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First Solar Shares Climb As Project Reaches 200 MW

July 16, 2012

Utility-scale solar projects have had their issues in recent months but the co-owners of the 290-megawatt (MW) Agua Caliente solar project say everything is going extremely well. The announcement sent shares of First Solar (FSLR :NASDAQ), the engineering, procurement, and construction company for the project, up over 7 percent in early morning trading.

NRG Energy (NRG :NYSE) and Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Solar stated that more than 200 MW of the plant are delivering electricity to the grid.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG :NYSE) is acquiring the electricity generated from the plant under a 23-year power purchase agreement.

The Agua Caliente project, located in Yuma City, Arizona, is currently the world’s largest solar project.  It will also be a feather in the cap of the Obama administration as it is being financially supported through a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

First Solar appears to be getting back on track as its 230 MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project restarted construction after receiving approval from the Los Angeles’ public works office. Despite beginning construction in 2011, First Solar had to stop in April 2012 as the DOE held back initial funds under its $646 million loan guarantee program until it received approval.

First Solar is also working with MidAmerican Solar on 550 MW Topaz solar project in San Luis Obispo, CA. The $2 billion project is expected to be finished in 2015.

Shares of First Solar were up 7.48 percent in afternoon trading while NRG shares were down 0.45 percent and PG&E shares were off 1.02 percent.

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