Infrastructure | Business Focus

SCOA Partners on Desert Sunlight to Bring Solar Power Options to Renewable Energy Market

Desert Sunlight, a large commercial photovoltaic (PV) project, just east of Palm Springs, California is one example of SCOA’s diverse and growing renewable energy portfolio, which includes over 2,000MW in projects across the United States. The solar installation is located on approximately 4,100 acres in the Mojave Desert, and the facility is estimated to create more than 630 jobs at peak construction.

A Light in the Desert  

In 2012, SCOA invested in the 550MW Desert Sunlight Solar project, a photovoltaic solar power farm in California’s Mojave Desert, marking the company’s first U.S. solar power project. The 4,100-acre project is the largest solar photovoltaic facility approved for U.S. public land, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. It will generate enough electricity to supply more than 165,000 homes and displace 300,000 metric tons of greenhouse emissions per year.

Desert Sunlight has secured Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to supply clean energy to customers in California for the next two decades. This project, which was initially developed by First Solar Inc, also received investment from GE Energy Financial Services and NextEra Energy Resources. First Solar, the largest U.S. utility-scale solar project developer, has developed, financed, engineered, constructed, and operated many of the world’s largest grid-connected PV power plants in existence. Matching Sumitomo’s own philosophy, First Solar believes that clean affordable solar electricity is an essential part of the worldwide energy mix. 

From the Ground Up 

Construction of the project began in September 2011, and the facility is expected to be fully operational by 2015. Desert Sunlight, which has an on-Site Solar Energy Learning Center, supports the College of the Desert (COD) Renewable Energy training and educational programs. It will also play a role in developing programs to support renewable energy education in local high schools and elementary schools.

Desert Sunlight matched the company’s philosophy in regards to developing clean energy for the future. This, along with earlier investments in major wind energy projects in the U.S., allows the Company to leverage its local expertise as long-term strategic investors and find strong partners to team up with on other high-quality renewable energy projects in the advanced stages of development or construction.