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.

    SOLAR ENERGY SOON
    WILL POWER ALL OF THE EARTH

    ELECTRIC HYBRID VEHICLES & ELECTRIC
    VEHICLES SOON TO OUT SELL ALL OTHERS

    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
    something
    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
    Energy.

    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
    young.

    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
    Schott

    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 clean-cities.org 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.

    Going
    Geothermal

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

    Wind Energy in
    use

    More then 75
    Countries

    Albert Einstein’s
    Dream coming true

    The Earth Powered By
    SOLAR ENERGY.

    GOD Bless

    all that Spot Light
    and use Solar
    Energy

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kent-Otho-Doering/100003186068910 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-J-Bartley/100001150266977 Robert J Bartley

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