World’s Biggest Solar PV Projects Under Way In SoCal
by Pete Danko
What will become the world’s largest solar photovoltaic development is now in “major construction” mode in California’s Antelope Valley, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
The solar manufacturer and developer SunPower and the utility company MidAmerican announced this new status late last week, coinciding with a big community event at the 3,230-acre site, where preliminary work began in January.
The development consists of Antelope Valley Solar Project 1, a 309-MW plant that will straddle the Kern-Los Angeles county line; and AVSP 2, a 270-MW plant that will be entirely in Kern County.
SunPower’s Oasis Power Plant product consists of scalable 1.5-megawatt power blocks that employ the company’s single-axis tracking panels. (image via SunPower)
When completed by the end of 2015, if all goes according to plan, the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will add up to 579 MW, dwarfing any other PV outpost in the world.
Right now, the Agua Caliente project in Arizona – a First Solar development owned by NRG and MidAmerican – is at the top of the heap, at 250 megawatts. Other U.S. projects under way are aiming to match or beat Agua Caliente, but even the biggest, the 550-MW Topaz project in San Luis Obispo County, won’t best the Antelope Valley Solar Projects.
“The start of construction on the Antelope Valley Solar Projects underscores that solar is a reliable, cost-competitive energy source,” Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions, said in a statement. “SunPower is proud to partner with MidAmerican Solar and Southern California Edison on this historic project, which is bringing critically needed jobs and economic opportunity to Californiatoday and will generate abundant clean, renewable power to the state over the long term.”
MidAmerican purchased Antelope Valley Solar from SunPower in January for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, according to federal filings.