World’s Biggest Solar PV Projects Under Way In SoCal

What will become the world’s largest solar photovoltaic development is now in “major construction” mode in California’s Antelope Valley, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

The solar manufacturer and developer SunPower and the utility company MidAmerican announced this new status late last week, coinciding with a big community event at the 3,230-acre site, where preliminary work began in January.

The development consists of Antelope Valley Solar Project 1, a 309-MW plant that will straddle the Kern-Los Angeles county line; and AVSP 2, a 270-MW plant that will be entirely in Kern County.

antelope valley solar projects

SunPower’s Oasis Power Plant product consists of scalable 1.5-megawatt power blocks that employ the company’s single-axis tracking panels. (image via SunPower)

When completed by the end of 2015, if all goes according to plan, the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will add up to 579 MW, dwarfing any other PV outpost in the world.

Right now, the Agua Caliente project in Arizona – a First Solar development owned by NRG and MidAmerican – is at the top of the heap, at 250 megawatts. Other U.S. projects under way are aiming to match or beat Agua Caliente, but even the biggest, the 550-MW Topaz project in San Luis Obispo County, won’t best the Antelope Valley Solar Projects.

“The start of construction on the Antelope Valley Solar Projects underscores that solar is a reliable, cost-competitive energy source,” Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions, said in a statement. “SunPower is proud to partner with MidAmerican Solar and Southern California Edison on this historic project, which is bringing critically needed jobs and economic opportunity to Californiatoday and will generate abundant clean, renewable power to the state over the long term.”

MidAmerican purchased Antelope Valley Solar from SunPower in January for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, according to federal filings. The deal included a three-year contract for SunPower to build the projects, and to operate and maintain them under a multiyear agreement with MidAmerican.

MidAmerican, controlled by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, has been gobbling up a lot of renewable energy in the past year or so. In October it bought two Southern California wind farm projects, part of the sprawling Alta Wind Energy Center, that total 300 MW in generating capacity. In February 2012, it completed the purchase of the under-construction 550-MW Topaz Solar Farm project from First Solar. In December 2011, it bought a 49 percent stake in the aforementioned Agua Caliente Solar Project. The company has also developed several wind farms and purchased others.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

    • Paul Felix Schott

      Doctors now going to
      SOLAR ENERGY were the MONEY IS as always.

      More Money in solar
      energy then the Sick and Poor.

      Doctors have now
      formed CAUSE (Californians Against Utilities Stopping solar Energy) , what took
      them so long to come on board GOD Bless them for doing so..

      Solar Industry to Skyrocket with the
      help of Solar Shingles.



      Energy has driven
      the world for over a thousand years Wind, Hydro and Solar are the oldest forms
      of energy giving power to all smart enough to use it.

      In the last 200
      years Coal, Oil and Nuclear has given energy to many worldwide and great power
      and wealth to only a few. At the cost of many lives in coal Mines, Oil Spills,
      Radiation, Cancer and Polluting the Air and Water on all of the Earth.

      Unfortunately for the wicked there is not an unlimited amount of oil on
      earth. Just the same as the Forest Trees that clean the air and make Oxygen we
      breath and all living on earth need to Live. As some in denial are not able to
      recognize or ever see or live with blinders on.

      Doctors now going to
      SOLAR ENERGY were the MONEY IS as always.

      Doctors and Drug
      ceo’s have been making millions prescribing drugs to many that live near or by
      High polluted areas. From dirty energy that hurt breathing our lungs, water we
      drink and harm our children and all. That we all pay for. When all on earth need
      is Clean Air and Water, and Clean Cities.

      Now common sense would be for
      all to look for a Clean Fuel Source like Wind, Hydro, Geothermal and Solar.
      Renewable Energy is eliminating the need for Dirty Energy Worldwide at a record
      pace. With SOLAR ENERGY Clearly the front runner.

      To the fear of some
      of the richest people on Earth. They to surprisingly are doing
      extraordinary investing in Solar Energy. After years of many of them trying to
      under mine it.

      Fuel that makes energy to ship goods, or make electric
      for homes and manufacturing. Can transform whole nations into prosperity and
      wealth or poverty and economic hardships for most all. Just as taxes on
      taxpayers has done. For over two thousand years. Making slaves of many to the
      wicked and unjust few. History Lesson Roman Empire, Persian Empire now OIL
      Empire oh sorry OPEC.

      The Freedom to get your own Power from the Wind and
      Sun, Solar Energy has been there for years. Are Libraries and Schools should
      have been the first to have gone Solar and Renewable Energy. And why are they
      not? Churches are all over the Planet. They are going to Solar

      Thank GOD for the Pioneers like John Schaeffer that Started Real
      Goods The first and Best catalog for Renewable Energy and Dr. Addison Bain one
      of NASA top Scientist and Scientist Bill Young at the FSEC Florida Solar Energy
      Center and Monica D. Key Lindbergh for many years wrote to legislators promoting
      Solar and Renewable Energy and many others.

      These Pioneers helped put
      Wind, Solar And Renewable Energy in the Spotlight for all the World to see. One
      of The Greatest Scientists ever Albert Einstein Stared it with a Dream that the
      day would come that all the World would use Solar Energy. His many years of work
      with the law of the “Photoelectric Effect”, and showing this to the World won
      him the Nobel Prize in Physics. For the “Photoelectric Effect”
      Free Energy
      From the SUN in the heavens above.
      We still do not teach this to our

      Very soon Hybrid Vehicles and (EV’s) Electric Vehicles will out
      number the ones that need oil and gas to go. With the ability to recharge them
      at home and work from the sun.

      Tesla Motors with its new Model S
      electric sedan, will be one of many the World will see. Honda, Nissan, Audi,VW,
      BMW and Volvo are just some of the Car Companies putting into production
      Electric Vehicles a EV, and many more are and many are building Electric /
      Hybrid Vehicles. The DeLorean Motor Company will be putting into production by
      2013 a DMC-EV Electric DeLorean, that will have a body and power plant that will
      last you a life time. Just think you can recharge them at home and work free
      from the sun Solar Energy.

      The Lord’s Little Helper
      Paul Felix

      Now to own a car that will never rust way and runs on the power
      from the sun that’s the one for me. Very soon most all on earth will be able to
      get energy by recharging from the sun and wind.

      Cities that want to be
      Clean many of them are putting in recharging stations in their
      heart of their downtown of their city all over the Planet Earth. Many Thanks
      mostly to Scientist Bill Young and his team at FSEC for their many years of work
      at this..

      GOD Bless You Professor Takashi Ohira and your team for the
      good work they are doing. To promote Clean Cities with Clean Transportation that
      will let some drive all day without having to stop to recharge. As Neil
      Armstrong would say one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Just
      one step closer to the World being powered be the Sun Solar Energy.

      Going Solar

      Germany, Denmark,
      Australia, Sweden, Norway, India, Nepal, Tibet, and Israeli clearly a leader in
      Solar companies and Renewable Energy is helping many World Wide and a long list
      of Nations Going Solar. Even Iran with its Archimedes Tower. At its Shiraz Solar
      Power Plant Iran and all the Oil Nations on Earth know the World is going to
      SOLAR Energy.


      Iceland, Philippines,
      Kenya…..and more then 50 other Countries.

      Wind Energy in

      More then 75

      Albert Einstein’s
      Dream coming true

      The Earth Powered By

      GOD Bless

      all that Spot Light
      and use Solar

      • Kent Otho Doering

        Nice, but could you tone the polemics down – and present the facts a fact at a time. And, please check out your spelling and grammar before you post.
        i work in the field of “sustainability” in the 1st city of over a million inhabitants which will be entirely off nuclear and fossil fuel power and heat by 2025. it already meets over 50% of its power and heat needs with w2p- waste to power and renewable energy systems. The “Energiewende” or energy transition must be systematically and cautiously approached a technology at a time.
        Thanks, and greetings from Munich which is already applying everything you describe and much more you don´t even know about, one of the “sustainabilty” capitals of the world.

    • Robert J Bartley

      Don’t tell me we are finally starting to think. Wow.