Following Agreement, Solar Plants Begin Construction

Solar power will now be accessible in Kern County, Calif.

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

A SunPower Oasis power plant

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with SunPower under which the latter will be the clean renewable solar power provider for TID.

“This power purchase agreement puts TID on a clear path to meet both current and future RPS obligations and clean climate goals, as well as continuing a long standing commitment to a diverse and reliable mix of generation resources to serve TID customers,” said TID’s general manager Casey Hashimoto. “While asset ownership has been the approach for nearly all of TID’s other power generation facilities, this long-term power purchase agreement is competitively priced with conventional energy sources and will also allow the district to benefit indirectly from federal tax incentives set to be reduced at the end of 2016.”

In order to accommodate the agreement, SunPower will begin construction this month on a 54-megawatt (AC) solar photovoltaic power plant at the Rosamond Solar site in Kern County. The facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2016 and TID anticipates the plant will generate the enough energy to serve approximately 20,000 homes.

“Today, power generated from solar plants is cost-competitive with power from traditional, fossil fuel burning plants,” said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and president. “SunPower applies its experience building and operating solar power plants around the world to deliver exceptional performance and value for our customers. We are pleased to partner with Turlock Irrigation District to enable more homes and businesses to take advantage of the region’s abundant and sustainable solar resource.”

Besides the project at the Rosamond Solar site, SunPower will design and build SunPower® Oasis® Power Plant systems—a fully-integrated, modular solar power block solution for utility-scale projects. The technology includes SunPower’s proprietary robotic panel cleaning capability that uses 75 percent less water than traditional cleaning methods, while the system performance is improved by up to 15 percent.

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