Massive 58 MW (DC) Photovoltaic Power Project Begins Construction

The Avenal photovoltaic solar power facility consists of three adjacent projects in central California.

Sharp Electronics Corp., a subsidiary of Sharp Corp., announced on Sept. 27 a supply agreement for the 58 MW (DC) (45 MW ac) Avenal photovoltaic solar power facility.

When completed, Avenal will be among the largest of its kind in the world, according to the company.

Avenal consists of three adjacent projects, all located on agricultural land near the city of Avenal in Kings County, Central California. The Avenal Solar Power Facility was developed by Eurus Energy, and is jointly owned by Eurus and NRG Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy.

The power produced by Avenal, enough to power approximately thirty six thousand homes when operating at peak capacity, will be purchased by PG&E under 20-year power purchase agreements approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Construction on the first two projects, Sun City (25 MW DC) and Sand Drag (24 MW DC) will begin immediately and a third, Avenal Park (8 MW DC), is expected to begin construction soon thereafter. When all three are commissioned in mid 2011, they will displace over 225,000 pounds of NOx, 630,000 pounds of SOx and 70,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of removing nearly 20,000 cars from the road. It's expected the project will create up to 200 total jobs during construction and up to 5 permanent jobs.

"This project is one of the largest solar power installations in the world, and one of the largest Sharp has supplied to date. It also marks a significant step forward for California's renewable energy efforts and we are proud that our cutting edge thin-film modules will help deliver clean power to the residents of California," said Eric Hafter, senior vice president for the Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group. "

The panels will be manufactured in the Sharp plant in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.

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