California to Host World’s Largest Solar Project

Posted on 12 November 2012

California to Host World’s Largest Solar Project

California plans to host the world’s largest solar farm, according to Sacramento Business Journal. The construction is already in the first phase, a 266-megawatt solar farm, which began earlier this month. The project is being co-developed in Imperial County by Folsom-based solar developer 8minutenegy Renewarbles LLC. The construction process includes three distinct phases and will eventually reach 800-megawatt, making it the largest solar farm in the world. The project began earlier this month and is estimated to reach $636 million in financing.

8minutenergy’s partner Arlington, Va.-based AES Solar recently closed on the financing. AES Solar is a joint venture between AES Corp. and Riverstone Holiding LLC. Riverstone is an energy and power-focused PE firm founded by acting Senior Managing Director, David Leuschen.

The project, “Mount Signal Solar,” is being built on 1,940 acres of low-productivity farmland and is expected to begin operating in early 2014. Mount Signal is estimated to provided solar power to about 65,000 households under a 25-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric.

“We are thrilled to see the initial phase of this eventual 800-megawatt solar project, and the first of our many solar (photovoltaic) projects under development, begin construction,” 8minutenergy Renewables CEO Martin Hermann said in a news statement. “Mount Signal Solar will begin creating jobs next month, with an emphasis on hiring locally, and peak at nearly 1,000 jobs over the construction period.”

Executives from 8minutenergy said they have worked closely with environmental groups to mitigate biological impacts. The project is being built in the California desert to win the support from leading environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council, according to the company.

8minutenergy identified and entitled land for the project, conducted the engineering work and secured the power purchase agreement. AES will act as the contruction manager and provides the project financing through partners, Riverstone Holdings and AES Corp.

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