The project size of the Topaz Solar Farm is 550 megawatts, which is enough to power 160,000 California homes. It is located on the northwestern portion of the Carrisa Plains, San Luis Obispo County, California. The location was chosen after a thorough review of potential sites in the state. Some of the factors that were considered include current land use, environmental concerns, available solar resources, and proximity to existing electrical transmission lines.
Reports have said that the solar farm has more than nine million photovoltaic panels mounted across 9.6 square miles of land. When fully functional, the Topaz Solar Farm displaces more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. The amount is equal to removing almost 100,000 cars off the road.
The Topaz Solar Farm has provided around 400 construction jobs for over three years, which are worth more than $190 million. Local suppliers have earned around $50 million from the project. Around $14 million in sales taxes were generated during the construction, and up to $400,000 a year in new property tax revenues will be collected from the renewable energy project.
Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the electricity from the solar farm under a power purchase agreement. The agreement is said to last for 25 years. Utilities in California have been mandated by law to get a third of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.
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