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California Valley Solar Ranch

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Title: California Valley Solar Ranch  
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Subject: Solar power in the United States, Panoche Valley Solar Farm, Solar power in California, Renewable energy in the United States, Solar power in Delaware
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California Valley Solar Ranch

California Valley Solar Ranch
California Valley Solar Ranch solar panels
California Valley Solar Ranch is located in California
California Valley Solar Ranch
Location of California Valley Solar Ranch
Country United States
Location Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley, CA
Status Operational
Construction began 2011
Commission date October 2013
Owner(s) NRG Solar
Operator(s) SunPower
Solar farm
Type Flat-panel PV
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 250 MW

The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is a 250 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley. The project is owned by NRG Energy, and SunPower is the EPC contractor and technology provider. The project constructed on 1,966 acres (796 ha) of a 4,365-acre (1,766 ha) site of former grazing land.[1] It is utilizing high-efficiency, crystalline PV panels designed and manufactured by SunPower. The project includes up to 88,000 SunPower solar tracking devices to hold PV panels that will track the sun across the sky.

Project overview

The project began construction in 2011, and began operation in 2012 with 22 MW completed. It was fully completed in October 2013.[2] Once completed, "the California Valley Solar Ranch will power about 100,000 homes and will be one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants in the world".[3]

The project is being constructed on 1,966 acres (796 ha) of a 4,365-acre (1,766 ha) site of former grazing land.[1] It is utilizing high-efficiency, crystalline PV panels designed and manufactured by SunPower. The project includes up to 88,000 SunPower solar tracking devices to hold PV panels that track the sun across the sky. The project delivers approximately 550 gigawatt-hours (GW·h) annually of renewable energy and has a capacity of 250 MW.[4] While the plant only has a capacity factor of 25%, its power is generated during the middle of the day, when demand for electricity — and price — is much higher than at night.

Power Purchase Agreement

On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric announced an agreement to buy all the power from the power plant.[5] A Conditional Use Permit application for the project was filed with the County of San Luis Obispo Planning and Building Department on January 14, 2009. On November 30, 2010, NRG Energy announced that it would buy CVSR from SunPower for "up to $450 million".[6] In September 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) offered NRG Solar a $1.237 billion loan from the federal government to cover most of the construction cost.[7] The total cost of the project is estimated to be $1.6 billion.[8]

Panoramic view of construction, October 2012


The Carrizo Plain is home to 13 species listed as endangered either by the state or federal government, including the San Joaquin Kit Fox, Giant Kangaroo Rat, and the California Condor.[9] SunPower has been working with the community to protect local wildlife habitat and migration patterns, and reduce the amount of traffic in the area during construction.[10] The company recently announced a plan to create a reserve for Giant Kangaroo Rat in order to address concerns about habitat destruction.

33% mandate

California utilities are mandated to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Electricity production

Generation (MWh)[11]
Year Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Total
2012 4,014 4,190 5,504 8,019 21,727
2013 15,824 20,631 24,304 28,133 10,533 25,459 31,131 51,646 63,073 56,747 37,300 34,583 399,364
2014 35,851 36,710 72,561
Total 493 652

See also


  1. ^ a b Sneed, David (2008-08-15). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants".  
  2. ^
  3. ^ "NRG Energy Completes Acquisition of 250-Megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch from SunPower". MarketWatch. 30 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "California Utility Mainstreams Solar Photovoltaic Power". Environment News Service (ENS). August 15, 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  5. ^ "PG&E Signs Historic 800 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Agreements With Optisolar and Sunpower".  
  6. ^ Baker, David R. (2010-12-01). "NRG Energy to invest $450 million in SunPower". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  7. ^ "Energy Department Finalizes $1.2 Billion Loan Guarantee to Support California Solar Generation" (Press release).  
  8. ^ Lipton, Eric; Clifford Krauss (November 11, 2011). "A Gold Rush of Subsidies in Clean Energy Search".  
  9. ^ Wesoff, Eric (August 25, 2010). "Huge Milestone for SunPower and Solar in 250MW California Valley Project". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  10. ^ SunPower Adds 40-MW to California Valley Solar Ranch Renewable Energy World, 3 May 2010.
  11. ^  

External links

  • California Valley Solar Ranch (official website) Retrieved 2012-10-30.
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