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NRG Energy and SunPower are celebrating the first 22MW of the 250MW California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) being delivered to the electrical grid.
CVSR is said to be one of the largest central station PV solar plants in the world. Since construction started in September 2011 CVSR has created approximately 350 jobs, and is expected to inject US$315 million into the local economy over its two-year construction period, the company said.
NRG completed the acquisition of CVSR on September 30, 2011.
PV-Tech is told, once completed, CVSR will power a yearly average of 100,000 homes with solar energy, while protecting and conserving more than 12,000 acres of land in and around the Carrizo Plain in southeastern San Luis Obispo County, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Electricity from CVSR is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electricity through 25-year power purchase agreements.
Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar and NRG’s West Region, said: “The private sector’s role is to demonstrate successful performance that speeds commercialization of technology — on time and on budget — and that’s what we’re doing at CVSR and all of NRG’s major solar projects.
“Equally important, through large scale deployment, the private sector is accelerating cost reductions through supply chain improvements, lower balance of system costs and progress through experience that can’t be achieved at the lab bench or in the factory.”
NRG is the sole owner of the project, which is expected to be fully online by December 2013.
SunPower designed the project and is working with Bechtel to provide plant engineering, procurement and construction services. Once completed, NRG and SunPower will jointly operate and maintain CVSR for two years, after which NRG assumes sole responsibility.
Fong Wan, senior vice president, energy procurement, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, commented: “We congratulate NRG and SunPower on this important milestone at the California Valley Solar Ranch. PG&E provides to its customers some of the cleanest electricity in the nation, more than half of which comes from sources that are renewable or carbon free. This project will play an important role in our efforts to meet California’s 33% renewable portfolio standard and make progress towards a clean energy future for all Californians.”
NRG has four large-scale solar plants fully or partially operational and three other projects currently under construction across California, Arizona and New Mexico, plus several distributed solar projects at locations across the country. In the US, approximately 190MW of large-scale SunPower plants are operating, with more than 1,000MW under contract.