Q & A
Imperial Solar Energy Center South

What is the Imperial Solar Energy Center South project?

Imperial Solar Energy Center South is a photovoltaic electricity generating plant able to generate up to 130 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy power from sunlight. The solar power plant has the capacity to serve as many as 44,000 homes.

What is the status of the South project?

The development process for the 946-acre Imperial Solar Energy Center South project is progressing smoothly. In November 2010, a 25-year power purchase agreement was signed with San Diego Gas & Electric for approximately 130-MW of project output. The Imperial County Planning Board approved the project in May 2011, and construction activity began in December 2011.

Has the public weighed in on these projects?
If not, when do they do so?

There was a public Scoping Meeting held in June 2010, and the Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA) was available for public comment in late 2010 and early 2011. There was public input for the project at the Imperial County Planning Board meeting and the Board of Supervisor meeting prior to approval in 2011.

Who owns the project?

The project is owned by CSOLAR IV South, LLC, an affiliate of Tenaska. Tenaska Solar Ventures, an affiliate of Tenaska, is project developer. Tenaska Solar Ventures is dedicated to developing, owning and operating solar projects in North America. Tenaska is an independent energy company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, that develops, constructs, owns, and operates non-utility generation and cogeneration plants. Tenaska is an experienced energy developer, having successfully developed 9,000 megawatts of power over its 25 years in the industry.

Who is the developer?

Tenaska Solar Ventures is the developer. Early development assistance was provided by LightSource Renewables of San Diego, California.

What solar power technology will be used?

The South project will use a photovoltaic (PV) system, which will. directly convert solar energy to electricity by utilizing semiconductors. The technology provider for the South project is First Solar, LLC (NASDAQ: FSLR).

Will the environmental impact of the site be significant?

Solar energy has long been recognized as aan environmentally responsible energy technology, an indication that the impact would not be significant. The land to be used for the South project was, until recently, being used for agriculture. The solar panels will be mounted on poles above the ground. The panels work by absorbing the light from the sun, minimizing reflection. The panels will not be a cause of hazardous emissions or chemical waste. The minimal amount of water consumed will be used for dust control and sanitary uses. Together with another Tenaska Solar Ventures development, Imperial Solar Energy Center West, the projects will result in avoided fossil fuel emissions of more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, an amount equivalent to removing 38,000 cars from California roads.

Could threatened and endangered species be impacted by the solar field and why?

Concern for the environment was among the factors used to evaluate the project site. Endangered species are protected by federal law and appropriate precautions and mitigations will be in-place to protect these species.

Who would build the project?

First Solar is the EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contractor for the South project. EPC contractors typically hire the workers who build the projects Union labor will be used for electrical work, and other labor will be on a merit shop basis. Tenaska Solar Ventures is working closely with First Solar to assure that every effort is made to hire qualified local labor.

How many workers will be employed to construct the site?

It is expected that the South site will have peak employment of approximately 250-300 construction workers,. Construction is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

Where will the solar panels be manufactured?

The South project technology will be provided by First Solar.

What is the expected date to begin construction?

The South project is under construction. Completion is expected in the 2013-2014 timeframe. The Imperial Solar Energy Center South project will be one of the first to connect to the Sunrise Power Link, under construction to transmit renewable energy to heavily populated areas of the California.

How will the electricity be delivered from the site?

A short power line is required to link the project to the Imperial Valley Substation. From there, electricity will be distributed to customers of San Diego Gas & Electric. The electricity would be delivered to the WECC (Western Electricity Coordinating Council), the power grid that assures reliable energy in the western U.S. electrical grid.

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Download a fact sheet about Imperial Solar Energy Center:

Fact Sheet - South

Fact Sheet - West