Solar Powering Thousands of Homes, Unprecedented Time for Photovoltaic

California Edison is building a large solar plant at the North end of the central valley. With a footprint of nearly 1,000 acres it is not the largest solar installation being installed in California, but its a biggie! The plant is a godsend for SCE because it drives it closer to that magic goal of 33 percent of electricity supplies from renewables like solar by 2020.

The large solar project will reportedly generate enough electricity to power about 72,000 homes. Built by a San José solar installer, the plant will go up along with another 25 mega watt solar plant designed to help power the Modesto Irrigation District.

“This is an unprecedented time for solar photovoltaic,” Marc Ulrich, SCE’s vice president for solar and alternative power, said in a news release. “We’re seeing growth in technological advances and manufacturing and installation efficiencies that result in competitive prices for green, emission-free energy for our customers.”

The solar plant would be built on ranch land straddling the California Aqueduct just upstream of where it feeds into the San Luis Reservoir. The site is owned by River East Holdings of Sacramento, according to county records.

This week’s solar plant announcement reflects the growing value of solar photovoltaic technology as a reliable, cost-effective energy resource delivered across rooftops or as a central-station power plant.

The MID has agreed to pay 17 cents per kilowatt-hour for the power, about twice what it pays on average for all sources. The solar array would meet just 2 percent of annual demand but could be useful on summer afternoons and evenings, when demand peaks, broken power grid flow threatened and outside power is costly.

Source: Sacramento Bee