On 13 June 2014, leading U.S. independent energy provider Tenaska closed US$450 million in commercial financing for Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, a 150MW photovoltaic solar electric generating plant near El Centro, California.
Commercial financing has been provided by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Canada, Santander Bank, Helaba and DZ Bank. Riverside Risk Advisors assisted Tenaska in designing and executing its interest rate risk management program.
An affiliate of Tenaska is the majority owner of Tenaska Imperial West. An affiliate of Silver Ridge Power, LLC owns a minority interest in the project.
Imperial County approved the project in 2011. The project is Tenaska's second utility-scale project in the region. Tenaska plans to begin construction on Tenaska Imperial West later in 2014, with commercial operation expected in 2016.
Tenaska Imperial West will provide clean, renewable energy to San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement via SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. The project will connect 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.
First Solar, Inc. is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for Tenaska Imperial West. The facility will use First Solar's advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules with single-axis tracking to follow the sun for greater power generation.
The project site is on more than 1,100 acres of abandoned agricultural land in Imperial County, about eight miles west of the city of El Centro. The land was farmed at various points in time over the past 50 years, with each farmer deciding it was uneconomical due to the high use of water and the high cost of pumping water up hill.