First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced the Topaz Solar Farm project will not meet the statutory deadline to receive a federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Topaz project meets the standards for inclusion in the loan guarantee program and received a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee from DOE on June 30, 2011, but there was insufficient time to process all requirements before the Sept. 30, 2011 deadline specified under Section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. First Solar is in advanced talks regarding the sale and financing of the project with potential buyers utilizing a different transaction structure that does not require a DOE loan guarantee.
The 230 megawatt (MW) Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project and the 550 MW Desert Sunlight project, which also received conditional commitments from DOE for loan guarantees on June 30, remain in the DOE process.
First Solar is developing the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm photovoltaic facility in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. Topaz is expected to create an average of 400 jobs during the three-year construction process and use modules from First Solar's Perrysburg, Ohio, and Mesa, Arizona factories. Upon completion, Topaz is expected to generate enough clean, renewable solar electricity to power approximately 160,000 average California homes, displacing about 377,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.