May 24, 2024
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New backer for SLO solar project


A new financial backer is pursuing federal loan backing for the smaller of the two utility-scale solar farms slated for the Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County.

New Jersey-based NRG Solar said it has partnered with SunPower Corp., the San Jose company that has been shepherding the California Valley Solar Ranch through the approval process. California Valley was planned to produce 250 megawatts of power, but county planners have recommended trimming its footprint and reducing the output to 175 megawatts.

In a news release issued Nov. 30, NRG said it plans to invest up to $450 million of equity in the project over the next four years. The project is also seeking a federal loan guarantee from the Department of Energy and has received a draft term sheet, clearing an early hurdle, NRG said.

The other project for the Carrizo Plain is the Topaz Solar Farm. It was slated to product 550 megwatts, but a recently released draft environmental review suggests a smaller, 400-megwatt installation.

In both cases, rare wildlife on the remote plain has raised concerns among planners and environmentalists.

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