California, United States — Dedication ceremonies were held this week for CalRENEW-1, the first utility- scale photovoltaic solar electricity plant to connect to the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) transmission grid under the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standards program.
CalRENEW-1 is the first large scale solar project to achieve CAISO approval to deliver solar power directly to the transmission level grid. This is significant because it enables electricity from solar facilities like CalRENEW-1 to be scheduled directly into the grid so that it can be moved over utility lines to meet electricity demands elsewhere.
CalRENEW-1 has an installed capacity of 5 megawatts (MW), which it will deliver to PG&E under a long term power purchase agreement. The plant generates electricity from more than 50,000 Sharp thin-film solar modules, which occupy 50 acres of previously fallow farm land in California’s Central Valley. The facility started commercial operations on April 30.
Construction on the project began in August 2009. The facility is owned and operated by Meridian Energy USA, a subsidiary of Meridian Energy Ltd. Engineering and installation of the facility was provided by Quanta Renewable Energy Services.
Sharp supplied the thin film photovoltaic modules, the first major deployment of Sharp’s amorphous thin film product in the U.S. Sharp’s amorphous silicon thin film modules. Produced using only a fraction of the silicon used in crystalline solar cells, Sharp’s thin film products offer high performance with less semiconductor material. Sharp’s tandem-junction thin-film solar modules feature a 9% module conversion efficiency and 128-watt power output.
“We commend Meridian, PG&E, and Quanta for their achievement in bringing CalRENEW-1 to fruition,” said Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solution Energy Solutions Group. “Sharp is pleased to be meeting the growing demand for thin film for multi-megawatt solar plants, and having our high efficiency thin film PV deployed in this landmark project.”