVAC, distribution panels, lighting, communication and control equipment, and lightening protection. Switchyard construction will consist of site grading, concrete equipment foundation forming and pouring, crane-placed electrical and structural equipment, underground and overhead cabling and cable termination, ground grid trenching and termination, control building erection, and installation of all associated systems including, but not limited to HVAC, distribution panels, lighting, communication and control equipment, and lightening protection.

2.12 Aviation Lighting


The nearest existing airport, the Jean Airport (OL7), is approximately 9 miles north of the Project site. The Project is exempt from filing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 7460 (Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration) for compliance with the FAAs regulations at 14 CFR Part 77 for the Jean Airport because the Project is more than 20,000 feet from the existing runways. However, the nearest runway planned for the proposed Southern Nevada Supplemental Airport is approximately 11,000 feet from the Project development boundary. Because of the proximity to the proposed airport, First Solar will file any necessary Notices of Proposed Construction or Alternation (Form 7460s) with the FAA as may be required. The FAA review process will identify any aviation-related lighting requirements. The tallest structures at the site will be the approximately 90-foot-high transmission towers.

2.13 Site Stabilization, Protection, and Reclamation Practices


2.13.1 Erosion and Sediment Control Measures
Appropriate water erosion and dust-control measures will be required to prevent an increased dust and sediment load to ephemeral washes around the construction site. It will be mulched or composted on site to assist in erosion control and limit waste disposal. In some areas to be graded that lie outside of the solar field, native vegetation may be harvested for replanting to augment soil stabilization. Soil stabilization measures will be used to prevent soil being detached by storm water runoff. First Solar will employ BMPs to protect the soil surface by covering or binding soil

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particles. The Project will incorporate erosion-control measures required by regulatory agency permits and contract documents as well as other measures selected by the contractor. Site-specific BMPs will be designed by the contractor, and associated figures are to be included in the final Project Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

2.13.2 Sediment Control Measures


Sediment controls are intended to complement and enhance selected erosion control measures and reduce sediment discharges from active construction areas. Sediment controls are designed to intercept and settle out soil particles that have been detached and transported by the force of water. The Project will incorporate sediment control measures required by regulatory agency permits and contract documents as well as other measures selected by the contractor. The Project will implement the practices in the SWPPP.

2.13.3 Dust Control


First Solar will use water to control dust to comply with Clark County dust control requirements. Where water is insufficient to control dust, soil stabilizers approved by BLM and USFWS, will be used within the fenced solar field to control dust to County standards.

2.13.4 Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Plans


2.13.4.1 Rehabilitation
First Solar will prepare a Rehabilitation Plan. This plan will be implemented immediately after construction for the areas that are temporarily disturbed, such as portions of the transmission line route that involve disturbance.

2.13.4.2 Decommissioning
The Project facilities have an expected life of 50 years or more. First Solar will prepare a Decommissioning Plan. In order to ensure that the permanent closure of the facility does not have an adverse effect, the Facility Decommissioning Plan will be developed at least 6 months prior to commencement of site closure activities. The Facility Decommissioning Plan will be developed in coordination with the BLM, with input from other agencies as appropriate. The plan will address future land use plans, removal of hazardous materials, impacts and mitigation associated with closure activities, schedule of closure activities, equipment to remain on the site, and conformance of the plan with applicable regulatory requirements and resource plans. It will be consistent with requirements and goals set for in the Rehabilitation Plan.

2.14 Construction Water Usage


Water requirements for construction activities will be met by an on-site well. A temporary lined pond, 435 feet by 400 feet, will be excavated near the water supply well to allow water trucks to draft water for use at the site during construction. Upon completion of construction the basin can be removed. The maximum volume of construction water in any given year is not expected to exceed 400 acre-feet. The primary use of the water will be for dust control.

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SECTION 3

Related Facilities and Systems


3.1 Transmission System Interconnect
3.1.1 Existing and Proposed Transmission System
The Project will be capable of delivering renewable energy into the California market via SCEs EITP line and to the Nevada market via NV Energys Bighorn Substation. Connection to the California market is made via a new 1-mile-long, 220kV transmission line running from the South Substation to the switchyard, and to the Nevada market via a new 2-milelong 230kV transmission line from the South Substation to the existing Bighorn Substation. Connection to the CAISO is made by a tap into the 220kV EITP transmission line via a new 1-mile-long, 220kV transmission line (gen-tie) that will connect the South substation to the switchyard. The switchyard will contain 220kV circuit breakers and buswork to combine the output of the Project with the 220kV transmission line from the South substation and interconnect to SCEs EITP transmission line. The 220kV transmission gen-tie line will be single circuit and supported on galvanized or color treated steel towers. The Project transmission system is shown in Figure 1-4. The 220kV transmission towers may be either the monopole type (as depicted in Figure 3-1a) or H-frame (as depicted in Figure 3-1a) to support interconnection to the transmission system.

3.1.2 Ancillary Facilities


3.1.2.1 NV Energy Interconnection
The Project will connect with the NV Energy transmission grid at the existing Bighorn Substation. Three-phase conductors will terminate on steel angle pull-off structures and will be insulated from the structure by porcelain insulators. Line disconnects are included for disconnect of any of the incoming lines for maintenance or repair without complete disruption of power flow. All bus, cable, hardware, and electrical equipment ratings will be determined during detailed design. The switchyard will include a control building to house protective relay equipment, communication and metering. The Bighorn Substation will need to be expanded to accommodate the additional equipment required to interconnect the Project. The additional equipment includes one 230kV circuit breaker, disconnects and bus work.

3.1.2.2 California ISO Interconnection


The Project holds a queue position in good standing with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) that secures its rights to transmission capacity on the EITP. The proposed Project switchyard will be a 220kV, three-breaker, ring bus configured switchyard, composed of three 220kV, SF6-insulated dead tank circuit breakers. Each breaker will be isolatable by

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SECTION 3: RELATED FACILITIES AND SYSTEMS

two 220kV, non-load break disconnect switches, one with grounding terminals. Instrument transformers will be tapped off the 220kV bus for line protection and metering. Three lines will terminate on steel angle pull-off structures and will be insulated from the structure by porcelain insulators. This configuration allows for additional reliability allowing for loss of any one breaker without Project transmission or SCE line disconnect. Line disconnects are included for disconnect of any of the incoming lines for maintenance or repair without complete disruption of power flow. All bus, cable, hardware, and electrical equipment ratings will be determined during detailed design. The switchyard will include a control building to house protective relay equipment, communication, and, potentially, utility metering. Switchyard site and construction power may be supplied from a local distribution line near the switchyard and a distribution transformer within the switchyard. Switchyard area and control room lighting, convenience power, and protection and communication hardware power will be supplied via a 480-208Y/120V lighting and distribution panel. The grounding system will be designed in accordance with all applicable codes and standards to protect equipment and personnel from available fault currents. As part of this system, metal-oxide lightening arrestors may be included at line terminations near the steel angle pull-off structures to protect the equipment and personnel from surges caused by lightning strikes. A roadway will be included around the perimeter with sufficient width for maintenance vehicles. A barbed wire perimeter fence with a lockable gate wide enough for truck traffic will keep pedestrian traffic out of the switchyard.

3.1.3 Status of Power Purchase Agreements


A 250MWac portion of the Projects output will be delivered to SCE under a 20-year PPA announced in March 2011. The remaining generation from the Project is being marketed to both California and Nevada. Deliveries into the California markets will be via the EITP described above. Deliveries into the Nevada market will be via a gen tie to the Nevada Energys Bighorn substation, part of the Silver State North project previously approved by the BLM.

3.1.4 Status of Interconnect Agreement


For deliveries into California, First Solar has an active interconnection request in good standing with the CAISO that will provide transmission capacity on the EITP sufficient for the output of the (nominal) 250 MWac plant to meet the schedule requirements under the SCE PPA. For deliveries into Nevada, First Solar has a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-approved Interconnection Agreement for 55 MW at the Bighorn substation. Additional interconnection capacity will be secured as needed for the Project to deliver into the Nevada and California markets.

3.1.5 General Design and Construction Standards


The Project will be designed in accordance with federal and industrial standards including American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Electrical Code (NEC, 2008), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC, 2006), International Building Code (IBC, 2006), Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC, 2006), Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC, 2006), National Fire Protection Association and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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SECTION 3: RELATED FACILITIES AND SYSTEMS

Construction will be in accordance with the federal codes listed above and all applicable state and local codes. Local Clark County codes will include Title 13 Fire and Fire Prevention, Title 22 Buildings and Construction, Title 24 Water, Sewage and Other Utilities and Title 25 Plumbing and Electrical Regulations.

3.2 Gas Supply Systems


The Project will not require a natural gas supply system.

3.3 Other Related Systems


3.3.1 Communication System Requirements during Construction and Operation
Multiple communication systems will be used for construction and operation. Hard-wired (land-line) systems required for operation communications will installed as part of the electrical construction activities. These items will include telephone, fiber optics, and T1 internet. All operation communication cables will be installed either underground or on overhead lines and routed adjacent to the Project Access Road. Communications will interconnect near the SCE transmission system or NV Energys Walter M. Higgins Generating Station using existing lines to the greatest extent possible. Where this is not feasible, new lines will be run from Primm Resort to the Project site using existing poles where possible.

3.3.2 Project Access Road


Access to the site will be from Primm Boulevard and will use the existing privately-owned UPRR overpass that provides access to the NV Energy Walter M. Higgins Generating Station and the Silver State Solar Project. A new 1-mile-long Project Access Road will be constructed, extending from the Silver State Solar access road, to the Project site. The access road will be graded compacted earth and will be used for delivery of all Project components, and will be used by workers traveling to the site during construction. If determined necessary by the Project, for dust control purposes, the access road may be upgraded to aggregate or paved surface. Construction access road beds will typically be 20 feet wide. A stabilized entrance/exit will be provided to clean vehicle wheels prior to exiting the construction area. Most construction staff and workers will come daily to the jobsite from within Clark County.

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Note: Not to scale, all dimensions and phasing are estimates Source: Burns & McDonnell
IS011310152900BAO Nextlight_POD_Figure 3-1a 06-26-11 ez

FIGURE 3-1a Typical Transmission Tower


Silver State Solar South Project Clark County, Nevada

34.5kV Tower

45

Note: Not to scale, all dimensions and phasing are estimates Source: TriAxis Engineering, Inc., November 2009.
IS011310152900BAO Nextlight_POD_Figure 3-1b 06-27-11 dash

FIGURE 3-1b Typical Transmission Tower, Wood Pole


Silver State Solar South Project Clark County, Nevada

SECTION 4

Operation and Maintenance


4.1 Operation and Maintenance Needs
The operation and maintenance of the solar PV plant will require up to 10 FTE personnel (or personnel hours totaling 10 FTE positions), consisting of plant operators, maintenance technicians, and site security. Staff will be present on site 24-hours per day. Maintenance and administrative staff typically work 8-hour days, Monday through Friday. During periods when non-routine maintenance or major repairs are in progress, the maintenance force will typically work evenings when the PV Power Plant is naturally offline.

4.2 Maintenance Activities


Prior to Project financing and commencement of construction, long-term maintenance schedules will be developed to include periodic maintenance and overhauls in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.

4.2.1 Periodic Maintenance


Periodic routine maintenance comprises monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual inspections and service. A solar PV project has uses no process water, gas, or fuels for the power generation process. The maintenance protocol is mainly routine inspections. The frequency and type of maintenance is described below by equipment type. During the first year of operation, the frequency of inspections will be increased to address settling and electrical termination torque (e.g., for year 1, inspections shown as semi-annually are performed quarterly, inspections shown as annual are performed semi-annually). Routine maintenance procedures are listed in Table 4-1.
TABLE 4-1

Routine Maintenance Protocol


Equipment PV Modules Maintenance Interval Quarterly Task Visually inspect panels for breakage and secure mounting Visually inspect modules for discoloration Visually inspect wiring for connections and secure mounting Visually inspect mounting structure for rust and erosion around foundations Manually clean localized debris from bird droppings, etc. Semi-Annually Clean modules if determined necessary

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TABLE 4-1

Routine Maintenance Protocol


Equipment Inverters Maintenance Interval Semi-annually Task Perform temperature checks on breakers and electrical terminations Visual inspection of all major components and wiring harnesses for discoloration or damage Measure all low voltage power supply levels Inspect/remove any dust/debris inside cabinet Inspect door seals Check proper fan operation Inspect and clean (replace if necessary) filters Check electrical termination torque Check the operation of all safety devices (e-stop, door switches, ground fault detection) Annually Check all nuts, bolts and connections for torque and heat discoloration Calibrate control board and sensors Inspect air conditioning units for proper operation Medium voltage transformers Semi-annually Perform temperature check Inspect door seals Record all gauge readings Clean any dirt/debris from low voltage compartment Substation transformers Semi-annually Inspect access doors/seals Inspect electronics enclosure and sensor wiring Record all gauge readings Annually Inspect fans for proper operation Calibrate temperature and pressure sensors Pull oil sample for oil screening and dissolved gas analysis. Breakers and switchgear Semi-annually Annually Overhead transmission lines Annually (and after heavy rains) Inspect for discoloration of equipment and terminations Inspect door seals Check open/close operation Inspect guy wires and tower angle Visual inspection of supports/insulators Visual inspection for discoloration at terminations Roadways Vegetation Annually (and after heavy rain) Semi-annually Inspect access ways and roads that cross drainage paths for erosion Inspect for localized vegetation control to restrict height to less than 12 inches to address faster growth vegetation Apply herbicides as necessary to control noxious weeds Every 3 years Mowing as required to reduce vegetation height to 9 inches

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TABLE 4-1

Routine Maintenance Protocol


Equipment Water Wells O&M Building Maintenance Interval Annually Semi-annually Annually Task Visual inspection Pressure test Check smoke detectors Check weather stripping and door/window operation Check emergency lighting Inspect electrical service panel Backup Power (UPS or generator) Fencing Annually Annually (and after heavy rain) Visually inspect backup power system Perform functional test of backup power system Inspect fence or vandalism and erosion at base

Routine cleaning of the PV modules may be required to minimize performance degradation at a level below 3 percent. As noted above, it is anticipated that the panels will require washing up to twice a year. No heavy equipment will be used during normal plant operation. Operation and maintenance vehicles will include trucks for panel washing. Pick-up trucks will be in daily use on the site.

4.3 Operations Workforce and Equipment


The Project will require a workforce of up to 10 FTE positions (or personnel hours totaling 10 FTE positions). This workforce will include administrative and management personnel, operators, and security and maintenance personnel. This workforce will be based at the O&M building. Employees will be onsite to maintain equipment and provide security. Operation and maintenance will require the use of vehicles including pick-up trucks and trucks and equipment for PV panel washing. Operation and maintenance will require the use of vehicles and equipment including trucks for panel washing and crane trucks for minor equipment maintenance. Additional maintenance equipment will include forklifts, manlifts, and chemical application equipment for weed abatement and soil stabilizer treatment in the bioremediation area. Pick-up trucks will be in daily use on the site. At designated intervals, approximately every 10 to 15 years, major equipment maintenance will be performed. On occasions, large heavy-haul transport equipment, including cranes, will be brought on site. No heavy equipment will be used during normal plant operation.

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SECTION 4: OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

4.4 Emergency Response Planning


First Solar will prepare an Emergency Response Plan. The plan will contain a section that presents the results of a comprehensive facility hazard analysis and, for each identified hazard, a response plan. Emergencies may include brush or equipment fires, transformer oil leaks or spills, attempted acts of sabotage, and airplane crashes. The emergency response plan will assign roles and actions for onsite personnel and responders and will designate assembly areas and response actions.

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SECTION 5

Environmental Considerations
5.1 General Description of Site Characteristics and Potential Environmental Issues
The Project site was selected in consideration of avoiding or minimizing environmental impacts. The site is not within environmentally protected areas. It is located next to a utility corridor containing several electrical transmission lines, a major natural gas pipeline, a railroad, and an interstate highway. Good land management planning practice would encourage location of facilities, such as solar energy generating facilities, near such corridors. Extensive environmental site review was conducted between 2008 and 2010 to evaluate the environmental conditions and potential Project impacts at the Project site. Surveys and technical reports and the dates on which they were submitted to the BLM are listed below. These surveys and reports were used by the BLM in support of preparing the Final EIS (September 2010) for the Silver State Project, which addressed the North and South site features. The studies and reports prepared to date for the 2010 Final EIS are: Desert Tortoise Presence/absence survey report (original submitted to BLM in 2008 and revised to address additional survey area in October 2009) Botanical Habitat Assessment (submitted to BLM, October 2009) Biological Assessment (November 2009) Cultural Resources Report (November 2009) Paleontological Resources Assessment (November 2009) Visual Resources Report (November 2009) Delineation of Waters and Wetlands of the U.S. Report (October 2009) Spring 2010 Botanical Survey Report (May 2010) Desert Tortoise Phase 1 Area Survey (June 2010) Desert Tortoise Relocation Plan (September 2010)

First Solar will conduct additional supplemental surveys and prepare relevant reports to facilitate environmental clearance of all new areas considered in this POD (compared with the areas considered in the January 20111 POD for the combined North and South sites). These will include supplemental biological and cultural resources surveys and possible visual resources assessments, depending on the presence of suitable key observation points. At this time, the BLM is considering preparing a Supplemental EIS to the EIS issued in September 2010. The BLM will determine the type of environmental compliance

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SECTION 5: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS

documentation required based on the contemplated changes to the project description for development of the remaining 350 MW acres. The subsequent environmental review will likely include coordination with the USACE for waters of the United States and the USFWS for consultation with the USACE and the BLM. A detailed summary of the environmental surveys and studies conducted in support of Silver State North and South is included in the January 2011 POD. Additional details and copies of supporting studies are in the Administrative Record for the 2010 EIS.

5.2 Mitigation Measures Proposed by the Applicant


Applicant Proposed Measures (APMs) include Project design and equipment selection measures proposed as part of the Project to reduce impacts to the surrounding environment. First Solar has made a substantial effort to minimize potential impacts to sensitive resources. Such measures are implemented through the design process, to minimize such impacts or avoid them altogether, and also through the development of site-specific management and operation plans. APMs include Project design and equipment selection, mitigation measures proposed as part of the Project, and implementation of measures and requirements specified in Project resource protection plans and operation plans. Some of these APMs are described in the POD. First Solar will comply with all resource protection measures identified in permit conditions and mitigation plans developed as required by permits and authorizations. The APMs are listed in Table 2.11-2 of the FEIS. APMs include the preparation of the following management plans, which were submitted to and approved by the BLM prior to issuance of notice to proceed on the 50 MW of construction. These plans and conditions, which cover the Phase 1 (North) 50 MW project, are relevant, as is or with some modification, to the Silver State South construction: Avian Protection Plan Decommissioning Plan Emergency Response Plan Environmental Compliance Plan Fire Management Plan Lighting Management Plan Rehabilitation Plan Site Drainage Plan Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Transportation Management Plan Water Quality Management Plan Weed Control Management Plan

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SECTION 6

References
Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 1998. Las Vegas Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Volumes I and II. U.S. Department of the Interior, BLM, Las Vegas Field Office. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2006. Noxious Weed Plan. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Las Vegas Field Office. December. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2007a. Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-097. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2007b. Partners Against Weeds. http://www.nv.blm.gov/Resources/noxious_weeds.htm. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2010a. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Silver State Solar Energy Project, DOI No. FES 10-50. September. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2010b. Record of Decision, Serial Numbers N-085077 and N-85801. October 12. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2010c. Right-of-Way Grant. Silver State Solar. October 13. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2011a. Solar Energy Plan of Development. January 31. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 2011b. Right-of-Way Notice to Proceed. May 18. Copper State Engineering, Inc. 2010. Geotechnical Investigation Report, Task A. November 24. First Solar. 2011. Plan of Development, Silver State Solar Project, N-85077. March. International Building Code (IBC). 2006. International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). 2006. National Electrical Code (NEC). 2008. Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC). 2006. Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). 2006.

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Appendix A Solar Panel Technical Specifications

CdTe (cad tel) Photovoltaics

www.firstsolar.com
CdTe Facts NA FEB 2009

o 6

2 3

www.firstsolar.com
Copyright 2009, First Solar, Inc. CdTe Facts NA FEB 2009