NRG Energy says it plans to launch construction of its� 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., early next year. The solar power plant will be one of the largest photovoltaic solar power plants in the world, when complete.
NRG’s solar unit could invest up to $450 million of equity in the project, which is backed by a� 25-year power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric for delivery of all 250 megawatts.
NRG will finance and own the Solar Ranch power plant and SunPower will design, build, operate and maintain the facility. Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2011, with a portion of the project expected to begin operating by the end of 2011 and the balance coming on line in 2012 and 2013.
NRG is seeking to back the financing of the Solar Ranch plant with a Department of Energy loan guarantee. The DOE Loan Guarantee Program Office has provided a draft term sheet, which NRG and its advisor are reviewing.
�California Valley Solar Ranch will be an important component of our multi-technology portfolio of clean, zero-emission solar power facilities,� NRG Solar President said Tom Doyle said in a prepared statement. He added: �We are pursuing large-scale photovoltaic projects across the Southwest and working with like-minded companies that can ensure our projects will be exceptionally successful.
Currently, NRG has about 434.5 megawatts of solar projects that are either operating or under construction. Earlier this month G.E.R. reported that NRG Energy could invest as much as $600 million over the next four years to add 500 megawatts to its current solar capacity by acquiring new projects and developing its excisting pipeline.