MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. have connected the first phase of their 579 MW Solar Star development to the ISO grid in the US state of California.
The phase consists of two projects owned by MidAmerican Solar AND co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties. They were synchronized as part of the grid connection process.
"This announcement is significant for the state of California," said Mike Fehr, MidAmerican Solar's general manager at the Solar Star projects.
"It demonstrates that we are fulfilling our promise to the local community and regulators and delivering expected results, based on our construction timeline, to help California meet its mandate to generate 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020," Fehr said.
SunPower designed and is constructing the projects, and will provide operations and maintenance services. Construction on the projects began in early 2013 and is expected to be complete by year-end 2015.
"We are pleased to connect and synchronize Solar Star's first SunPower Oasis Power Blocks, totaling 57 megawatts, to the grid," said Jorg Heinemann, SunPower executive vice president, customer operations and engineering, procurement and construction.
"The project partners are working well together and with the community to deliver one of the world's largest solar power plants on schedule," Heinemann said.
Southern California Edison will purchase electricity from the projects under two long-term power purchase contracts.
"Utility-scale solar power is a competitively priced renewable resource, and a key part of Southern California Edison's energy mix," said Stuart Hemphill, senior vice president of Power Supply for Southern California Edison. "These Solar Star projects will help us continue to grow our renewable portfolio on behalf of our customers."
When complete, the 579- MW 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.