NRG brings 250MW CVSR fully online

NRG Energy has brought the 250MW California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) solar PV plant into full commercial operation with electricity output contracted long-term to utility Pacific Gas & Electric.

The initial 22MW went online in October 2012.

NRG in 2011 acquired CVSR from SunPower, the developer, builder and supplier of solar modules for the plant.

NRG now owns 51.05% with the balance held by NRG Yield, owner of a diversified portfolio of contracted renewable and conventional generation, and thermal infrastructure assets in the US.

CVSR received a federal loan guarantee for $1.2bn from the US Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office. The energy generated annually at CVSR is equivalent to that used by 100,000 homes.

NRG and SunPower will jointly operate and maintain CVSR for two years, after which NRG will assume sole responsibility for operating the site.

The project's design and construction approach minimized impacts to the 4,700-acre CVSR site. Solar arrays cover only 30% of the total site, requiring minimal grading and water usage.

"Beyond offsetting carbon emissions and offering clean energy from one of the world's largest solar facilities, this project's design takes a leap forward by integrating the surrounding environment in a sustainable manner," says Randy Hickok, senior vice president of NRG Solar, an NRG Energy subsidiary.

"In addition to its nine solar photovoltaic arrays, CVSR includes a water recycling plant that minimizes annual water use and a plan for protecting and conserving more than 12,000 acres of land in and around the facility."