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Landmark solar plant launched in California

Friday, March 30th 2012 9:16 AM
By GetSolar Staff.
Landmark solar plant launched in California Adding to California's thriving solar sector, SolFocus, Inc., Mexican land and real estate developer Grupo Musa and U.S.-based Synergy Technologies announced the launch of a California solar installation in Baja, California, near Tecate, Mexico.

The planned project will install 450 megawatts of solar energy in 50 megawatt tranches. Construction of the first 50 megawatts is scheduled for late 2012 and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2013.

While the solar array will be installed in California, it is also a major development for the renewable energy in Mexico, where green energy historically has been comprised of mostly wind power. Grupo Musa saw the opportunity to provide low-cost energy that is dependable and reduces the country's carbon footprint. The organization will be consuming most of the energy from the solar array, using the initial 50-megawatt installation to meet the energy demands at its various facilities throughout the area.

“The project is in direct alignment with the Mexico and U.S. bilateral clean energy agenda," said David Muñoz, director general of the Baja California State Commission of Energy. "The countries share a common goal of achieving strong economic growth and energy security while addressing climate change and increasing the reliability of energy infrastructure. Mexico has been successful with wind energy, and now this large solar project will support our energy infrastructure and economic development efforts in the very near future."

Muñoz added that the project contributes to Governor Osuna Millan's vision of a sustainable Baja. Marcos Sarabia Rodelo, director of special projects for Grupo Musa, said that Baja faces energy challenges and that he is content with his organization being able to utilize two of its key resources to enhance environmental sustainability in the area.

The project was a collaboration of public and private businesses, with ProMexico and Asian Pacific Development Corporation being among the most instrumental in the execution of the project.

“While Tecate is a solar-rich region, the hot temperatures make it a challenging environment for traditional solar equipment,” commented Synergy Technologies CEO Matt Piell. “We decided to use the advanced, high-efficiency CPV equipment from SolFocus in order to reduce the amount of equipment required, have systems which operate at top performance even in these hot temperatures, and improve the overall financial economics of the project.”

Grupo Musa has been the leading developer in the city of Tijuana, Mexico, since 1948, according to a company press release. The company has built large projects including industrial parks, shopping malls, housing and infrastructure for cities.

“Building on the track record of SolFocus projects in the southwest U.S. and Mexico, this project in Mexico will turn dormant land into jobs and low-cost, reliable electricity,” added SolFocus CEO Mark Crowley. “In the first year of operation we should deliver at least 120,000 megawatt hours of electricity to Baja, California.”

The new project contributes to the record pace at which the Golden State is undertaking solar installation. According to a new study by the Solar Industries Association, solar installations doubled in California in 2011, and the state's total grid-connected solar generation increased 97 percent during the first three months of 2012, according to San Diego news source KPBS. The number of solar installations in California led the country in 2011, serving as a model for other states wishing to increase green energy. Of course, while large projects like the one in Baja are contributing significantly to the overall growth of California solar, residential installations are also playing a key role. Homeowners interested in solar power can search for solar quotes online to estimate pricing and locate possible solar installers.


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