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Large solar power plant now under construction in Crook County

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Is expected to be the biggest plant in Oregon once completed and create about 300 construction jobs

Construction recently began on a new solar power plant in Crook County that once completed will be the largest in the entire state.

SunPower Corp., which is headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, announced construction has started on the 56-megawatt Gala Solar Power Plant. The project is expected to create approximately 300 jobs during peak construction.

"I've often said that in Oregon, we don't believe economic development and environmental stewardship are mutually exclusive ideas," said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. "The approximately 300 jobs expected to be created by the Gala Solar Power Plant are proof we can grow our rural communities and support a vibrant and innovative renewable energy industry."

SunPower's third-generation SunPower® Oasis® platform for solar power plants will be installed on the site to maximize the project's long-term energy production. The Oasis platform is a complete power plant solution that installs quickly and optimizes site utilization to lower the cost of energy for customers. Product features include 50 percent fewer parts than conventional solar plant systems and an integrated solar tracker design that streamlines construction and reduces operations and maintenance costs.

"While solar is cost-competitive today, SunPower is continuing to drive the cost of energy down through innovation and integrated complete solutions such as our Oasis platform," said Ty Daul, SunPower vice president, Americas Power Plants. "We're pleased to contribute to economic development in Oregon with the construction of this milestone project."

Crook County Assistant Planning Director Ann Beier points out that solar power projects deliver a range of regional benefits, including job creation and affordable emission-free power.

"We are proud that, working in partnership with SunPower on the Gala Solar Power Plant, Crook County is helping lead the way in Oregon in supporting increased solar development," she said.

SunPower has contracted with Moss, an award-winning national construction firm ranked among the top building and solar contractors, as the general contractor for the project.

"We are excited about the new generation of SunPower's revolutionary Oasis tracker system," said Mike Little, executive vice president at Moss. "This system dramatically simplifies utility scale solar. SunPower has optimized every component of the power plant, reducing not only components costs, but construction installation costs."

The Gala Solar Power Plant is the first to begin construction in Crook County, but it is not the only solar project that has received land use approval for a solar project. Crook County has approved five other projects that could at some point come to fruition. In addition, discussions have emerged at the City of Prineville as well following interest in city property from solar power developers.