MidAmerican, First Solar reach milestone at 550-MW solar project

MidAmerican Solar and First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) on Oct. 9 marked a major milestone at the Topaz Solar Farms project, located in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.

The five millionth solar module was just installed on one of the largest solar projects under construction in the world. When complete, the 550-MW (AC) project will include more than 8 million photovoltaic modules. The first solar module was installed in May 2012.

“The installation of the five millionth module is a major accomplishment for everyone involved with the project,” said Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar. “A project of this magnitude requires extraordinary teamwork – from local communities and government and environmental leaders to contractors and suppliers – to ensure it is successful in safely and reliably delivering renewable energy to California.”

The Topaz project is owned by MidAmerican Solar and being constructed by First Solar, which also will provide operations and maintenance services. Construction began in late 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2015.

“First Solar is no stranger to setting records, and Topaz Solar Farms is no exception,” said Georges Antoun, First Solar’s Chief Operating Officer. “Installation of the five millionth module not only marks a major milestone for the project, but it’s the first time First Solar has installed that many modules at a single solar site. We are incredibly proud of the hard-working men and women who work daily to integrate utility-scale solar energy into the landscape of the Carrizo plains.”

Pacific Gas and Electric will purchase the electricity from the Topaz project under a 25-year power purchase agreement, helping California meet its mandate to generate 33% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

MidAmerican Solar is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables and is headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. MidAmerican Solar’s projects include: the 550-MW Topaz Solar Farms; the 579-MW Solar Star projects, which are two projects co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties, Calif.; and a 49% ownership interest in the 290-MW Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Ariz.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic solar systems that use its advanced thin-film modules.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.