April 29, 08
OptiSolar to Build World’s Largest (550MW) Thin Film Solar Plant

OptiSolar is developing the world's largest solar power plant of any kind, a 550- megawatt photovoltaic thin film solar farm in San Luis Obispo County, California. Located on the northwestern corner of the Carrisa Plains, this project will produce sufficient electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 190,000 average California homes. When compared to a fossil-fueled power plant, this represents the equivalent of taking about 90,000 cars off the road. The project will contribute to San Luis Obispo County’s and the State’s important objectives for clean, renewable energy sources. California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires that utilities secure at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2010. The State has also set a goal of increasing renewables to 33 percent by 2020.

OptiSolar intends to submit an application to San Luis Obispo County for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in May. Construction is targeted to begin in 2010, after completing the local approval process. Installation of panels on nine and one-half sections of land will occur over up to three years. Peak activity will involve up to several hundred workers. Ongoing operations, largely security and monitoring, will require a small team. OptiSolar seeks to work with local construction firms and suppliers to provide local employment and economic benefits. This farm will provide California with clean, renewable electricity generated by solar panels made with OptiSolar's proprietary manufacturing process for thin-film PV technology. Our solar farms are quiet, low profile, emission-free, and non-polluting.

OptiSolar’s technology enables low-profile solar panels to be placed on ballasts on the ground with minimal grading. Like solar panels on a home, these panels produce electricity directly from the sun without moving parts. As a result, they avoid the need for large structures that turbine-based systems require, and do not result in the noise associated with such systems. OptiSolar's thin-film design requires only about 1% of the silicon used in crystalline systems.

OptiSolar’s solar photovoltaic modules and systems are specifically designed to responsibly, reliably, and inexpensively deliver solar electricity on a large-scale. Their solar farms contain PV solar panels that convert sunlight directly to electricity. The farm will produce the greatest amounts of electricity on hot, sunny summer days, when electricity demand often reaches its peak. Our teams will mount the PV panels in rows near ground level, minimizing visual impact.

This location was selected after an extensive review of its solar resource, availability of necessary land, proximity to electrical transmission lines, existing land uses, and environmental sensitivities.

The farm will operate with little maintenance after construction. Electricity from our panels will be interconnected to the electrical transmission system, just like any other generation source. When completed, the solar farms will feed high-quality solar electricity into California’s electricity system.

OptiSolar systems are an environmentally sensitive method of producing power, containing no toxic materials, utilizing essentially no moving parts, consuming no fuels and creating zero emissions or water pollution. The materials that make up the solar farms — mostly glass, metal and concrete — are recyclable.