Blog Post

The fate of 9 giant solar farms in Cali

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

It was about a year ago when the California Energy Commission approved nine solar farms all within a few months in order to make sure those projects could qualify for a federal program that subsidizes 30 percent of their costs. So, where are they now?

We know one of them just received the final regulatory hurdle yesterday despite its high cost. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a power sales contract between Abengoa Solar and Pacific Gas & Electric because it didn’t want to stand in the way of a project that already had gotten all other state and federal permits and a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee.

A lot has changed for many other projects in just one year, and it underscores the difficulties of developing large-scale solar farms. All nine projects proposed to use the sun’s heat to produce steam or hydrogen gas to run equipment that produce electricity. The technology is commonly called solar thermal and is different from the use solar panels (photovoltaic technology).

Project Developer Power Generation Status
Ivanpah Solar BrightSource Energy 392 MW Under construction. BrightSource secured a $1.6 billion fed loan guarantee.
Calico Solar K Road Power 663.5 MW Under commission view again. K Road, the new owner, wants to use solar panels for bulk of the project.
Blythe Solar Solar Millennium/SolarHybrid 1000 MW Solar Millennium is in the process of selling Blythe to Solarhybrid, which will use solar panels instead.
Palen Solar Solar Millennium/SolarHybrid 500 MW Same story as above.
Imperial Valley Solar AES Solar Power 709 MW Energy Commission revoked permit at AES’s request. AES wants to use solar panels.
Beacon Solar NextEra Energy Resources 250 MW NextEra also wants to use solar panels but has yet to file paper to declare its intention.
Genesis Solar NextEra Energy Resources 250 MW Under construction. NextEra secured a partial fed guarantee for a $ 852 million loan.
Rice Solar SolarReserve 150 MW Construction scheduled to start in 2Q 2012.
Mojave Solar Abengoa Solar 280 MW Under construction. Abengoa secured a $1.2 billion fed loan guarantee.

Photo courtesy of BrightSource Energy

4 Responses to “The fate of 9 giant solar farms in Cali”

  1. The investor owned utiliy’s like SCE don’t want to pay the higher price of peak power on thier PPA’s. So hence no need for storage or shoulder hours.
    Greed, not need, by the utilities !

  2. MySchizo Buddy

    thermal along with molten salt storage can give you base load capability. Looks like this isn’t an important factor anymore. delivering stable electricity during cloudy days and night doesn’t matter anymore. Hence, the switch to photovoltaics.