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World’s Largest Solar Power Development Breaks Ground

Construction has started on what’s being billed as the world’s largest solar power development, the 579 MW Antelope Valley Solar Projects, located in California.

The development, from MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp., is actually two projects, in both Kern and Los Angeles counties, and is expected to take about three years to complete.

During construction, the projects will employ about 650 people and be responsible for about $500 million (USD) worth of economic impact in the region.

The site covers over 3200 acres, and will feature SunPower’s Oasis Power Plant technology, a modular system that is designed for rapid installation and a minimal footprint.

The system uses SunPower’s T0 Trackers to optimize the orientation of the photovoltaic panels throughout the day to maintain the best power profile, is said to be able to boost the potential energy harvest by 25%.

“The start of construction on the Antelope Valley Solar Projects underscores that solar is a reliable, cost-competitive energy source.” – Howard Wenger, SunPower

According to SunPower Corp., the amount of electricity that will be produced at the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will offset an approximately 775,000 metric tons of CO2 each year (compared to conventional power plant production), which will have the same effect as taking about 3 million cars off of the roads over the next two decades.

Once the plants are online and up to full capacity, they will be capable of producing 579 MW of clean energy, which is the equivalent of powering about 400,000 homes. The projects are expected to be completed by the end of the year in 2015, and Southern California Edison has two long-term power purchase contracts with the Antelope Valley Solar Projects to buy the generated solar energy.

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