CIM Group has announced that the first 125 MW phase of the Aquamarine solar photovoltaic project at Westlands Solar Park (WSP) in California has reached commercial operation and is fulfilling its energy contract obligations with Valley Clean Energy Alliance and Silicon Valley Power. Aquamarine’s second 125 MW phase will be complete and operational by year-end.
“Bringing clean solar power to California from Aquamarine is a major milestone in the realization of the full potential of our 20,000-acre Westlands Solar Park,” says Avi Shemesh, co-founder and principal of CIM Group. “As one of the largest solar projects in the U.S., Westlands Solar Park, at full build-out, will have the capacity to deliver 2.7 gigawatts of renewable energy, a substantial resource to utilities and businesses advancing their plans to reduce carbon emissions and meet California’s renewable energy goals.”
Achieving commercial operation follows the approval by Pacific Gas & Electric authorizing Cal-ISO to connect Aquamarine to the power grid. Cal-ISO in turn authorized Aquamarine to begin synchronization and start a power generation test project providing power to the grid. The several week test period was successfully concluded and Aquamarine officially began commercial operations on September 17.
Aquamarine is now generating power to deliver on its previously executed power purchase agreements, including a 50 MW contract with Valley Clean Energy Alliance, the City of Santa Clara, CA (Silicon Valley Power) for renewable energy credits (REC) associated with 75 MW of capacity. CIM Group is currently negotiating additional PPAs with other potential counterparties for Aquamarine and future phases at WSP.
WSP is one of the largest permitted solar parks in the world, with the capacity to grow to more than 2.7 GW of renewable energy at full buildout. The master-planned energy park encompasses more than 20,000 acres in California’s San Joaquin Valley in western Fresno and Kings Counties and is designed to open in phases to meet the needs of public and private utilities and other energy consumers. WSP has a completed and certified programmatic environmental impact report for the entire project and WSP is one of the few renewable energy zones identified as a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) thru the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) process.