Topaz Solar Farm

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Topaz Solar Farm
Topaz Solar Farm is located in California
Topaz Solar Farm
Location of Topaz Solar Farm
Country United States
Location Carrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County, California
Coordinates 35°23′N 120°4′W / 35.383°N 120.067°W / 35.383; -120.067Coordinates: 35°23′N 120°4′W / 35.383°N 120.067°W / 35.383; -120.067
Status Under construction
Construction began 2011
Commission date 2014 (expected)
Owner(s) MidAmerican Renewables
Solar farm
Type Flat-panel PV
Site area 9.5 sq mi (25 km2)
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 550 MW
Annual generation 1,096 GWh
Website
topazsolar.com

Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, being built in San Luis Obispo County, California. Construction on the project began in November 2011 and is expected to run through 2015. It is among the world’s biggest solar farms under construction. The $2.5 billion project will include 9 million of First Solar’s thin-film panels, and the company will build, operate and maintain the project for MidAmerican Renewables, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement. According to First Solar, it will create about 400 construction jobs.[1] Annual generation is expected to be 1,096 GWh.[2]

History[edit]

OptiSolar, the instigator of the project, had optioned 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland,[3] In November 2009, First Solar announced that it had purchased options to an additional 640 acres (260 ha) from Ausra's canceled Carrizo Energy Solar Farm. First Solar would reconfigure the project to minimize the use of land covered by the Williamson Act.[4][5][6]

The project is utilizing nine million[7] thin-film PV panels designed and manufactured by First Solar. The project would deliver approximately 1,100 gigawatt-hours (GW·h) annually of renewable energy. The plant's power would be generated during the middle of the day, when demand for electricity — and price — is much higher than at night. The project is expected to begin construction in 2011 and be fully operational by 2014.[7] California utilities are mandated to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced agreements to buy the power from Topaz Solar Farm and High Plains Ranch.[8][9]

In late October 2010 the San Luis Obispo Department Planning and Building released a Draft Environmental Impact report.

In June 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy offered First Solar a $1.9 billion loan guarantee to cover part of the financing for the project. The First Solar project was not able to close its conditional loan guarantee with the Department of Energy prior to the September 30 deadline, but it has gone ahead anyway.[1]

On May 18, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the first PV panel.[10] On October 24, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the millionth panel.[11] The plant began providing energy to the grid in February 2013.[12] The five-millionth panel was installed in October 2013.[13]

As of June 2014 Topaz Solar is the world's largest solar photovoltaic power plant.

Production[edit]

Generation (GW·h)[12]
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Total
2013 - 0.239 24.499 18.660 31.026 40.465 47.772 58.441 53.196 47.407 39.423 40.180 401.308
2014 38.484 36.044 72.444 87.330 234.302
Total 635.610

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Steve Leone (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Buffett Bets on Solar Energy". Renewable Energy World. 
  2. ^ Contract for Procurement
  3. ^ Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". The Tribune. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  4. ^ Woody, Todd (November 5, 2009). "Ausra Sells Planned Plant to First Solar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  5. ^ Sneed, David (November 5, 2009). "Solar power company drops out of plans for Carrizo Plain in eastern San Luis Obispo County". The Tribune. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  6. ^ Wang, Ucilia (November 5, 2009). "First Solar Buys Land Option From Ausra for Topaz Project". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  7. ^ a b "Topaz Solar Farm". First Solar. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "PG&E Signs Historic 800 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Agreements With Optisolar and Sunpower" (Press release). Pacific Gas and Electric. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  9. ^ Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Pirst Photovoltaic Solar Panel Installed on Largest Solar Project in the World" (Press release). First Solar. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  11. ^ "One Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed at MidAmerican Solar's Topaz Project by First Solar" (Press release). First Solar. October 24, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  12. ^ a b Energy Information Administration. "Topaz Solar Farm, Monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  13. ^ Five Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed on 550-Megawatt Topaz Solar Farms, Business Wire, 10/09/2013

External links[edit]