Tenaska said that a 150MW solar plant in Southern California has started operations.

The Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West plant marks Tenaska's second large-scale solar project to reach commercial operation as the company continues to expand its footprint in renewable generation..

The solar plant, which features 1.8 million First Solar photovoltaic panels, is capable of powering at least 55,000 Californian homes.San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will buy the energy generated from the plant under a 25-year agreement.

Construction of the solar plant began in November, 2014. First Solar will serve as the long-term plant operator.

Tenaska vice chairman and CEO Jerry Crouse said: “SDG&E has aggressively pursued clean, reliable and affordable energy for its consumers. We are proud that Tenaska projects will be significant contributors to its renewable energy supply for years to come.

“Similar to other Tenaska facilities, Tenaska Imperial West was developed, engineered and constructed safely, in an environmentally responsible manner, on time and within budget.”

In 2011, the 130 MW Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South became the initial large-scale solar project to start construction in California’s Imperial Valley and the first to link to SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink.

Sunrise Powerlink was constructed to support renewable energy development in the area. Tenaska Imperial South started commercial operation in 2013.

Tenaska claims that the solar plants together have created more than 1300 jobs in the region, most of whom were from Imperial County communities and had also paid $32m in state and local taxes.

The two solar facilities produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes in California.

SDG&E energy procurement vice president Emily Shults said: “Powering homes and businesses with universal solar is good for our customers and our state.

“Sunrise Powerlink is the foundation for giving all of our customers’ access to renewable energy. We look forward to all of the innovations on the horizon that will unlock clean, safe and affordable energy choices for our customers.”