28 April 2010


First Solar to acquire solar project developer NextLight for $285m

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NextLight Renewable Power LLC of San Francisco, CA, USA, an independent developer of utility-scale solar projects in the southwestern USA that was founded in 2007.

The all-cash transaction (about $285m, subject to certain closing adjustments) is expected to be completed in third-quarter 2010, pending the satisfaction of closing conditions specified in the agreement.

Further solidifying First Solar’s position in the US utility renewable power market, the acquisition includes a 1100MW solar project pipeline:

  • 570MW (AC) under signed power purchase agreements with western utilities, increasing First Solar's contracted photovoltaic (PV) solar project pipeline to 2200MW;
  • 530MW (AC) of additional PV projects in various stages of development.

NextLight’s projects are largely located on private land and range in size from 30MW to 290MW, expand the scope and diversity of First Solar’s pipeline. “NextLight has assembled a project pipeline that very much complements First Solar’s project portfolio,” says the CdTe PV maker's CEO Rob Gillette. “We are looking forward to having the highly experienced NextLight team join First Solar,” he adds.

“The combination of NextLight and First Solar brings best-in-class power development experience and discipline to the emerging utility-scale solar industry,” says NextLight CEO Frank De Rosa. “We look forward to joining the First Solar organization and leveraging their expertise to deliver high-quality solar generation,” he adds.

First Solar says that the transaction is a strategic step in its expansion in the US utility-scale power market, which began in 2007 with the acquisition of Turner Renewable Energy and continued with the acquisitions of solar project pipelines from OptiSolar in 2009 and Edison Mission Group in 2010. “Success in today’s competitive solar market requires a complete solution for our customers' renewable energy needs,” says Gillette. “First Solar is uniquely positioned to deliver utility-scale solar power plants, including project development, module manufacturing, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), project finance expertise and operations and maintenance.”

See related item:

First Solar grows 33% sequentially, but project development hits profits

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