Blog Post

A new big solar panel farm in the works in California

Solar panel and project maker SunPower (s SPWRA) announced on Friday that it has plans to build a 100 MW solar panel farm in the California central valley area of Kings County, and SunPower plans to sell the power from the project to utility PG&E. Called the Henrietta Solar Project, the farm could provide enough solar power for 36,000 homes when its built in late 2016.

California has a state mandate that requires its investor-owned utilities (that includes PG&E) to have 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 33 percent by 2020. That has led to the construction of 2,871 MW of clean power projects in the state since 2003, and 11 percent of those projects came online during the first half of 2012, according to a state report released last month. In other words, California’s utilities have been building these types of solar power projects at a break neck pace in recent months (at least compared to the rest of the U.S.).

The Henrietta Solar Project will use solar panels that sit on trackers, instead of the large mirrors used to concentrate the sun, which are found in other projects like BrightSource’s Ivanpah. The cost of silicon solar panels has plummeted in recent years. Though, SunPower sells a premium, more efficient solar panel, and also builds solar projects.

Project development and rooftop solar panel lease programs are offering a bright spot in a difficult solar market for solar panel makers like SunPower and First Solar (s FSLR). SunPower has yet to return to profitability and for the second quarter of this year recorded $84.2 million in net losses compared with $147.9 million in net losses from the second quarter of 2011.

The Henrietta Solar Project still needs to be approved by the California Public Utility Commission. SunPower says the project will create 200 jobs during construction and pump $72.7 million into the local economy.

8 Responses to “A new big solar panel farm in the works in California”

  1. And this From Germany about US Green JOBS

    Get the Facts Right: Germany has seen a Boom in Green Jobs
    Is it true that the clean energy industry in Germany has not yielded net job growth?
    Over the last ten years, Germany has seen a boom in green jobs. More than 340,000 new jobs have been created in the renewable energy sector. By contrast, Germany’s only domestic fossil energy source, lignite coal, employs only 50,000 people along its entire supply chain, from mining to the power plants. Unemployment is a big challenge in Germany, too, but the renewable industry is providing many new jobs. In its German section, the AEI report clearly fails the reality-check.

  2. The Nuclear Industry has seized upon the Climate Change and Green House Gas issues in a desperate attempt to save THEIR market share of the Energy business.

    Left unsaid is Nuclear’s Global Radioactive Pollution from Fukushima’s TRIPLE MELTDOWN which continues to encircle the Planet!

    First, they said that it would never happen, now they say it will never happen again…

    Wake up and see the nuclear Industry for what it is: Global Nuclear Fascism* which if they have their way, will promote for ever more new nuclear that will only increase the cost of Energy and the RISK of yet another Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster happening somewhere on the Planet… While the cost of Solar (of all flavors) is dropping monthly the cost of Nuclear and it’s decommissioning costs are going ever upward!

    Until we start getting our energy from Solar (of all flavors) and especially from Solar from Space we will continue to have Energy Wars and civil strife on Earth. Here are several books that describe how to “save” the Earth from it’s nuclear folly:

    The High Frontier by Gerard K. O’Neill,
    Colonies In Space by A. Heppenheim­er.
    The Third Industrial Revolution by G. Harry Stine
    The Space Enterprise by Philip Robert Harris
    Mining the Sky by John S. Lewis

    *Nuclear Fascism

  3. Why Nuclear Is so risky because one or more of these could happen:

    ~ Tornado strike?
    ~ Earthquake?
    ~ Human error?
    ~ Tsunami?
    ~ Power outage?
    ~ Pipe break?
    ~ Test gone wrong?
    ~ Old fuel issues?
    ~ Terrorist attack?
    ~ Hurricane?
    ~ Plane crash?
    ~ Heavy rains/River floods?
    ~ Metal Fatigue?
    ~ Nuclear Ransom?
    ~ Solar Flair?
    ~ EMP?
    ~ Lightning?
    ~ Dam Failure?
    ~ Fire?
    ~ Operator suicide?
    ~ Jihadist?
    ~ CME?
    ~ Carrington Effect?
    ~ Cyber-warfare?
    ~ Meteror?
    ~ Aliens?
    ~ Volcano/Eruption?
    ~ Stuxnet ?
    ~ Bad Luck?
    ~ Murphy’s Law?

    … Just to name a few possibilities of how NPP’s can fail.

    If the unthinkable happened, where would the USA get the money
    …To pay for a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima
    … And where would everyone downwind relocate to and for how long?

  4. Who wants to RISK having Radioactive Pollution:
    .. Where you live,
    .. Where your children play
    .. Where you garden.
    .. Where you sleep
    .. Where you shop
    .. Where you drive
    .. Where you relax
    .. Where you eat
    .. Where you BREATHE

    Ask The Japanese, they are still living in Nuclear Refugee “camps,” 1.5 years later!

    Ask yourself where you and your Family would BE FORCED TO relocate to and for how long?
    Yuma and or Las Vegas?

  5. Nuclear Energy was left out of President Obama acceptance speech completely but does that mean that President Obama is thinking of going nuclear reactor free like Germany is now doing?

    Future of Nuclear and fossil fuels: Only for Back-up for renewables

    His man thinks N☢T and he has full access to the DNC because he help put it on…

    Will President Obama AGAIN cave in to the Nuclear Industry like he did last term?

    The USA cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima!

    Is the USA any different then Japan when it comes to it’s Nuclear Energy Utilities or has the USA just been luckier?

  6. Great news for CA and it is too bad that these large utilities will not pay homeowners for their energy at what the Big Utilities are getting paid for every WATT generated!

    Why is this rip off allowed?

    The Energy SYSTEM itself that is keeping the US from going Solar (of all flavors) much quicker…

    Many, many more would install Solar if the Utilities paid those that installed Solar for the energy they put INTO the grid, at the very same rate that the Utility charges for that same Energy to folks that take Energy OUT of the Grid! By not paying the same amount, the Utility shareholders receive additional money they do not deserve and the folks that have installed solar end up with a much longer payback period! You can be sure if these Utilities operate their own Solar Farms, they will pay themselves every penny they can…

    Remember Solar usually adds Energy during peak period of use (daytime) and it is only fair that if the Utility charges more for Energy used during that period (by using Smart meters) then they should also credit that exact amount to those with Solar that add Energy during those periods!

    Remember we all already pay an additional fee for maintaining the Grid itself, so this rate ripoff is nothing but a Utility “Profit” Scam…

    Hello Gov. Brown and the CPUC ===> It is WAY PAST TIME to STOP THIS SOLAR ENERGY RIPOFF!

    Why should shareholders get record profits while the only thing rate payers get is ever increasing bills?