8minutenergy Renewables, LLC, a leading independent solar PV developer based in California, announced that the Imperial County Board of Supervisors has approved Conditional Use Permits (CUP) for three of its utility-scale solar PV projects totaling 275 Megawatts (MW) in the Imperial Valley, Calif., under development with its partner, Gestamp Solar. The unanimous vote of the Board endorses the further development of clean renewable solar PV power at the Calipatria Solar Farm I (70MW), Midway Solar Farm I (50MW) and the Midway Solar Farm II (155MW). Prior to receiving the Board's approval, all three of 8minutenergy and Gestamp Solar's solar plants successfully concluded the industry's most comprehensive environmental study, the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Midway Solar Farm I and II, and Calipatria Solar Farm I, are large, utility-scale solar generation facilities sited on approximately 1,700 total acres of low-productivity farmland in the Imperial Valley. The projects are already in the advanced stages of engineering development.
Gestamp Solar and 8minutenergy signed Generation Interconnection Agreements (GIA) with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) in 2011 for the three solar PV plants. The 275 Megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable solar power will produce enough electricity for about 100,000 households in California.
8minutenergy strives to ensure that its solar power projects provide low cost, clean renewable energy from the sun with low environmental impacts, particularly when compared with public lands projects on pristine desert wildlands. The solar PV projects will displace the equivalent of approximately 473,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year of a coal plant, which is equal to the amount that roughly 20 million trees would displace annually.
"Our three solar farm projects will ultimately create over 300 direct and indirect construction jobs, as well as nearly 20 direct and indirect permanent, well-paying jobs in an area with high unemployment," said Martin Hermann, CEO of 8minutenergy Renewables. "They will also contribute millions of dollars in related benefits to the local economy in Imperial Valley. 8minutenergy has a portfolio of more than 2,000 MW of renewable solar projects under development on private, disturbed land in California."
"Gestamp Solar is pleased that its projects with 8minutenergy have received CUP approval," stated Pablo Otin, vice president and U.S. country manager for Gestamp Solar. "We are excited about the next stage of development for these three projects."
"We appreciate the support of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors for our solar projects," said Tom Buttgenbach, president of 8minutenergy Renewables. "8minutenergy actively supports the local community, which is why we are proud to work with the Calipatria School District on a private-public partnership that will create a vocational and internship program to train high school graduates for a career in the solar industry."
"The Imperial Irrigation District is pleased to see the Imperial County Board of Supervisors approve these three 8minutenergy projects because they are in the IID transitional cluster and they have already signed Generation Interconnection Agreements. The projects are currently in the engineering development stage with the IID, and once operational they will pay wheeling charges and thus benefit IID rate payers," said John Pierre Menvielle, president, IID Board of Directors.
The specific Gestamp Solar and 8minutenergy solar PV projects approved by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors include:
Midway Solar Farm I
The Midway Solar Farm I is a large, utility-scale solar generation facility (50MW) sited on roughly 326 acres of low-value farmland in the Imperial Valley, Calif.
Midway Solar Farm II
The Midway Solar Farm II is a large, utility-scale solar generation facility (155MW) sited on roughly 803 acres of low-value farmland in the Imperial Valley, Calif.
Calipatria Solar Farm I
The Calipatria Solar Farm I is a large, utility-scale solar generation facility (70MW) sited on roughly 582 acres of low-value farmland in the Imperial Valley, Calif.