Irvine-based Sunpin Solar is looking toward some major projects for the future, and recently gave a desert project tour to a group of University of California-Irvine professors and graduate students.
The company, whose solar-powered photovoltaic panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity, in January held a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of its 98-megawatt Titan Solar 1 Project in Imperial County, near the Salton Sea and Ocotillo Wells.
The more than $100 million project, some 150 miles from Irvine, is on 569 acres and is expected to be operational by the end of this year, producing enough electricity to power over 26,900 homes annually.
In addition, Sunpin and CNBM Triumph Science & Technology Group in January signed an agreement for the 100-megawatt Vega SES solar energy project, 9 miles from El Centro in the Imperial County.
The development’s cost is said to be more than $200 million. It is scheduled for completion toward the end of next year, and will generate enough electricity to power about 35,900 homes annually.
Upon the completion of Titan Solar 1 and Vega SES projects, Sunpin Solar will be the largest solar developer and the second-largest energy producer in the Imperial Irrigation District.
On March 6, a pair of UCI professors and 16 graduate students toured yet another Sunpin Solar plant, the 96.75-megawatt ColGreen North Shore Solar Project in Mecca in Riverside County.
The plant has been in operation since December 2018, generating enough power for up to 22,300 homes annually.
“We had a great visit to Sunpin’s facility on the North Shore of the Salton Sea,” Earth System Science Associate Professor Steven Davis told the Business Journal. “My class has been studying the drivers and impacts of climate change, but also the potential of renewable energy sources like solar to help California and the world meet our environmental goals. It was fun to get up close to the technology at the Sunpin facility—a tangible sign of progress.”
“We hope we can get to be well known in the local community,” said David Dai, the Sunpin director of asset management—with the UCI tour expected to help in expanding its connections here.
Dai added, “As an Irvine-based leading utility-scale solar developer, we are excited to engage and support the local community through educational programs and workforce development initiatives.”
During the site visit, the UCI group saw firsthand how solar energy is generated, its environmental impact, and how California handles its shift from traditional energy generation to renewable energy.
“We’re not only focused on California as our development area,” Dai said. “We’re also looking aggressively in other places.”
Sunpin Solar was named the No. 3 top solar developer and the No. 25 top solar contractor in the U.S. in Solar Power World’s 2019 Top Solar Contractors list.
The company is developing and building solar projects in states including Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in addition to California.
The March visit was the second educational solar tour hosted by Sunpin Solar for UCI students. Last year in October, a group of students from UCI’s Engineers for a Sustainable World visited Sunpin Solar’s Irvine office for a “Lunch and Learn” presentation before taking a tour at CNS site.
China is a leader in producing photovoltaic panels, raising questions as to whether the coronavirus pandemic that started there will lead to a supply shortage.
“Titan Solar 1 has not received any substantial impacts of the coronavirus issue yet as of today, but we are closely monitoring the situation to make sure that the project is on track,” Sunpin Solar officials said in a statement earlier this month.
For the Vega SES project, the equipment vendor selection is still in discussion since it is an early stage project.