Pacific Gas and Electric Company today announced it has entered into two utility-scale, photovoltaic (PV) solar power contracts for a total of 800 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy. This significant commitment to photovoltaic technology will deliver cumulatively 1.65 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually. This would be equivalent to the amount of energy needed to serve approximately 239,000 residential homes each year. 550MWp of power will be supplied from OptiSolar’s, Topaz Solar Farm, generated from their thin-film a-Si solar panels.
The remaining 250MW will come from SunPower’s planned 250 MW solar ranch. This will be located in San Luis Obispo County’s California Valley and will deliver an average of 550,000 megawatt-hours of clean electricity annually. The project is expected to begin power delivery in 2010 and be fully operational in 2012.”These landmark agreements signal the arrival of utility-scale PV solar power that may be cost-competitive with solar thermal and wind energy,” said Jack Keenan, chief operating officer and senior vice president for PG&E. “We will continue to explore such innovative technologies as we aggressively work to increase the amount of renewable energy we provide our customers.”
California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires that utilities secure at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010. The State has also set a goal of increasing renewables to 33 percent by 2020.