California’s 550-MW Topaz Solar Farm is about to begin selling power to regional utility PG&E after nearly seven years of planning, permitting, and construction.
“While Topaz is the first of its kind at this massive scale, it’s actually the first of a series of similarly large solar panel farms that are being built in various locations across California (as well as Nevada and Arizona, too), enabling these states to meet their aggressive clean power mandates and tapping into the powerful sun of the Southwest,” Gigaom reports.
“Topaz is interesting not just because it’s the first of these mega-solar farms out of the gate in California, but also because the project’s history provides an in-depth glimpse into the evolution of the solar industry, and energy innovation, over the last decade.”
The plant, owned and operated by Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary MidAmerican Energy, consists of 10 square miles of solar panels, enough to power 160,000 American homes, Fehrenbacher writes. “From the ground level, looking straight into the solar field is kind of like the fable of the blind man and the elephant—you just can’t comprehend the whole picture.”