Two US companies have decided to team-up to streamline the implementation of five large commercial and public solar power systems proposed for California. GE Energy Financial Services is partnering with solar system manufacturer SunPower Corporation to provide financing for five projects, totalling approximately 8 MW, including a system for Toyota Motor Sales’ Parts Center that will be the largest single-roof solar power installation in the US. The companies are also collaborating on solar projects for HP, Agilent and two county and regional agencies.

The joint venture will also help California to meet the goals of the California Solar Initiative, to install 3000 MW of new solar power generating capacity by 2017.

GE Energy Financial Services is acquiring a majority equity interest in the five photovoltaic projects, which SunPower will design and build, operate and maintain. The GE company will finance and own the systems under the SunPower ‘Access’ power purchase agreement programme, which allows customers to take advantage of the environmental and financial benefits of solar power with no up-front capital costs.

The solar electricity will be competitively priced against retail rates, providing customers with a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices, says GE. Construction of the projects is scheduled to begin in February and be completed by the end of the year.

The five projects are:

• Toyota Motor Sales, Ontario, California: a 2.3 MW rooftop solar power system
• HP, San Diego: a 1 MW rooftop system serving an eight-building printing technology R&D facility
• Agilent Technologies, Santa Rosa, California: a 1 MW solar tracking system installed atop a canopy structure in the Agilent campus parking lot
• Lake County, California: ground-mounted solar systems at three sites, serving a correctional facility in Lakeport and two wastewater treatment plants in Lakeport and Clearlake, totalling 2.4 MW. The project will provide 85 % of the power required by the county’s correctional facility
• Rancho California Water District, Murrieta, California: a 1 MW ground-mounted system, covering 4 Ha.