On August 22 Bechtel completed construction on the 110 megawatt (AC) Catalina Solar Photovoltaic Generating Facility, the latest solar project to break the 100 megawatt barrier in California. The Mojave Desert project on 900 acres of private land southwest of the Tehachapi and Piute mountains is owned by EDF Renewable Energy and is under a 25-year power-purchase agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric.
It’s likely the largest PV plant to use two different types of thin-film modules. The project, which EDF said is currently the world’s 8th largest photovoltaic plant, has 82 megawatts (DC) of Solar Frontier copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) modules and 61 megawatts (DC) of First Solar Cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules. The project is EDF’s 22nd renewable energy project in California. The company now has 730 megawatts of clean energy in California and 1,962 megawatts of clean energy across the U.S.
“Achieving commercial operation of this flagship solar project is a key milestone for our organization, and a testament to the commitment and capability of the entire EDF Renewable Energy team,” said EDF Renewable Energy Executive Vice President Ryan Pfaff. “Projects like Catalina Solar underscore the meaningful role that stable policy at the national and state levels—specifically the federal investment tax credit and the California renewable portfolio standard—can play in enhancing our nation’s long-term energy security.”
Bechtel, which is also completing the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System solar thermal tower project and the CaliforniaValley Solar Ranch this summer, started construction on the project in May 2012 and it began producing electric for the grid in December 2012 even as construction on parts of it continued. With the completion EDF is now suppling 343 megawatts of renewable energy generation to the utility.
"The successful completion of this project on behalf of EDF Renewable Energy will help make solar more cost competitive with other sources of energy," said Toby Seay, president of Bechtel’s communications, renewables, and transmission business line. "The build of facilities like Catalina will help spur innovation around solar technologies and strengthen our use of clean, renewable power.”
“EDF Renewable Energy has been a great partner, working hard to get both the Catalina Solar and the Pacific Wind projects operational,” said Matt Burkhart, SDG&E Vice President of Electric and Fuel Procurement. The Pacific Wind Project is a 143 megawatt wind farm that’s also expected to come fully online in August 2013.
EDF also is developing the Desert Harvest Solar Project, a project that will be between 100 and 150 megawatts. It will be built on nearly 1,200 acres of federally managed land. The project will slated for completion this summer. But as of August, EDF had not named an offtaker for the project.