SunPower Corp. says it has begun construction on a 13.78 MW solar photovoltaic power system at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake (NAWS China Lake) in California. The plant is expected to create 140 jobs during construction and generate the equivalent of more than 30% of NAWS China Lake's annual energy load, helping to reduce costs by an estimated $13 million over the next 20 years.
The plant is financed through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunPower. An affiliate of MetLife Inc. purchased the system, which SunPower designed and is building. NAWS China Lake will host the system and buy electricity at prices currently below the retail utility rate. SunPower will operate and maintain the plant when it is completed at the end of this year.
This is the first 20-year PPA with a federal agency, according to SunPower. The plant will use the SunPower Oasis Power Plant product, a fully integrated, modular solar power block incorporating a SunPower T0 tracker, E20 modules, pre-manufactured system cabling, the Oasis smart inverter, and the Oasis operating system.