Tenaska taps First Solar to build 150 MW solar facility in Southern California


Independent energy company Tenaska Solar Ventures has selected First Solar to design and build a 150 MWac solar project in California’s Imperial Valley.

Located near the city of El Centro on the California-Mexican border, the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project will provide power for the San Diego Gas & Electric Company, which holds a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for all electricity generated by the plant.

Tenaska originally planned to build a concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar farm using Soitec Solar technology but decided to switch to PV technolgy in April.

First Solar will oversee engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services on the project, employing its advanced thin film photovoltaic modules and single-axis tilt technology. The project sits on approximately 1,100 acres (445 hectares) of previously disturbed land.

Tenaska Imperial West is the second solar project in Southern California’s Imperial Valley developed, owned and managed by Tenaska. In November, First Solar completed construction on the 130 MW ac Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South power plant.

"We are pleased to continue our relationship with Tenaska," said Roger Bredder, First Solar’s managing director for U.S. Business Development. "This project will provide up to 800 jobs in the Imperial Valley at construction peak, and make a significant economic contribution to the local community. It will also provide the residents of Southern California with a reliable source of clean, renewable energy."

Bredder said that the highly qualified local workforce that built Tenaska Imperial South over the past two years will provide a strong pool of experienced workers familiar with First Solar’s technology and construction methods.

First Solar has already started engineering and expects to begin construction later in 2014, with full commercial operation anticipated in 2016.