MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. have announced that the first portion of the 579 MW Solar Star development – two projects co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California – was successfully synchronized and is now delivering energy to the California ISO grid.
The Solar Star projects are owned by Phoenix-based MidAmerican Solar. SunPower, based in San Jose, Calif., designed and is constructing the projects and will provide operations and maintenance services. Construction on the projects began in early 2013 and is expected to be complete by year-end 2015, the companies say.
‘We are pleased to connect and synchronize Solar Star's first SunPower Oasis Power Blocks, totaling 57 MW, to the grid,’ comments Jorg Heinemann, SunPower's executive vice president, customer operations and engineering, procurement and construction.
Mike Fehr, MidAmerican Solar's general manager at the Solar Star projects, says the announcement is significant for California in its mandate to generate 33% of power from renewable sources by 2020.
The projects currently employ approximately 600 workers at the site, according to the companies.
The development is expected to generate more than $500 million in regional economic benefits, the majority of which will be generated during construction, according to the companies. Southern California Edison will purchase electricity from the projects under two long-term power purchase contracts.
When complete, the 579 MW Solar Star projects are expected to have more than 1.7 million panels installed, covering 3,230 acres. MidAmerican Solar estimates that the projects will provide electricity equivalent to powering nearly 255,000 average California households.
The largest project funding deal announced in 2013 was the $1 billion bond financing completed by Solar Star Funding for the Solar Star 1 and Solar Star 2 projects, according to a report from Mercom Capital Group.