MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. announced the first portion of the 579-megawatt (MW) Solar Star development — two projects co-located in Kernand and Los Angeles counties in California — was successfully synchronized and is now delivering energy to the California ISO grid.
By the time the entire project is completed, it’s expected to help California meet its mandate to generate 33% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
The Solar Star projects are owned by MidAmerican Solar. SunPower designed and is constructing the projects. It will also provide operations and maintenance services. Construction on the projects began in early 2013 and is expected to be complete by year-end 2015.
The projects currently employ approximately 600 workers at the site.
The development is expected to generate more than $500 million in regional economic benefits, the majority of which will be generated during construction. Southern California Edison will purchase electricity from the projects under two long-term power purchase contracts.
When complete, the 579-megawatt Solar Star projects are expected to have more than 1.7 million panels installed, covering 3,230 acres. MidAmerican Solar estimates that the projects will provide electricity equivalent to powering nearly 255,000 average California households. According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, electricity generated from the projects will displace approximately 570,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year – the equivalent of taking more than 100,000 cars off the road.