California Valley Solar Ranch plant commences commercial operations

3 November 2013 (Last Updated November 3rd, 2013 18:30)

NRG Energy, NRG Yield and SunPower have completed the final phase of the 250MWac California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) PV generating facility in San Luis Obispo County, California, which is claimed to be one of the largest operating solar PV power plants in the world.

Solar PV1

NRG Energy, NRG Yield and SunPower have completed the final phase of the 250MWac California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) PV generating facility in San Luis Obispo County, California, which is claimed to be one of the largest operating solar PV power plants in the world.

CVSR project, which was acquired by NRG Energy from SunPower in 2011 and held in partnership by NRG Yield with a 48.95% stake, includes nine solar PV arrays, electrical equipment, a generation tie-line, a substation, a switchyard and transmission line upgrade project, built by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

The 4,700-acre project is expected to supply its output to PG&E under two long-term power purchase agreements, helping the utility achieve its renewable energy delivery mandate as required by California's renewable portfolio standard.

SunPower president, regions Howard Wenger said the project has started delivering 250MW of cost-competitive solar power in San Luis Obispo County.

"SunPower is very proud to have developed and built this project, which combines our world-leading solar technology with eco-design principals to responsibly maximise energy delivery over the life of the system," said Wenger.

Of the site's total area, approximately 1,500 acres of land or 30% is covered by solar arrays, substation and facility buildings, while the remaining 3,200 acres is permanently conserved and managed to meet conservation objectives for a range of species.

"The project has created around 700 jobs during its two-year construction period, injecting an estimated $315m into the local economy."

The project has created around 700 jobs during its two-year construction period, injecting an estimated $315m into the local economy.

The developers commenced construction on the project in September 2011 and started delivering the first 22MW power to PG&E's transmission lines in October 2012.

SunPower designed and provided engineering, procurement and construction services for the project.

According to the agreed terms, SunPower and NRG Energy will jointly operate and maintain the project for two years, while NRG Energy will have sole responsibility for operating the site thereafter.

SunPower has installed the Oasis Power Plant, a fully-integrated, modular solar power block, at the project site, which typically helps rapidly and cost-effectively deploy utility-scale solar projects while optimising land use.


Image: NRG Energy commissions 250MWac California Valley Solar Ranch plant in California. Photo: courtesy of Businesswire.

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