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MidAmerican scoops huge Californian solar projects

MidAmerican Renewables has acquired two adjacent solar projects in southern California – together the “largest permitted solar PV development in the world” - from SunPower Corp.

The 579MW Antelope Valley Solar Projects (AVSP) are co-located in Kern and Los Angeles Counties in California. "The Antelope Valley Solar Projects mark a historic milestone for the energy industry," said Howard Wenger, SunPower’s president for the regions. "We are delivering highly reliable low-cost renewable energy at a very large scale.”

After four years developing the project, SunPower will now take on a role as engineering, procurement and construction contractor and will operate and maintain the facility via a multiyear services agreement. The company will install its fully integrated, modular solar technology, the SunPower Oasis power plant product, at the 3,230-acre site.

The product is engineered to rapidly deploy utility-scale solar projects while minimising land use, using SunPower solar panels mounted on the company’s T0 Trackers, which position the panels to track the sun during the day, increasing energy capture by up to 25%, SunPower said.

Construction of the solar project is scheduled to begin in first quarter 2013, with the plants expected to be complete by year-end 2015.

The Antelope Valley projects will provide renewable energy to Southern California Edison (SCE) under two long-term power purchase contracts approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

SCE, which is obliged to source 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, also welcomed the news. "SCE appreciates the opportunity to work with SunPower and MidAmerican Renewables to meet California's renewable energy goals," said Nicole Neeman Brady, SCE's director of contracts, renewable and alternative power.

Earlier this week, the nearby Pinyon Pines wind project completed construction, bringing 300MW onto SCE’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project in the Antelope Valley.

The 230 MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 received a US$646 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy (DoE) in 2011.
 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity

 

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