Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, Con Edison Announce Solar Partnership

The 150 megawatt Mesquite Solar 1 installation in Maricopa County, Arizona. | Photo courtesy of Sempra Energy.

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and Consolidated Edison Development (ConEdison Development) have announced an agreement to partner in two of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s solar power facilities, the 150-megawatt (MW) Copper Mountain Solar 2 plant near Las Vegas and the 150-MW Mesquite Solar 1 power plant near Phoenix.

Under the sales agreement, each company will own a 50-percent interest in the two solar facilities, which are among the largest photovoltaic plants in the U.S. Sempra U.S. Gas & Power will continue to provide operations and maintenance services to both plants.

“This strategic partnership bolsters Sempra U.S. Gas & Power’s ongoing plan to improve its financial returns, deconsolidate debt and redeploy the proceeds from the transaction into new renewable growth projects,” said Kevin C. Sagara, vice president of renewables and corporate development for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. “We look forward to partnering with Consolidated Edison Development to continue operating world-class solar facilities that supply clean, emission-free electricity to our customers, and to capitalize on our shared view of near-term growth opportunities.”

“This transaction provides ConEdison Development with the opportunity to work with an outstanding partner while we expand our presence throughout the United States,” said Mark Noyes, vice president of ConEdison Development.  “We are partnering in two strategic renewable assets, both with strong project fundamentals, and advancing our commitment to growth in the renewable energy marketplace.”

Phase 1 of Copper Mountain Solar 2 is complete and is currently generating 92 MW of clean solar power.  When the second phase is fully constructed, expected in 2015, the project’s total operating capacity will be 150 MW. Power from the facility has been sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 25-year contract.

In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office awarded Mesquite Solar 1 a $337 million loan guarantee that enabled it to build this innovative photovoltaic plant, one of the largest in the U.S.  The agreement is subject to approvals from the U.S. Department of Energy and regulatory agencies.  Those approvals are anticipated in the second half of 2013. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.