First Solar lines up 32 MW contract for Lost Hills project

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and the City of Roseville, Calif., have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 32 MW AC of solar electricity to be generated at the Lost Hills photovoltaic power plant First Hills will construct in Kern County.

The 10-year PPA is First Solar’s first such agreement with a municipal utility, and is effective in 2015. The PPA was approved by the Roseville City Council on July 17.

Lost Hills project construction could start in early 2014, and is expected to create up to 200 jobs at its peak.

The agreement “will help the city reach its state renewable energy goals, while giving residents the benefit of clean, affordable electricity,” said First Solar Project Development Vice President Brian Kunz.

“We are pleased to acquire renewable electricity to help us reach the state’s requirement for 33 percent by 2020,” said Roseville Electric Utility Director Michelle Bertolino.

Roseville Electric purchased 325,000 MWH of renewable energy for $24 million for 10 years. The contract cost $6.5 million less than similar renewable energy purchase offers in 2012.

Under the agreement, Roseville will receive 100% of the Lost Hills power plant’s output for the first four years of the agreement; it will then decline to a smaller percentage of the output. First Solar has an additional PPA for Lost Hills’ output with Pacific Gas and Electric, which goes into effect in 2019.

A couple of weeks earlier First Solar announced a technology partnership with General Electric (NYSE:GE) to advance thin-film solar cells and modules. First Solar has acquired GE’s global cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar intellectual property portfolio, setting a course for significant advancement of photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar technology. GE received 1.75 million shares of First Solar common stock as part of this transaction. GE has agreed to retain the shares for at least three years.

Also during August, First Solar announced the purchase of 1,500 MW worth of solar projects in the United States and Mexico from Element Power.

Earlier this year First Solar also began construction of the 139-MW Campo Verde Solar project in Imperial County, Calif.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.