8minutenergy Renewables and AES Solar to develop 200 MW of locally generated solar energy for SDG&E power purchase agreement

8minutenergy Renewables, LLC, signed a 25-year contract to sell 200 megawatts (200MWac) of clean, renewable solar energy from the Mount Signal Solar project in Imperial Valley, Calif., to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The transaction was conducted with 82LV 8ME, LLC, a subsidiary of 8minutenergy Renewables, a leading independent solar PV developer based in Folsom, Calif., which has a joint development agreement with AES Solar of Arlington Va., to develop and build the Mount Signal Solar project. AES Solar, a joint venture between the AES Corporation and Riverstone Holdings LLC, develops, owns and operates utility scale photovoltaic solar installations worldwide.

The Mount Signal Solar project is a large, utility-scale solar generation facility sited on 1,940 of low-productivity farmland in the Imperial Valley, Calif. The project will create nearly 450 direct jobs and more than 500 indirect jobs in Imperial County, Calif. during the 18-month construction period. The Imperial Valley currently has an unemployment rate of about 30%, which is among the highest in the country.

The Mount Signal Solar project is slated to begin delivery of renewable energy to SDG&E in mid-2013. Mount Signal Solar project’s annual production capacity of approximately 500 million kilowatt hours (kWhs) of electricity will produce enough renewable solar energy to serve 72,000 households in SDG&E’s service territory. This clean solar generation plant will displace the equivalent of approximately 356,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, which is equal to the amount that roughly 15 million trees would displace annually.

The Mount Signal Solar project will connect with SDG&E’s Imperial Valley substation, and its renewable solar energy will be transmitted over the utility’s Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, currently under construction and slated for completion in 2012.

“We look forward to delivering clean, renewable energy to over 72,000 customers of San Diego Gas & Electric,” said Martin Hermann, chief executive officer of 8minutenergy Renewables, which has over 2,000MW and 15,000 acres of private, disturbed land under development for renewable solar projects in California. “The project is located Imperial Valley, which is one of the most favorable areas for solar. It will be also one of the first to transmit power via the new Sunrise Powerlink.”

“The Mount Signal Solar project will ultimately create nearly 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in an area with high unemployment, and produce renewable energy that will further SDG&E’s goal of helping the state meet its 33 percent RPS mandate,” said Tom Buttgenbach, president of 8minutenergy Renewables. “SDG&E and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors all played pivotal roles in the careful evaluation, planning and support of this project.”

The utility-scale solar power system for Mount Signal Solar project is comprised of state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic modules, related power electronics, and other components including an advanced tracking system that follows the sun to maximize energy production. This solar composition of large scale solar arrays is designed to feed the SDG&E electric utility grid and represents the future paradigm for large scale electrical generation.

The contract is pending approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.