The 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm, located on the northwest corner of Carrisa Plains in California, achieved full commercial operation with the completion of its final phase sending power to the California grid system.
The Topaz Solar Farm, the largest solar plant on-line in the world, will produce sufficient electricity to power approximately 160,000 average California homes, displacing approximately 377,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, the equivalent of taking approximately 73,000 cars off the road, according to their report.
“The Topaz project will benefit the environment and the local economy,” said Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar. “A project of this size creates jobs and plays a major role in our nation’s long-term electric energy supply.”
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), the developer and panel supplier at Topaz Solar Farm, proposes that the project will create $192 million in pay for approximately 400 construction positions over the three-year build and “$52 million in economic output for local suppliers.”
“Utility-scale PV projects like Topaz are the quickest and most cost-effective way to bring significant solar power to the grid,” said Jim Lamon, First Solar senior vice president of engineering, procurement and construction, and operations and maintenance.
Topaz Solar Farm is one of the top three U.S. PV power plants under development in the U.S. The other two, Desert Sunlight and Solar Star, are also located in California.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will purchase the electricity from the Topaz project under a 25-year power purchase agreement, helping California meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
“PG&E provides its customers with some of the cleanest power in the nation, and is committed to meeting the state’s aggressive renewable energy goals,” said John Conway, PG&E’s senior vice president for energy supply. “As Topaz is phased-in over time, it will help us meet that commitment while moving the state one step closer toward achieving its long-term environmental objectives.”