EDF closes financing on 143MW Catalina solar project

French utility EDF has brought its 143MW Catalina solar project in California one step closer to completion with the sale of a majority stake in the scheme, closing financing for the project.

EDF Renewable Energy, known formerly as enXco, has sold a majority interest in the Catalina scheme, located in the Mojave desert, to a group of investors comprising GE unit GE Energy Financial Services, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of MetLife, Union Bank NA, and Citi. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
The investment group intends to acquire the remaining stake upon completion of the project and convert to a single investor lease, EDF said.

“We appreciate the new investment with our partners in Catalina. It underscores solar power’s ability to provide clean, abundant and affordable power, while creating economic benefits,” said Michael Wheeler, director of project finance at EDF Renewable Energy.

Located on 1,100 acres of land south-west of the Tehachapi and Piute mountains, the thin film photovoltaic panel project has been under construction since May. First Solar announced in May that it would supply PV modules on the first phase of the development (110 MW).

The project began ramping up operation last month and will reach full capacity during the second quarter of this year, EDF said. The project will provide power to the San Diego Gas & Electric Company, and will contribute towards the company’s obligation under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal of sourcing 33% retail electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020.

The project is just one of several renewable energy projects being developed in the region. Earlier this week, MidAmerican announced the completion of its Pinyon Pines projects in Tehachapi, as well as the acquisition of two solar projects in the Antelope Valley.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity