OptiSolar Optimism

Topaz Solar Farm contract with PG&E approved by the CPUC.

With “CPUC TAKES ANOTHER STEP TOWARD STATE’S RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL WITH APPROVAL OF PG&E RENEWABLE CONTRACT”, the CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION last week approved the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Topaz Solar Farms LLC, a subsidiary of OptiSolar Inc. Please see Docket #: Resolution E-4221 for the approved request. PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) is the parent company of Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Under the PPA terms, PG&E will purchase 1096 GWh (GigaWatt-hours) of annual electricity production from the 550 MWp (MegaWatt-peak) Topaz Solar Farm for a twenty (20) year period after a 2.5 year construction phase-in from December 31, 2011 through June 30, 2013.

Although perhaps a formality, this was a spot of good news for OptiSolar after the investment funding setbacks and layoffs I covered in Whither OptiSolar?

The Topaz Solar Farm will be located in the northwestern corner of the Carrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County, California USA, and is the largest utility scale photovoltaic project announced worldwide. Per pvresources.com, the World’s largest photovoltaic power plant to date is the Parque Fotovoltaico Olmedilla de Alarcon in Olmedilla (Castila La Mancha), Spain, with a system capacity of 60 MWp delivering 85 GWh of electricity per year or just over one-tenth the size of Topaz Solar Farm.

From OptiSolar Inc. Topaz Solar Farm Project

OptiSolar began the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application process with San Luis Obispo County in July 2008. The San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Department of Planning and Building maintains a special webpage with the current status and the complete application materials.

Optisolar-Topaz Solar Farm (main page)

Topaz-Ongoing Status Report

Application Submittal
9-15-08 Revisions
Info. Hold Response (11/25/08)

I gained an appreciation for the massive size of Topaz project after reviewing a few of these documents. Wikipedia claims the Topaz Solar Farm will be built at a “cost of over $1 billion.” I don’t think OptiSolar has disclosed the estimated cost but go ahead and guess an installed cost per Watt and multiply by 550 million!

SLO County has a similar webpage for the 250 MWp SunPower – California Valley Solar Ranch project.

So what is twitter good for? I first noticed this tidbit in a tweet by the Green Wombat (http://twitter.com/greenwombat):

California Public Utilities Commission approves PG&E’s contract with OptiSolar for the 550 megawatt Topaz thin-film solar farm. 4:55 PM Jan 29th from web

Other fine green tech content can be found at Todd Woody’s Green Wombat Blog.


  1. Anonymous says:

    It has been Miserable working first solar they treat us like crap every day non stop,every one that works Through CLP FOR FIRST SOLAR will say the same …they have lied to us about lots of things and treat us like monkeys Laying us off when they say they aren’t the same day I can go on and on about this I wish the media would know Everyone that works their are so scared to stand up to them because they are job scared…./

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