California’s PG&E, Sempra and Edison Get Solar Approvals

California’s three largest utilities received approval from state regulators to buy electricity from 17 solar-energy plants.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the power-purchase agreements totaling 444 megawatts in a meeting today, according to commission filings. California law states that utilities should get 20 percent of their generation from renewable resources by the end of 2013, 25 percent by the end of 2016 and 33 percent by the end of 2020.

In 2010, California’s three largest utilities collectively got 17 percent of their generation from renewable energy, according to the commission’s third-quarter report. PG&E Corp. (PCG)’s Pacific Gas & Electric Co. got 15.9 percent, Edison International’s Southern California Edison Co. (EIX) got 19.3 percent and Sempra Energy (SRE)’s San Diego Gas & Electric Co. received 11.9 percent.

PG&E was approved to buy the output from the 150-megawatt Copper Mountain Solar 2 project for 25 years.

First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar panels, will supply the equipment and begin construction this year in Boulder City, Nevada. The plant is expected to enter operation in 2015, Sempra, which owns the project, said today in a statement.

Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison will buy power for 20 years from 15 projects totaling 144 megawatts of capacity. The plants, located in California, are being developed by six companies and will start operating in 2013 and 2014.

The developers are Silverado Power, Juwi Solar Inc., Foresight Renewables LLC, Amonix Inc., Clear Peak Energy Inc. (CLPE), and Recurrent Energy Inc., a unit of Sharp Corp., according to a filing.

SDG&E was approved to buy the output from a 150-megawatt project near El Centro, California. The Imperial Solar Energy Center West plant is being developed by Tenaska Inc. and will consist of concentrating solar panels that French manufacturer Soitec SA will supply from a factory in San Diego that’s scheduled to start production in 2013. The 25-year contract will begin in 2015, according to a commission filing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Herndon in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Wade at

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