NRG Energy to acquire SunPower solar farm for $450 million

By Todd Woody
November 30, 2010

California Valley Solar Ranch.png

A subsidiary of NRG Energy on Tuesday said it will invest up to $450 million in a 250-megawatt photovoltaic power plant to be built by Silicon Valley’s SunPower on the central California coast.

The New Jersey-based power provider, which operates a fleet of fossil fuel and nuclear plants, has emerged as significant investor in solar projects.

In October, NRG agreed to invest $300 million in BrightSource Energy’s 370-megawatt Ivanpah solar thermal power plant now under construction in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. The company has also struck a partnership with eSolar, a Pasadena, Calif., startup, to build solar power plants in the desert Southwest. And NRG owns a 20-megawatt photovoltaic farm in Blythe, Calif., and has other solar projects under development in Arizona, California and New Mexico.

In the deal with SunPower, NRG Solar will take ownership of the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County and responsibility for financing the project. SunPower said on Tuesday that it is seeking a federal loan guarantee to build the solar farm and has received a draft term sheet from the United States Department of Energy.

SunPower, a solar power plant developer and one of the U.S.’ largest manufacturers of photovoltaic modules, will build and operate the San Luis Obispo project. The company, based in San Jose, Calif., has a 25-year contract to sell the electricity generated by California Valley Solar Ranch to utility PG&E. Construction is set to begin next year and when the project is completed in 2013 it will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes, according to the company.

“California Valley Solar Ranch will be an important component of our multi-technology portfolio of clean, zero-emission solar power facilities,” Tom Doyle, NRG Solar’s chief executive who formerly served as an executive at BrightSource Energy, said in a statement. “We are pursuing large-scale photovoltaic projects across the Southwest and working with like-minded companies that can ensure our projects will be exceptionally successful,”

(Image courtesy of SunPower.)

2 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

this is the kind of stuff that we need more of to help our environment. it may cost a lot of money to start out with, but if others offer to sponsor or donate money, we could have a lot more solar powered farms. it says that it’s powerful enough to power 100,000 homes! that is absolutely insane! it seems like environmental issues like these are not taken into consideration lately and other things have more importance. i think that environmental issues is in the list of top ten issues.

Posted by ellietrent | Report as abusive

[...] deal follows NRG’s agreement to buy SunPower’s 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch photovoltaic project on the state’s central coast for $450 million. That solar power plant will also supply [...]

Energy sources that are economical are very good things.

From what I understand, this project is subsidized via a nearly 2B$ DOE loan guarantee and putting the rate payers on the hook for expensive power does not meet that test. There
may be other subsidies that exist but are not yet announced.

Further, this project soaks up 1000′s of acres of land.

The claim of increasing employment is a joke as the
number of jobs is minimal.

I’m afraid this is just another expensive boondoggle that
the taxpayer and ratepayer ultimately has to pay for.

Posted by DEVASSOCX | Report as abusive