The California Public Utilities Commission has approved another batch of power purchase agreements between Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison and developers/investors for solar power plant projects totaling up to 444MW of installed capacity.

The projects include Sempra Generation’s 150MW Copper Mountain Solar 2 project in Boulder City, NV (25-year PPA, PG&E), Tenaska/CSolar Development’s 96-150MW Imperial Solar Energy Center West being developed near El Centro, CA (25-year PPA, SDG&E), and 15 smaller projects with 20-year PPAs totaling 144MW under development by various independent power producers (IPPs) in SCE’s service area.

When completed, the combined annual generating power of the 17 PV power plants will be between 911GWh and 1048GWh, according to CPUC documents.

Sempra said that, with the regulatory approval in hand, construction on the 1100-acre solar plant will begin this year, led by EPC partner First Solar. The first 92MW of CdTe PV at Copper Mountain Solar 2 are scheduled to be installed by the end of next year, with the remaining 58MW slated for completion by 2015. 

Under the terms of the contract, PG&E has the option to accelerate the commercial operation date of the second phase. 

The Imperial Valley project owned by Tenaska, to be built on a 1057-acre site west of El Centro, will feature concentrating PV systems from Soitec. It is scheduled for completion in 2015.

The six IPPs included in the SCE award group will develop projects ranging in size from 4.7MW to 20MW in Southern California desert areas, which are set to come online in 2013 and 2014. Amonix, Juwi, Foresight, and Silverado are among the recipients.   

The SCE agreements resulted from the utility’s Renewable Standard Contracts (RSC) program, begun in 2010 to help increase the company’s renewables portfolio.

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