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CalRENEW-1: California’s first utility-scale PV solar project breaks ground

Cleantech America is a leading developer of utility-scale solar projects. A Meridian Energy company, Cleantech America’s first solar project in the US is the 5-MW CalRENEW-1 solar
farm in the City of Mendota in California. STOCKXPERT

Cleantech America, a San Francisco-based developer of utility-scale solar projects, has broken ground on the 5-megawatt (MW) CalRENEW-1 solar farm, California’s first utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar project to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission under the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program.

The solar farm is located in the city of Mendota in California’s Central Valley. Deemed to be one of the largest PV solar projects in California, the solar farm is expected to be fully operational before the end of the year. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has signed a long-term power purchase agreement for all 5 MW of emission-free solar electricity generated by the solar farm.

Cleantech America was recently acquired by Meridian Energy Ltd., the largest power producer in New Zealand, which generates its energy from renewable resources. CalRENEW-1 is Cleantech America’s first solar project in the United States and is expected pave the way for the company’s growth in the US solar market.

According to Bill Barnes, chief executive officer of Cleantech America, CalRENEW-1 will improve air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and demonstrate the viability of large-scale PV solar projects to help California meet its stringent renewable energy and carbon reduction goals.

California’s RPS program requires the state’s investor-owned utilities to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020.

In addition to environmental benefits, the solar facility is anticipated to provide economic benefits. CalRENEW-1 will initially create approximately 65 installation and maintenance jobs and 100 manufacturing jobs. Cleantech America has also pledged $20,000 to support vocational green jobs training for residents of San Joaquin Valley.

Quanta Services, a leading specialized contracting services company, will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the CalRENEW-1 solar project. The project will utilize Sharp thin-film modules, which were recently introduced in the United States.

The solar energy generated by CalRENEW-1 will prevent the release of an estimated 6.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 6,905 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 5,451 pounds of sulphur dioxide per year.

-   Natassia Y. Laforteza

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