Published on January 2nd, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill3
MidAmerican Solar Acquires 579-Megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects From SunPower
We’re barely three days into 2013 and already the solar industry is making big news, particularly with the announcement that MidAmerican Solar will be acquiring the 579-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects (AVSP) from SunPower.
The two projects — located in Kern and Los Angeles Counties in California — will form the largest solar photovoltaic power development in the world, creating an estimated 650 jobs during the construction phase.
“We are pleased to be working with SunPower on this project. MidAmerican Renewables, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, has a total portfolio of more than 1,830 megawatts of owned assets, including wind, geothermal, solar and hydro assets,” said Bill Fehrman, president of MidAmerican Renewables.
“We are excited about these projects because they support our core business principle of environmental respect. We are very proud to add SunPower technology to our portfolio of projects.”
The construction of the solar installation is expected to begin early this year and is hoped to be completed by year-end 2015. Upon their completion, the AVSP will provide renewable energy to utility Southern California Edison (SCE) under two long-term power purchase contracts which have been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“The Antelope Valley Solar Projects mark a historic milestone for the energy industry,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president. “We are delivering highly reliable low-cost renewable energy at a very large scale. SunPower is proud to partner with MidAmerican Solar and SCE, recognized leaders in clean energy development, bringing critically needed jobs and economic opportunity to California and helping the state achieve its renewable portfolio requirement.”
“SCE appreciates the opportunity to work with SunPower and MidAmerican Renewables to meet California’s renewable energy goals,” added Nicole Neeman Brady, SCE’s director of contracts, renewable and alternative power.
The Antelope Valley Solar Projects have been developed by SunPower over the past four years at a 3,230-acre site. In a mouthful of ‘press-speak,’ the press release states that “SunPower will install the SunPower Oasis Power Plant product, fully integrated, modular solar technology that is engineered to rapidly deploy utility-scale solar projects while minimizing land use.” All of that just to say that this specific installation will be made up of high-efficiency solar panels that will be mounted to follow the movement of the sun as it traverses the sky. This allows the panels to capture an additional 25 percent sunlight than a standard stationary installation.
The AVSP, according to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to offset more than 775,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of eradicating three million cars from California’s highways over the 20 years of the plant’s projected operation (though, it’s likely to actually run longer than 20 years).
Now, if only we could also get rid of three million cars — then we’d be doing pretty well!
“We are pleased to be working with SunPower on this development and look forward to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Southern California Edison as our customer for energy generated by this project,” said Paul Caudill, MidAmerican Solar’s president.
“As we have done at our other solar project locations, we will work hard to establish positive and productive relationships with community and county neighbors and stakeholders.”
SunPower will act as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project and will operate and maintain the facility under a multiyear services agreement.