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Buying American? U.S. Air Force Base Receives 3.4 MW of Suntech Solar Panels

April 12, 2012

If the solar panels are made in the U.S., that’s good enough for our government as solar installer Borrego Solar recently completed a 3.4 megawatt (MW) installation for Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. But instead of using solar panels from nearby First Solar (FSLR :NASDAQ), Borrego installed panels from nearby Suntech Power (STP :NASDAQ), a China-based company.

Buying panels from Suntech, who has developed a solar manufacturing plant in Goodyear, Arizona, is compliant with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and Buy American Act projects.

The cost of the project was ideal for the Army as Borrego is paying all of the upfront costs. Borrego will sell the power to the U.S. Department of the Army under a power purchase agreement at an “economical and fixed rate”.

“Going green” is a priority for the U.S. Department of the Army. They have established the Energy Initiatives Task Force in an attempt to secure 25 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2025.

And while it’s only a 3.4 MW installation, losing installations like this one so close to their backyard is a definite blow to First Solar.

Shares of Suntech were up 1.83 percent in early afternoon trading as First Solar shares were up a more modest 0.58 percent.

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