A 23-megawatt (MW) solar plant is slated for construction in Niland, Calif., thanks to $77.4 million in financing from the North American Development Bank (NADB), a lending institution created through the North American Free Trade agreement to address environmental issues in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
With the loan, SunPeak Solar subsidiary Imperial Valley Solar Company 1 intends to build a plant using fixed-tilt polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic panels over a 123-acre site on the east side of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). The water and energy utility IID will purchase 20 MW of the energy generated by the plant, as it works to reach its requirements under California’s renewable portfolio standard – 20 percent renewables by the end of 2013, 25 percent by the end of 2016 and 33 percent by the end of 2020.
IID is the sixth-largest electric utility in California, providing power to around 146,000 customers in Imperial County and parts of Riverside and San Diego counties. The new solar plant will yield enough energy to power about 14,000 homes.
NADB said it has worked with the Imperial utility before, providing funding for two water-conservation projects, and has also provided grants to many infrastructure projects in the U.S.-Mexico border region. “We have been working to build partnerships in the renewable energy sector, with both public entities and private companies,” NADB Managing Director Gerónimo Gutiérrez said. “With the signing of this loan we are opening a new chapter in the evolution of the Bank that will help us move forward in the development of renewable energy projects.”