Solar, Utility Scale

First Solar Completes US $400M Acquisition of OptiSolar PV Pipeline

First Solar Inc. has completed its acquisition of OptiSolar’s solar photovoltaic (PV) project pipeline. First Solar said that it expects to construct the solar power plants developed under the pipeline over the next several years and sell them to a combination of regulated utilities, diversified energy companies and other independent power producers.

The acquisition, which was first annouced at the beginning of March, includes the 550-megawatt (MW) Topaz solar development project that falls under a power purchase agreement with PG&E. The deal will also see the transfer of a project pipeline of 1,300 MW that are in negotiation with Western region utilities for solar development projects as well as strategic land rights of approximately 136,000 acres with the potential to deploy up to 19 gigawatts (GW) AC of utility-scale solar power projects.

First Solar acquired all of OptiSolar’s project development business in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately US $400 million. In addition, the core development team responsible for assembling and executing on the solar project pipeline has joined the First Solar development team.

As a result of the closing, First Solar will issue approximately 3 million shares of common stock representing a dilution of about 3.5 percent. This is less than the approximate 5 percent dilution expected when the acquisition was announced, due to recent appreciation in the price of shares of the company’s common stock.

In November 2007, First Solar acquired Turner Renewable Energy in order to obtain engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capabilities of utility scale solar plants in the U.S. In October of 2008, First Solar entered into a strategic agreement with Edison Mission Energy to develop and construct utility-scale solar generation in California.

The company also constructed a 10-MW facility in El Dorado, Nevada with Sempra Generation. Last week, the company announced that it had broken the industry’s long-standing $1 per watt manufacturing price barrier.