Tenaska solar project operational in Imperial County

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TenaskaEL CENTRO –  The 130-megawatt Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South, reported to have the capacity to generate enough electricity for approximately 44,000 homes, went into commercial operation this month, Nebraska-based Tenaska Inc. said in a release.

Construction of the facility, located near El Centro, began in December 2011. It was the first utility-scale solar project to begin construction in the Imperial Valley and was also the first large-scale solar project there to connect to San Diego Gas & Electric’s Sunrise Powerlink, the 117-mile transmission line completed by the utility in summer 2012.

The new Tenaska facility, consisting of nearly 2 million solar panels on a 946-acre site, is operating under a 25-year power purchase agreement with SDG&E. The utility has also contracted with the developer for the energy produced at a second Imperial Valley solar project, Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West.

Expected to produce up to 150 megawatts of electricity under that separate 25-year power purchase agreement, Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West is scheduled to begin commercial operations in 2015.