America: MidAmerican Solar and First Solar have started construction of 550
MW photovoltaic project at Topaz Solar Farms, located in San Luis Obispo
The photovoltaic project will employ 400 workers during its
three-year construction period.
Topaz project will use First Solar’s thin-film PV modules, which
generate electricity with no emissions, waste or water use.
The project will have the smallest carbon footprint of any
Electricity generated by the Topaz project is expected to
displace approximately 377,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year — the
equivalent of taking approximately 73,000 cars off the road.
The solar project will generate nearly $417 million in local
First Solar said the Topaz project will be the largest solar
electric power plant in the world, providing enough energy to power
approximately 160,000 average California homes.
“In addition to providing clean energy and jobs, we’re
committed to working hand-in-hand with stakeholders to demonstrate how
large-scale solar projects and geographies, such as the Carrizo Plain, can
co-exist and benefit native biological species,” said Paul Caudill,
president of MidAmerican Solar.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company will purchase the
electricity from the Topaz project under a 25-year power purchase agreement,
helping California meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from
renewable sources by 2020.
“Utility-scale PV projects like Topaz are the quickest
and most cost-effective way to bring significant solar power to the grid,”
said Jim Lamon, First Solar senior vice president of engineering, procurement
and construction, and operations and maintenance.
The Topaz project is owned by MidAmerican Solar and will be
constructed, operated and maintained by First Solar. Construction began in
November 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2015.
“PG&E provides its customers with some of the
cleanest power in the nation, and is committed to meeting the state’s
aggressive renewable energy goals,” said John Conway, PG&E’s senior
vice president for energy supply.
As Topaz is phased-in over time, it will help PG&E meet
that commitment while moving the state one step closer toward achieving its
long-term environmental objectives.