SDG&E adds 235 MW of Solar Energy

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced it has signed two new renewable contracts — one with a subsidiary of San Diego-based enXco and the other with Arlington Valley Solar Energy II, LLC (a subsidiary of LS Power Development, LLC) for a combined total capacity of up to 237 megawatts (MW) of solar energy.

The Catalina Solar power project to be developed by enXco will have the capacity to generate up to 110 MW from the sun, starting with delivery of 50 MW by the end of next year and the remaining 60 MW by June 2013.

"SDG&E already has contracts with enXco for two wind projects in the same geographical area, including the 60-MW capacity Oasis Wind Project, producing since 2004," said Matt Burkhart, vice president of electric and fuel procurement for SDG&E. "The other project, Pacific Wind, with a capacity of 140 MW, is still under development and on target for operation by next summer. This new enXco solar project is an excellent addition to our renewable portfolio."

"Catalina Solar represents enXco’s largest utility-scale solar project to be developed in the U.S.," saidTristan Grimbert, president & chief executive officer of enXco. "The project builds upon both the company’s extensive experience in Kern County as well as our long-term relationship with SDG&E. We look forward to delivering another successful project to SDG&E."

The 25-year contract with Catalina Solar, LLC calls for a ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system to be built in Kern County on property in the Rosamond/Tehachapi area. It will produce enough clean energy to power about 35,000 homes and will offset about 74,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, helping to improve overall air quality in California in line with the state’s environmental mandates.

The project is expected to connect to the statewide power grid via Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP). The TRTP, like SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink, is a CPUC-approved transmission upgrade built specifically to deliver green energy to the state’s power grid from remote areas where the energy is produced.

The agreement with Arlington Valley Solar Energy II (AVSE II) calls for up to 127 MW to be generated by ground-mounted PV panels at a solar farm to be built in Maricopa County, Ariz., with delivery of at least 25 MW by the end of the first quarter of 2013, and another 25 MW delivered every two months until the project is built out.

SDG&E will receive both the power and the renewable energy credits from this project, which will connect at the same substation in Arizona where SDG&E’s Southwest Powerlink begins. The green energy produced will be scheduled into the California Independent System Operator’s statewide grid.

"This kind of contract is a win-win for our customers and the state," said Burkhart. "Also, as part of the contract, the developer has agreed to purchase a portion of the solar panels for the project from aCalifornia-based supplier."

"The Arlington Valley Solar project is one of LS Power’s most advanced solar energy farms, with state and county permits in-hand," said John King, executive vice president of LS Power. "We are pleased that we can proceed to financing and construction to deliver SDG&E cost-effective solar power beginning in 2013."

Both contracts require approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. Since January, SDG&E has signed 12 new renewable contracts, for a combined total of 1,035 MW.