US developer advances 2.7GW California solar mega-plant


US developer CIM Group announced the advancing of development of Westlands Solar Park, one of the largest permitted solar parks in the world.

The park could grow to more than 2.7GW of capacity at full buildout, and provide clean energy to more than 1,200,000 homes.

The park is located on more than 20,000 acres in California’s San Joaquin Valley in western Fresno and Kings Counties and the first phase includes Aquamarine, a 250MW solar photovoltaic project. CIM signed a power purchase agreement with Valley Clean Energy Alliance, a locally governed electricity provider for the California cities of Davis and Woodland and unincorporated portions of Yolo County, for 50MW of capacity, with initial delivery anticipated in late 2021.

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CIM is repurposing selenium-contaminated and drainage-impaired farmland for the facility, which has garnered strong support from environmental communities including the Sierra Club, NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

CIM’s clean energy projects will provide solutions to multiple policy objectives for the state of California’s renewable energy mandate including greenhouse gas reduction and carbon-free energy. Additionally, it is expected that the new park will contribute to economic development in Central Valley communities by diversifying the region beyond agriculture and create a substantial number of clean energy jobs over the development of the entire project.