California Irrigation District Signs PPA with SunPower

SunPower and Turlock Irrigation District
Turlock Irrigation District Diagram.

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) and  announced a 20-year () under which TID will buy clean renewable power from SunPower. To serve the agreement, SunPower is starting construction this month on a 54-megawatt (AC) photovoltaic power plant at the company’s Rosamond site in Kern County, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2016. TID anticipates the plant to generate an equivalent amount of energy to serve approximately 20,000 homes. 

TID estimates the PPA will move the district approximately 7 percent closer to meeting the State of California’s recently increased Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement of 50 percent renewables by 2030. It will also add another significant resource to the district’s already diverse portfolio of certified environmentally-friendly greenhouse-gas-free resources, which include wind, eligible small hydro, geothermal, and photovoltaic solar.

“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 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.”

“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.”

Construction at the Rosamond Solar site, which is located in Kern County’s Antelope Valley, is expected to begin this month on the 54-megawatt plant for TID, as well as on a 54-megawatt plant to serve Stanford University, announced earlier this year. In total, Rosamond Solar may support up to 300 megawatts of solar power generation, creating approximately 350 jobs during peak construction at the site next year.

For its customers at Rosamond Solar, SunPower will design and build SunPower® Oasis® Power Plant systems. The Oasis system is SunPower’s fully integrated, modular solar power block solution for utility-scale solar projects that is designed to optimize land use and engineered for rapid, cost-effective installation. The technology includes SunPower’s proprietary robotic solar panel cleaning capability that uses 75 percent less water than traditional cleaning methods and can help improve system performance by up to 15 percent.

The TID board of directors approved making this solar power acquisition in March of this year after a comprehensive bidding and study process. TID was open to all qualified technologies, with or without storage, and inside or outside TID, and received 129 proposals from 29 different entities.

The capacity of power plants described in this release is in approximate megawatts on an alternating current (ac) basis.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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