First Solar May Supply Panels for Biggest Solar Project

First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the world’s largest maker of thin-film panels, may win a contract to supply NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) for what would be the world’s biggest solar farm.

First Solar may be the only manufacturer with the capacity to supply enough thin-film panels for NextEra’s Blythe project, which is evaluating the technology, Ben Schuman, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Oregon, said today in an interview.

NextEra is considering thin-film cadmium telluride solar panels as one possible technology for its 1,000-megawatt Blythe project in southern California, according to a document filed with the California Energy Commission Sept. 24.

“It would definitely be a positive for First Solar if they were able to win a 1,000-megawatt project,” Schuman said today in an interview.

NextEra hasn’t decided on a panel supplier for the project and may use more than one, said Steven Stengel, a spokesman for the Juno Beach, Florida-based power company.

First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona, is already working with the power company on another project, the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight power plant in Riverside County, California, that’s jointly owned by NextEra and General Electric Co.

First Solar also built a 21-megawatt project in the city of Blythe for NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) that was commissioned in 2009 and sells electricity to Edison International (EIX)’s Southern California Edison utility under a 20-year contract.

Blythe Purchase

NextEra received approval June 27 from a bankruptcy court to purchase Blythe from the former developer, the bankrupt SolarTrust of America LLC.

First Solar is building the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente solar farm in Arizona for NRG. It’s 85 percent complete with about 250 megawatts of capacity in operation, making it the world’s biggest solar project producing electricity, according to First Solar.

First Solar rose 11 percent to $23.11 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 68 percent in the past year. Alan Bernheimer, a First Solar spokesman, declined to comment on a potential agreement with NextEra.

Copyright 2012 Bloomberg

Lead image: Shipment boxes via Shutterstock

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