Solar

PG&E and BrightSource Sign Contracts for Over 1,300 MW of Solar Thermal

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced yesterday that it has entered into a series of contracts with BrightSource Energy, Inc. for a record total of 1,310 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power. These power purchase agreements, covering seven projects, supersede the agreements PG&E executed with BrightSource in April 2008 for up to 900 MW of solar thermal power.

BrightSource’s projects utilitze fields full of mirrors that reflect solar radiation to a central tower to create steam and generate electricity.

The first of these solar power plants, sized at 110 MW and located in Ivanpah, California, is contracted to begin operation in 2012. BrightSource says it will build andl operatate each of its plants as quickly as permitting and infrastructure allow. All seven projects are expected to produce 3,666 gigawatt-hours of power each year, equal to the annual consumption of about 530,000 average homes.

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 20 percent of its future electric power deliveries from renewable sources.