November 8, 2007 As well as having a reputation for sunshine and acceptance of alternative lifestyles, California is fast becoming a leader in the field of solar energy with more plans unveiled for a new large scale solar plant.
The five megawatt facility being developed in the City of Mendota will sell emission-free photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric. Scheduled to begin operation in the spring of 2009 the plant, dubbed “CalRENEW-1”, will provide environmental, economic and educational benefits to the region, in addition to new jobs creation. Cleantech America, the company behind the new plant, has promised $20,000 to the City of Mendota for a new vocational education program to help train workers in solar power installation and maintenance.
Bill Barnes, CEO of Cleantech, believes Mendota is the perfect location for the plant and the city can be a leader in renewable energy. “While many communities would like to be leaders of the ‘green tech’ revolution, Mendota has the political will and commitment to become a significant clean energy center. And of course, with its great sun characteristics, the Central Valley is ideal for solar power,” Barnes said.
Barnes said CalRENEW-1 represents a template for the rapid growth of utility scale photovoltaic solar power in California. “It has zero emissions, is environmentally beneficial and easily permitted, so it’s available near-term. And it is close to where the electricity is needed, so it can provide peak power when most needed, during the hottest times of hottest days of the year,” he said.
CalRENEW-1 will be one of the most advanced photovoltaic solar facilities in the world. It will utilize a blend of current flat panel and advanced concentrator photovoltaic technologies to help California meet its stringent renewable energy and carbon reduction goals. Cleantech is a San Francisco-based startup with big dreams for the future. CalRENEW-1 is just the first step in their plans to build a number of large scale solar plants in the state of California.
California has about 40 photovoltaic solar power projects of 500 kilowatts or more either planned, built or operating.