By Andy Colthorpe
US thin-film panel maker and PV project builder, First Solar, has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for electricity generated by a planned 40MW project in Kern County, California.
The agreements have been made between First Solar and four cities in the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA). First Solar will act as developer and constructor on the project, which is located near Rosamund, Antelope Valley.
Under PPA arrangements, the 40MW AC plant, Kingbird, will supply 20MW of electricity for 20 years to the cities of Riverside, Pasadena, Azusa and Colton. Remaining power will be sold under a further 20MWAC PPA jointly signed by Riverside, Colton and Azusa.
The 130-hectare plant will not be commissioned until late 2015, with the start date of construction subject to final permitting. Construction could begin in the middle of 2014. Kingbird will supply enough electricity to power over 11,000 households and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 20,000 tonnes per year. The project will provide 200 construction jobs at its peak.
First Solar’s recently issued financial results for the third quarter of this year, which showed the biggest quarterly per-watt cost reduction for the company’s CdTe modules since 2007. According to the company, First Solar is currently the lowest cost manufacturer in the industry. The Q3 2013 results also showed a leap of 51% in sales figures compared to the same period last year.
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