22 May 2012

First solar panel installed on world’s largest PV project

Less than two weeks after its official groundbreaking ceremony, MidAmerican Solar of Phoenix, AZ (a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables LLC) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ have marked another milestone at Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County, CA by installing the first solar panel on what is the largest solar project under construction in the world. When complete, the 550MWAC project will include nearly 9 million solar panels.

The first solar panel was installed by Greg Abel, chairman, president & CEO of global energy services provider MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company of Des Moines, Iowa (the parent company of MidAmerican Renewables LLC), and Walter Scott Jr, who serves on the boards of directors for Berkshire Hathaway Inc and MidAmerican.

“It represents nearly five months of hard construction work put in by a dedicated crew of craftspersons and on-site supervision, a large majority of whom live in the local area,” says says MidAmerican Solar’s president Paul Caudill. “They are helping us achieve our goal of safely and reliably delivering energy to our customer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company [PG&E], all while adhering to our core value of respect for the environment,” he adds. 

On 3 May, MidAmerican Solar and First Solar held a ceremony at the project site to discuss the project’s construction schedule, environmental values and community-centered plans for the future with local and state leaders and landowners.

The Topaz project will create about 400 construction jobs during its three-year construction period; will generate nearly $417m in local economic impact (mostly during construction); and will provide California with renewable electricity. When complete, the project will provide enough energy to power about 160,000 average California homes.

The Topaz project is owned by MidAmerican Solar and will be constructed, operated and maintained by First Solar. Construction began in late 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2015. PG&E will purchase the electricity from the Topaz project under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), helping California meet its mandate to generate 33% of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Electricity generated by the Topaz project will displace about 377,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year (equivalent to taking about 73,000 cars off the road).

“Solar projects such as Topaz will allow us to continue to deliver one of the cleanest energy portfolios in the nation to our customers and help the state meet its green energy goals,” says John Conway, senior VP of energy supply for PG&E.

See related items:

MidAmerican and First Solar start major construction on world’s largest solar project

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.midamericanrenewablesllc.com

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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