One of three solar plants proposed for Carrizo Plain will not be built

A 177-megawatt solar thermal power plant proposed for the Carrizo Plain will not be built.

In a deal announced today, First Solar has purchased the land upon which Ausra Inc. had proposed building its solar thermal plant. The purchase will allow First Solar to reconfigure its Topaz Solar Farm, a large photovoltaic plant it is planning to build nearby.

“The Topaz Solar Farm remains the same size, 550 megawatts, but the acquisition means one less solar project in the region and provides options for Topaz improvements like wildlife movement corridors and minimized use of Williamson Act land,” said Kathryn Arbeit, First Solar business development director.

In a press release, Ausra officials said the sale allows it to focus its resources on being a supplier to rather than a developer of large-scale solar steam generation projects.

An agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric to purchase the 177 megawatts the plant would have generated has been canceled. An application to build the plant with the California Energy Commission will also be withdrawn, Arbeit said.

The cancellation of the thermal solar plant means that there are now two solar plants proposed for the Carrizo Plain area. In addition to the 550 megawatt First Solar plant, SunPower plans to build a 250 megawatt solar plant east of the First Solar site.