To support the project, Soitec will build a new factory in the San Diego region to manufacture its proprietary CPV modules. With an annual production capacity of 200 MW, the new CPV manufacturing facility will supply CPV modules not only to ISEC West, but to other utility-scale solar power projects throughout the desert southwest of the U.S.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) signed a 25-year power-purchase agreement with a subsidiary of CSOLAR Development, LLC, a renewable energy company managed by Tenaska Solar Ventures that will develop and operate the ISEC West solar power plant. The ground-mounted concentrated photovoltaic power plant will have a capacity of 150 MW of solar generated electricity. The ISEC West project will produce enough electricity to meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 55,000 California homes. Concentrated photovoltaic technology converts sunlight directly into “clean” electricity via concentrator optics and high efficiency solar cells that neither produce noise nor emit greenhouse gases. Additionally, CPV technology requires no water for on-going operations, a crucial consideration for the water-constrained Imperial Valley.
Concentrix CPV solar power systems are more efficient and perform better than conventional solar systems, particularly at locations with extremely hot ambient temperatures and dry weather conditions. Because of the very low temperature coefficient of its multijunction solar cells, a CPV system’s performance is much less affected by temperature than any other photovoltaic technology. Additionally, a CPV system’s 2-axis tracker produces a high and constant power production output throughout daylight hours.
The factory location is anticipated to be announced this summer, with completion expected within 18 months of construction start. Soitec’s delivery of the CPV systems to the ISEC West solar power plant will begin in early 2013 and finish in 2015. At full capacity, Soitec’s San Diego operations will generate up to 450 jobs in the local area.