US thin-film solar giant First Solar has announced that the first 100MW of the planned 230MW Antelope Valley (AV) Solar Ranch One project has been connected to the grid.
Initial construction of the project, which is located in Los Angeles, began in September 2011 while module installation started in June 2012 after First Solar was forced to temporarily cease construction in order to deal with module code certification issues.
Located on 850 hectares of former farmland, First Solar claims AV Solar Ranch One is one of the largest construction projects under way in Los Angeles County. During the construction phase, the project is providing an average of 400 jobs.
Electricity generated from the power plant is being purchased by utility firm Pacific Gas and Electric Company under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
“We are proud to achieve this important clean energy milestone for California, which was made possible by the tireless efforts of hundreds of individuals working together. We especially appreciate the support of LA County’s Fifth Supervisorial District staff and the departments of Regional Planning and Public Works for their contributions to making this project a success,” said Lou Moore, First Solar Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction.
“Unlike traditional power plants, the modular nature of PV power projects enables us to quickly add substantial volumes of clean energy to the grid throughout the construction process. This shorter ‘time to energy’ is another key advantage of PV solar electricity.”
The 230MW project is slated to complete later this year. When fully operational, the facility will generate enough power for 75,000 average Californian homes.