First Solar Signs 300-MW PPA with PG&E

First Solar has signed a 300-megawatt (MW) power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) with electricity from a utility-scale solar photovoltaic power facility that First Solar is developing in Southern California.

The Desert Sunlight project, which is set to be built near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, California, will have a total installed capacity of 550 MW. The other 250 MW portion of the project is already under contract to Southern California Edison (SCE).

First Solar’s power purchase agreements with PG&E and SCE are subject to the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission. Desert Sunlight brings First Solar’s North American project pipeline up to 1.7 gigawatts.

First Solar plans to build the Desert Sunlight project using its low-cost thin-film modules and the company said that it also plans to use its project development, engineering, procurement and construction capabilities to bring the project to fruition.

Construction on the project is expected to start by the end of 2010 and be completed as early as 2013, creating approximately 430 construction jobs over the three year period. The project’s permit application has been fast tracked by the Bureau of Land Management and should come through in the next few months.

“First Solar is one of the few companies that has all the capabilities required to realize very large, utility-scale solar projects like Desert Sunlight, which are important in helping our customers and California reach the state’s renewable energy goals,” said Rob Gillette, First Solar chief executive officer.

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