130-MW California Solar Farm Closes Financing

American energy giant Tenaska, which built its reputation in natural gas, is one step closer to bringing its first solar project online.

Tenaska Solar Ventures has closed financing for the 130-megawatt Imperial Solar Energy Center South on 946 acres near the Mexico border town of El Centro.

Nine banks provided debt financing for the Solar Energy Center South project. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and Union Bank, N.A. led the bank group, which includes BBVA Compass, DZ Bank, Helaba, Key Bank, Lloyds TSB Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Santander’s Sovereign Bank.

The Solar Energy Center South already has a 25-year power purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric and the project will use First Solar’s thin-film panels. First Solar will also function as the project engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

Construction began in December and the project is expected to go online by 2014.

According to the company, the project is the first of many it plans to bring online in California and other states.

The company is also working on the nearby Imperial Solar Energy Center West, a 150-MW project on about 1,000 acres that is expected to use Soitec’s Concentrix concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) technology. The project has yet to close on financing, but the company says it is expected to be under construction by 2013 and could be completed by 2015. Solar Energy Center West also has a 25-year PPA with San Diego Gas & Electric.

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