More Solar Energy Coming to California, Some Contingent on ITC

Southern California Edison (SCE) this week began installing solar panels engineered and supplied by First Solar at the first of approximately 150 Southern California commercial rooftops that eventually will make up SCE’s two-square mile solar generation project.

This first project is a 2-megawatt (MW) installation, comprising of 33,000 solar panels that are being installed on a 600,000-square-foot commercial roof in Fontana, CA, leased from ProLogis.

In related news, last week the CPUC approved project terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between First Solar and SCE for the sale of electricity generated by a new PV power plant to be built in Blythe, CA. The new plant will minimum generation capacity of 7.5 MW of electricity, with an option by First Solar to increase the size to 21 MW. When completed, SCE says that it will be the largest ground-based PV power plant in California.

First Solar will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the PV power plant, and maintain the PV power plant over its lifetime. Subject to the satisfaction of remaining contingencies, including the extension of the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), First Solar expects to begin construction of the PV power plant in 2009.

“By harnessing the clean, renewable energy of the sun that is abundant in California, these innovative solar projects are helping to meet our long-term energy and climate change goals,” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said. The Governor has set a goal of increasing California’s renewable energy sources to 20 percent by 2010, and he supports reaching 33 percent by 2020.

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