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20 August 2009


First Solar wins CdTe PV contracts: 55MW for Los Angeles and 550MW for Southern California Edison

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), has announced a contract with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to build a large-scale solar power project in Imperial County, CA with a generation capacity of 55MW.

The firm will design, engineer and construct the 55MW Niland project. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2011. The contract is conditional on approval by the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor of Los Angeles. The solar arrays will require building permits from Imperial County.

First Solar has also announced agreements with Southern California Edison (SCE), an Edison International company, to build two large-scale solar power projects with a combined generation capacity of 550MW (among the largest solar installations of their kind, sufficient to power about 170,000 homes): the 250MW Desert Sunlight project near Desert Center in Riverside County and the 300MW Stateline project in northeastern San Bernardino County. As one of the USA's largest electric utilities, SCE serves a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California. The agreements are subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Southern California Edison is always looking for innovative ways to deliver clean power from renewable sources,” says Stuart Hemphill, SCE’s senior VP, Power Procurement. “First Solar is an excellent partner in helping us achieve our goals.”

First Solar will engineer, procure and construct the two facilities. Pending network upgrades and receipt of applicable governmental permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2012 for Desert Sunlight and 2013 for Stateline. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2015. Several hundred construction jobs are expected to be created at each site. When completed, the solar projects should produce 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy per year.

“Supplying solar power to Southern California Edison and its customers advances our mission of providing clean, affordable and sustainable solar electricity,” says John Carrington, First Solar’s executive VP, marketing & business development. “These projects will help California reach its renewable energy goals, and are powerful examples of large-scale photovoltaic solar generation becoming a reality in the USA.”

California currently has a goal of delivering 20% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and is considering legislation to increase the goal to 33% by 2020. SCE is the USA’s leading purchaser of renewable energy and, in 2008, delivered 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours to its customers from renewable resources – about 16% of its total energy portfolio. In addition, in 2008 the utility delivered more than 65% of the solar energy produced in the USA.

See related items:

First Solar to supply 10MW of CdTe PV panels for Lend Lease’s Australia business

First Solar agrees multi-year supply contract with Pfalzsolar

First Solar to supply modules for Australia’s largest PV installation

First Solar secures financing for 53MW German plant

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

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

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