Sempra Generation completes North America's largest 'thin film' solar power installation

Dec 22, 2008

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Sempra Energy

Sempra Energy

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         SAN DIEGO, Dec. 22, 2008 – Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), today announced the completion of the company’s first solar energy project, a 10-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic power-generation facility adjacent to the company’s existing 480-megawatt El Dorado Energy power plant near Boulder City, Nev., about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

        The El Dorado Energy Solar project is the largest operational thin-film, solar-power project in North America.  Construction began in July 2008, and involved the installation of more than 167,000 solar modules on 80 acres of desert property designated as a renewable energy zone and leased from Boulder City.
       
        Sempra Generation also announced it has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement for the new project’s entire output with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the utility serving northern and central California.   The contract is subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. 

        At peak production El Dorado Energy Solar will generate enough electricity to power approximately 6,400 homes. 

        “This is a significant step in the development and deployment of renewable solar power,” said Michael W. Allman, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation.   “It reflects the commitment by Sempra Generation and western U.S. utilities to meet the challenges posed by climate change with reliable, renewable energy.  The size and scope of this new solar generation facility clearly demonstrates that we can build projects on a scale that helps utilities meet their renewable energy goals.” 

        The project’s solar modules employ an advanced thin-film semiconductor technology to convert sunlight into electricity without air emissions or water use.  These modules will generally produce more electricity under real-world conditions than conventional solar modules with similar power ratings.

        “The El Dorado Energy Solar facility will be the first of our contracted solar projects to come online,” said Jack Keenan, chief operating officer for PG&E.  “We are pleased to partner with Sempra Generation as we add renewable resources to our power mix and continue to provide some of the cleanest energy in the nation.”

        Additional expansion phases of the project are under consideration.

        Unlike some solar power projects, El Dorado Energy’s solar power plant will not use water or other liquids in the power-generation process.  This water conservation feature makes the project especially suitable to the arid U.S. Southwest.  As with other solar projects, the new Sempra Generation facility will generate electricity during the day when customer demand peaks.

        Arizona-based First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project and is charged with monitoring and maintaining the plant.  

        Formed in 1999, First Solar is a worldwide industry leader in thin-film photovoltaic solar-module manufacturing with 2007 revenues of more than $500 million.

        Sempra Generation operates and maintains a fleet of power plants serving the U.S. market and is in the process of developing a solar and wind power projects in the Pacific Southwest.  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2007 revenues of more than $11 billion.  The Sempra Energy companies’ 13,500 employees serve more than 29 million consumers worldwide.

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This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  When the company uses words like “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “may,” “would,” “should” or similar expressions, or when the company discusses its strategy or plans, the company is making forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance.  They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions.  Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, national and international economic, competitive, political, legislative and regulatory conditions and developments; actions by the California Public Utilities Commission, the California State Legislature, the California Department of Water Resources, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other regulatory bodies in the United States and other countries; capital markets conditions, inflation rates, interest rates and exchange rates; energy and trading markets, including the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices; the availability of natural gas; weather conditions and conservation efforts; war and terrorist attacks; business, regulatory, environmental, and
legal decisions and requirements; the status of deregulation of retail natural gas and electricity delivery; the timing and success of business development efforts; the resolution of litigation; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the control of the company.  These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that are available through the EDGAR system without charge at its Web site, www.sec.gov and on the company’s Web site, www.sempra.com.

Sempra Generation is not the same company as the utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) or Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), and is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

 


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