First Solar and Apple Strike Industry’s Largest Commercial Power Deal

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"Apple Headquarters in Cupertino" by Joe Ravi. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_Headquarters_in_Cupertino.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Apple_Headquarters_in_Cupertino.jpg

First Solar, Inc.  today announced that Apple has committed $848 million for clean energy from First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County, Calif. Apple will receive electricity from 130 megawatts (MW)AC of the solar project under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to a commercial end user.

“Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar. “Apple’s commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California. Over time, the renewable energy from California Flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact.”

The 2,900-acre California Flats Solar Project occupies 3 percent of a property owned by Hearst Corporation in Cholame, Calif. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2015, and to be completed by the end of 2016. The output of the remaining 150MW of the project will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a separate long-term PPA, and the project is fully subscribed between the Apple and PG&E PPAs.

In January, the Monterey County Planning Commission unanimously approved the California Flats Solar Project, sending the project to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which will consider final approval of the project today.

Building on its proven record of developing, building and operating utility-scale solar power plants, First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) has placed a strategic focus on directly providing large commercial and industrial customers with wholesale electricity through long-term agreements. This deal marks the first wholesale commercial and industrial PPA executed by First Solar.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.