US: 150 MW expansion of Copper Mountain solar complex

Construction of the 1,100-acre solar plant is scheduled to begin in 2012. The first 92 MW of panels are expected to be in place by January 2013, with the remaining 58 MW in 2015. PG&E has the option to bring the schedule for the second phase forward.

In announcing the partnership, which will triple the output of the plant, Sempra Generation’s Jeffrey W. Martin said, "Copper Mountain Solar 2 is another exciting step forward on our plan to construct 1,000 megawatts of additional renewable capacity by 2015".

San Diego-based Sempra Generation and First Solar installed the first phase of the 48 MW Copper Mountain solar installation, which at present is the largest photovoltaic solar power plant in the country. It was completed in late 2010.

PG&E smart grid plans

Late last month PG&E released its "Smart Grid plan", which will integrate communications, computing, sensing and control technologies into its infrastructure. The plan aims lower costs, increase reliability and to detect and restore outages more quickly. It will also allow households and businesses to reduce their usage through better monitoring. At present SmartMeter systems can view their previous day’s hourly electricity usage online, so they can use electricity more wisely.