Topaz Solar Farm
|Topaz Solar Farm|
|Location||Carrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County, California|
|Construction cost||$2.4 billion|
|Owner(s)||Berkshire Hathaway Energy|
|Site area||4,700 acres (1,900 ha)|
|Nameplate capacity||550 MWAC|
|Capacity factor||26.6% (average 2015–2018)|
|Annual net output||1,282 GW·h, 272 MW·h/acre|
|Website||Topaz Solar Farm|
|Commons||Related media on Commons|
Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 megawatt (MWAC) photovoltaic power station in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States. Construction on the project began in November 2011 and ended in November 2014. It is one of the world's largest solar farms. The $2.5 billion project includes 9 million CdTe photovoltaic modules based on thin-film technology, manufactured by U.S. company First Solar. The company also built, operates and maintains 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 created about 400 construction jobs.
OptiSolar, the instigator of the project, had optioned 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland, 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.
The project uses nine million thin-film cadmium telluride PV panels designed and manufactured by First Solar. 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 was expected to begin construction in 2011 and be fully operational by 2014. California utilities are mandated to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020[needs update].
On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced agreements to buy the power from Topaz Solar Farm and High Plains Ranch. 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.
On May 18, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the first PV panel. On October 24, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the millionth panel. The plant began providing energy to the grid in February 2013. The five-millionth panel was installed in October 2013.
On January 10, 2019, with Pacific Gas and Electric Company facing billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, S&P Global Ratings cut the credit rating of Berkshire Hathaway Energy's 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms to junk, noting that the plant counts on PG&E for all of its revenue.
|Average Annual Production (years 2015-2019) --->||1,279,216|
Solar panels at Topaz Solar 1
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- "$1 Billion Bond Offering Completed for World's Largest Solar Project". 28 June 2013.
- Steve Leone (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Buffett Bets on Solar Energy". Renewable Energy World.
- Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
- Woody, Todd (November 5, 2009). "Ausra Sells Planned Plant to First Solar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- Sneed, David (November 5, 2009). "Solar power company drops out of plans for Carrizo Plain in eastern San Luis Obispo County". The Tribune. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- Wang, Ucilia (November 5, 2009). "First Solar Buys Land Option From Ausra for Topaz Project". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Topaz Solar Farm". First Solar. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
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- Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- "Pirst Photovoltaic Solar Panel Installed on Largest Solar Project in the World" (Press release). First Solar. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "One Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed at MidAmerican Solar's Topaz Project by First Solar" (PDF) (Press release). First Solar. October 24, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Energy Information Administration. "Topaz Solar Farm, monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- Five Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed on 550-Megawatt Topaz Solar Farms, Business Wire, 10/09/2013
- "PG&E Said to Plan Bankruptcy Notice to Workers as Soon as Monday" (Press release). Bloomburg. 2019-01-12. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
- "Final Environmental Impact Report, Volume I (March 2011) [Microsoft Word]". Planning & Building, Environmental Information and Natural Resources. San Luis Obispo County. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
- "Topaz Solar Farm (550 MW), California". SolarSena. Retrieved 2022-01-09.