Project Overview

First Solar, a leading provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) energy solutions, is developing and constructing 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. 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 major roads.

The 280MW California Flats Solar Project began pre-construction activities in March 2016, and began full construction in June 2016.

Project Benefits

  • Supports job creation by generating wages and benefits for approximately 300 construction jobs on average and up to 11 ongoing operation and maintenance positions
  • Increases state and local tax revenues
  • Provides over $200M in direct and indirect economic benefits for established Monterey County businesses
  • Generates clean and renewable energy and protects air quality in the region

Community Commitment

First Solar is committed to being a good neighbor through our community involvement and through the environmentally sensitive design of our solar projects. We will continue to engage neighbors, community groups, environmental groups, and business organizations to ensure that California Flats Solar remains a valued and respected business in Monterey County.

The California Flats Solar Project will generate state and local tax revenues, provide wages from approximately 300 construction jobs and up to 11 ongoing monitoring and operations positions, and create benefits for many local businesses. First Solar will seek to provide employment opportunities for qualified local residents.


First Solar’s projects typically have a low environmental impact. When in operation, our systems generate electricity with no water use, no air emissions, and no waste production, and have the smallest carbon footprint of any PV technology. Located on 3% of Jack Ranch in Southeast Monterey County, California Flats is being designed to sit low to the ground and minimize visual impacts. The California Flats site was carefully selected after thorough environmental review. The availability of land near existing electrical transmission lines, the amount of sunlight, and current land uses were also important considerations in the siting decision.


Ground Mount


First Solar, Inc.


California Flat Solar, LLC

150 MW PPA:

Pacific Gas & Electric

130 MW PPA:

Apple, Inc.

  • 280 MWProject Size
  • 109,000Tons C02 Displaced Annually
  • 100,000Homes Powered
  • 22,000Cars Removed
  • 2011
  • 2011-2015
  • 2016-2018
  • 2018

Project Status: Under Construction

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