Secondly, a new solar power plant announced today will enable the university to use 100% renewable electricity by the end of the year, in line with long-term planning objectives. The facility, known as the Stanford Solar Generating Station, is part of a $1.2 billion 20-year solar energy plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below the peak by 2050 under the renewable energy target set in the university's long-term planning process. The new station will complement the solar energy on the campus roof, which was connected to the grid in 2016 and will be connected to the grid by 2017. With 167 megawatts and 930 acres, the 167 megawatt solar plant in Stanford will be the largest solar plant in California and the second largest on the West Coast.
A February 2012 report by Defenders of Wildlife said 59 solar projects in the Central Valley are under review for permits and planned to be built. If all are built, the project would generate 2,780 MW of electricity, according to the California Department of Energy. In the same county, 45 projects have already been approved, with a capacity of 1,648 MW, and in the southern Central Valley, another 109 solar projects are pending, totaling 1.5 million square feet of solar power. A third project, a 2.2 megawatt solar power plant in San Bernardino County, is under licensing and testing and is currently being built at a cost of $4.4 million, which is $1 million more than the new Stanford project.
Recurrent has built eight solar projects the size of utilities in Kings County, which are the fastest in California solar development, according to the California Department of Energy. This reflects a recent report by Defenders of Wildlife, which explores the potential that solar projects could replace productive agricultural land.
Mesquite 3 solar farm in Arizona that will power more than 1,000 homes and businesses in Southern California and Arizona. The solar park is being built in the Mojave Desert south of Los Angeles County and, according to Recurrent, the project site covers about 1.5 million square feet of land.
It is located within the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ), which was identified and supported by the California Energy Commission (CEC). It is part of California's largest renewable energy development area, which manages more than 1.5 million square feet of land in Southern California.
In addition, 13 solar thermal power plants with a total capacity of 441 MW are planned in the Lemoore area. The cumulative installed capacity will reach 4,41 MW by 2020, dwarfing the 354 MW solar thermal capacity at the current location. In addition to the 1.5 million square meter renewable energy development area, two new photovoltaic projects with a total capacity of 354 MW and three new wind farms have been built.
The solar park will supply more than 750,000 households with clean energy and offset 3.2 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. As a result of the recycling program, the Meridian solar project will be at least 98% sustainable. This means that enough clean, renewable electricity is produced each year to meet the university's annual electricity consumption. By 2019, it will have produced enough electricity to produce 1.5 million square meters of renewable energy annually.
McCarthy was elected the leading solar energy expert in the United States in 2010 for his work on the Meridian solar project.
In 2013, McCarthy's renewable energy group completed the Meridian Solar Power Plant in Meridian, California, which is one of the largest photovoltaic plants of its kind in California. Solar power plants with an output of over 1,000 megawatts (MW) per year are the second largest solar power plant in America and the third largest in North America, behind only the California Solar Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Power Authority (CAPA). One of these large photovoltaic plants is being built by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
The electricity from the Meridian Solar Power Plant will be sold to local customers by a company called Recurrent Energy, and the proceeds will be used for the maintenance and service of the new solar farm. Recurrence Energy is not only building 167 megawatts of solar power, but is also leasing a 1,000-megawatt solar power plant in Sacramento, California.
Consumers who want to buy solar panels instead of leasing them can now rely on loans from many different companies. The purchase of solar panels is often preferable to leasing, because this way the costs of the solar panels can be kept as low as possible and the credit goes instead to the lessor, who can then lease it. Applications for solar loans are made through a solar plant company acting as a distributor for the financing company.
Solar pays off for the home buyer, but is often not paid for by the solar system company itself. Solar cell kits for self-build are a cost-effective way to reduce installation costs by about 50% without installation companies. But even a small solar panel kit can reduce your electricity bill, which brings money back into the household.