(SAN FRANCISCO –) CalRENEW-1, the first utility scale photovoltaic solar farm to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) under the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard program, has received all required environmental approvals and is now shovel ready, announced Bill Barnes, CEO of Cleantech America, Inc., the project developer. The solar farm, which could begin generating zero emission, renewable power as early as the end of 2009 and no later than April 30, 2010, will deliver five megawatts (MW) of emissions-free, green electricity annually to PG&E under a long-term power purchase agreement.
To be located in the city of Mendota in California’s Central Valley, CalRENWE-1 will provide air quality benefits to Fresno County while creating needed green jobs. Photovoltaic solar has been found to create more jobs per megawatt of capacity than any other energy technology, according to a University of California-Berkeley study. Job creation is particularly key in California’s Central Valley, where the jobless rate, historically high, has recently soared to 41 percent, largely due to a three-year drought.
In an effort to stimulate green jobs growth, Cleantech America, Inc. is working with the City of Mendota to develop programs to re-train area residents to become solar installers. The firm has pledged $20,000 toward that effort.
“CalRENEW-1 is the exact type of shovel ready renewable energy project President Obama and the U.S. Department of Energy are encouraging to jump-start the American economy,” Barnes noted. “Having passed the final environmental review, we are now ready to advance to project finance and construction.”
CalRENEW-1 was deemed to have no significant environmental impact under the California Environmental Quality Act. That ruling had been anticipated, Barnes said, since photovoltaic solar is the ultimate source of environmentally clean renewable energy. Photovoltaic solar creates no emissions, uses minimal water, requires no hazardous materials use or storage, and has virtually no visual or noise impact.
CalRENEW-1 will be one of the most advanced photovoltaic solar facilities in the world, helping California meet its stringent renewable energy and carbon reduction goals. Avoided emissions from CalRENEW-1 will be an estimated 6.3 million lbs/year of CO2, the primary source of global warming and climate change, plus 6,905 lbs/year of NOx and 5,451 lbs/year of SO2 (source: EPA eGRID2002 database).
Courtesy Cleantech America Inc.