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PG&E Contracts With Sempra Generation For More Solar Power

El Dorado Energy's thin-film photovoltaic solar power plant
El Dorado Energy’s thin-film photovoltaic solar power plant.
PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced today that it has entered into a contract with El Dorado Energy a subsidiary of Sempra Generation, to purchase 48 megawatts of thin-film photovoltaic solar power produced at the Copper Mountain Solar facility. This is the utility’s second contract for renewable energy from Sempra Generation and it is subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Sempra Generation’s new Copper Mountain Solar facility will produce an average of 100 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, equal to the annual consumption of more than 14,000 average homes. Construction of the new solar project is slated to begin later this year and will be completed in 2011.

“PG&E is pleased to collaborate again with Sempra Generation as we work to meet our customers’ long-term energy needs with environmentally friendly power,” said Fong Wan, senior vice president of energy procurement for PG&E. “Solar projects, like the Copper Mountain Solar facility, are ideally suited to help meet our customers’ peak energy loads.”

Today’s agreement, combined with a contract PG&E signed in late 2008 to purchase the entire 10 MW output of Sempra Generation’s existing El Dorado Energy Solar power plant, provides PG&E with all 58 MW generated by the Boulder City, Nev., solar projects. Boulder City is located about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

“This agreement represents a major step forward for Sempra Generation in the development of the largest operational photovoltaic solar power installation in North America,” said Michael W. Allman, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “It also demonstrates how we leverage our existing investments in land and electric infrastructure to deliver low-cost, large-scale solar power projects. The nearly one million solar panels installed at our two Nevada solar facilities will bring a new source of clean energy to the West and help reduce carbon emissions in the region,” Allman added.

The Copper Mountain Solar project will create about 200 local construction jobs.

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 20 percent of its future electric power deliveries from renewable sources. On average, half of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from carbon-free generating sources, making the company’s energy some of the cleanest consumed by any electric utility customers in the nation.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California.

Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, operates and maintains a fleet of natural gas fueled and solar power plants serving the U.S. market and is in the process of developing renewable power projects in the Pacific Southwest. Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2008 revenues of nearly $11 billion. The Sempra Energy companies’ 13,600 employees serve more than 29 million consumers worldwide.

Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.

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