The Agua Caliente solar project is delivering over 200 megawatts of power to the grid, and is about two-thirds complete. When it is completed, it should be generating a total of 290 MW.
Yuma County, Arizona is the construction site. On average, about 400 workers are employed in completing the plant, which should be finished by 2014.
“We look forward to the project’s continued success as we work together to meet California’s ambitious renewable energy goals. Solar projects like this are helping PG&E provide its customers with some of the nation’s cleanest electric power, more than half of which comes from sources that are renewable or emit no greenhouse gases,” said John Conway, PG&E’s Senior Vice President for Energy Supply.
Partners in constructing the plant are NRG Energy, MidAmerican Solar, and First Solar. Once it is finished, the operation and maintenance will be handled by First Solar.
Over the next 25 years, the solar power facility should offset about 5.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Agua Caliente has received financial support from a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee of $967 million. Though it is the largest photovoltaic solar plant in North America, and has been a success story, it it unlikely to receive as much as coverage the Solyndra story.
When Agua Caliente is producing 290 MW of power and has employed droves of people during construction and more during its operation, where will all the press be then?
Public perception of renewable energy must be at least somewhat influenced by the mainstream media, but are they paying attention to some of these positive developments?
Arizona could be a solar powerhouse with its very abundant sunshine and large expanses of flat land, but it is nowhere near there yet.
Source: Business Week
Image Credit: Public Domain, Wiki Commons
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