By Tracy Correa
FIVE POINTS — Fresno County’s west side now gleams with more than 200,000 solar panels that will soon generate enough clean energy from the sun’s rays to power up to 15,000 homes.
Three new PG&E-owned photo-voltaic solar stations were dedicated today (Sept. 29) with a symbolic flick of a switch at one of the sites in the farming community of Five Points. The plants – with a combined output of 50 megawatts – are the first utility-scale and owned photovoltaic solar generating stations for PG&E.
The dedication celebration included PG&E President Chris Johns and other company representatives, elected officials such as U.S. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and community members.
“As California moves into its clean energy future, programs like this are providing local benefits, including green jobs, for the communities we serve,” Johns said.
Costa, who addressed the crowd at Thursday’s event, said the solar energy project represents, “Not only a great day for California, but a great day for the Valley.”
The three sites include the 15-megawatt Westside Solar Station, the 15-megawatt Five Points Solar Station and 20-megawatt Stroud Solar Station. They were built at a cost of about $255 million.
Solar is a critical piece of PG&E’s commitment to deliver more green power to customers and meet the state’s mandate of providing customers with a third of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
The three new stations represent the first phase of a five-year, 500-megawatt program aimed at building PG&E’s power generation portfolio. Half of the 500-megawatts will come from PG&E-owned sites and the other half from those built by independent developers.
Once complete, the 500-megawatt program will generate enough green power to meet the needs of about 150,000 homes. Click here for a video version of this story.