First Solar to construct 26 MW Arizona PV plant; sells 2 projects

12. March 2012 | Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Becky Stuart

U.S.-based First Solar Inc. has been selected by NRG Energy Inc. to build the 26 megawatt (MW) Avra Valley solar plant, located near Tucson, Arizona. In other news, NextEra Energy Resources has acquired two projects from First Solar.

First Solar will use its thin film modules in the 26 MW Arizonian project.

In addition to building the large-scale project, First Solar will also supply its thin film photovoltaic modules and single-axis tracker system. Construction is scheduled to begin this month and should be completed by the end of 2012. A total of 200 jobs are expected to be created, and the generated electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20- year power purchase agreement.

"NRG and First Solar have built a very strong working relationship, starting with our first 21 megawatt project in Blythe, California to our most recently completed 20 megawatt Roadrunner solar generating station in New Mexico," commented James Kelly, director of development for NRG Solar.

In related news, NextEra Energy Resources has completed its acquisition of two of First Solar’s photovoltaic projects, worth 40 MW. The projects, located in Canada’s St. Clair, were designed, developed and constructed by First Solar. They began commercial operation in February.

Subsidiaries of NextEra' Canadian subsidiary, NextEra Energy Canada, ULC, now own and operate the plants, which are said to generate enough power to serve around 6,440 homes. It is being sold to the Ontario Power Authority via long-term contracts under its Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program (RESOP).

Peter Carrie, First Solar Vice President for Business Development, Canada commented, "The projects employed 800 construction workers, including local First Nations workers, and are the first large-scale solar facilities permitted under the Province's Renewable Energy Approval process."

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