EL CENTRO, California – 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 near El Centro, Calif.
First Solar will be 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. First Solar, formed in 1999 and headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., is a world leader and a premier provider of comprehensive PV solar systems.
“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. “Tenaska is committed to providing an energy source that is sensitive to water use and meets California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard goals.”
He noted that First Solar is among the most respected and experienced manufacturers and builders of solar energy systems in the United States.
“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.
Construction of the Imperial Solar Energy Center South project, which is expected to create about 250 jobs at peak construction, is expected to begin in late 2011, with commercial operation in 2014. Local businesses will benefit economically and the project will contribute to the Imperial County’s growing reputation as the nation’s clean energy capital.
“Where we build projects, we have a large impact on the local economy through contracts with local suppliers and providing jobs to qualified residents. On the last project we built, we were able to hire 85 percent of our workforce locally, and we hope to build on that strong record in Imperial County,” said Doug Biggers, First Solar construction manager for the project. “We pride ourselves on being a good community partner where we do business.”
The facility will be a ground-mounted PV solar power generating system with a capacity of approximately 130 megawatts (MW) AC of electricity. 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).
First Solar has not begun seeking applications for employment yet. When information about job openings becomes available, it will be posted on the project Website, www.tenaskasolarventures.com, and provided to local employment offices.
Tenaska Solar Ventures will manage the project for 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.
LightSource Renewables, LLC, of San Diego, California, provides ongoing development services to the project.
About Tenaska Solar Ventures
Tenaska Solar Ventures, dedicated to developing, owning and operating solar projects in North America, is an affiliate of Tenaska.
Tenaska is an independent energy company headquartered in Omaha, Neb., that develops, constructs, owns, and operates non-utility generation and cogeneration plants. The company also markets natural gas, biofuels and electric power, and provides risk management services in addition to being involved in asset acquisition, fuel supply, natural gas exploration, production and transportation systems, and electric transmission development. Tenaska has developed approximately 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across the United States.
Tenaska’s affiliates operate and manage eight power plants in six states totaling more than 6,700 MW of generating capacity owned in partnership with other companies. Tenaska Capital Management, an affiliate, is the manager of private equity funds with approximately $4.4 billion in assets, including eight power plants (with approximately 5,100 MW of capacity) and multiple natural gas midstream assets, including gas storage, gathering, and processing facilities. Tenaska is repeatedly listed in benchmarking studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having among the best fleet-wide records in the United States for controlling emissions. For more information about Tenaska, visit www.tenaska.com.