DOE finalizes $1.2 billion loan to support California solar power

Washington D.C., October 3, 2011 — U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy has finalized a $1.237 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch Project, sponsored by SunPower Corp.

The project, which is being built in San Luis Obispo County, CA, includes the construction of a 250 MW alternating current photovoltaic solar energy facility and associated infrastructure.

The California Valley Solar Ranch Project is expected to fund 350 jobs during construction. The project is also expected to avoid over 425,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and produce enough to power over 64,000 homes.

According to the DOE, California Valley Solar Ranch will be the largest utility-scale PV project in the U.S. to use tracking technology combined with an innovative monitoring system that will improve annual output by nearly 25 percent compared with traditional fixed PV installations.

The project will use single-axis trackers controlled by the innovative wireless tracker monitoring and control system to orient the PV modules toward the sun and maximize solar collection. The TMAC monitoring system receives real time weather updates so the solar array can be stowed in harsh weather conditions to preserve the life of the solar modules.

The solar generation project will be supported by a power purchase agreement where power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the largest utility in California.

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