Capital Dynamics and US-based photovoltaic (PV) modules manufacturer First Solar have opened the 280MW California Flats solar project.

With the ability to offset more than 109,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, the project is expected to generate enough energy to power nearly 116,000 average California households annually.

California Flats is located on 2,900 acres of Jack ranch land near the borders of San Luis Obispo and Monterey County.

Hearst Western Properties vice-president and general manager Steve Hearst said: “The California Flats Solar Project helped us meet our goal of finding a sustainable solution to keep the 73,000-acre Jack Ranch intact as a historic working cattle ranch using traditional and time-proven ranching methods for our grass-fed Hearst Ranch Beef programme.

“Countless hours have been invested by Hearst and our partners in bringing this sizable, complex project to fruition and ensuring it operates seamlessly with our cattle operation and ranch environment.”

Constructed in two phases, the solar project has two fully contracted long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) in place to serve both utility and corporate renewable customers.

California Flats was developed and constructed by First Solar after it acquired the project in 2015, with Capital Dynamics acquiring it from First Solar in August 2017.

Capital Dynamics Clean Energy Infrastructure team managing director Benoit Allehaut said: “We are pleased to officially open the California Flats Solar Project, one of the largest solar projects in the US.

“First Solar and Hearst have been great partners, and we are proud to be the first to use the First Solar Series 6 solar panels. This project will play an important part in helping California meet its renewable energy goals while creating jobs and substantial economic benefits throughout the state.”