Solar, Utility Scale

First Solar Acquires Edison Mission Group Development Pipeline

First Solar Inc. this week announced that it has has completed the acquisition of a portion of Edison Mission Group’s (EMG) solar project development pipeline. The utility-scale solar projects are located in California and the Southwest.

The EMG projects that First Solar is acquiring are sited largely on private land, range from 20 to 150MW, and are not yet contracted with utilities. First Solar and EMG have worked together since 2008 on the EMG projects, with First Solar providing engineering, procurement and construction services while EMG was responsible for land acquisition and permitting.

Now First Solar will handle all development for these projects, including permitting. Anticipated module demand for EMG projects was included in advanced pipeline information provided to First Solar investors in December 2009. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Acquiring the EMG development pipeline extends First Solar’s leadership in the U.S. utility market,” said Lisa Bodensteiner, First Solar vice president of business development for North America. “It builds on our strategy to cultivate robust and predictable module demand in utility-scale applications.”

First Solar recently completed development and construction of its first California utility-scale solar power plant in December 2009, the 21MW AC Blythe project that was sold to NRG Energy and supplies electricity to Southern California Edison.

The company announced in December that it manufactured and shipped more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of its photovoltaic (PV) solar modules in 2009, becoming the first PV company to attain this production volume in a single year. First Solar increased its manufacturing capacity from approximately 75 megawatts (MW) per year at the beginning of 2007 to more than 1 GW today.

Last February, the company announced that its solar modules were being produced at US $0.98/watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier that the industry has been striving towards in recent years. First Solar said it is confident that further significant cost reductions are possible based on the yet untapped potential of its technology and manufacturing process.