California Valley Solar Ranch construction is finished

Solar panels at the California Valley Solar Ranch.
Solar panels at the California Valley Solar Ranch. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch, one of two commercial photovoltaic plants on the Carrizo Plain, is complete.

And the plant is now fully operational, delivering 250 megawatts of power to PG&E. The plant was first proposed in 2008; construction began in September 2011 and was completed last month.

A larger solar plant, the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms, is also under construction on the Carrizo Plain. Completion of that facility is expected next year.

During its two years of construction, the Solar Ranch project employed 700 people. The energy generated annually by nine separate arrays over 4,700 acres at the plant is equivalent to that used by 100,000 homes annually.

“Into its nine photovoltaic arrays, CVSR includes a water recycling plant that minimizes annual water use and a plan for protecting and conserving more than 12,000 acres of land in and around the facility,” said Randy Hickok, senior vice president of plant owners NRG Solar.