Solargen Energy Inc. isn't alone in proposing major new solar-power projects in and around the San Joaquin Valley

Other plans include:

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San Joaquin Solar 1 and 2, a 106-megawatt plant proposed six miles east of Coalinga, would use solar-thermal technology – using mirrors to focus the sun’s heat on pipes, heating water to steam that would spin generating turbines. At night, a biomass plant would burn agricultural wastes to keep the turbines spinning.

Carrizo Energy Solar Farm on the Carrizo Plain of eastern San Luis Obispo County, another solar-thermal plant with a proposed generating capacity of 177 megawatts.

Topaz Solar Farm, also proposed on the Carrizo Plain, using photovoltaic cells to generate 550 megawatts.

High Plains Ranch II, yet another Carrizo Plain proposal, which would have photovoltaic cells mounted on supports that would track the sun to produce 210 megawatts.

And a proposal by Solaren Inc.(a different company than Solargen) to use satellites in space to collect sunlight and beam 200 megawatts of power to earth as radio frequencies to a site in western Fresno County.

Source: California Energy Commission

What they generate

Solargen Energy Inc. is proposing solar farms in Fresno and San Benito counties with a combined capacity of 1,250 megawatts, or 1.25 gigawatts, of electricity.

How do other central California power sources compare?

Friant Dam hydroelectric powerhouse, north of Fresno, 25 megawatts.

Pine Flat Dam hydroelectric powerhouse, east of Fresno, 165 megawatts.

Big Creek hydroelectric facilities near Shaver Lake, 1,000 megawatts, or 1 gigawatt.

Morro Bay Power Plant, fueled by gas, 650 megawatts.

Moss Landing Power Plant, fueled by gas, 2.5 gigawatts.

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, Avila Beach, 2.2 gigawatts.

How much is that?

How many customers can a solar power plant serve? It’s a tricky question. Solar panels only produce electricity during the daylight hours; and power production is rated in megawatts, but customer use is calculated in kilowatt-hours. Any translation is imprecise, but experts variously estimate that one megawatt of electricity can meet the needs of between 500 and 800 homes.

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