SunPower, PG&E sign PPA for 100-MW Henrietta solar project

SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) has reached a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for the 100-MW (AC) Henrietta solar project in Kings County, Calif.

The project is expected to create about 200 jobs during construction, SunPower said in a statement.

The contract is contingent on approval from the California Public Utilities Commission and SunPower’s ability to obtain all necessary permits. SunPower expects construction will being in 2015 and the plant will begin commercial operation by late 2016.

“We are very pleased to be working again with PG&E to deliver cost-competitive solar power at a 100 megawatt scale, while creating jobs and economic opportunity for the local community,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. “SunPower’s world-leading high-efficiency technology and history of reliable performance will maximize the solar energy delivered to PG&E’s customers over the life of the system.”

The contract should help PG&E, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based PG&E Corp. (NYSE: (PCG), increase its renewable energy footprint. California is seeking to go 33% renewable by 2020. Currently, about 20% of PG&E’s delivered power is renewable, said a utility spokesperson. Also, over 50% of PG&E’s power is carbon-free once hydroelectric projects and the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant are included, the spokesperson said.

On a corporate basis, PG&E has recently acknowledged that it is settling some litigation from the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes. The explosion occurred at a residential neighborhood near the San Francisco airport

PG&E estimates the 100-MW solar project will provide the equivalent power required for about 36,000 average California homes.

At the same site as the Henrietta project, SunPower said it is deploying its SunPower Oasis power plant – which is the industry’s first modular solar power block that provides a cost-effective way to rapidly deploy utility-scale solar power. The Oasis power block uses 435-watt solar panels that track the sun during the day. SunPower said this system results in up to 25% more “energy capture” than “fixed-tilt” solar systems.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.