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Another Win for Solar PV over Solar Thermal as Tessera sells Imperial Valley Project to AES

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Solar Thermal Projects are getting converted into Solar PV ones as the fast declining costs of Solar PV make CSP uncompetitive.With Solar Panel prices expected to decline another 10-15% in 2011 alone after 50% decline in the last 2 years,Solar Thermal is becoming endangered.Tessera Solar a subsidiary of troubled Irish firm NTR has sold its second permitted and approved Stirling Technology powered Solar Thermal Project.The Project has been sold to AES Solar which is a JV between large US power generator AES and Riverstone.AES Solar has developed a large number of Solar PV projects in Europe.This is a good win for AES as it can quickly install a huge project in short time using Solar PV Panels.This marks another win for Solar PV Technology over Solar Thermal.Note Solar Thermal Technology IMHO is fast becoming an also ran with giant projects like Desertec nothing but a white elephant.Note the first project Calico which was sold has not decided on the technology but you would not want to bet that the buyer would use another CSP Technology.

Imperial Valley Solar project sold

The 709-megawatt Imperial Valley Solar project planned for south of Plaster City has been sold to AES Solar, a joint venture between AES Corp. and Riverstone Holdings.

Tessera Solar, the former owner, announced the deal Wednesday in a press statement, saying that AES Solar intends to move the project forward. AES Solar is committed to working with San Diego Gas & Electric to fulfill its obligations under the power purchase agreement, according to the statement.

AES Solar representatives did not return calls by press time. However, the change was not unexpected in Imperial County, said Andy Horne, deputy county executive officer for natural resources. There had been talk for awhile of the possible sale, and another Tessera project had been sold recently.

With the new company, some parts of the project are rumored to be changing, he said. The site may differ from what was originally proposed, or the company could decide to use a different solar dish.

“There’s a lot of speculation going on,” Horne said. “We’re hopeful that this means the project will go forward.”

Rumored new solar dishes could be something that the Valley has seen before with photovoltaic dishes. AES Solar owns and operates a growing fleet of photovoltaic projects in Europe, according to its Web site.


Abhishek Shah

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