UTILITY IN MONSTER 550 MV SUN BUY
Southern California Edison makes big solar power deal; The utility agrees to buy enough electricity to supply up to 170,000 homes from two solar projects to be built in Riverside and San Bernardino counties by Arizona company First Solar.
Tiffany Hsu, August 19, 2009 (LA Times)
"Southern California Edison will pair with Arizona company First Solar Inc. on two large solar power projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties that will be able to supply electricity to as many as to 170,000 homes…
"The installations operating at full power can produce up to 550 megawatts of photovoltaic electricity. By comparison, an average natural-gas-fueled power plant produces roughly 1,000 megawatts…First Solar will begin building the 250-megawatt Desert Sunlight facility…in 2012 and the 300-megawatt Stateline project…in 2013. Both installations, to built mostly on public land, are expected to be finished in 2015 and to create hundreds of construction jobs."
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"Financial terms of the deal and the anticipated cost of the electricity weren't disclosed. Edison will buy the power from the facilities, which First Solar plans to sell to investors by the time construction is complete.
"First Solar, which has manufacturing facilities in Ohio, France, Germany and Malaysia, will use thin-film cadmium telluride panels for the projects…[which] will help Edison inch closer to the state goal of deriving 20% of all electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The California Legislature is considering bumping up the state target to 33% by 2020."
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"Last year, 16% of Edison's energy portfolio [was New Energy]… more than 65% of the solar energy produced in the country…In February, the company struck a deal with BrightSource Energy… to build seven solar farms, the first of which could be operating in 2013…With a production capacity of 1,300 megawatts, the project could end up powering nearly 845,000 homes…[I]n June [it signed onto] two projects with German company Solar Millennium for a potential 726 megawatts…[to] start up in 2013 and 2014…But with the prolonged timeline and strict regulations on how to direct the energy to consumers, utilities may miss the state's goal…
"First Solar, meanwhile, is at the forefront of photovoltaic companies…The Edison projects could bring First Solar as much as $1.3 billion in revenue…First Solar already has a 21-megawatt solar farm with power slated for Edison under construction…and a 550-megawatt project with Pacific Gas & Electric Co…The company's revenue has boomed from $1.3 billion in 2008 to an estimated $2.1 billion in 2009…"