20 December 2011

MidAmerican buys 49% stake in 290MW Agua Caliente CdTe PV project from NRG

Global energy provider MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company of Des Moines, Iowa is to acquire a 49% stake in the 290MW Agua Caliente solar photovoltaic (PV) project (situated in Yuma County on 2400 acres of land between Yuma and Phoenix in Arizona) from power generation firm NRG Energy Inc of Princeton, NJ, USA.

NRG acquired the $1.8bn project from First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film PV modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services. NRG’s acquisition had been contingent upon the financial closing of the project’s loan guarantee of up to $967m from the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Loan Programs Office (announced in December 2010).

Agua Caliente is the world's largest solar photovoltaic project currently under construction (by First Solar). The project is expected to create up to 400 construction jobs through its completion date in 2014. Supported by a long-term power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric for all of the electricity generated (enough to serve more than 225,000 homes), it should offset about 5.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over 25 years (equivalent to taking more than 40,000 cars off the road annually).

In May, NRG announced its intention to bring partners into its large-scale solar projects, noting the strength and creditworthiness that credible partners can bring. “Partnering with an industry leader like MidAmerican on Agua Caliente, one of the largest PV projects in the world, enhances the strength and credibility of what was already one of the world’s leading solar projects,” says president & CEO David Crane. “NRG and MidAmerican complement each other in the capabilities and experiences they bring to this project and to solar power more generally,” he adds.

“We are aggressively pursuing opportunities to expand our presence in the renewable energy sector, and the Agua Caliente project is another important step toward that goal,” comments MidAmerican’s chairman, president & CEO Greg Abel.

The deal is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including DOE approval.

On 7 December, MidAmerican announced that it had acquired from First Solar the 550MW Topaz project being built in San Luis Obispo County, CA (one of the world’s largest solar projects). MidAmerican already claims to be the largest owner of wind-powered energy among rate regulated utilities; at year-end 2011, 28% of its total generation capacity will be from renewable and non-carbon sources.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.nrgenergy.com

Visit: www.midamerican.com

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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