Since its announcement, Belridge Solar has been one of the most talked about projects in California energy, and on Nov. 7 at the Kern Energy Summit, Aera Energy’s Michael Dixon and GlassPoint Solar’s Tunde Deru provided an update about the state of the project.
After its announcement last year, Aera and GlassPoint have been working together to have the massive project permitted. When completed, Belridge Solar will be the largest solar project of its kind in the United States, generating more than 850 megawatts of thermal energy.
While the project is expected to break ground in 2019, the first phase of Belridge Solar is not expected to come online until as early as 2020. However, the construction effort will create about 500 jobs.
“In general, people were excited to hear about the positive impacts this project will have on our community and how the technology selection and implementation plan has been designed specifically to minimize environmental impact,” said Dixon, who is helping lead the development of the project for Aera.
The update was in front of about 400 people as part of the 12th annual Kern Energy Summit at Bakersfield’s Double Tree Hotel.
Dixon and Deru used a video produced by GlassPoint to illustrate the project’s size and how it would generate steam, but one of the most important elements of the project – reducing emissions, along with the creation of new jobs, was the underlying theme of the presentation.
When completed, on nearly 1,100 acres near the Belridge Oil Field, the project will provide steam and electric generation for the field – reducing Aera’s need for natural gas. The solar project’s mirrors will be enclosed in innovative self-cleaning greenhouses that minimize the impact of dust and weather.
Dixon and Deru explained the project is expected to provide reductions in emissions for the lower San Joaquin Valley – one of California’s most challenged regions when it comes to air quality. The project is expected to eliminate the equivalent emissions of 80,000 cars per year in the region.