|Topaz Solar Farm|
|Location||Carrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County, California|
|Commission date||2015 (expected)|
|Owner(s)||MidAmerican Energy Holdings|
|Solar farm information|
|Land area||9.5 sq mi (25 km2)|
|Power generation information|
|Maximum capacity||550 MW|
|Annual generation||1,096 GW·h|
Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, being built in San Luis Obispo County, California. Construction on the project began in November 2011 and is expected to run through 2015. It is among the world’s biggest solar farms under construction. The $2 billion project will include First Solar’s thin-film panels, and the company will build, operate and maintain the project for MidAmerican Energy Holdings. Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement. According to First Solar, it will create about 400 construction jobs. Annual generation is expected to be 1,096 GWh.
OptiSolar, the instigator of the project, had optioned 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland, In November 2009, First Solar announced that it had purchased options to an additional 640 acres (260 ha) from Ausra's canceled Carrizo Energy Solar Farm. First Solar would reconfigure the project to minimize the use of land covered by the Williamson Act.
The project is utilizing thin-film PV panels designed and manufactured by First Solar. The project would deliver approximately 1,100 gigawatt-hours (GW·h) annually of renewable energy. The plant's power would be generated during the middle of the day, when demand for electricity — and price — is much higher than at night. The project is expected to begin construction in 2011 and be fully operational by 2014. California utilities are mandated to get 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
In late October 2010 the San Luis Obispo Department Planning and Building released a Draft Environmental Impact report.
In June 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy offered First Solar a $1.9 billion loan guarantee to cover part of the financing for the project. The First Solar project was not able to close its conditional loan guarantee with the Department of Energy prior to the September 30 deadline, but it has gone ahead anyway.
May 18, 2012, First Solar announced the installation of the first PV panel.
See also 
- Steve Leone (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Buffett Bets on Solar Energy". Renewable Energy World.
- Contract for Procurement
- Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". The Tribune. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
- Woody, Todd (November 5, 2009). "Ausra Sells Planned Plant to First Solar". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- Sneed, David (November 5, 2009). "Solar power company drops out of plans for Carrizo Plain in eastern San Luis Obispo County". The Tribune. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- Wang, Ucilia (November 5, 2009). "First Solar Buys Land Option From Ausra for Topaz Project". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "Topaz Solar Farm: Timeline". First Solar, Inc. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- "PG&E Signs Historic 800 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Agreements With Optisolar and Sunpower" (Press release). Pacific Gas and Electric. 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
- Sneed, David (2008-08-14). "Calif. utility agrees to buy solar power from two proposed plants". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- "Pirst Photovoltaic Solar Panel Installed on Largest Solar Project in the World" (Press release). First Solar. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
- "Topaz Solar Farm (First Solar/Optisolar) Conditional Use Permit (DRC2008-00009)". Environmental Information and Natural Resources. San Luis Obispo County. Retrieved 23 September 2011.