California PUC looks at approving three First Solar power sales deals

The California Public Utilities Commission will be looking at its Feb. 5 meeting whether to approve three power purchase agreements (PPAs) between Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and First Solar LLC.

PG&E in September 2012 sought approval of three PPAs with First Solar. All three PPAs are for new solar photovoltaic (PV) projects located in Santa Barbara and Kern counties. Cumulative capacity for the three projects will be 72 MW and cumulative expected annual generation is 179 gigawatt hours (GWhs), said a draft version of the Feb. 5 approval order.

The initial commercial operation date for the projects is Jan. 1, 2019, for a term of 25 years. The projects’ first point of interconnection will be within the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) balancing authority area and they will deliver both energy and capacity to PG&E. The PPAs resulted from PG&E’s 2011 RPS Solicitation.

First Solar is developing the three in-state thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) projects through three wholly-owned subsidiaries.

  • Cuyama Solar LLC is developing a 40-MW facility located in Cuyama in Santa Barbara County with annual expected generation of 104 gigawatt hours (GWhs).
  • Lost Hills Solar LLC is developing a 20-MW facility located in Lost Hills in Kern County with an annual expected generation of 47 GWhs.
  • Blackwell Solar LLC is developing a 12-MW facility in Lost Hills with annual expected generation of 28 GWhs.

Both the Lost Hills and Blackwell PPAs were amended to accommodate the sale of up to 1% of annual generation and green attributes to third-parties for the first ten years of the contract terms in exchange for increased buyer curtailment provisions. The projects have already executed 10-year agreements with the City of Roseville for deliveries beginning in 2015.

All three projects are located on private agricultural land.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.