In a major step in the development of the Imperial Solar Energy Center South, Tenaska Solar Ventures, the solar energy affiliate of Tenaska, has selected First Solar to be the technology provider and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project.
First Solar will provide EPC services, using advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules for the solar generating plant to be located on approximately 950 acres in the southern part of Imperial County.
"The selection of First Solar to design and build Imperial Solar Energy Center South is a significant milestone in the development of new renewable sources of energy for Southern California," said Bart Ford, Tenaska vice president of Development. "First Solar is among the most respected and experienced manufacturers of solar energy systems in the United States, and we are pleased to obtain the company's services for our Imperial Solar facility."
The proposed Imperial Solar Energy Center South will be a ground-mounted PV solar power generating system with a capacity of approximately 130 megawatts (MW) of electricity. PV technology converts sunlight directly into electricity with panels using semiconductors that do not produce noise or emit any greenhouse gases. When operating at peak times, the project will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of at least 44,000 California homes. The electricity produced by the project will be sold under a 25-year power-purchase agreement to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
"We are excited to work with Tenaska on this project, bringing our industry-leading engineering, construction and operations expertise in utility-scale solar projects to the Imperial Valley," said Jim Lamon, First Solar senior vice president of EPC and Operations and Maintenance.
First Solar, formed in 1999 and headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., is a world leader in the manufacture of advanced, thin film PV solar modules, with over 4 gigawatts (GW) of working installations worldwide and factory production of 2 GW of modules per year, and is a premier provider of comprehensive PV solar systems.
The project is expected to create about 250 jobs at peak construction and four to five direct, long-term jobs to support ongoing operations. Construction is expected to begin in late 2011, with commercial operation in 2014.
Tenaska Solar Ventures will manage the Imperial Solar Energy Center South project for CSOLAR IV South, LLC, which will develop, own and operate the project. Both Tenaska Solar Ventures and CSOLAR IV South, LLC are affiliates of Tenaska. Tenaska is an energy company based in Omaha, Nebraska, with a proven track record of developing, constructing, owning, and operating state-of-the-art electric generation and cogeneration plants.