Tenaska Solar Ventures has chosen Soitec’s Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology to power its new Imperial Solar Energy Center (ISEC) West plant in southern California. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will buy the electricity generated by the 150MW system under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
The plant will be constructed on a 1057-acre site in southern California's western Imperial County, and is expected to be completed in 2015. To support ISEC West, and other solar projects in the southwest America, Soitec plans to build a new CPV module manufacturing factory, with an annual production capacity of 200MW.
The plant, if active today, would be by far the largest CPV power station in operation and is the biggest yet announced in the project pipeline.
"The start of construction of the Sunrise Powerlink has triggered a wave of proposed new utility-scale solar and wind projects in the Imperial Valley region," said James Avery, SDG&E's senior vice president of power supply. "What is unique about this contract is that not only will the Imperial Valley benefit from the jobs created to construct the solar plant, San Diego will benefit from the approximately 450 new jobs that will be created at the new manufacturing facility that will be located here in the region.”
In addition to the jobs created, the development will also help SDG&E's reach its goal of generating 33% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020 and showcase the commercial potential of CPV systems, "The ISEC West solar power plant will demonstrate Concentrix CPV scalability, and commercial viability of this innovative technology for utility scale deployment. We are excited to work with Soitec and SDG&E to bring clean energy to the homes and businesses of Southern California," Tenaska’s Dave Fiorelli said.
The ISEC West project has applied for a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee. Once the guarantee is approved and the deal closed with Tenaska, Soitec will invest in capacity to construct its San Diego area factory and look for financing options. The factory location should be announced this summer, with completion expected within 18 months of construction start.
Soitec’s delivery of the CPV systems to the ISEC West solar power plant will begin in early 2013 and finish in 2015. At full capacity, the CPV company's San Diego operations will generate up to 450 jobs in the local area.