Gestamp Solar strikes deal for 50 MW California PV plant

Renewable energy companies Gestamp Renewables – via its subsidiary, Gestamp Solar – and 8minutenergy Renewables LLC have partnered on an agreement to build a 50 MW solar PV plant in California.

State utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Midway Solar Farm project, which will be constructed across 486 acres of low-productivity farmland in Imperial County. Both Gestamp and 8minutenergy Renewables will oversee the development and maintenance of the plant.

"The Midway Solar Farm will create approximately 120 direct and 150 indirect jobs during construction, and contribute to the local economy in Imperial County," said 8minutenergy Renewables CEO Martin Hermann. "We are proud to help California meet its clean energy goals, while also bringing jobs to areas that badly need them.

"The employment opportunities this project creates will help Imperial County, which currently suffers from one of the highest rates of unemployment in the state and in the country."

Construction on the plant is not due to begin until 2015, with a completion date scheduled for 2016. Once complete, Midway Solar Farm will provide clean solar power to 23,000 households in the local community, generating 125 million kWh of power and mitigating the impact of approximately 141,000 metric tons of C02 – the equivalent of planting 5.9 million trees.

According to Gestamp Solar, the plant will use high efficiency solar modules and employ trackers in order to maximize the yield from the sun’s rays. The contract with PG&E swells 8minutenergy Renewables’ project pipeline to more than 375 MW of solar PV under contract, while Gestamp can add the 50 MW to its overall portfolio of 500 MW.

The green light for the project is awaiting final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. "Strong support from state, county and local officials has been instrumental to the progress of this project," said 8minutenergy Renewables president, Tom Buttgenbach. "Along with our partner Gestamp Solar, we look forward to continuing to develop the Midway Solar Farm."