Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced plans to buy enough electricity to power 400,000 homes from a massive solar park covering up to nine square miles (23 square kilometers) in California's Mojave Desert.This is not one of those flashy but tiny solar power plants - this is the equivalent of a good-sized traditional power plant.
The San Francisco-based utility signed a 25-year contract with Solel Solar Systems, based in Beit Shemesh, Israel, to purchase 553 megawatts of electricity — equivalent to the amount generated by a large coal-fired power plant. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Mojave Solar Park, estimated to cost $2 billion, would dwarf the largest solar plants operating today, which generate less than 100 megawatts of electricity.
Solel, which would build and operate the park, still needs approval from California's Public Utilities Commission, Energy Commission and other state and local agencies. But Solel and PG&E officials said they were confident state regulators would support the project because it would help California reach its clean-energy goals.
"Preliminary research suggests the environmental impact will be minimal," Keely Wachs, a spokesman for PG&E, said Wednesday. The utility supplies electricity to 5.1 million customers in northern and central California.
No pollution and no lining the pockets of people who support terrorists - what's not to love?
And the fact that Solel is based out of Beit Shemesh is too funny. (For the Hebrew challenged, "shemesh" means "sun.")