Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, Tenaska’s second solar project in the Imperial Valley, achieved commercial operation in 2016. The photovoltaic (PV) solar power generating system can produce up to 150 megawatts (MW) of electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric Company. When operating at peak times, it can produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 55,000 California homes.
Tenaska Imperial West represents an investment of more than $500 million in the Imperial Valley economy. Local benefits include:
• Of the approximately 800 construction workers hired to perform work at the site, 75 percent from the Imperial Valley.
• Tenaska worked with the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation to establish a procurement program to help renewable energy projects in the Imperial Valley identify and accept bids from qualified local contractors and vendors during construction and operation. The Tenaska Imperial West project awarded more than $20 million in local contracts.
• Tenaska was the first solar developer to designate Imperial County as the place of purchase for all of its solar panels and other local goods and services, ensuring the county would benefit from the sales tax. The county received approximately $2.8 million total in local sales tax revenue from the project.
Photovoltaic (PV) technology is utilized. PV technology converts sunlight directly into electricity utilizing panels that do not emit greenhouse gases as they track the sun.
Able to produce 150 megawatts (MW) of renewable power for customer San Diego Gas & Electric Company, enough to meet the needs of more than 55,000 California homes.
The project site is on more than 1,100 acres of abandoned agricultural land in Imperial County, about eight miles west of El Centro, California. The land was farmed at various times over the past 50 years, with each farmer deciding it was uneconomical due to high water usage and the high cost of pumping water uphill.
Imperial County approved the project in 2011, and construction began in the second half of 2014. Commercial operation was achieved in 2016.
Minimal Water Use
Photovoltaic technology converts sunlight directly into electricity and, therefore, has minimal water supply requirements, an important consideration for the Imperial Valley. Water is primarily used for dust mitigation and sanitation uses.
The project connects with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) at the existing Imperial Valley electric transmission substation located on U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the Yuha Desert. New transmission lines have been located within a BLM land tract currently used for high-voltage electricity transmission.