Monday, June 28, 2010

PG&E completes first solar plant on 500MW program

PG&E completes first solar plant on 500MW program
Published: 11 hours ago By James Cartledge Send to a colleague | Print

The 2MW Vaca-Dixon facility
California utility PG&E has celebrated the completion of its two-megawatt Vaca-Dixon Solar Station, the flagship project of a new solar program aiming to develop 500MW of new generating capacity.
The new solar plant is the first to be developed under the five-year program, in which independent project developers will provide half of the new solar capacity.

The program will see new solar plants developed under 20MW in size, which the utility said would require less time to plan and build than larger solar projects.

Once complete, the new solar capacity should provide enough clean power to meet the needs of around 150,000 average homes.

The Vaca-Dixon Solar Station, named for a nearby electricity substation, spreads across 16 acres and took four months to build.

“I applaud PG&E for its commitment to making a direct investment in clean, renewable solar energy generation that will help reduce our dependence on oil,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “This project will help us meet our long-term energy goals while creating jobs and keeping California on the leading edge of this booming industry.”

PG&E President Chris Johns said the project will kick start the utility’s program of developing many more solar projects in Northern and Central California.

“PG&E proposed this program in an effort to supply our customers with more renewable energy on a faster timetable,” said Mr Johns. “The success of the Vaca-Dixon Solar Station pilot project has provided PG&E with the tools and know-how to develop similar facilities in our service area and the ability to turn our clean energy vision into reality.”

The new plant was built by Solon Corporation, the US-based subsidiary of Germany’s Solon SE.

Solon worked with local company ALB, Inc., to prepare the site, while another California firm, Silverwood Energy, built the facility.

San Francisco-based PG&E is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States, delivering energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California.