Solar Star begins partial operation

Owner MidAmerican Solar and SunPower say about 10% of the 579MW Solar Star PV project was successfully synchronized and is now delivering energy to the California grid.

The project – Solar Star I and II – is the world’s largest PV array under development. Construction began last April with full commercial operation scheduled in fourth quarter 2015. At that time, it will provide electricity equivalent to powering 225,000 average-size homes.

MidAmerican Solar, a unit of MidAmerican Energy holdings Company (MEHC), acquired the project in January 2013 from SunPower for a reported $2bn.  MEHC is the energy arm of Berkshire Hathaway, the largest US holding company whose chief executive is billionaire Warren Buffett.

SunPower designed and developed Solar Star, and is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. It also will provide operations and maintenance services for the plants.

Southern California Edison will purchase electricity from Solar Star I and II under long-term contract.

"Utility-scale solar power is a competitively priced renewable resource, and a key part of Southern California Edison's energy mix," says Stuart Hemphill, senior vice president of power supply for the utility.