First Solar signs with MCE for first 40-MW stage of 160-MW Little Bear project

First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) and MCE announced Nov. 1 that MCE has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for electricity generated from First Solar’s 40-MW (ac) Little Bear Solar Project in Fresno County, California.

The project, designed to be built out eventually to 160 MW (ac), is anticipated to begin construction in 2019, with commissioning expected in 2020. A leading community choice aggregator (CCA) in California, MCE offers customers the benefits of locally controlled, competitively priced renewable energy options. The Little Bear PPA is First Solar’s first with a CCA.

“MCE is at the forefront of community-based power, a trend that is growing not only in California but across the United States,” said Brian Kunz, First Solar’s Vice President of Project Development. “We are excited to partner with an early leader in this important energy segment, and we look forward to expanding the relationship as MCE’s customer base grows.”

“MCE is dedicated to getting more renewable energy on the grid in California, and providing climate-friendly energy choices for customers,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “By empowering communities and customers with green energy choices like Light Green 50% renewable and Deep Green 100% renewable, MCE is able to stimulate build-out of California solar projects, providing a competitive new marketplace for enterprising energy suppliers like First Solar.”

In the agreement, MCE will initially purchase electricity from Little Bear’s 40-MW (ac) first phase, with an option to expand up to the project’s full 160 MW (ac) as MCE load increases through potential expansion. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MCE is a not-for-profit, community-based electricity provider offering 50% to 100% renewable electricity from sources such as solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and hydroelectricity at competitive rates in Marin County, Napa County and the cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, San Pablo, Richmond and Walnut Creek.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today.

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.