Tenaska, one of the largest independent energy companies in the United States, announced Monday that it has closed financing for Imperial Solar Energy Center South, a utility-scale photovoltaic solar generating plant in Imperial County.
The project represents Tenaska’s expansion into solar power generation and is the first of what is expected to be a number of solar-generating stations the company will develop in California and other states.
The 946-acre renewable energy project was developed in Imperial County by an affiliate, Tenaska Solar Ventures, LLC. A second project, Imperial Solar Energy Center West, is being developed nearby.
Nine banks provided debt financing. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and Union Bank, N.A. (collectively, “MUFG”) 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.
“We are proud to have teamed with an outstanding group of lenders whose professionalism and commitment to the deal were especially important in today’s challenging financing environment,” said David Kirkwood, Tenaska vice president and treasurer. “This financing also recognizes Tenaska’s consistent approach to rational projects, underpinned by strong contracts and appropriately structured debt.”
On-site construction of Imperial Solar Energy Center South began in December. About 130 megawatts of electricity has been sold to San Diego Gas & Electric under a 25-year agreement, enough electricity to meet the needs of at least 44,000 California homes at peak demand.
“For 25 years, Tenaska has been a developer and operator of electric generating plants fueled by natural gas. We’re leveraging this experience to expand into solar generation, and we expect to play a significant role in the solar energy industry,” said Bob Ramaekers, Tenaska vice president of Development.
Imperial Solar Energy Center South is expected to go into commercial operation in 2014, becoming one of the first solar projects to deliver power via the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line being constructed by SDG&E.
The project is expected to create 250 jobs at peak construction, in addition to adding millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenue throughout construction and the 25-year life of the project.
Construction employment for the South project is expected to ramp up this fall. Every effort is being made to hire qualified local workers. People interested in work at the site should contact the Workforce Development El Centro East One Stop Center at 2695 S. Fourth Street Building D, El Centro, CA 92243, 760-337-5000 or fax: 760-336-4001.
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