SunPower starts construction on the 135 MW Quinto solar project in Merced, California. Under its new holdco strategy, SunPower plans to own and operate the plant for a period of time before potentially selling.
SunPower Corp. has been in the news a lot recently in regards to residential solar. The company has just recently expanded both its solar leasing program as well as its solar loan program. SunPower is no stranger to large utility-scale solar installations either though, having completed phase one of its 579 MW solar star plant earlier this year.
SunPower has now started construction on the 135 MW Quinto solar project in Merced County, California. The system will generate power for Southern California Edison‘s customers under a long-term power purchase agreement. In accordance with the company’s recently announced holdco strategy, and unlike with its larger solar star plant, SunPower plans to own and operate the Quinto plant during, and possibly after, construction.
“The advantages of SunPower’s technology, combined with our global footprint of more than four gigawatts of operating solar systems, give us confidence to deploy a holdco strategy with regard to Quinto,” said SunPower President and CEO Tom Werner. “This strategy allows SunPower to realize the return on investment from the leading power-producing performance of our technology, and reduces the risk to potential buyers if we decide to sell the operational plant.”
Including the Quinto plant, SunPower has more than 500 megawatts of residential, commercial, and utility solar assets under contract around the world, which it may choose to own for a period of time before a strategic sale, or continue to own long-term post-construction. Under this holdco strategy, SunPower expects to improve project margins and drive higher shareholder returns by capturing the material benefit of its low system degradation rates and long-term project life, as well as benefitting from distributions from the project as an equity owner.
SunPower is constructing a SunPower® Oasis® power plant system at the approximately 1,000-acre site at Quinto. The Oasis system is completely modular, using 1.5 MW power blocks to rapidly and cost-effectively deploy the utility-scale project.
SunPower anticipates that about 295 jobs will be created during peak construction of the project, with approximately $80 million in local economic impact. The company estimates that more than $5 million of tax revenues will also be generated as a result of the project. After completion, which is scheduled for late 2015, the Quinto project is expected to generate enough electricity for 40,000 homes and offset almost 135,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.