A construction project has launched and the project’s developers are calling it the world’s largest solar project because it’s taking place on more than 3200 acres across the Kern – Los Angeles County line. This is west of the town of Rosamond and the Antelope Valley. The projects are known as Antelope Valley Solar I and II, and they are being built for Warren Buffett’s Phoenix-based energy development business known as MidAmerican Solar.
Let’s not confuse this project with the nearby First Solar development Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, which had very serious dust control violations on the site and the project was halted by officials from Los Angeles County. Even though the local population probably has more of a dislike for the First Solar development, Antelope Valley Solar I and II are receiving their fair share of criticism. Residents are unhappy because the development is industrializing a section of the Antelope Valley that was formerly rural. Even though this part of the Mohave Desert was less valuable as a habitat, it still is the home for burrowing owls and other species of a sensitive nature that are part of the Mohave Desert wildlife.
When the project is completed, and hopefully by the expected time of 2015, both of the photovoltaic panels combined from each project will be able to put out a maximum of 579 MW of power sent to the utility company Southern California Edison. Also, MidAmerican Solar believes that the project is going to create 650 temporary jobs. It also says that they will pump $500 million into the Antelope Valley economy.
SunPower is building this project for MidAmerican Solar, and they plan to incorporate single axis tracking mounts so they could properly aim the photovoltaic panels in a more direct line of sight with the sun, and this should increase the output of the plant by the claimed 25%.
“The Antelope Valley Solar Projects are already creating needed jobs and economic opportunity in local communities, while at the same time, providing direct, long-term environmental benefits,” Paul Caudill tells us in a press release. He is the president of MidAmerican Solar.
MidAmerican Renewables is the parent company of MidAmerican Solar, and they are a subsidiary of the main company known as MidAmerican Energy Holdings, based out of Des Moines, Iowa. And last but not least, the total head company is Berkshire Hathaway, which is owned by Warren Buffett. At the time of this writing, MidAmerican Solar currently owns the 550 MW Topaz solar project taking place in San Luis Obispo County. They bought Antelope Valley Solar I and II in January.