Market Research and Insight

More than 150,000 multicrystalline solar panels from Suntech Power Holdings are now generating energy at two new solar power plants in central California. The...

More than 150,000 multicrystalline solar panels from Suntech Power Holdings are now generating energy at two new solar power plants in central California.

The 15-megawatt (MW) plant in Five Points and the 20-MW facility in Helm were both built and engineered by Cupertino Electric Inc.’s Energy Alternatives Division.

Construction of the two fast-track projects began just this past April. Both plants were designed and built by Cupertino Electric for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) under the utility’s five-year, 500MW clean-energy initiative.

“Solar is one of the fastest generation assets that you can build, as demonstrated by Cupertino Electric with these two well-designed and well-executed projects,” said Mick McDaniel, vice president of the utility sales division for Suntech America. “Although the economics will continue to improve, solar technology is ready today to provide cost-effective, large-scale solutions for electricity generation.”

Suntech is currently the world’s largest producer of solar panels for residential, commercial, industrial and utility applications.

PG&E’s 500MW clean-energy program calls for up to 250MW of utility-owned solar generation. With the opening of its 15MW Five Points station, 20MW Stroud station and 15MW Westside plant, the utility has now completed its first 50MW of utility-side solar power plant construction. It aims to build up to 50MW of new solar capacity per year through 2014.

Once completed, PG&E’s the solar PV program is expected to generate enough green power to meet the needs of about 150,000 homes in the northern and central California service area.

Dan Ilett