Tessera Solar and CPS Energy announced this week the signing of a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in order to develop a 27MW solar project in West Texas using the SunCatcher power system manufactured by Stirling Energy Systems, Tessera Solar’s sister company.
By signing the PPA for the Western Ranch Solar project, CPS Energy is keeping its commitment announced last summer to pursue 100MW of resource capacity from solar energy, part of its overall goal to achieve renewable-energy capacity equal to 20% of customers’ peak electrical demand by 2020.
Tessera Solar North America CEO Bob Lukefahr said that, “By choosing Tessera Solar and the SunCatcher power system, CPS Energy is able to provide San Antonio with low cost, high-efficiency solar power. And since the SunCatcher is designed and manufactured here in North America, CPS Energy is not only delivering low-cost solar power, but it is also supporting manufacturing jobs here at home.”
CPS Energy CEO Milton B. Lee said, “This marks our first purchase of solar-generated energy, and we look for it to be the start of a successful solar program for many years to come.”
The 27MW solar project will be comprised of 1080 SunCatcher dishes, each dish generating up to 25,000W of power. The system has been certified by Sandia National Laboratories as having the highest sun-to-grid energy conversion in the world.
While being cost effective and efficient, the SunCatcher system also uses less than 1% of the water required by other competing solar thermal technologies and has the potential to expand to as much as 130MW.
The project is estimated to commence in the summer of 2010, as long as regulatory approvals are completed on a timely basis. The first units are expected to come online by the end of 2010.