Solar Plant in California is Saved from the Wrecking Ball

A city in California has been able to preserve a solar power plant that was marked for destruction.

DAVIS, California, US, 2001-03-23 <SolarAccess.com> The city council in Davis has given a lease to the Dutch utility, Nuon Renewable Ventures, to operate the 86 acre solar photovoltaic plant in the city’s northeast section. The California Energy Commission had planned to destroy the solar power plant. Council voted unanimously to approve the 20-year lease, in the expectation that the facility will treble its output and become one of the largest solar PV plants in the world. The CEC gave notice that it could no longer afford to run the solar plant and intended to remove its panels and cancel its lease with Davis six years early. The lease required the state agency to decommission the project once the lease expired or was broken, and civic officials have searched for a company to operate the facility. PVUSA, officially called PAVES (photovoltaic for utility scale applications) project, currently generates 0.6 to 0.8 MW of electricity from PV panels and serves as a research facility where solar panels and equipment are tested. The facility was built by Pacific Gas and Electric in 1986, and was taken over by the CEC. Nuon is expected to purchase more PV panels from BP Solar, which has a factory in Fairfield. BP Solar would use the facility as a demonstration site for its new PV modules. Officials say the project may grow to 2 MW. The agreement with Nuon would involve the leasing of the property for $19,000 a year. In ten years, the city would receive 7.5 percent of the power produced at the plant. The proposed purchase and sales agreement will transfer the site from the CEC back to the city. The lease must receive final approval from the CEC early next month.

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