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NRG Solar and SunPower to start building San Luis Obispo County solar project next year

November 30, 2010 | 12:52 pm

Sunpower San Bernardino and Riverside counties have gotten the bulk of the glory lately when it comes to proposed solar power projects -– see the BrightSource Ivanpah installation and the Solar Millennium Blythe plant -- but now it's San Luis Obispo's turn.

NRG Solar and SunPower Corp. are partnering up to start building the 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch next year, the companies said Tuesday. NRG, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc., will pump $450 million into the project over the next four years and is also trying to land a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The solar arrays and support infrastructure are projected to cover 1,500 acres of previously tilled and heavily grazed private land near the Kern County border. The entire project area, however, would sprawl across 4,700 acres to meet conservation requirements.

The construction process will create 350 jobs, the companies said. By the time the full installation is generating power in 2013, it will be able to power about 100,000 homes, they said. The photovoltaic panels are to sit on trackers using GPS systems to tilt as the sun moves across the sky.

Earlier this month, the California Public Utilities Commission finished approving 25-year power-purchase agreements between the partnership and Pacific Gas & Electric.


Brightsource's Ivanpah solar project breaks ground

Blythe Solar project in Riverside County gets federal approval

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo credit: SunPower