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First Solar Acquires 250 MW Project In Nevada

September 26, 2013

If you can’t develop them, buy them. At least that’s what’s happening with this large-scale solar utility project as First Solar (FSLR :NASDAQ) has purchased the 250 megawatt (MW) Moapa Solar Project in Nevada from K Road Power Holdings LLC.

The Moapa project is unique as it is the first large-scale solar project to be built on tribal land in North America. The 2,000-acre project is expected to start construction in Q4 2013 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. The solar project will be located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation in Clark County, Northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Acquiring the project is a solid victory for First Solar and not just because of its size. By developing the first large-scale solar project on tribal land in North America, this deal potentially opens the door for similar ones in the United States.

As of the April 2000 census, the Moapa River Indian Reservation didn’t crack the top 50 largest Indian reservations by land holdings. The Navajo Reservation topped the list with over 24,000 square miles of land in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah followed by the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation with almost 7,000 square miles in Utah and the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation with almost 4,500 square miles in Arizona. All of these Indian reservations have the location, and potential, to develop large-scale solar projects.

Despite the large project acquisition, shares of First Solar were only up .42 percent in afternoon trading.

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