Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, and Zachry Holdings, Inc., a leading U.S. EPC provider, today announced that they have been selected by Sempra Generation to design and construct the Mesquite Solar 1 project in Arizona.
The renewable electricity generated at Mesquite Solar 1 will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 150 MW (AC), 20-year power purchase agreement pending California Public Utilities Commission approval. Construction on Mesquite Solar 1 is slated to begin in mid-2011, with completion by 2013. The solar facility will create more than 200 local jobs for construction and installation.
Backed by Suntech's power output warranty, the Mesquite Solar 1 solar plant is projected to generate more than 350,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually – enough to power roughly 50,000 homes for decades. That clean electricity could offset roughly 200,000 tons of carbon emissions each year, similar to taking about 40,000 cars off the road or planting 20,000,000 trees. The project utilizes solar panel technology that does not require water to produce electricity.
Zachry will oversee the installation and integration of more than 800,000 Suntech multi-crystalline solar panels at the site. With 85 years of experience, Zachry has managed the engineering and construction of numerous industrial plants across the U.S., typically coal and gas-fired generation projects. The leading EPC provider is now diversifying its energy portfolio of projects to include solar and other types of renewable energy.
"We are excited about continuing our relationship with Sempra and working with Suntech – the world's largest producer of solar panels – to create hundreds of green jobs and promote sustainable economic development," said Steve Dedman, senior vice president of Zachry Holdings, Inc. "When completed this will be one of the largest solar plants in the world. Our participation in this very significant project signals Zachry's commitment to the solar market, and specifically utility-scale solar generation."
The solar power plant will be constructed about 30 miles west of Suntech's new Goodyear, Arizona, manufacturing facility, which will supply a portion of the solar panels for the Sempra Generation project. In addition, Suntech's technical team, working closely with Zachry, will support the execution of the project to meet Sempra Generation's power production expectations.
"We're thrilled to work with Sempra Generation and Zachry to realize one of the world's largest solar projects just down the road from our U.S. manufacturing base in Goodyear," said Steven Chan, President of Suntech America. "This landmark project further substantiates the ongoing expansion of our local manufacturing operations, which has just expanded to a second production shift and 78 employees, up from 40 employees when it commenced operations in October 2010. We will continue to grow our U.S. footprint and work with local partners such as Zachry to facilitate the growth of the U.S. solar industry."
Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, operates and maintains a fleet of natural gas-fueled power plants, and is a leading developer of solar and wind facilities that serve U.S. markets.
"Large, multi-phase solar projects like the 700-MW Mesquite Solar energy complex are at the heart of our renewable strategy," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. "That's why this first 150-MW phase is so important, and why we are pleased to partner with Suntech and Zachry as we begin developing this world-class solar complex."
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Founder, Chairman, and CEO said, "This project demonstrates that the solar industry is offering a competitive, fast, reliable and scalable solution for utility-scale electricity generation. With continued investments in R&D and production capacity, we are targeting to drive solar past retail grid parity in half of world markets by 2015."