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NRG Energy, SunPower Energize First 22 Megawatts of 250-Megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch

published: 2012-10-25 14:53

Huge solar project creates hundreds of jobs and starts generating clean, renewable electricity

NRG Energy, Inc.(NYSE: NRG) and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) will celebrate the first 22 megawatts (MW) of the 250-MW California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) being delivered to the electrical grid.

CVSR is one of the largest central station photovoltaic solar plants in the world. It has created approximately 350 jobs since construction started in September 2011, and is expected to inject $315 million into the local economy over its two-year construction period. NRG completed the acquisition of CVSR on September 30, 2011.

Once completed, CVSR will power a yearly average of 100,000 homes with clean, renewable solar energy, while protecting and conserving more than 12,000 acres of land in and around the Carrizo Plain in southeastern San Luis Obispo County, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Electricity from CVSR is being sold to PG&E through 25-year power purchase agreements.

“The private sector’s role is to demonstrate successful performance that speeds commercialization of technology—on time and on budget—and that’s what we’re doing at CVSR and all of NRG’s major solar projects,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar and NRG’s West Region. “Equally important, through large scale deployment, the private sector is accelerating cost reductions through supply chain improvements, lower balance of system costs and progress through experience that can’t be achieved at the lab bench or in the factory.”

NRG is the sole owner of the project, which is expected to be fully online by December 2013. SunPower designed the project, and is working with Bechtel to provide balance of plant engineering and procurement services and construction services. Once completed, NRG and SunPower will jointly operate and maintain CVSR for two years, after which NRG assumes sole responsibility.

“We congratulate NRG and SunPower on this important milestone at the California Valley Solar Ranch,” said Fong Wan, senior vice president, energy procurement, Pacific Gas and Electric Company. “PG&E provides to its customers some of the cleanest electricity in the nation, more than half of which comes from sources that are renewable or carbon free. This project will play an important role in our efforts to meet California’s 33% renewable portfolio standard and make progress towards a clean energy future for all Californians.”

“We are very pleased that CVSR is now delivering 22 megawatts of cost-competitive solar power in San Luis Obispo County, while creating jobs and economic opportunity for the local community,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. “Once the project is completed next year, SunPower’s world-leading high-efficiency technology and history of reliable performance will maximize the solar energy delivered to PG&E’s customers over the life of the system.”

“The companies have worked very hard with county staff, resource agencies, environmental organizations and the local community to construct a renewable energy facility while protecting the unique and sensitive landscape of the Carrizo Plain,” said Jim Patterson, chairman of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. “We appreciate both the local and global environmental and economic benefits this project has brought to our county."

NRG has four large-scale solar plants fully or partially operational and three other projects currently under construction across California, Arizona and New Mexico, plus several distributed solar projects at locations across the country. In the U.S., approximately 190 megawatts of large-scale SunPower plants are operating, with more than 1,000 megawatts under contract.

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