Tenaska switches to PV for 150 MW California project

Tenaska Solar Ventures subsidiary CSOLAR has decided to use traditional photovoltaic (PV) technology for its 150 MW Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project rather than concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) as initially planned.

Tenaska recently notified San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) that it was switching technologies and on April 10 it informed the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) of the decision. CSOLAR has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SDG&E for the plant.

The move is seen as a blow to French group Soitec Solar, which had been set to provide its CPV technology for the project. However, while the company said it was "disappointed with Tenaska’s decision," it added that the move "does not materially jeopardize the prospects for its North American manufacturing facility in California from which it supplies a worldwide demand for its CPV technology nor impacts Soitec PPAs with SDG&E and previously approved by the CPUC … and currently under development."

In 2011 Soitec Solar signed a number of agreements with SDG&E for five solar projects in San Diego County with combined capacity of 155 MW.

CSOLAR’s 150 MW project, located on more than 1,100 acres (445 hectares) of abandoned agricultural land in California’s Imperial Valley, is expected to begin construction this year, with a start of operation in 2016. The plant will generate enough power to meet the needs of more than 55,000 homes.

Tenaska Solar Ventures is part of the Omaha, Nebraska-based energy group Tenaska.