California's largest solar power plant is now up and running. NRG Solar opened the Alpine Solar Generating Station in early February.
The solar power station, located near the city of Lancaster in Los Angeles County, is a 66-megawatt photovoltaic plant. The energy it generates—enough to provide power to about 53,000 homes at its peak—will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric, with whom Alpine has a 20-year contract.
Officials say the plant, which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 36,000 tons, will not only offer clean energy, but it will do so at the optimum time to help ease the burden people put on electrical systems.
"The Alpine Generating Station is the latest example of our success in developing solar projects that create construction jobs and meet the demands of local utilities for cost-competitive renewable sources of electricity," said Randy Hickok, NRG Solar senior vice president, in a statement. "Large-scale solar generation like Alpine and other NRG solar sites provide clean energy during the hottest part of the day when it's needed most, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and the resulting carbon emissions."
The project also was groundbreaking for Los Angeles County. Dennis Hunter, deputy director of Los Angeles County Public Works, said it was the first project of its kind for the unincorporated areas of the county, and allowed the public works department to develop a new permitting system that will streamline the process for similar projects in the future.
NRG Solar is owned by New Jersey-based NRG Energy. The company has seven other large solar plants either operational or under construction in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Its California-based projects include sites in Avenal, Blythe, and Borrego, and the California Valley Solar Ranch, which are all in the process of being built. Another plant, which will be up and running this year, is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.