250 MW solar ranch offered $1.187 billion US DOE loan guarantee

The offer has been described as a significant milestone for the project which, as Tom Doyle, president of NRG Solar states "will make a substantial contribution to California’s effort to generate 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020."

He continues: "In addition to creating hundreds of jobs and displacing carbon dioxide emissions, the California Valley Solar Ranch will demonstrate photovoltaic technology at a large scale."

As was announced last November, U.S.-based SunPower, which will design, build, and initially operate and maintain the photovoltaic power plant, says construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year, if permitting and financing go ahead as planned. The company adds that a portion of the project should begin operations by the end of 2011, and the balance will come on line in 2012 and 2013.

Up to 350 jobs are due to be created during the construction period and it has been said that the project could inject up to $315 million into the San Luis Obispo County economy.

NRG Solar will later assume all ownership and financing responsibilities for the project, subject to certain, as of yet unspecified, conditions.

When complete, it is hoped the plant will power approximately 100,000 homes, and be one of the largest of its kind in the world.