The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on October 31 that the California Valley Solar Ranch, the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power generation facility, has begun commercial operation, adding 250 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity to the state’s electrical grid. The Ranch will sell electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric.

The plant, located in San Luis Obispo County, uses a new tracking system that increases output by as much as 25 percent, according to the International Business Times. It will also generate enough electricity to power 42,000 homes.

“This isn’t just big news for California,” the DOE said in a statement. “It’s part of a broader clean-energy transformation that is taking place across the country. Solar energy facilities are now producing electricity at the scale of traditional power plants.”

The facility was made possible in part by a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee. It is expected to offset the release of 279,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, about the equivalent of 60,000 cars.

The project was not without it’s own environmental controversy, however. The developers were able to continue with construction only after setting aside land as a wildlife refuge in a deal struck with the Sierra Club.

It’s important to remember that although plants like this are helping to bring more solar to the Golden State, they also take considerably more time to develop and construct. By contrast, rooftop solar energy solutions can be up-and-running in a matter of weeks, delivering savings to customers almost immediately. For more information on how your family can take advantage of these savings, contact West Coast Solar today.