8minutenergy Renewables and Gestamp Solar obtain approval for 275MW PV projects

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8minutenergy Renewables, a developer of utility-scale solar PV projects, has received conditional use permits (CUP) for three of its large-scale PV projects from the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. The projects have a total capacity of 275MW and will be built in the Imperial Valley, California, US, in partnership with Gestamp Solar.

The three projects comprise the 70MW Calipatria Solar Farm I, the 50MW Midway Solar Farm I and the 155MW Midway Solar Farm II. Together, they cover approximately 1,700 acres of low-productivity farmland in the Imperial Valley. The 70MW project covers an area of 582 acres, the 50MW project covers 326 acres and the 155MW project covers 803 acres. The latter two projects are expected to begin generating solar power in 2014.

The projects are already in the advanced stages of engineering development. However, under the terms of the CUPs, 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar must conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on each of the three projects.

In 2011, the two companies signed Generation Interconnection Agreements (GIA) with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) for the three PV plants. Together, the projects are said to generate enough electricity to power around 100,000 houses in California.

Commenting on how the projects will affect the local economy, Martin Hermann, CEO of 8minutenergy Renewables, said, “Our three solar farm projects will ultimately create over 300 direct and indirect construction jobs, as well as nearly 20 direct and indirect permanent, well-paying jobs in an area with high unemployment. They will also contribute millions of dollars in related benefits to the local economy in Imperial Valley. 8minutenergy has a portfolio of more than 2,000 MW of renewable solar projects under development on private, disturbed land in California.”

John Pierre Menvielle, president, IID Board of Directors, added, “”The Imperial Irrigation District is pleased to see the Imperial County Board of Supervisors approve these three 8minutenergy projects because they are in the IID transitional cluster and they have already signed Generation Interconnection Agreements. The projects are currently in the engineering development stage with the IID, and once operational they will pay wheeling charges and thus benefit IID rate payers.”

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