9 March 2010


First Solar to supply PG&E with 300MW from 550MW Desert Sunlight plant

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 announced a power purchase agreement to supply Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) with renewable electricity from a 300MW (AC) utility-scale photovoltaic solar power facility that First Solar is developing in Southern California.

The Desert Sunlight project, to be located near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, CA, will have a total capacity of 550MW, enough to power about 160,000 area homes (about 480,000 residents). The other 250MW portion of the project is already under contract to Southern California Edison (SCE) following an agreement last August (in which First Solar is also supplying SCE with 300MW from the Stateline PV project in northeastern San Bernardino County). The power purchase agreements with PG&E and SCE are subject to the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission.

First Solar will build the project using its photovoltaic solar modules and provide project development, engineering, procurement and construction capabilities. With construction expected to start by the end of 2010 and complete as early as 2013, the project will will create about 430 construction jobs and displace 300,000 metric tons of CO2 per year (equivalent to taking 60,000 cars off the road, it is reckoned). The permit application has been fast tracked by the Bureau of Land Management.

“First Solar is one of the few companies that has all the capabilities required to realize very large, utility-scale solar projects like Desert Sunlight, which are important in helping our customers and California reach the state's renewable energy goals,” claims the firm’s CEO Rob Gillette.

First Solar has 1700MW of utility-scale power projects with power purchase agreements in North America.

See related items:

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

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