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25MW solar power plant for US irrigation district complete

K Road and SunPower complete “world class” McHenry solar plant for Modesto Irrigation District in California

The McHenry solar plant project will add to solar power in California

A 25MW solar power plant for an irrigation district has been completed in the US. The plant in California is for the Modesto Irrigation District (MID), which is located in the state’s Central Valley. It provides electric service and irrigation water and treats surface water for drinking.

US firm SunPower designed and constructed the facility, called the McHenry Solar Plant. The project created almost 150 construction jobs, and is generating the equivalent amount of power for approximately 6,000 homes.

Roger VanHoy, MID assistant general manager of electric resources, said: "The McHenry Solar Project takes advantage of our unlimited solar resource to provide clean, reliable electricity to customers, while helping MID comply with California's renewable energy requirements for utilities. When MID buys power generated from utility-scale solar, our whole community shares the promise of emission-free energy from the sun.”

US independent power firm K Road owns the McHenry Solar Plant, for which SunPower is now providing operations and maintenance services. Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, MID is buying the power generated by the project's solar photovoltaic technology, helping the utility achieve California's 33 per cent renewable portfolio standard.

William Kriegel, K Road's chairman and chief executive officer, said: "The McHenry Solar Plant is a world-class solar project, and represents K Road's commitment to own and operate a diversified portfolio of solar PV generating assets under long term supply relationships.”

The McHenry solar plant is the latest in a line of solar power plants being developed in California, emphasising the state becoming a hotspot for solar energy in the US. This includes the 164 acre Desert Star Solar Project, which is being constructed in the state’s Mojave Desert. Construction started on the project in September.