Topaz Solar Farm

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Topaz Solar Farm
Solar Panels at Topaz Solar 5 (8159036498).jpg
Topaz Solar Farm solar panels
CountryUnited States
LocationCarrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County, California
Coordinates35°23′00″N 120°04′00″W / 35.38333°N 120.06667°W / 35.38333; -120.06667Coordinates: 35°23′00″N 120°04′00″W / 35.38333°N 120.06667°W / 35.38333; -120.06667
StatusOperational
Construction began2011
Commission date2014
Construction cost$2.4 billion[1]
Owner(s)Berkshire Hathaway Energy
Solar farm
TypeFlat-panel PV
Site area19 square kilometres (7.3 sq mi), 4700acres
Power generation
Nameplate capacity550 MWAC
Capacity factor26.6% (average 2015–2018)
Annual net output1,282 GW·h, 272 MW·h/acre
External links
WebsiteTopaz Solar Farm
CommonsRelated media on Commons

Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 megawatt (MWAC) photovoltaic power station in San Luis Obispo County, California. Construction on the project began in November 2011 and ended in November 2014. It is one of the world's largest solar farms. The $2.5 billion project includes 9 million CdTe photovoltaic modules based on thin-film technology, manufactured by U.S. company First Solar. The company also built, operates and maintains the project for MidAmerican Renewables, a Berkshire Hathaway company. Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement. According to First Solar, it created about 400 construction jobs.[2]

History[edit]

OptiSolar, the instigator of the project, had optioned 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland,[3] In November 2009, First Solar announced that it had purchased options to an additional 640 acres (260 ha) from Ausra's canceled Carrizo Energy Solar Farm. First Solar would reconfigure the project to minimize the use of land covered by the Williamson Act.[4][5][6]

The project uses nine million[7] thin-film cadmium telluride PV panels designed and manufactured by First Solar. The plant's power would be generated during the middle of the day, when demand for electricity — and price — is much higher than at night. The project was expected to begin construction in 2011 and be fully operational by 2014. California utilities are mandated to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

On August 14, 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced agreements to buy the power from Topaz Solar Farm and High Plains Ranch.[8][9] In late October 2010 the San Luis Obispo Department Planning and Building released a Draft Environmental Impact report.

In June 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy offered First Solar a $1.9 billion loan guarantee to cover part of the financing for the project. The First Solar project was not able to close its conditional loan guarantee with the Department of Energy prior to the September 30 deadline, but it has gone ahead anyway.[2]

On May 18, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the first PV panel.[10] On October 24, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the millionth panel.[11] The plant began providing energy to the grid in February 2013.[12] The five-millionth panel was installed in October 2013.[13]

On January 10, 2019, with Pacific Gas and Electric Company facing billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, S&P Global Ratings cut the credit rating of Berkshire Hathaway Energy's 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms to junk, noting that the plant counts on PG&E for all of its revenue.[14]

Electricity production[edit]

Generation (MW·h) of Topaz Solar[12]
year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec annual
2013 239 24,499 18,660 31,026 40,465 47,772 58,441 53,196 47,407 39,423 40,180 401,308
2014 50,883 51,063 77,789 90,451 99,511 110.227 114,932 124,320 119,978 113,417 92,644 60,642 1,105,857
2015 89,663 92,944 108,663 114,979 103,163 123,704 130,249 133,000 120,634 111,211 93,907 79,220 1,301,337
2016 65,211 101,749 108,033 106,132 124,972 134,559 138,059 130,844 111,319 99,693 88,536 56,698 1,265,760
2017 57,880 42,375 95,639 108,198 128,816 132,016 129,836 121,997 122,106 117,862 90,225 90,582 1,237,532
2018 80,851 101,373 93,826 125,445 136,903 136,248 131,293 131,442 121,581 118,207 83,610 74,940 1,335,717
2019 75,557 70,097 97,868 117,138 110,050
Average Annual Production (years 2015-2018) ---> 1,282,336
Topaz Solar Farm from space. Earth Observatory image, 2015.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "$1 Billion Bond Offering Completed for World's Largest Solar Project". 28 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Steve Leone (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Buffett Bets on Solar Energy". Renewable Energy World.
  3. ^ Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". The Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  4. ^ Woody, Todd (November 5, 2009). "Ausra Sells Planned Plant to First Solar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  5. ^ Sneed, David (November 5, 2009). "Solar power company drops out of plans for Carrizo Plain in eastern San Luis Obispo County". The Tribune. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  6. ^ Wang, Ucilia (November 5, 2009). "First Solar Buys Land Option From Ausra for Topaz Project". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  7. ^ "Topaz Solar Farm". First Solar. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  8. ^ "PG&E Signs Historic 800 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Agreements With Optisolar and Sunpower" (Press release). Pacific Gas and Electric. 2008-08-14. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  9. ^ Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
  10. ^ "Pirst Photovoltaic Solar Panel Installed on Largest Solar Project in the World" (Press release). First Solar. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  11. ^ "One Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed at MidAmerican Solar's Topaz Project by First Solar" (PDF) (Press release). First Solar. October 24, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  12. ^ a b Energy Information Administration. "Topaz Solar Farm, monthly". Electricity Data Browser. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  13. ^ Five Millionth Photovoltaic Solar Module Installed on 550-Megawatt Topaz Solar Farms, Business Wire, 10/09/2013
  14. ^ "PG&E Said to Plan Bankruptcy Notice to Workers as Soon as Monday" (Press release). Bloomburg. 2019-01-12. Retrieved 2019-01-12.

External links[edit]