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California Utility SCE Selects Vendors for 1.3GW of New Solar Projects

Southern California Edison has signed contracts for more than 1,300 megawatts of new solar power across seven large-scale projects, according to a release. The utility has also recontracted 225 megawatts of geothermal energy with the existing California source, Geysers Power.

The PPAs are with Recurrent Energy, 8minutenergy, Sempra, Silver Ridge Power (SunEdison/Ridgeline Energy), Panoche Valley LLC, and Tribal Solar LLC.

Here are more details on the awards:

With the exception of Panoche Valley and Tribal Solar, the list of developers includes many of the usual suspects commonly seen in California PPAs. GTM Research Solar Analyst Cory Honeyman notes that the space has become increasingly consolidated in this market, adding, “All of the PPAs begin in 2019 or 2020, but it’s fair to assume that most, if not all, of this capacity will aim to make it on-line in 2016 before the ITC drops.”

Tribal Solar’s 310-megawatt solar array will be located on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation. These agreements are subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Martin Hermann, the CEO of 8minutenergy, suggests that utility-scale solar is alive and well because, “the fundamentals are still sound.” Hermann agrees with GTM’s Honeyman on the consolidation in the developer community, noting that project development requires “focus and dedication.” He cited the large number of developers that have withdrawn from the ISO queue. The CEO said that 8minutenergy has been working these projects since 2009 and many developers don’t have the resources to cover the carrying costs of a long-term project.

Recurrent did not have a comment. SCE has not responded.

California has a state goal of obtaining 33 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. Last year, 22 percent of the power Southern California Edison delivered to its 4.9 million customer accounts came from renewable sources.   

Adam Browning of Vote Solar suggests that the renewables “contracts [SCE] signed in one day are an order of magnitude more than what some of the largest utilities in America have done in their entire histories.”

Photo Credit: California Utilities and Solar/shutterstock

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Eric Wesoff's picture

Thank Eric for the Post!

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Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Aug 10, 2014

New PV nameplate capacity six times as much as the (renewed, not new) geothermal capacity.

The claim has been that geothermal would provide the carbon-free base load generation for the all-renewable grid.  How can that be, when even California is merely holding on to what it has?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 10, 2014

Eric, your attempt to put lipstick on the solar pig is duly noted, especially your disingenous inclusion of 225MW of geothermal capacity in the solar total (with capacity factor, its contribution corresponds to all of the solar combined).

What’s really happening with the power picture in Southern California? The ongoing environmental disaster resulting from the closure of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) continues unabated. In March, the California Public Utilties Commission (CPUC) authorized between 1000-1500MW of new natural gas capacity for SCE, and 1,100MW for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). According to the Sierra Club, only 18% of new capacity will be coming from “preferred resources”, i.e. solar/wind/efficiency/storage. That’s capacity: when CF is factored in, ~10x as much new energy will come from burning fossil fuels as from solar and wind, government grants and rebates for which are the only truly renewable component.

The ultimate effect of this renewable energy con is millions of tons of additional atmospheric carbon and airborne carcinogens. At what point does painting a rosy picture become criminal deception?

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