Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Solar and NRG Energy Open Largest Solar PV Power Plant in California

Located in Riverside County about 200 miles east of Los Angeles, the 21 MW Blythe plant is the largest thin film PV project in the United States and is five times the size of the next largest PV project in California. NRG estimates that at peak capacity, the project can supply the power needs of almost 17,000 homes while helping California meet its renewable energy goals. Approximately 175 people built Blythe during its three-month construction and installation period.
“It is no surprise that America’s largest thin film solar project was built right here in California, where my Administration has successfully created a climate where green businesses can thrive,” said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It is forward-thinking businesses such as First Solar that will help California reach its nation-leading greenhouse gas reduction and Renewable Portfolio Standard goals, as well as create the new green jobs that will help spur our economic recovery.”
First Solar expanded its offerings in California in 2008. The Blythe plant is a model for First Solar’s future large-scale solar developments. “The development, project finance and construction of this solar plant demonstrate First Solar’s capabilities in utility scale projects,” said Bruce Sohn, president of First Solar. “With a three-month build-out, we are pleased to be bringing it online ahead of schedule.”
Using First Solar’s industry-leading thin film PV panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity with no water consumption during operation, the Blythe plant will generate over 45,000 megawatt-hours of clean, affordable, sustainable electricity per year. This solar generation will avoid approximately 12,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the equivalent of taking over 2,200 cars off the road.
First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services at Blythe under a long-term contract with NRG. NRG Energy, headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. the Company’s power plants provide more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity—enough to supply more than 20 million homes.
NRG Solar is NRG’s subsidiary company responsible for developing, constructing, financing and operating a multi-technology portfolio of solar power assets in North America. Blythe is part of NRG’s solar strategy that also includes plans to construct commercial-scale solar thermal generation at sites in California and New Mexico. The first of these units is anticipated to begin operating as early as 2011.
First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions.

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