First Solar strengthens renewable energy portfolio in US with three deals

29 October 2015 (Last Updated October 29th, 2015 18:30)

Renewable energy developer First Solar has signed three separate deals in the US, strengthening its position in the country.

Strata Solar

Renewable energy developer First Solar has signed three separate deals in the US, strengthening its position in the country.

The first of the deal with Strata Solar involves delivery of 400MW of First Solar’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules.

According to the agreement signed between the two companies, First Solar is expected to make the module deliveries within 2017 to 2018.

The modules are likely to be installed by Strata across multiple solar projects in southern and eastern US.

The firms have maintained a long-standing relationship with Strata, purchasing more than 1GW First Solar modules.

The second deal represents a formal execution of power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) for the offtake of 10.8MW Rancho Seco solar project in Herald, California.

The solar project will be developed on the site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear generation station, and is expected to annually generate over 22,000MWh of clean, renewable energy for SMUD business customers.

SMUD will be distributing the power to customers under its Commercial SolarShares programme, which can help them achieve sustainability goals and reduce their need for purchasing fossil-fuel backed energy during peak demand.

Construction of the power facility is expected to start in the fourth quarter of the year with commercial operation scheduled for a mid-2016 start.

"The modules are likely to be installed by Strata across multiple solar projects in southern and eastern US."

First Solar Project Development – US West vice-president Brian Kunz said: "SMUD’s innovative SolarShares programme exemplifies how a utility can serve its community in both environmentally and economically favourable ways."

SMUD chief generation and grid assets officer Frankie McDermott said: "This project will further enhance the renewable aspect of our power mix, which is already about 50% non-carbon-emitting, helping us meet our board of directors’ and the state’s carbon objectives.

"The use of previously developed land at Rancho Seco and existing SMUD-owned power lines also provides significant environmental benefit."

The third among the deals represents another power purchase agreement signed with Austin Energy, which entitles the latter to receive low-cost energy output from First Solar’s 119MW AC East Pecos Solar Project in Texas.

First Solar intends to start construction for the East Pecos project in early 2016, and commission it in late-2016.


Image: Strata will use First Solar modules for its projects in southern and eastern US. Photo: courtesy of graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.