GE Energy Financial Services, along with Citi, Union Bank and Metropolitan Life Insurance, has completed an equity investment in the 143MW Catalina Solar photovoltaic plant in California.
In December 2012, the group acquired a minority stake in the project from EDF Renewable Energy after the first 60MW phase went online, and has purchased the remaining stake after the completion of the construction and start of commercial operations of the entire project in August 2013.
Spanning across 360ha south-west of the Tehachapi and Piute mountains in the Mojave Desert, California, the plant features more than 1.1 million alternating-current (AC) thin-film solar panels from First Solar and Solar Frontier.
Located on 1,100 acres of privately-owned land near Bakersfield in Kern County, the project will sell its output to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
The project, which is claimed to be the world's eighth biggest photovoltaic plant, will help SDG&E achieve the California mandate of sourcing 33% of retail electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.
Bechtel was awarded the EPC contract of the project and associated transmission infrastructure, while EDF Renewable Services, a subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy, will provide operations and maintenance services.
The project will generate enough electricity to power around 35,000 homes annually in the region, and will curb nearly 250,000kg of greenhouse gas emissions.
GE Energy Financial Services head of power and renewable energy manager director and head Kevin Walsh said EDF Renewable Energy has turned to be an excellent partner on the Catalina Solar project and other projects they developed together.
"EDF is a partner that shares our commitment to delivering reliable, productive and economic renewable energy projects," said Walsh.