First Solar Inc., based in Tempe Arizona, is sponsoring the construction of three large solar plants in California that are expected to create 1,400 jobs in California during peak construction. The three projects are the AV Solar Ranch One, the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, and the Topaz Solar Farm.
The AV Solar Ranch One project, located in Antelope Valley in Los Angeles County, is a 230 megawatt facility involving cadmium-telluride thin-film solar panel technology. The facility is expected to be constructed over a three to four year period, creating up to 300 construction jobs, with full construction mobilization in July, 2011. When completed, the AV Solar Ranch One will generate enough electricity to power about 75,000 average homes and will avoid the emission of approximately 140,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
AV Solar Ranch One was originally developed by Nextlight Renewable Power, LLC, which was acquired by First Solar on July 12, 2010. First Solar has a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric Company, which will purchase the electricity generated by the solar plant for 25 years.
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm will be a 550 megawatt solar plant located in the Chuckawalla Valley about six miles north of Desert Center in Riverside County, California. The project is expected to create an average of about 440 construction jobs over a two to three year period. The solar farm will produce enough electricity to power over 160,000 homes and will displace over 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm project is also expected to generate about $15 million in sales tax revenue and $12 million in property tax revenues for Riverside County. And the project is located on a site near existing transmission lines, so only a new substation and generation interconnection transmission lines will need to be constructed.
The Topaz Solar Farm is located on the northwestern corner of the Carrisa Plains in San Luis Obispo County, California. It will be a 550 megawatt facility that will power about 110,000 homes and avoid 725,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The project is expected to create about 400 construction jobs over a three-year period and about 25 permanent operations and maintenance positions. It is estimated that the Topaz Solar Farm will generate about $14 million in sales tax revenue during construction and up to $400,000 a year in property taxes.
On June 30, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $680 million loan guarantee to finance the construction of the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project, loan guarantees of $1.88 billion for the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm project, and $1.93 billion for the Topaz Solar project. According to the Department of Energy, First Solar will produce the solar photovoltaic modules for these projects from a new manufacturing plant it is building in Mesa, Arizona, and from a recently expanded plant in Perrysburg, Ohio.
AV Solar Ranch One, First Solar
Department of Energy Offers Conditional Loan Guarantee Commitments to Support Nearly $4.5 Billion in Loans for Three California Photovoltaic Solar Power Plants, Energy.gov
Desert Sunlight Photovoltaic Project, Tetra Tech
Sunlight Solar Farm, First Solar
Topaz Solar Farm, First Solar
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