Sempra Generation announced that three blocks of solar panels totaling 42 megawatts (MW) have been installed at its Mesquite Solar 1 project and are now delivering renewable electricity to the power grid.
Construction on the 150-MW photovoltaic solar installation in Arlington, Ariz., located about 40 miles west of Phoenix, began in June 2011. Sempra Generation anticipates that the project will be completed in early 2013.
Power from the facility is sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company under a long-term, 20-year contract.
The progress at Mesquite Solar 1 moves Sempra Generation closer to its goal of adding 1,000 MW of renewables to its power generation portfolio by 2015. Since announcing the target in early 2011, the company has installed, started construction or secured long-term utility contracts for more than 500 MW of additional solar and wind capacity.
"We have achieved remarkable growth in our renewable portfolio over the past year. The keys to our success have been securing long-term contracts to ensure stable cash flows and executing with world-class partners," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. "In 2012, we will embark upon the most aggressive development program in Sempra Generation's history with multiple utility-scale wind and solar projects in construction."
Approximately 450 construction workers are currently on-site at Mesquite Solar 1 and installing an average of 4,500 photovoltaic solar panels each day. The 900-acre facility, which would cover 680 football fields, will employ more than 800,000 panels to generate enough electricity for about 50,000 homes at full build-out.
"We set an aggressive goal of safely installing 42 MW of solar by year-end, and our construction team delivered," said William Engelbrecht, vice president of planning at Sempra Generation. "This is a large undertaking and one we could not have reached so quickly without the hard work of our contractors Zachry and Suntech."
Mesquite Solar 1 is the first phase of Sempra Generation's Mesquite Solar Complex, a facility that could grow to 700 MW. Concurrently, the company is constructing a second 150-MW solar plant in Boulder City, Nev. called Copper Mountain Solar 2. The electrical output from that project is also fully contracted for 25 years to PG&E.