21 April 2020
First Solar signs 15-year PPAs with community choice aggregators Monterey Bay Community Power and Silicon Valley Clean Energy
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA – which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services – has signed two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with community choice aggregators (CCAs) Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE).
Both agencies will buy electricity from the Rabbitbrush Solar project developed by First Solar in Kern County, California. The 100MWAC photovoltaic (PV) solar plant, scheduled to be completed in second-quarter 2022, will also feature 20MW of battery storage capacity, capable of delivering electricity for 2.5 hours.
“Responsibly developed to minimize its impact on the ecosystem, and powered by the most eco-efficient solar technology available today, this project mirrors our own commitments to sustainability and the communities we serve,” says MBCP’s CEO Tom Habashi.
The project will be powered by First Solar’s proprietary thin-film module technology, designed and developed at its R&D centers in Santa Clara in California, and Perrysburg in Ohio. The technology is the result of over $1bn in cumulative R&D spend (among the highest in the PV manufacturing industry).
“Rabbitbrush Solar will help deliver clean electricity to Santa Clarans with photovoltaic technology that was developed in Santa Clara by First Solar,” notes SVCE’s CEO Girish Balachandran. “We are looking forward to adding this project to our long-term efforts to cut energy-related emissions in line with our decarbonization commitments.”
The PPAs are the latest to be signed by First Solar with CCAs in California, enabling the delivery of solar electricity to several communities across the state. While SVCE provides renewable, carbon-free electricity to 13 communities in Santa Clara County, MBCP sources clean electricity for the Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties, as well as parts of San Luis Obispo county.
“The fast-growing CCA segment, with its base of environmentally conscious consumers, aligns well with our inherent emphasis on sustainability,” says First Solar’s chief commercial officer Georges Antoun.
When it is complete, the facility will generate enough electricity to power 45,000 average homes, while displacing 62,000 metric tons of CO2 annually (equivalent to removing 12,000 combustion engine cars from the road). The air quality benefits of the project will amount to more than $10m in avoided healthcare costs annually.