Three solar photovoltaic power plants, with 50MW of combined installed capacity, have been commissioned as the first phase of Pacific Gas and Electric’s five-year program to speed up the delivery of more clean energy to its customers. The trio of ground-mount solar stations—Stroud (20MW), Westside (15MW), and Five Points (15MW)—are located in Fresno County, CA.
Cupertino Electric acted as the primary contractor for the Westside and Stroud Solar stations, while Solon built the Five Points plant. Construction of the three sites took approximately six months.
(CORRECTED) Both the Stroud plant, which encompasses 123 acres and has 88,800 ground-mounted solar panels, and the Westside site, which spans 100 acres and has 66,240 panels, feature Suntech multicrystalline-silicon PV modules. The 105-acre Five Points project uses over 75,500 Solon panels. (Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that Suntech panels were used at Five Points and that the modules at Westside were of undisclosed origin.)
Details about the inverters and other balance-of-systems gear deployed at the power stations were not announced.
Under its 500MW program, PG&E is building up to 250MW of utility-owned solar PV projects in its service area, with another 250MW of additional PV plants to be constructed by independent developers.
All projects in the combined program will be no more than 20MW, which should require less time to plan and build than larger solar plants that can face lengthy delays, according to the utility. PG&E expects to build up to 50MW of new solar capacity per year through 2014 through the program.
Once complete, the utility says the PV program will generate enough power to meet the needs of about 150,000 homes in PG&E’s Northern and Central California service area.