8minutenergy secures approval for 135 MW projects in California

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Californian-based solar developer 8minutenergy Renewables has received the green light of approval from the Kern County Board of Supervisors to develop 135 MW of large-scale solar PV projects in the county.

Having this week received Conditional Use Permits (CUP) for the projects, the company is set to embark on the next phase of its clean energy plan, which sees more than 1 GW of solar PV power purchase agreements (PPAs) under development.

The company has already signed a Generation Interconnection Agreement (GIA) with the California Independent Systems Operator Corporation (CAISO) and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for 90 MW from Redwood Solar Farms, and has a PPA with PG&E and Southern California Edison (SCE) in place.

The Redwood solar plants have already passed an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which is the most comprehensive environmental study in the state of California. With the CUP secured, construction is now scheduled to commence in December, with completion expected by mid-2015.

The Redwood Solar Farm project is to be sited on 640 acres of low productivity farmland and, once operational, will produce 350 million kWh or solar electricity that will serve 65,000 local households. The solar plants will mitigate the effects of 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, and each array is to be fitted with a tracking system in order to maximize energy production.

"Kern County supports 8minutenergy’s solar projects because they will bring jobs and tax revenues to our county, while generating renewable energy for people in California," said Kern County Board of Supervisors’ chairman, Leticia Perez.

"To the Kern County area, the Redwood solar projects will bring 250 direct and 300 indirect jobs during construction, as well as 24 permanent operations jobs," revealed 8minutenergy Renewables president Tom Buttgenbach. “This project will also contribute more than $260 million to the local economy and $6 million in local tax revenues.

Martin Hermann, CEO at 8minutenergy Renewables, remarked that Kern County’s exceptional solar radiation levels were the ideal conditions for a PV project of this magnitude, adding that the local community’s support for solar energy was invaluable. "Solar is now among the least expensive power sources in the nation, and continues to decline in cost," Hermann said.