First Solar, a leading provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) energy solutions, is developing a 280 megawatt (MW) alternating current (AC) solar project located on approximately 2,900 acres of previously dryland farmed, private land in southeast Monterey County, California, near the San Luis Obispo, Kings and Fresno County borders. The California Flats Solar Project is owned by California Flats Solar LLC, a subsidiary of First Solar. When fully operational, the project will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 100,000 average homes per year, displacing over 109,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually based on the PG&E grid—the equivalent of taking about 22,000 cars off the road. The project will also displace over 152,000 metric tons of water consumption annually based on the average California grid. The project site is strategically located to minimize environmental impacts, and is not visible from any public gathering points or majors roads. California Flats Solar Project has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with both PG&E and Apple, Inc. to deliver clean, solar energy for 25 years.
California Flats Solar is currently completing the permitting and environmental review process for the project. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors certified the project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act and issued a Conditional Use Permit for the project on February 10, 2015. The EIR enabled California Flats Solar to complete its state and local permitting processes. California Flats Solar is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to obtain a required Federal Clean Water Act permit and complete associated federal environmental review, which is anticipated by the end of Q4 2015.