MidAmerican Solar and SunPower said that the first part of the 579-megawatt Solar Star development, the two co-located projects in California’s Kern and Los Angeles counties, is now online in California. When they’re completed, the projects—owned by MidAmerican Solar and designed and are being built by SunPower, will represent some of the largest photovoltaic (PV) systems to ever come online, which should come online by the end of 2015.
Construction on the projects began in early 2013, according to SunPower. “We are pleased to connect and synchronize Solar Star's first SunPower Oasis Power Blocks, totaling 57 megawatts, to the grid,” said Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive vice president, customer operations and engineering, procurement and construction. “The project partners are working well together and with the community to deliver one of the world's largest solar power plants on schedule.”
MidAmerican began making a splash in the solar industry when it started purchasing giant solar-projects, like the 550 megawatt Topaz Solar Farm built by First Solar. The company buys the projects from developers and when complete sells the power to utilities. In the case of Solar Star it is selling the power produced to Southern California Edison under a 30-year power-purchase agreement.
“Utility-scale solar power is a competitively priced renewable resource, and a key part of Southern California Edison's energy mix,” said Stuart Hemphill, senior vice president of Power Supply for Southern California Edison. “These Solar Star projects will help us continue to grow our renewable portfolio on behalf of our customers.”
When completed the solar power project, which is now employing about 600 workers, will consist of more than 1.7 million modules. “The Solar Star projects are creating needed jobs and providing economic opportunities in the Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale communities and surrounding areas,” said Paulette Rush, MidAmerican Solar's community relations specialist for the Solar Star projects.
“This announcement is significant for the state of California,” said Mike Fehr, MidAmerican Solar's general manager at the Solar Star projects. “We are fulfilling our promise to the local community and regulators and delivering expected results, based on our construction timeline, to help California meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020,” he said.Tweet