Construction of the Colorado-based NextGen Solar system is underway at the Colorado School of Mines.
The first phases of construction will begin later this year with construction expected to take another two years.
Construction of NextGen is designed to power a small fraction of the 1GW capacity the system would need to power the state’s entire electricity system.
NextGen’s panels will use the same silicon-based solar technology that has been used in photovoltaic (PV) panels for years.
The panels will have about 60% efficiency.
That means they can produce nearly twice as much power from solar panels as conventional solar panels.
In addition to being able to generate power from the sun, NextGen’s solar panels can also be used as a storage device, like the ones used by the Department of Energy to store energy during power outages.
The solar panels have been in use at the school for the last several years, and are expected to be in operation by 2021.
“The NextGen system will provide a unique energy storage solution for the state of Colorado, as well as for future generations of the solar energy industry,” the DOE said in a press release.
There are a few other interesting things to note about NextGen.
First, the company plans to operate a new facility, which will provide for an increased solar energy production capacity.
Second, Nextgen says it will have to build its solar panels on an existing property, rather than build its panels from scratch.
Third, NextG’s panels are designed to be stored for at least five years.
The DOE said that NextGen will also have to use recycled materials and the grid can handle that, but that it does not have a specific timeline for when NextGen might be able to move to using solar panels from the grid.
According to the DOE, NextGenerate is one of the largest solar projects underway in the country.
Last month, the DOE announced a $1.6 billion contract with SolarCity to build the solar system.