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SDG&E Taps Arizona Firm for 300-900 MW of Solar Energy

Arizona-based Stirling Energy Systems (SES) announced a contract with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to provide between 300 MW and 900 MW of solar power, 30 times more solar power than is now being generated in the San Diego region.

The contract represents the second record-breaking solar project signed by the company in the past month, which may surpass the earlier contract to become the world's largest solar installation, SES said. The company last month unveiled a contract with Southern California Edison that will result in construction of a massive, 4,500-acre solar generating station in Southern California.

Under the latest contract, SDG&E will buy the electrical energy produced from a plant from SES Solar Two LLC, an affiliate of SES. SES and SDG&E have agreed to an initial 20-year contract to purchase all the output from a 300 MW solar power plant, which consists of 12,000 Stirling solar dishes on approximately three square miles in the Imperial Valley of Southern California.

SDG&E has options on two future phases that could add up to 600 MW of additional renewable energy and capacity to SDG&E's resource mix. The contract is subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission approved SDG&E's long-term resource plan, which relies on a balanced mix of resources to meet the growing energy needs of San Diego. That mix includes increased emphasis on energy efficiency and more renewable energy resources, as well as additional baseload generation plants and more transmission lines.

All phases of the Stirling projects will require additional transmission facilities to be built to deliver the energy to SDG&E customers.

Southern California Edison last month said it signed a 20-year renewable energy supply deal with SES. Although no price tag was put on the contract, the Edison International utility said the deal calls for up to 500 MW of output, with an option to expand to 850 MW.

SES has been developing its Stirling solar dish technology for the past decade. It currently has an operating model power plant comprised of six SES dishes located at the National Solar Thermal Test Facilities at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

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