Tenaska has commenced commercial operations of a new 130MW solar photovoltaic electric generating station near El Centro in California.
Spanning across approximately 946 acres of agricultural, non-government land in Imperial County, the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South project will generate enough electricity to power around 44,000 California homes.
The project will supply its output to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement signed between the companies in November 2010.
The project is connected to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) through SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink, the new 117-mile, 500kV transmission line built to facilitate the development, generation and transmission of renewable energy in the Imperial Valley.
Owned by CSOLAR IV South, a Tenaska affiliate, the project, which has received approval from the Imperial County Planning Board in May 2011, had begun construction in December 2011 and delivered the first power to SDG&E in May 2013.
First Solar Electric (California), a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, is responsible for operating the facility under a contract with Tenaska.
Developed by Tenaska Solar Ventures, another Tenaska affiliate, the project features nearly two million solar panels from First Solar and has created 500 construction jobs and paid more than $17.4m in sales taxes, including more than $3m in local sales taxes.
Tenaska and its technology provider/contractor First Solar have worked to maximise hiring of local workers with around 70% of the jobs coming from local communities, including Imperial County, Brawley, El Centro, Heber, Imperial and Calexico.
In addition, Tenaska Solar Ventures is developing the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West near El Centro that is expected to commission in 2015. Like Tenaska Imperial South, the Tenaska Imperial West project will also supply its electricity to SDG&E.
Together these projects will help SDG&E achieve 33% renewable energy delivery mandate as required by the California law.
Image: Tenaska begins operations on 130MW Tenaska Imperial South solar project in California. Photo: courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.