US PV project developer Tenaska has installed the first PV module for its 130MW Tenaska Imperial South solar project located at the company’s Imperial Solar Energy Center South facility near El Centro, California.
Marking the occasion, the company was joined by Imperial County elected officials and community leaders as well as representatives from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) utility firm at a ceremony to celebrate the installation of the first solar panel at the facility. Over 350 construction workers hired to build the plant were also present.
Built on a 364 hectare site, the 130MW PV array which began construction in late 2011 will be a ground-mounted PV installation and will utilise almost 2 million PV modules when complete.
SDG&E’s Senior Vice President of Power Supply Jim Avery, said: “The progress and perseverance by Tenaska to move this important project forward is a monumental step forward in fostering the development of renewable resources in the Imperial Valley and also demonstrates SDG&E’s commitment from the beginning to develop new sources of green energy for our customers.”
Although the output has not been revealed, Tenaska said that it would be enough to power around 44,000 Californian homes. Electricity generated from the PV array will be sold to SDG&E under a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with Tenaska in 2010. SDG&E also has a PPA with Tenaska for another 140MW solar facility, also located in Imperial County.
Commercial operation is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2013. The Tenaska Imperial South project is expected to be one of the first renewable projects in Imperial County to transmit power across the Sunrise Powerlink — a high-voltage power transmission line — which was put into service in June.