FOLSOM, USA: 8minutenergy Renewables, which holds the second largest solar PV portfolio in California and in the United States, and its partner Gestamp Solar, a top five global solar developer, announced that they have signed a Generation Interconnection Agreement (GIA), with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) for 355 Megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar PV power.
8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar's five joint projects, comprising 355 MW, have successfully completed IID's Transitional Cluster Phase I and Facility Study phases and are ready for construction.
One of the first solar PV GIA's signed in Imperial Valley, California, the agreement sets in motion a series of major investments by 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar to a quarter billion dollar upgrade of the IID power network, which will bring much needed jobs and revenues to the region. 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar's first five joint projects are expected to create more than 1,000 construction and 55 permanent jobs in Imperial County.
Over the life of 8minutenergy's 12 total solar farm projects in the Imperial Valley, the ongoing fiscal and economic benefits are projected to produce: $2.3 billion in total economic output, 240 new jobs, $1.5 billion in direct expenditures, $50 million in additional property taxes, and a $12.3 million net fiscal impact on the general fund.
"The approval of GIAs is an important milestone for 8minutenergy, Imperial County and the state of California," said Martin Hermann, CEO of 8minutenergy. "This agreement represents two years of effort by our team, our partner Gestamp Solar, and many other parties. We thank the IID and county representatives of the Imperial Valley, for their support in helping to bring clean energy to the people of southern California."
The first of 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solars' joint projects is the Chocolate Mountains Solar Farm, a 50 MW utility-scale solar PV farm that will generate enough clean, safe, reliable electricity to power over 25,000 households. The company expects Commercial Operation Dates (COD) for Chocolate Mountains and its Calipatria II solar PV farms in the next 15 months.
Construction, commissioning and synchronizing to begin transmitting energy to the grid are projected for the fourth quarter of 2012 or early 2013. All 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar projects are considered in-state resources and are located on disturbed, low-productivity and irrigated farmland.
"As of today, less than ten percent of all renewable energy projects in the state's pipeline have attained a GIA," added Tom Buttgenbach, President of 8minutenergy. "This agreement confirms the validity of our approach, and further cements the viability of 8minutenergy's portfolio."
"Gestamp Solar is excited that its projects with 8minutenergy have obtained the GIA," stated Pablo Otin, VP and US country manager for Gestamp Solar. "We look forward to spearheading the engineering, construction, procurement and operations for the five projects, and to transmitting power soon."
"IID is pleased that 8minutenergy is demonstrating its commitment to Imperial County through the development of a number of new solar generation facilities, and helping fund the necessary build-out of IID's transmission facilities," commented John Pierre Menvielle, VP, IIID Board of Directors. "8minutenergy's investment will confirm Imperial County's position as the preferred location for renewable energy development in the Southwest, and IID's position of leadership in developing the infrastructure necessary to deliver renewable energy to major population centers."
"GIA approval for 8minutenergy's projects marks a major step in bringing new jobs and a sustainable utility-scale solar PV export industry to the people of Imperial Valley," said Gary Wyatt, Imperial County Supervisor, District 4.
8minutenergy has assembled one of the largest preconstruction development teams focused exclusively on utility-scale solar PV projects in California, with 50 people working on its portfolio, including over 20 in-house industry experts. Their proprietary processes cover the entire spectrum of preconstruction development for utility-scale solar PV projects -- from power grid analysis, land site selection and development, to selecting technologies for engineering.
These unique processes identify optimal sites and validate them for economic viability and permitting. By communicating with all concerned parties throughout the process, 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar minimize potential obstacles.