After Southern California Edison canceled a power purchase agreement with Tessera Solar for the Calico Solar farm earlier this week, the development company has sold the project to K Road Sun, a subsidiary of K Road Power Holdings, for an undisclosed sum. K Road said that it will convert the first 750MW of the 850MW of the project to photovoltaic modules rather than Tessera’s concentrating solar thermal technology initially planned for deployment.
Calico Solar, which is located in the Mojave Desert outside Barstow, CA, on property managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, received approval from the California Energy Commission in late October, making it one of the few fully permitted utility-scale solar power facilities.
The project has an interconnection agreement to supply 850MW, enough to supply approximately 350,000 California households, according to K Road.
Further details on the revamped project such as the choice of engineering, procurement, and construction contractors, modules/BOS component selections, or timeline for development of the site were not disclosed in the initial press announcement.
However, Earth2Tech reports that a K Road spokesperson said the company "will need to secure new permits" because of the "use of solar panels for the bulk of the project." The story also quotes the source as explaining that K Road hopes to "line up financing and start construction" of the project next year.
Also unclear is the eventual size of the Calico development, since the CEC’s licensing called for a reduced footprint in acreage and megawattage compared to the original plan, from 8200 to 4600 acres and the stated 850MW to 663.5MW, because of wildlife habitat/ environmental impact concerns.
As for the switch from CSP to PV, K Road CEO William Kriegel explained that although “100MW of Phase 2 will be reserved for new generations of SES SunCatcher technology,” the Calico project “will convert the first 750 MWs to widely tested and accepted photovoltaic technology.”
He believes this will insure “the project’s immediate financeability, further reducing environmental impacts, and providing the lowest cost solar production to help meet California’s renewable portfolio standard.”
“We are excited to move the Calico Solar Project into a financeable position, and we look forward to developing, constructing, and operating one of the world’s largest solar projects,” stated Gerrit Nicholas, K Road’s managing partner.
“We are pleased to play a role in creating economic opportunity for the Barstow community and helping society wean itself off of carbon-based power supplies through environmentally advanced technology,” he added.
Credit Suisse acted as financial advisers and Dewey LeBoeuf as legal advisers to K Road on the deal.
K Road said it has more than 1500MW of PV projects in various stages of development.