NRG Solar signs agreements for 250MW power plant in California

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NRG Solar, the subsidiary of NRG Energy, and SunPower will construct a 250MW solar power plant at California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County. The project is expected to create approximately 350 jobs during construction and will power 100,000 homes. The company plans to invest up to US$450 million of equity in the project over the next four years, subject to final total project cost and negotiation of the financing terms and conditions.

Under the signed agreement, NRG will, subject to certain conditions, assume all ownership and financing responsibilities for the California Valley Solar Ranch, while SunPower will develop, design, build, operate and maintain the plant.

The project is seeking a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program Office, which has provided a draft term sheet for the project, which is a significant milestone in the process leading to a conditional loan guarantee commitment.

“California Valley Solar Ranch will be an important component of our multi-technology portfolio of clean, zero-emission solar power facilities,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar. “We are pursuing large-scale photovoltaic projects across the Southwest and working with like-minded companies that can ensure our projects will be exceptionally successful. SunPower has the proven technology and experience building solar power plants around the world to deliver a well-designed solar project that will be a major contributor to helping California meet its ambitious renewable portfolio standard by the end of the decade.”

“This partnership with NRG Solar and the DOE represents a major milestone in delivering 250MW of clean, renewable solar power to California's electricity customers,” said Howard Wenger, president of the utility and power plants business group at SunPower.

“For two years, SunPower has been working to develop this project responsibly, with respect for the environment and the community. We are delighted to have found in NRG a partner that shares our vision to build a solar power plant in San Luis Obispo County that enhances the local economy, protects local habitat and generates emission-free solar power for California. The DOE is playing a critical leadership role in supporting renewable energy that provides economic and environmental benefits, as well as a secure, stable energy supply in the U.S.”

California Valley Solar Ranch has executed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Gas & Electric for the delivery of 250MW. The PPA has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The closing of the agreement is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and the completion of development, including obtaining required permitting and regulatory approvals. If all goes ahead as planned, construction will begin in the second half of 2011, with a portion of the project expected to begin operation by the end of that year and the balance coming online in 2012 and 2013.

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