San Jose, United States SunPower Corp.has executed an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) that completes contractual arrangements for the development of a 250-megawatt (AC) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in San Luis Obispo County, California.
The agreement adds 40 megawatts (MW) of capacity to SunPower’s existing contract for 210 MW, which was executed in August 2008. When complete, the 250-MW California Valley Solar Ranch is expected to be one of the largest photovoltaic solar power plants in the world.
The California Valley Solar Ranch agreement was designed to accommodate the additional 40-MW capacity, eliminating the need for any amendments to SunPower’s county permit application. The solar plant will be completed in phases, with the first phase planned to begin operation in 2011.
“We are thrilled to continue to advance one of the first central station solar power plants in the world with PG&E and in coordination with San Luis Obispo County,” said Howard Wenger, president of SunPower’s utilities and power plants business group. “The California Valley Solar Ranch will generate pollution-free solar power that is competitive with new, conventional peak power. Our incremental 40-MW agreement with PG&E provides more visibility into our power plant pipeline in 2011 and beyond.”
Responding to feedback from the local community, SunPower revised several aspects of its original power plant design to minimize environmental impacts and enhance the system’s visual profile. SunPower has also been working with the community to reduce the amount of traffic in the area during construction and to protect local wildlife habitat and migration patterns.
In a related story, on the Philippine island of Mindanao today, the SunPower Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by SunPower Corp., announced its commitment to support the third phase of the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (AMORE III), a program to support renewable energy development, education and training in the region. AMORE III is a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Philippine Department of Energy, SunPower Foundation and Winrock International.
The SunPower Foundation has committed to provide technology, equipment and volunteers for the installation of solar power systems on 150 schools serving approximately 135,000 students. The solar systems are expected to power lighting, computers and Internet connectivity. The Foundation will also participate in efforts to achieve the electrification of 12,000 homes with solar power, micro-hydro and other renewable energy systems.
“SunPower has been an active partner in the AMORE program, bringing solar electrification to rural areas in the Philippines, since 2004. We have provided volunteers and solar technology for installations on approximately 6,000 homes and schools to date,” said Jan Soderstrom, SunPower chief marketing officer and member of the SunPower Foundation board of directors. “We are very pleased to continue our affiliation with this third phase of the program, which supports the mission of the SunPower Foundation to ‘give back’ through education and building stronger communities.”