The first project to be approved under California’s renewables portfolio standard programme – a utility-scale photovoltaic solar farm near Mendota, in the state’s Central Valley, broke ground last week.

The CalRENEW-1 project, run by Cleantech America, will start providing 5MW of emission-free solar electricity to energy provider PG&E before the end of the year.

New Zealand renewable energy provider Meridian Energy recently purchased Cleantech and says it will use the Californian model as a base for its future projects.

Quanta Services is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the solar farm, which for the first time in the US will use Sharp thin film modules.