With a project as vast as the Solar Ranch One, located in the Antelope Valley in Kern County, First Solar needed the project to progress smoothly and without major delays. There have previously been delays in the projects construction permit which in turn delayed a US$646 million Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee for the project.
However news today that an agreement regarding building codes and health and safety requirements has been reached with local officials should allow the project to go ahead. The sale of the project, to Exelon, was previously in doubt over the delays in the DOE guarantee. It was resolved when the loan's funding began on April 5.
Work on the Antelope Valley project, in the south of California, began in August 2011 and the 400 workers on the project had been furloughed while the county approvals were pending. First Solar said that it now expects staffing to ramp up over the next few weeks.
First Solars Jim Lamon said that the collaborative process leading to the agreement will pave the way for the development of future projects. "As the first utility-scale solar PV project in Los Angeles County, this was the county's first opportunity to apply its codes to a facility of this magnitude, which required significant time and effort for everyone involved," Lamon said.