Enbridge Inc. (TSX: ENB) (NYSE: ENB) and First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) announced that Enbridge has acquired a 100 per cent interest in the 50-megawatt (MW) Silver State North photovoltaic (PV) project that First Solar has developed and constructed in Clark County, Nevada, near the community of Primm. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"Silver State North marks Enbridge's entry into the U.S. solar energy market and demonstrates Enbridge's continuing commitment to growing its green energy business, while delivering attractive returns and stable cash flows," said Don Thompson, Vice President, Green Energy, Enbridge Inc. "The U.S. solar market presents significant growth opportunities given the excellent solar resource, supportive regulatory environment and expanding portfolio of solar energy projects."
Located 40 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada, Silver State North was constructed under a fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) agreement with First Solar, and is expected to begin commercial operation by May 2012. First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. NV Energy will purchase the energy output under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) approved in 2010 by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.
"Silver State North is a premier utility-scale PV solar facility," continued Mr. Thompson. "We have been impressed with First Solar's strong technical competence and attention to meaningful community engagement practices that align with Enbridge's values."
"First Solar is very pleased to expand its relationship with Enbridge, a leader in renewable energy that shares our commitment to sustainability," said Frank De Rosa, First Solar Senior Vice President for Business Development, the Americas. "We are very proud to have completed construction of the first utility-scale PV solar project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Nevada, which would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of county, state and BLM officials."
Silver State North, which will use First Solar's advanced thin film PV modules, will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 9,000 average Nevada homes per year, displacing about 42,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually - the equivalent of taking about 8,000 cars off the road. The project will also contribute to helping Enbridge meet its Neutral Footprintcommitment to generate a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt of conventional electricity that the company's operations consume.
The project complements Enbridge's growing portfolio of renewable and alternative energy technologies that now includes interests in eight wind farms, four solar projects, a hybrid fuel cell and four waste heat recovery facilities. Together, Enbridge's investments in renewable energy have the capacity to produce almost 1,000 MW of renewable energy.
First Solar will recognize revenue from Silver State North after final testing and commissioning, expected in the second quarter of 2012.
SilverStateNorth Solar Project at a glance:
Location: Clark County, Nevada, near the community of Primm
NetPeakCapacity: 50 MW (AC)
Project Area: About 600 acres (on Bureau of Land Management lands)
Approximate number of solar modules: Over 800,000
Annual yield: 122,000 MWh (corresponding to the annual consumption of about 9,000 homes)
Energy Purchaser: NV Energy (25-year PPA)
CO2 saving: 42,000 metric tonnes per year (the equivalent of taking about 8,000 cars off the road)
Estimated peak work force: About 300 people during construction