Located on 1,100 acres of privately owned land southwest of the Tehachapi and Piute mountains, the thin film photovoltaic solar panel project, under construction since May, began ramping up operation last month and will reach full capacity during the second quarter of 2013.
The project's solar energy, provided to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), will power the equivalent of 35,000 homes annually.
Majority interest in the project was acquired by a group of investors comprising GE unit GE Energy Financial Services, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., a unit of MetLife Inc., Union Bank, N.A. and Citi.
GE Energy Financial Services, MetLife, Union Bank and Citi have acquired their majority ownership stake in the project from EDF Renewable Energy. The investment group intends to acquire the remaining stake upon completion of the project and convert to a single investor lease. Additional details of the transaction were not disclosed.
The project is estimated to offset 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year, which is the equivalent of the emissions from 49,000 cars. It further helps SDG&E to achieve California's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goal of sourcing 33 percent of retail electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.
Additional project benefits include jobs, with up to 500 workers on site during construction. EDF Renewable Services, formerly enXco Service Corp., will provide operations and maintenance service.
The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that the U.S. solar energy industry employs more than 119,000 workers at 5,600 companies across all 50 states.
EDF Renewable Energy is one of the largest renewable energy developers in California and the nation. Catalina Solar represents EDF Renewable Energy's 22nd renewable energy project in California generating a combined 730 MW of clean energy for the state.
EDF Renewable Energy — formerly enXco — is a U.S. independent power producer with more than 25 years of expertise in the renewable industry, covering all range of services from project development and management to operations and maintenance. EDF Renewable Energy specializes in wind and solar photovoltaic with presence in other segments of the renewable energy market: biogas, biomass, hydro, marine energy and storage solutions.