Hello Desert Sunlight

Another huge solar panel farm opens in California

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Just months after the world’s largest solar panel farm, called Topaz, was turned on outside of San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Monday a similarly-large solar panel farm is being officially dedicated in Riverside County. The solar farm is called Desert Sunlight, and it — like Topaz — has enough capacity for 550 MW, and can produce enough solar electricity for 160,000 homes.

The Topaz solar farm.
The Topaz solar farm.

Desert Sunlight, which was was quietly finished in mid-January, was installed on land managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, and, like Topaz, is using solar panels from First Solar. NextEra Energy, GE Energy Financial Services and Sumitomo Corporation of America own Desert Sunlight and the project used guarantees from the U.S. government to back $1.4 billion in loans.

The U.S. government’s loan program took the opportunity of the Desert Sunlight dedication to tout how its loan guarantees helped spur the market for utility scale solar in the Southwest of the U.S. A release notes: “LPO helped finance the first five utility-scale PV projects larger than 100 MW in the U.S. With Desert Sunlight now fully operational, all five projects are online, generating clean electricity and repaying loans.”

To read more about why these huge solar panel farms are being built and how they work check out:

Special report: How the rise of a mega solar farm shows us the future of energy

4 Responses to “Another huge solar panel farm opens in California”

  1. Resourceguy

    All true and wonderful to see from the sector leader. But the public needs to know that there has been an admixture of subprime solar players like Solyndra and Ivanpah subsidized on the back of these cost leaders like First Solar. And that parasitic policy arrangement will continue in the other subtext of pushing for continuance of the 30 percent ITC tax credit beyond 2016. Now you know the rest of the story.

    • A blog post about solar energy receives a comment about Solyndra? It must be a day that ends in Y.

      I’m glad you’re performing the wonderful service of informing the public about Solyndra because I’m sure none of GigaOM’s readers would have ever known about it otherwise.

        • Wait, are you accusing me of being a “message manager pro”? That is so hilariously off that I think it must be parody.

          I am in fact just a guy in Baltimore with no particular expertise in solar energy or finance. All I can tell you is my personal opinion which is that harping on Solyndra causes me to tune out the rest whatever is being said. Especially when it opens with “the public needs to know” about Solyndra. The public is pretty darn well aware of Solyndra, and if you want us to pay attention to whatever your issue is, I’m sure you can get that idea across without tossing around a name that has become synonymous with partisan hackery and political football.