Clean Power

Published on August 14th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

25

2 Large Solar Plants Planned in California, Will Each Be 10 Times Bigger Than Largest Now in Service

August 14th, 2008 by  


solar panel array

Pacific Gas and Electric Now Under Contract to Deliver 24 Percent of Energy from Renewables by 2013

In a landmark announcement today, Optisolar and the Sunpower Corporation said they plan to build 2 solar plants that will produce a total of 800 MW of power. During peak hours, the plants will produce as much energy as a small nuclear reactor or a large coal plant.

According to Sunpower chairman Thomas H. Werner, the Sunpower plant alone will have as much photovoltaic capacity as was installed worldwide during the past year.

The solar power created from the plants will provide enough energy for 239,000 homes annually.

With the addition of the two proposed plants , PG&E is now under contract to produce 24% of future power deliveries from renewable resources (wind, biomass, geothermal, solar). This will exceed the 20% renewable energy requirement imposed by California.

Hopefully the saying “As goes California, so goes the nation” applies here, as many other states get more than enough sunshine to match California.

>> Calculate the solar potential of your California home with the Renewzle solar power calculator.

Posts Related to Solar Energy:






Complete our 2017 CleanTechnica Reader Survey — have your opinions, preferences, and deepest wishes heard.

Check out our 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , ,


About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • Pingback: Sewage Gets the Solar Treatment from SunPower Corp. : CleanTechnica()

  • Pingback: 2 Large Solar Plants Planned in California()

  • There’s also a bigger one planned in Australia – the biggest in the world! it should be finished around 2011.

  • There’s also a bigger one planned in Australia – the biggest in the world! it should be finished around 2011.

  • james

    Dont forget the land used up for nuclear for mining as well as storing the nuclear waste. Believe it or not coal actually uses up more land than solar per kW installed due to the huge tracts of land used for mining.

  • james

    Dont forget the land used up for nuclear for mining as well as storing the nuclear waste. Believe it or not coal actually uses up more land than solar per kW installed due to the huge tracts of land used for mining.

  • JimmyD

    You have to look at this from every angle.

    Use of space: MUCH more than a nuke plant.

    Cost: Solar HAS to be cheaper than building a new nuke plant (CERTAINLY faster to build!)

    Continuing Operating Expenses: A nuke plant requires people to maintain, etc. Solar farm requires MUCH less maintenance. Solar…not so much.

    Toxic ‘leftovers’: Solar has no depleted uranium to deal with.

    Potential risk after earthquake: Solar = no power. Nuclear = everything glows for a few million years.

    etc. etc. et.

    If you consider the OVERALL picture, I think in the end, the solar option IS a good idea.

  • JimmyD

    You have to look at this from every angle.

    Use of space: MUCH more than a nuke plant.

    Cost: Solar HAS to be cheaper than building a new nuke plant (CERTAINLY faster to build!)

    Continuing Operating Expenses: A nuke plant requires people to maintain, etc. Solar farm requires MUCH less maintenance. Solar…not so much.

    Toxic ‘leftovers’: Solar has no depleted uranium to deal with.

    Potential risk after earthquake: Solar = no power. Nuclear = everything glows for a few million years.

    etc. etc. et.

    If you consider the OVERALL picture, I think in the end, the solar option IS a good idea.

  • SLOROCKS

    One of the places that they are going to be building this is here in San Luis Obispo County. It is just north of the Carrizo planes. There is very little out on this stretch of land and it’s the kind of place that no one would want to live. About the only thing that this area would be good for would be an Army base seeing that its one of the hottest areas in the summer and coldest in the winter and very inaccessible as far as the highway infrastructure goes.

  • SLOROCKS

    One of the places that they are going to be building this is here in San Luis Obispo County. It is just north of the Carrizo planes. There is very little out on this stretch of land and it’s the kind of place that no one would want to live. About the only thing that this area would be good for would be an Army base seeing that its one of the hottest areas in the summer and coldest in the winter and very inaccessible as far as the highway infrastructure goes.

  • Well, well, well, it looks like US taxpayers are making solar viable. Is this a good thing? I would say no!

    Let’s use nuclear, which doesn’t take these enormous swaths of real estate, and produce consistent, clean power at a fraction of the cost of solar.

    I read a great article called “Nuclear, American Style” found at http://economicefficiency.blogspot.com/2008/07/nuclear-american-style.html While there are government subsidies, they are far less than for solar, which by the way, is not able to supply a base or core supply of power.

  • Well, well, well, it looks like US taxpayers are making solar viable. Is this a good thing? I would say no!

    Let’s use nuclear, which doesn’t take these enormous swaths of real estate, and produce consistent, clean power at a fraction of the cost of solar.

    I read a great article called “Nuclear, American Style” found at http://economicefficiency.blogspot.com/2008/07/nuclear-american-style.html While there are government subsidies, they are far less than for solar, which by the way, is not able to supply a base or core supply of power.

  • Excellent news for California.

  • Excellent news for California.

  • Interesting. In light of congress recently shooting down–for the eighth time–Senate Bill 3335, that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems, this seems to go against the grain. With no federal incentives most alternative energy companies are standing on the sidelines. Want more info on this landmark failure of congress, then read Tom Friedman’s latest article: (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/opinion/13friedman.html

    Sobering considering both major candidates failed to even show up and vote, yet they stump all day about fixing the energy problem. Yes, using 12 acres for photo voltaic isn’t entirely efficient, but give me a break people: there is no panacea when it comes to energy. We have to start somewhere and I applaud California and PG & E for getting off their ass as well as folks like T. Boone Pickens and his Picken’s Plan. Onward!

  • Interesting. In light of congress recently shooting down–for the eighth time–Senate Bill 3335, that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems, this seems to go against the grain. With no federal incentives most alternative energy companies are standing on the sidelines. Want more info on this landmark failure of congress, then read Tom Friedman’s latest article: (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/opinion/13friedman.html

    Sobering considering both major candidates failed to even show up and vote, yet they stump all day about fixing the energy problem. Yes, using 12 acres for photo voltaic isn’t entirely efficient, but give me a break people: there is no panacea when it comes to energy. We have to start somewhere and I applaud California and PG & E for getting off their ass as well as folks like T. Boone Pickens and his Picken’s Plan. Onward!

  • 1: An EXCEPTIONAL waste of land

    2: I wonder how much money, and fossil fuels it will take to BUILD the plant? Will it ever break even?

    3: Since “peak” time is probably 3 hours per day, or 1/8 of the full day, another way to phrase their statement is: “Even with it’s humongous size, the plants will only provide, on average, one eighth of the power of even the smallest of nuclear power plants”

    Anyone investing in the “green energy bubble” is going to lose their shirts when projects like these never get out of the red. Admit it…. we NEED MORE NUKE PLANTS… And FAST!! It’s clean, reliable, powerful, cheap, and efficient.

  • 1: An EXCEPTIONAL waste of land

    2: I wonder how much money, and fossil fuels it will take to BUILD the plant? Will it ever break even?

    3: Since “peak” time is probably 3 hours per day, or 1/8 of the full day, another way to phrase their statement is: “Even with it’s humongous size, the plants will only provide, on average, one eighth of the power of even the smallest of nuclear power plants”

    Anyone investing in the “green energy bubble” is going to lose their shirts when projects like these never get out of the red. Admit it…. we NEED MORE NUKE PLANTS… And FAST!! It’s clean, reliable, powerful, cheap, and efficient.

  • I agree with Flahooler – solar thermal seems like a better choice at the large-scale utility end of the spectrum. From single panel, roof mounted and small areas (< 50MW) PV is a good option, but as you get larger, solar thermal seems like a better choice in terms of cost and production per sq mi. This project is 12 sq mi and is getting 800MW, or 64MW/sq mi, where Nevada Solar One is generating 64MW in 300 acres, or slightly less then half a square mile. And that 64MW/acre isn’t the same, since Sunpower is probably using their 315W panels, and Optisolar is using their thin-film panels (which they don’t give a rating for on their website).

  • I agree with Flahooler – solar thermal seems like a better choice at the large-scale utility end of the spectrum. From single panel, roof mounted and small areas (< 50MW) PV is a good option, but as you get larger, solar thermal seems like a better choice in terms of cost and production per sq mi. This project is 12 sq mi and is getting 800MW, or 64MW/sq mi, where Nevada Solar One is generating 64MW in 300 acres, or slightly less then half a square mile. And that 64MW/acre isn’t the same, since Sunpower is probably using their 315W panels, and Optisolar is using their thin-film panels (which they don’t give a rating for on their website).

  • JIm McDish

    Wow, I am impressed. its about time someone starting taking action instead of just taliking about it.

    JT

    http://www.Privacy-Center.net

  • JIm McDish

    Wow, I am impressed. its about time someone starting taking action instead of just taliking about it.

    JT

    http://www.Privacy-Center.net

  • Flahooler

    While the size of these proposed projects is certainly impressive, I just can’t comprehend why someone would want to build a utility-scale power plant using photovoltaic panels. According to the full article, these two plants would occupy a combined total of about 12.5 square miles. Wouldn’t this real estate be better utilized with more efficient solar thermal technologies?

    To be fair, PG&E does have multiple solar thermal projects under contract which would come online in the next few years. However, it seems to me that a better use for photovoltaic panels is in distributed small-scale power generation…taking advantage of wasted rooftop space on shopping malls, big-box stores, warehouses, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be something to see major utilities forming partnerships with businesses and panel manufacturers to create distributed, urban solar farms? Sure, there are some companies out there marketing power purchase agreements for solar installations, but what’s lacking is support from city governments and major utilities.

  • Flahooler

    While the size of these proposed projects is certainly impressive, I just can’t comprehend why someone would want to build a utility-scale power plant using photovoltaic panels. According to the full article, these two plants would occupy a combined total of about 12.5 square miles. Wouldn’t this real estate be better utilized with more efficient solar thermal technologies?

    To be fair, PG&E does have multiple solar thermal projects under contract which would come online in the next few years. However, it seems to me that a better use for photovoltaic panels is in distributed small-scale power generation…taking advantage of wasted rooftop space on shopping malls, big-box stores, warehouses, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be something to see major utilities forming partnerships with businesses and panel manufacturers to create distributed, urban solar farms? Sure, there are some companies out there marketing power purchase agreements for solar installations, but what’s lacking is support from city governments and major utilities.

  • Pingback: 2 Large Solar Plants Planned in California - The Environment Site Forums()

Back to Top ↑