It has been quite a week for global solar system provider, First Solar. They have signed three major deals totalling 529.8 megawatts (MW).
400 MW Deal with Strata
First Solar, Inc. signed an agreement with Strata Solar for the procurement of an incremental 400 megawatts (MW)DC of First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic modules, with delivery expected from 2017 into 2018.
With this agreement, Strata – one of the top utility-scale solar project developers and builders in the United States – will have purchased more than 1,000 MWDC from First Solar in a long-standing relationship between the two major players in the solar industry.
First Solar has now sold more than 1.8GW of modules in the U.S. Southeast, with modules either sold to outside developers, EPC contractors, or used in First Solar’s own projects.
Strata expects to install the modules in a series of solar projects in the southern and eastern U.S.
10.8MW Power Purchase Agreement with SMUD
First Solar, Inc. and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced the formal execution of a power purchase agreement (PPA) for offtake of a 10.8 megawatt solar project to be built on the site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station.
The Rancho Seco Solar Project will annually generate more than 22,000 MWh of clean, renewable energy, which will be offered to SMUD business customers through the utility’s Commercial SolarShares program, helping them achieve sustainability goals while reducing their need to purchase fossil-fuel generated power at peak demand hours. The new Golden 1 Center is the first announced customer that will receive electricity generated by Rancho Seco.
The project is situated on 60 acres of SMUD-owned property including the location of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station. The property also originally hosted a 1980s-era 3.2MW SMUD solar array, one of the first utility-scale solar power plants in the world. Construction of the new Rancho Seco Solar Project is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015, with commercial operation beginning in mid-2016.
119MW Power Purchase Agreement with Austin Energy
First Solar, Inc. and Austin Energy have signed a power purchase agreement allowing the municipally owned electricity provider to obtain low-cost solar power generated by First Solar’s 119 megawatt AC East Pecos Solar Project.
Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis said the partnership will directly benefit the citizens of Austin – as well as the entire state of Texas – as the utility takes a significant step towards meeting its solar development goals. “In committing to procuring 600 megawatts of solar energy in the coming years, the City of Austin has once again taken a leadership role in Texas,” Weis said. He added, “We were pioneers in wind energy in the 1990s, and now we’re leading the way in solar.”
“There is an irrefutable trend of solar becoming competitive in more geographies. Texas, in particular, shows great promise as an attractive market for solar-generated electricity, and Austin Energy is riding that trend,” said Georges Antoun, First Solar’s President, U.S. “The East Pecos Solar Project is proof of solar’s real-world cost competitiveness.” Antoun added that Texas’ business-friendly environment, combined with the largest solar resource in the U.S., makes it an excellent market for utility-scale solar.
East Pecos, which First Solar owns and is developing in Pecos County, Texas, is expected to commence construction in early 2016, with commercial operations anticipated in late 2016. The project will create approximately 500 construction jobs. East Pecos will generate approximately 300,000,000 kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy annually — enough to power 27,000 average homes in Austin Energy’s service area — and produce efficient, reliable energy, particularly at peak hours when consumers need it most. For added benefit, the solar project diversifies the local tax base and provides a stable source of local tax revenue for years to come. Moreover, the energy is produced using little to no water, one of the state’s most valuable resources.
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.