Topaz Solar Farm

550MW As Compared To Coal and Nuclear Power Plant Output.

About Us /  Projects /  Topaz Solar Farm

San Luis Obispo County, California USA

Located on the northwestern corner of the Carrisa Plains, the 550 megawatt Topaz Solar Farm will produce sufficient electricity to power 160,000 average California homes. The Topaz location was selected after an extensive review of potential sites in California which considered the available solar resource, proximity to existing electrical transmission lines, current land uses, and environmental sensitivities. 

Economic benefits include an estimated $417 million in positive impacts, including property and sales tax revenues for the County, wages from direct and indirect employment, induced spending and supply chain revenues.

  • Enough power for 160,000 average homes
  • Displaces 377,000 tons of CO2 annually—equivalent to taking 73,000 cars off the road
  • Lowest environmental impact of any PV technology
  • No water used for electricity generation
  • Full economic benefits summary
  • $192 million in compensation for approximately 400 construction jobs over a 3-year period
  • $52 million in economic output for local suppliers
  • $14 million in sales taxes during construction and up to $400,000 per year in new property tax revenues
  • Proposed 30kW solar array for Carrisa Plains Elementary School to support solar learning opportunities
  • Cuesta College vocational solar training supported with 5kW array and meteorological station

First Solar is committed to being a good neighbor, working with the community to address issues through open communication. Topaz is sited on largely non-prime, actively tilled agricultural land that has limited productivity. At the northwestern edge of the Carrisa Plains, Topaz is more than six miles from the more sensitive habitats in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. We work to meet the community’s needs by supporting local events and initiatives, offering educational benefits for local schools and universities, and providing information on the Topaz Solar Farm and the benefits of solar energy.

Our Advantage


Ground Mount


First Solar, Inc.

Number Of Modules:



Mid American Solar


Pacific Gas & Electric

Project Size:


Homes Powered:


Cars Removed:


Tons CO2 Displaced Annually:


Project Timeline

  • 2008-2009
  • 2009-2011
  • 2011
  • 2014-2034


APRIL 2008

Topaz proposed by Optisolar


Power Purchase Agreement with PG&E



Start Construction


JULY 2009

Revised Conditional User Permit application submitted


Environmental Impart Report (EIR) finalized and certified



Estimated project operation

Project Status: Under Construction

San Luis Obispo County, California USA View Map

Project Updates

January 31, 2012

MidAmerican Renewables, LLC, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of the Topaz Solar Farm from First Solar, Inc...

February 06, 2014

MidAmerican Energy agreed to acquire the Topaz Solar Farm from First Solar, which will continue building and then operate the facility.

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July 12, 2011

The SLO County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit for Topaz.

February 06, 2014

The SLO Planning Dept. published the Final Environmental Impact Report for Topaz and Recommended approval of a Conditional Use Permit for the project.

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February 04, 2011

First Solar partnered with the GRID Alternatives Central Coast office to install a rooftop solar system for a low-income San Luis Obispo homeowner. First Solar was the corporate sponsor for the installation, and members of the company’s Topaz Solar Farm project team joined GRID staff, trainees from Cuesta College’s Green Construction Program, and community volunteers to install the system on Feb. 3 and 4.

Construction Updates

June 20, 2013

The June issue of The Array. Newsletter for the Topaz Solar Farm Project.

Learn More


May 02, 2012

Solar Plant Brightens The Central Coast's Economy


November 26, 2011

Construction begins on Topaz Solar Farm

San Luis Obispo Tribune

July 12, 2011

Second solar project in Carrizo Plain gets OK

San Luis Obispo Tribune


March 19, 2012

Santa Margarita Community Meeting


Topaz Profile Sheet
Apr 09, 2012
Solar Jobs for Veterans

Solar Jobs for Veterans: Andrew Clark

Solar Jobs for Veterans: Dan Blandford

Topaz office

877.228.3331   (TF Callback Number)
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