NRG Energy Completes Acquisition of 250-Megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch from SunPower Construction Underway; 350 Jobs Created During 2-Year Construction Phase

PRINCETON, N.J. and SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) has completed its acquisition of the 250-megawatt (MW) California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) project from SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB). The acquisition occurred immediately prior to today's financial closing of the project's loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Loan Programs Office.

Construction on the project began this month, with approximately 350 jobs expected to be created in San Luis Obispo County over the two-year construction period.

Once completed, the California Valley Solar Ranch will power about 100,000 homes and will be one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants in the world. NRG also owns five other large-scale solar projects in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

"Large-scale solar installations like California Valley Solar Ranch create hundreds of jobs during construction and—combined with distributed solar on rooftops—contribute enormously to the achievement of California's ambitious renewable portfolio standard," said Tom Doyle, president of NRG's Solar and West Region. "Working with companies that offer cutting-edge but proven technology and solar expertise has enabled NRG to become the leading developer of solar power in the country."

NRG now bears full ownership responsibility for the project, which is expected to begin partial operations by early 2012, with the balance of the project coming online later in 2012 and 2013. SunPower will complete the project's design and construction, working with Bechtel, which is providing balance of plant engineering and procurement services and construction services. Once completed, NRG and SunPower will jointly operate and maintain the project for two years, and then NRG assumes sole responsibility for operations and maintenance of the project.

"The agreement SunPower announced three years ago with PG&E to build the California Valley Solar Ranch launched the first market for central station solar PV power plants in the world," said Howard Wenger, president of the utility and power plants business group at SunPower. "Solar PV power plants produce power at prices competitive with new natural gas peaking plants and will soon compete favorably with combined cycle gas plants as well. While generating affordable, reliable solar power, CVSR and our solar power plant fleet will create jobs, promote economic and health benefits for our communities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are delighted to have NRG as our partner for this new era in energy generation."

The project has received a loan guarantee of up to $1.237 billion from the DOE's Loan Programs Office, which supports the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions. Clean, renewable power from California Valley Solar Ranch will be sold to PG&E through 25-year power purchase agreements that have been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

About NRG and NRG Solar

NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company, owns and operates one of the country's largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company's power plants provide more than 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity—enough to supply approximately 20 million homes. NRG's retail businesses— Reliant Energy and Green Mountain Energy Company—serve nearly 1.9 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers.

NRG Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NRG, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects under development or in construction across the southwestern United States. With major investments in solar and wind power, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure, NRG is working to help America transition to a clean energy economy. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com and www.nrgsolarenergy.com.

Safe Harbor Disclosure

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions and include NRG's expectations regarding the California Valley Solar Ranch project and forward-looking statements typically can be identified by the use of words such as "will," "expect," "believe," and similar terms. Although NRG believes that its expectations are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual results may vary materially. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated above include, among others, general economic conditions, hazards customary in the power industry, weather conditions, competition in wholesale power markets, the volatility of energy and fuel prices, failure of customers to perform under contracts, changes in the wholesale power markets, changes in government regulation of markets and of environmental emissions, unanticipated outages at our generation facilities, the inability to access other financing arrangements, the inability to implement value enhancing improvements to plant operations and companywide processes, our ability to create and maintain successful partnering relationships.

NRG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The foregoing review of factors that could cause NRG's actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements included in this news release should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect NRG's future results included in NRG's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.

About SunPower

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com.

SunPower's Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements are statements that do not represent historical facts and may be based on underlying assumptions. The company uses words and phrases such as "expect," "will," and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements in this release, including forward-looking statements regarding:  (a) expected completion date of the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) project; (b) SunPower's expected completion of project design, construction and maintenance; (c) solar PV plants competing favorably with combined cycle gas plants;  and (d) power to be sold to PG&E through a 25-year power purchase agreement.  Such forward-looking statements are based on information available to the company as of the date of this report and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, some beyond the company's control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements, including risks and uncertainties such as:  (i) the company's ability to obtain and maintain an adequate supply of raw materials, components, and solar panels; (ii) general business and economic conditions, including seasonality of the solar industry and growth trends in the solar industry;  (iii) construction difficulties or potential delays, including obtaining land use rights, permits, license, other governmental approvals, and transmission access and upgrades, and any litigation relating thereto; (iv) the availability of financing arrangements and the company's ability to obtain additional financing; (v) increasing competition in the industry and lower average selling prices, and impact on gross margin; (vi) timeline for revenue recognition and the impact on the company's operating results; (vii) volatility in power prices and solar PV's ability to compete with combined cycles gas plants; (viii) the company's success in completing the design, construction and maintenance of CVSR; and (ix) other risks described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 2, 2011, Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended July 3, 2011 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company's views as of any subsequent date, and the company is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any responsibility to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE SunPower Corp.



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