By Cameron Chai
MidAmerican Solar, a company developing solar projects and First Solar, a provider of solar plants has commenced the construction of Topaz Solar Farms, which is situated in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.
The 550 MW solar project will create nearly 400 jobs and produce approximately $417 million local economic effect and will offer renewable electricity to California.
The project will be the largest solar plant globally, after completion. The electricity produced will be sufficient to power nearly 160,000 average houses in California.
MidAmerican Solar owns the Topaz project and First Solar will construct, operate and maintain the project. The construction work started in November 2011 and is anticipated to be completed in the beginning of 2015.
The electricity generated from the project will be purchased by Pacific Gas and Electric Company through a 25 year power purchase contract. The project will support California to meet its objective of producing 33% power using renewable sources within 2020.
The project will include First Solar’s sophisticated thin-film solar modules. These modules generate electricity without any emissions and usage of water or waste and contain a very small carbon footprint when compared to other solar technologies. Further, electricity produced will remove nearly 377,000 MT of carbon dioxide annually, which is equal to removing 73,000 cars from the road.
MidAmerican Renewables’ subsidiary, MidAmerican Solar also owns 49% interest in the 290 MW AC Agua Caliente project at Yuma County in Arizona. The company’s head office is based in Phoenix, Ariz.