Kings County, CA will be getting a new 100-MW solar power plant, courtesy of SunPower. The company announced recently it has plans to build one there starting in 2015, with the plant becoming operational by the end of 2016.
SunPower will be using its 435-watt SunPower solar panels and its own SunPower T0 Tracker system to keep the panels facing available sunlight each day. Their sun tracking system is said to increase energy production by about 25% compared with fixed solar panel systems.
“We are very pleased to be working again with PG&E to deliver cost-competitive solar power at a 100 megawatt scale, while creating jobs and economic opportunity for the local community,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower President, Regions.
One source says this 100-MW solar plant will generate enough electricity to power 36,000 homes. However, the Consumer Energy Center says one megawatt is enough to power 1,000 homes. (It appears the source was using 360 homes per megawatt to calculate the total number of homes powered.)
There seems to be a wide variation in the average number homes believed to be powered by one megawatt of power. For example, in Texas, a solar project was said to have the capacity to power 127 homes per MW, 167, or 700.
For the Central Valley project, another source said the 36,000 homes powered figure came from Pacific Gas and Electric. Hopefully, this number is accurate — they are a leading utility company, so it would be a little surprising if they didn’t know these scenarios.
Over seventy million dollars is expected to be added to the Kings County economy, and about 200 jobs for the construction phase. The unemployment rate in the county was reported to be over seventeen percent in April of 2012.
Image Credit: Jake Richardson