Following the establishment of MidAmerican Renewables in mid-January, it has been announced former Phoenix Solar CEO Paul Caudill has assisted with the acquisition of the Topaz solar farm from First Solar. The 550MW PV power plant is being built in San Luis Obispo County, California and will have the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 160,000 average California homes.

The Topaz project will be built, operated and maintained by First Solar. Construction began in December 2011 and is expected to be completed by early 2015. The project will create approximately 400 construction jobs and 15 ongoing operations and maintenance jobs.

“There is a growing desire to utilize renewable energy,” said Bill Fehrman, president of MidAmerican Renewables. “Solar plays a crucial role in meeting renewable energy targets and portfolios. The closing of the Topaz project acquisition makes it the second solar project in our renewables business, and we look forward to evaluating and acquiring additional opportunities.”

“We are pleased to be moving forward with MidAmerican Renewables on the Topaz project – one of the two largest PV projects in the world, which are both being built by First Solar,” said Frank De Rosa, First Solar senior vice president for business development – the Americas. “First Solar is the leading developer of utility-scale PV projects, and MidAmerican Renewables’ investment in these renewable resources is a significant endorsement.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Company will purchase the electricity from the Topaz project under a 25-year power purchase agreement, helping California meet its mandate to generate 33% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

Developed by First Solar, the Topaz project will incorporate the company’s advanced thin-film PV modules. Electricity generated from the Topaz project will displace approximately 377,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year – the equivalent of taking approximately 73,000 cars off the road.