CALIPATRIA – Solar Frontier Americas Development, a subsidiary of Solar Frontier, the world’s largest CIS Solar energy solutions provider held a grand opening ceremony of the Calipatria Solar Project Wednesday morning.
“We chose the Valley because it gets a lot of sunshine and everyone here is aligned on the economic benefit, clean energy and sustainability side, making it easier to complete these projects,” said Charles Pimentel, Solar Frontier Chief Operating Officer/Senior Vice President. “It’s a great county to work in. A lot of developers shy away from it, but we found it to be pretty refreshing. We’ve done work in Kern County and farther north near Reno California, and find this area with much less friction.”
Calipatria Solar Project is expected to generate approximately 52,000 megawatts of energy annually, enough energy to power 5,000 homes per year, according to Pimentel. The solar plant will also contribute to California’s goal of achieving 50 percent of overall electricity production from renewable sources by 2030.
“We in Imperial County have all of the resources like the sun, wind, land, geothermal resources and opportunities to develop solar projects and help the California utilities meet their goals,” said Vicken Kasarjan, IID Energy Manager. “We are really opened for business.”
San Diego Gas & Electric have contracted with Solar Frontier to purchase the renewable energy under a 20-year agreement that will help the utility met their Renewable Portfolio Standard.
“Our business is doubling down in Imperial County, specifically in this area,” said Pimentel. “It’s been very refreshing. We are looking for a 300 – 400 percent growth this year with three additional projects generating an additional 100 megawatts.
According to the site constriction manager Mario Jimenez, the project generated over 100 full time jobs filled by Imperial County, San Diego County, Mexicali, and Arizona residents.
“We plan to use the same personnel with the upcoming solar projects,” said Jimenez.
The site is expected to begin operating fully in early February.
“The future for solar is really bright,” said Cary Vandenberg, vice president of business for Solar Frontier. “We have a clear horizon of 5-7 years. I haven’t seen that in many businesses and there is an opportunity to capitalize on that, and Imperial County is very well suited to do that. This place has been blessed with sun, flat land, and an emerging infrastructure of services and capabilities to deliver these projects. We need to embrace that and succeed together.”
Additionally, Solar Frontier received certificates of recognition from Senator Ben Hueso’s office and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s office.
With a total of 129,408 panels, the 20 megawatt project is powered by Solar Frontier’s Copper Indium Selenide thin-film modules, an advanced technology known for its economical and ecological advantages.
The panels have a low temperature coefficient enabling them to generate more power than conventional modules in hot climates. Combine that benefit with the product’s light soaking effect and single axis, horizontal tracking system and the solar exceed conventional modules over the lifetime of the system.[envira-gallery id=”71541″]