Solar, Utility Scale

Ownership of Solar Facility is Transferred

A major solar energy research facility in the United States has been sold for $1.

SACRAMENTO, California, US, 2001-04-10 <SolarAccess.com> A solar energy research facility in the United States has been sold for $1. The California Energy Commission has transferred ownership of the Photovoltaics for Utility Systems Applications (PVUSA) project to the City of Davis for a symbolic payment. The CEC vote was unanimous. “California is facing a serious energy challenge,” said commissioner Michal Moore during the ceremony. “The state is grateful to the City of Davis for finding a partner to operate PVUSA as a renewable energy source with a potential to produce much needed power for the California grid.” PVUSA is a power plant that uses PV modules to generate electricity from the sun. The 86 acre site was originally built by Pacific Gas & Electric Company in 1986, and was then known as Photovoltaics for Utility Scale Applications. The CEC paid $1 in 1997 to assume ownership, when PG&E reduced its research budget in response to the restructuring of the electricity industry. The CEC action effectively terminates its lease on the property with the city, and allows municipal officials to finalize an agreement with Nuon Renewable Ventures to refurbish the solar facility to generate 800 kilowatts of electricity. The Dutch company plans to expand production to 2.5 MW of green power. Under its agreement with Nuon, Davis will receive a portion of the electricity generated at the site to power its municipal buildings. Last summer, the CEC issued solicitations either to sell or decommission PVUSA. The City submitted a request for an option to buy period, which kept negotiations alive until March 31 of this year. The terms of the lease ended by the transfer and sale contract with the City of Davis required the CEC to decommission the project if it did not continue operation at the site. For 15 years, PVUSA served as a partnership between public and private utilities, government agencies and private companies involved in the PV industry. Until last May, it was a centre of research and demonstration of PV for utility scale applications, and helped utilities and the PV industry learn how utilities could use photovoltaics systems in their generation mix.