SDG&E to use tracking concentrated photovoltaic solar power generating system

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and a subsidiary of CSOLAR Development, LLC, a renewable energy company managed by Tenaska Solar Ventures, today announced a 25-year contract for up to 150 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to be generated at the Imperial Solar Energy Center (ISEC) West’s proposed 1,057-acre solar energy facility near El Centro, Calif. This project will create nearly 300 construction jobs in the Imperial Valley during the two-year construction period.

The solar power plant will use Soitec’s Concentrix concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology. In connection with the project’s 25-year contract, Soitec, a company with headquarters in Bernin, France, will build a new factory in the San Diego region to manufacture proprietary CPV modules. With an annual production capacity of 200 MW, the new manufacturing facility will also have the ability to supply other utility-scale solar power projects throughout the United States’ desert southwest. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego area operations will generate up to 450 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs.

"This project is a model for how the shift toward clean energy use can be a boon for our region’s economy," said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. "It creates skilled manufacturing jobs and builds our base of innovative companies. I couldn’t be more thrilled about the positive impact it will have on both San Diego and Imperial counties."

"Soitec is extremely pleased that Tenaska Solar Ventures and SDG&E chose our Concentrix CPV technology for the ISEC West solar power plant," said Andre-Jacques Auberton-Herve, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Soitec. "Our CPV systems are perfectly suited for the very high solar irradiance prevalent in the Imperial Valley. As a CPV leader, we are committed to the U.S. market and look forward to increasing our presence in the San Diego community by contributing to the emerging renewable energy ecosystem in the region."

The ISEC West project will connect with SDG&E’s Imperial Valley substation and its renewable solar energy will be transmitted over the utility’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, currently under construction and slated for completion in 2012.

"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 module factory. In total, more than 2,000 new jobs will be created here in San Diego and Imperial counties. We are proud to be part of this endeavor. This new contract is part of SDG&E’s voluntary commitment to obtain 33 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020."

The substantial project will produce enough renewable solar energy to serve more than 55,000 households a year.

"We are pleased to be a growing part of the Imperial Valley solar energy community, helping bring clean, renewable power to California population centers," said Dave Fiorelli, president of Tenaska’s Development Group. "This additional facility will play an important role in providing reliable, environmentally advantageous electricity and job creation."

Last November, SDG&E signed a contract with another subsidiary of CSOLAR Development for up to 130 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity to be constructed on a 900-acre site in the southern part of Imperial County called the Imperial Solar Energy Center South (ISEC South). That project is slated for completion in 2014 and is expected to bring up to 250 new construction jobs to Southern California.

LightSource Renewables, LLC, was the originator of the ISEC South and West projects and continues to provide services to the project.

"The partnership we have formed with the community as we have moved forward with Imperial Solar Energy Center West reflects local leaders’ understanding of the promise of clean energy," said Peter Fisher, chief executive officer of LightSource Renewables. "The outcome of this cooperative effort will be economic growth in Imperial County, a new source of clean, renewable energy, and hundreds of construction jobs and long-term jobs both on site and in the local community."

The ground-mounted 2-axis tracking concentrated photovoltaic solar power generating system employed at ISEC West will convert sunlight directly into electricity with panels that do not produce noise or emit any greenhouse gases.

The contract requires approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

The ISEC West project has applied for a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee. Upon receipt of the guarantee and closing of its agreement with Tenaska, Soitec will implement capacity investments to construct its San Diego area factory and pursue options for related financing. The factory location is anticipated to be announced this summer, with completion 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.

This is the fifth renewable contract, totaling more than 750 MW, SDG&E has signed in the past year that will be transmitted across the Sunrise Powerlink.

SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.5 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help our customers save energy and money every day. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

Tenaska Solar Ventures, which manages CSOLAR Development, LLC, a renewable energy company, is dedicated to developing, owning and operating solar projects in North America. Tenaska Solar Ventures is managed by Tenaska, an independent energy company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska that develops, constructs, owns, and operates non-utility generation and cogeneration plants. The company also markets natural gas, biofuels and electric power, and provides risk management services in addition to being involved in asset acquisition, fuel supply, natural gas exploration, production and transportation systems, and electric transmission development. Tenaska has developed approximately 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across the United States. Tenaska’s affiliates operate and manage eight power plants in six states totaling more than 6,700 MW of generating capacity owned in partnership with other companies. Tenaska Capital Management, an affiliate, is the manager of private equity funds with approximately $4.4 billion in assets, including nine power plants (with approximately 5,400 MW of capacity) and multiple natural gas midstream assets, including gas storage, gathering, and processing facilities. Tenaska is repeatedly listed in benchmarking studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having among the best fleet-wide records in the United States for controlling emissions.

Soitec (Euronext Paris), an international manufacturing corporation produces very-high-performance materials for the semiconductor industry. Soitec’s market-leading products and technologies (Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™, and Concentrix™) enhance the performance and energy efficiency of microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and solar power plants for large scale utilities. Soitec products include substrates for micro and nanoelectonics — most notably SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic CPV systems. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States. For more information, visit: Soitec, Smart Cut, Smart Stacking, Concentrix are trademarks of S.O.I.TEC Silicon On Insulator Technologies.

LightSource Renewables invests in and develops utility scale solar and wind generation plants. Headquartered in San Diego, California, LightSource provides well located, cost effective, sustainable energy solutions to meet the long term energy needs of the United States. LightSource is working both independently and with partners to bring over 1,000 MWs of utility scale solar energy and wind power projects to fruition.