San Diego, March 10, 2011 — San Diego Gas and Electric and a unit of Tenaska Solar Ventures, announced a 25-year contract for up to 150 MW of solar energy to be generated at the Imperial Solar Energy Center West’s proposed 1,057-acre solar energy facility near El Centro, Calif.
The solar power plant will use Soitec’s Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology. In connection with the project’s 25-year contract, Soitec, a company with headquarters in Bernin, France, will build a new factory in the San Diego region to manufacture proprietary CPV modules.
With an annual production capacity of 200 MW, the new manufacturing facility will also have the ability to supply other utility-scale solar power projects throughout the United States’ desert southwest. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego area operations will generate up to 450 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs.
The ISEC West project will connect with SDG&E‘s Imperial Valley substation and its renewable solar energy will be transmitted over the utility’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, currently under construction and slated for completion in 2012.
This project will create nearly 300 construction jobs in the Imperial Valley during the two-year construction period. The project will produce enough renewable solar energy to serve more than 55,000 households a year.
Last November, SDG&E signed a contract with another subsidiary of CSOLAR Development for up to 130 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity to be constructed on a 900-acre site in the southern part of Imperial County called the Imperial Solar Energy Center South. That project is slated for completion in 2014 and is expected to bring up to 250 new construction jobs to Southern California.
LightSource Renewables, LLC, was the originator of the ISEC South and West projects and continues to provide services to the project.
The ground-mounted 2-axis tracking concentrated photovoltaic solar power generating system employed at ISEC West will convert sunlight directly into electricity with panels that do not produce noise or emit any greenhouse gases.
The contract requires approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.
The ISEC West project has applied for a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee. Upon receipt of the guarantee and closing of its agreement with Tenaska, Soitec will implement capacity investments to construct its San Diego area factory and pursue options for related financing.
The factory location is anticipated to be announced this summer, with completion within 18 months of construction start. Soitec’s delivery of the CPV systems to the ISEC West solar power plant will begin in early 2013 and finish in 2015.
This is the fifth renewable contract, totaling more than 750 MW, SDG&E has signed in the past year that will be transmitted across the Sunrise Powerlink.