San Jose, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 01 November 2010 SunPower “’ leading American designer, manufacturer and distributor of high-performance solar electric systems “’ has announced an agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to design and build a 30-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in the state of Colorado.

In an announcement released here, the company revealed that construction on the project “’ named the San Luis Valley Solar Ranch “’ would begin this year, and if all went according to plan, the plant would be fully operational during the course of 2011.

The statement said Iberdrola Renewables would be developing the solar ranch, and would own and operate it. The company would sell the electricity under a long term contract to Xcel Energy, for distribution on the region’s utility grid.

It added that the plant would use SunPower E19 solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market, mounted on SunPower(R) Tracker systems, which generate up to 25% more energy per land area than conventional systems and reduce land-use requirements.

This 30-MW PV project is one of many large-scale plants announced in North America this year. Just a few years ago the largest PV plant in the world was 18 MW. Now it’s common to see projects anywhere in the 10-30 MW range. At the beginning of October, Enbridge and First Solar announced the completion of an 80-MW plant, the largest in the world. Shortly after, Enbridge and First Solar said they would build a 150-MW project in Arizona.

SunPower has more than 600 megawatts of large solar power systems installed or in the pipeline around the world, which includes Africa.