SunPower is building 135-MW solar project in California

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) has started construction on the 135-MW (dc) Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, Calif., which is due for completion in late 2015.

The project will generate power for Southern California Edison under a long-term power purchase agreement, SunPower noted in a July 29 statement. Under the company’s recently announced “holdco” strategy, SunPower expects to own and operate the solar power plant during construction.

“The advantages of SunPower’s technology, combined with our global footprint of more than four gigawatts of operating solar systems, give us confidence to deploy a holdco strategy with regard to Quinto,” said SunPower President and CEO Tom Werner. “This strategy allows SunPower to realize the return on investment from the leading power-producing performance of our technology, and reduces the risk to potential buyers if we decide to sell the operational plant.”

Including the Quinto power plant, SunPower has more than 500 MW of residential, commercial and utility solar assets under contract around the world that it may choose to own for a period of time before a strategic sale or continue ownership post-construction during the operational phase of the project. Under this holdco strategy, SunPower expects to improve project margins and drive higher shareholder returns by capturing the material benefit of its lower system degradation rates, long term project life as well as benefitting from distributions from the project as an equity owner.

After completion, which is scheduled for late 2015, the Quinto project is expected to generate enough electricity for 40,000 homes. SunPower is constructing a SunPower Oasis Power Plant system at the approximately 1,000-acre site. Oasis is a fully-integrated, modular solar power block that is engineered to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy utility-scale solar projects while optimizing land use.

Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia.

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.