Duggins Construction to Design and Build Operations & Maintenance Building

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EL CENTRO, Calif. – Duggins Construction, Inc. has been awarded a contract to design and build the operations and maintenance building at the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South near El Centro. The solar project, owned by an affiliate of Tenaska, has been utilizing the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (IVEDC) Vendor Pre-Qualification Program to identify and hire qualified Imperial Valley firms.

Duggins, an Imperial-based development and construction firm, will construct a 3,000-square-foot building that will house Tenaska Imperial South’s operations and maintenance personnel. Work will begin the first week of January and is expected to conclude in March, resulting in about 35 local jobs.

“We are pleased that the Tenaska Imperial South project continues to hire local contractors and vendors,” said IVEDC President and CEO Timothy E. Kelley. “By hiring locally, these contracts add to positive economic benefits by keeping capital investment in Imperial County further stimulating job creation and the overall economic vitality of the region.”

The Duggins contract is the latest awarded to a local firm during construction of the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South, the largest solar project under construction to date in Imperial County. First Solar, Inc., the construction contractor for the project, awarded the contract. Other contracts awarded locally have included those for road work, water, ice, portable facilities, restrooms, repro graphics, fuel service, a water treatment unit and a septic system.

            “Tenaska typically has encouraged its contractors to hire and contract locally whenever possible, and that commitment continues at Tenaska Imperial South,” said Project Manager Vasu Pinapati. “It’s our commitment as a local corporate citizen in Imperial County, and it’s also beneficial to the project.”

            Kelley said Tenaska has worked with IVEDC to establish the procurement program to help renewable energy projects identify and accept bids from qualified local contractors and vendors. IVEDC in collaboration with partner agencies hosted the 2012 Imperial Valley Procurement Fair on Thursday, November 15, 2012 to further connect renewable energy projects and local contractors, with federal, state, and local agencies looking to purchase goods and services from Imperial Valley businesses. Tenaska and First Solar helped sponsor the IVEDC event. Area businesses interested in contract opportunities for Tenaska Imperial South or other renewable projects should contact Sean Wilcock, VP, Business Services, at (760) 353-8332 or sean@ivedc.com.

            Tenaska Imperial South will be a ground-mounted photovoltaic solar power generating system that will produce up to 130 megawatts (MW) of electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric. When operating at peak times, it will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of at least 44,000 California homes. Commercial operation is expected in the second half of 2013.

            Tenaska Solar Ventures (TSV), another affiliate of Tenaska, developed the project.In addition to Tenaska Imperial South, Tenaska has two other projects in development in Imperial County. TSV has completed permitting for the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West and recently acquired the Tenaska Silverleaf Solar Energy Center, both near El Centro.

Tenaska Imperial South has already created more than 300 direct construction jobs and will add millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenue throughout construction and the 25-year life of the project.        

“First Solar is committed to making every effort to hire qualified local contractors and construction workers in Imperial County,” said Tony Perrino, First Solar director of Engineering, Procurement and Construction. “We are pleased to work with IVEDC to identify local contractors and help Tenaska meet their commitment to local hiring.”           

In May, the El Centro office of Granitetm Construction was contracted to improve the 1.1-mile access road to the project. The work at Tenaska Imperial South required 15 to 20 Granite employees and eight supervisory staff, about 90 percent of whom were local residents.

As construction employment for the Tenaska Imperial South project has ramped up over the past few months, Tenaska and First Solar have worked to maximize hiring of qualified local workers. A job fair for construction of the project was held June 29 in Holtville, Calif., with a record of 1,153 local job seekers attending.  Their applications formed a foundation of local hiring efforts.  Of the 350 workers hired at the site to date, 80 percent are from Imperial County.