Tenaska Solar plants award $8,000 in corporate scholarships

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File Photo: A worker installs a photovoltaic panel at the Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy South project in the Imperial Valley west of El Centro.

EL CENTRO – Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South and West have awarded a total of $8,000 in college scholarships to Imperial County high school students, according to a press release from the solar company.

Since the program was announced in 2013, it has presented a total of $32,000 in scholarships. This year, eight $1,000 scholarships were awarded, according to the website.

According to the report, a committee at Tenaska headquarters selected which promising college-bound seniors would receive the academic scholarships. Preference was given to students who demonstrated they are prepared for college study, have good character and ranked in the top 50 percent of their class.

“Tenaska puts a high value on education and its power to drive success,” said Todd Jonas, Tenaska senior vice president of operations and asset management. “We look at scholarships as an investment in future leaders and the communities they care about.”

The press release listed the following as receiving the eight scholarships:

At Brawley Union High School, Audrey Galindo, daughter of Chelsey Galindo of Calipatria, received a scholarship.

Calexico High School’s David Lopez-Castro, son of David and Marcia Lopez of Calexico, received a scholarship.

Calipatria High School senior Crystal Lopez-Franco, daughter of Ebelia Franco of Calipatria, received a scholarship.

Central Union High School’s Diego Canchola, son of Joe and Alicia Apodaca of El Centro, received a scholarship.

At Holtville High School, Emily Holt, daughter of Frank and Joy Holt of Holtville, received a scholarship.

Imperial High School’s Sonora Shelton, daughter of David and Monica Shelton of Imperial, received a scholarship.

From San Pasqual Valley High School, the scholarship recipient was Juan Martinez, son of Irma and Juan Martinez of Winterhaven.

Southwest High School senior Kamila Salazar, daughter of Gerardo Salazar and Martha Henesey-Salazar of Heber, received a scholarship.

The annual scholarship program managed by Omaha, Nebraska-based Tenaska has awarded approximately $650,000 in scholarships nationwide. More than 800 students in communities where its facilities are located have benefited from the program since 2000.

The 130-megawatt (MW) Tenaska Imperial South and 150-MW Tenaska Imperial West each operate under 25-year power purchase agreements with San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E). Combined, the solar fields generate enough power for 99,000 California homes, according to the release.

Tenaska claimed in its release that over their operational lives, Tenaska Imperial South and Tenaska Imperial West are expected to pay millions of dollars in local sales taxes and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the area economy annually in salaries and local contracts and supplies.