NRG acquires PV solar project

NRG Energy, through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, has acquired the first and largest utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar project in California from First Solar.

The 21MW Blythe Solar Project will be NRG’s first solar generation facility in operation when it comes online later this year.

Located in Riverside County in south-eastern California, approximately 200 miles (322km) east of Los Angeles, the solar PV field will provide electricity to Southern California Edison (SCE) under a 20-year power purchase agreement. At peak capacity, the site will be able to meet the needs of almost 17,000 homes.

As part of the acquisition of the nearly completed Blythe Solar project, NRG Solar has entered into an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with First Solar to complete the project. Testing is expected to commence later this month and the project will be finished by the end of the year.

The site uses approximately 350,000 PV solar modules, each measuring 2ft x 4ft (60cm x 120cm), manufactured with First Solar’s thin-film semiconductor technology. It covers approximately 200 acres of land and will be connected to SCE’s electrical distribution grid.

NRG also plans to construct commercial-scale solar thermal generation at sites in California and New Mexico. The first of these is anticipated to begin operating as early as 2011.