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16 April 2009


CdTe PV maker First Solar to build 48MW plant for Sempra

Sempra Generation (a subsidiary of Sempra Energy of San Diego, CA) has contracted First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, which makes thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), to build a ground-mounted PV power-generation plant with a capacity of 48MW AC (enough to supply more than 30,000 homes).

The ‘Copper Mountain Solar’ project will expand an existing $40m, 10MW PV power plant constructed by First Solar last July-December, adjacent to Sempra Generation’s 480MW El Dorado Energy combined-cycle natural gas power plant near Boulder City, NV (about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas). The new plant will boost the number of PV panels at the site from the 167,000 of the existing plant to nearly 1 million.

As with the first plant, First Solar will design, engineer and construct the new plant, and Sempra Generation will own and operate it. Construction is expected to begin in 2009 (conditional upon applicable state and local regulatory approvals, as well as Sempra Generation executing a power purchase agreement with a utility customer for the electricity generated). Once completed in 2010, the combined 58MW project is expected to be the largest PV power plant in North America.

“This would be our largest renewable energy project thus far, and move us closer to our stated goal of becoming the first US company to own 500MW of solar power,” says Sempra Generation’s president & CEO Michael W. Allman. 

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to expand this 10MW project to 58MW - more than five times its original size, advancing our mission of providing clean, affordable solar electricity,” says First Solar’s executive VP of marketing & business development John Carrington. “Sempra Generation's decision to use First Solar in expanding the El Dorado solar plant demonstrates our ability to provide a cost-effective energy solution for utility-scale projects,” he adds.

See related items:

First Solar to acquire multi-Gigawatt utility-scale PV project business

First Solar completes 10MW CdTe PV plant for Sempra

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