One Million Panels Now Installed at Solar Star Project

MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp.  are making significant progress at the Solar Star projects, co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California. The one millionth photovoltaic module has been installed at the Solar Star development, which is now delivering more than 170 MW to the California ISO grid.

SunPower Solar Star PanelsWhen complete, the 579-MWac projects will have more than 1.7 million modules installed. The first solar module was installed in March 2013.

“With the project more than halfway complete, installing the one millionth module marks a substantial achievement for all involved,” said Bryan Whitcomb, general manager, MidAmerican Solar. “A project of this magnitude requires extraordinary teamwork to ensure it is successful in safely and reliably delivering renewable energy to California. We remain committed to working with our neighbors and local officials as we continue meeting our construction milestones.”

The Solar Star projects are owned by MidAmerican Solar and are being constructed by SunPower, which also will provide operations and maintenance services.

“Two advantages of solar photovoltaic technology are that it is fast to install and it can begin generating power to the grid before a plant is fully constructed,” said Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive vice president, customer operations and engineering, procurement and construction. “SunPower is very pleased with our progress at the Solar Star projects, where we are working with our project partners and the community to deliver one of the world’s largest solar power plants on schedule.” The Solar Star projects are creating approximately 650 jobs during its three-year construction period. They are estimated to generate more than$500 million in regional economic impact.

According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, electricity generated from the projects will displace approximately 570,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year – the equivalent of removing more than 2 million cars from highways over 20 years. The Solar Star projects are committed to maintaining a culture of environmental respect and compliance.

“The environmental impact is just as important as the economic impact on the community,” said Whitcomb. “For example, in California’s Antelope Valley, where small amounts of rain and high winds are typical, dust control efforts are at the forefront of construction development and execution. We monitor wind conditions and follow several practices onsite to mitigate dust impacts to workers and community members.”

Construction on the projects began in 2013 and is expected to be complete by year-end 2015. Southern California Edison will purchase electricity from the projects under two long-term power purchase agreements.

— Solar Builder magazine

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