Thursday, August 21, 2008

Plans for the largest ever solar-power plants

Original Article

A utility company in the California has inked a deal for two massive solar-panel projects.

San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) agreed last week to purchase power from two solar-panel manufacturers in the state. OptiSolar, based in Hayward, will build a 550-megawatt plant, to be accompanied by a 250-megawatt plant from SunPower of San Jose.

To date, photovoltaics have been relegated to relatively small projects, measured in the tens of megawatts. PG&E's 800-megawatt scheme would exceed the largest solar panel project in operation today by a factor of more than 30, and its power capacity could rival that of a mid-sized coal-fired power plant.

The plants are scheduled to be fully operational by 2013, but are contingent on new transmission lines and the extension of federal tax credits for renewable energy.

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