San Francisco Based Pacific Gas and Electric Company recently announced the launch of their 550 megawatt Topaz Solar Farm Project. Located in San Luis Obispo County, California, the project would deliver an average of 1,100,000 megawatt-hours annually of renewable electricity; to serve approximately 239,000 residential homes.
The Topaz project will utilize relatively low-cost, thin-film PV panels and is expected to commence delivering solar generated electricity in 2011 and be fully operational by 2013.
The utility also signed a contract with High Plains Ranch II, LLC, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation , for 250 MW solar power. SunPower’s proprietary solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional crystalline cells. The project will also utilize SunPower® Tracker solar tracking systems at the site. Solar tracking systems follow the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing energy capture by up to 30 percent over fixed systems and consequently minimizing the amount of land and equipment needed for an installation
The High Plains project is to be located in San Luis Obispo County’s California Valley and will generate an average of 550,000 megawatt-hours of electricity each year. The High Plains project is expected to begin power delivery in 2010 and be fully operational in 2012.
Between the two projects, the 800 MW commitment to solar technology will deliver cumulatively 1.65 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually.