The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) have reached an agreement on the installation of solar modules at the Solar Ranch One photovoltaic (PV) power plant currently under construction in the Antelope Valley.
The agreement enables First Solar to continue construction activities of the 230-megawatt power plant that, when completed in 2013, will generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes. Installation of the modules had been delayed while First Solar and Public Works worked to achieve agreement related to the module code certifications.
Dennis Hunter, Deputy Director of County Public Works, said the Department was responsible for ensuring that all applicable building codes were met by the project in order to protect the health and safety of county residents.
"We're pleased to see the project back on track," Hunter said. "Following our discussions, we are now confident in First Solar's ability to meet our health and safety requirements."
Work on the project began in August 2011 and is creating about 400 jobs during construction on the 2100 acre site.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said the AV Solar Ranch was one of the largest construction projects currently underway in the county and provided significant employment opportunities to the Antelope Valley community.
"I am very pleased my office was able to facilitate resolution that helped towards finally resolving the permit issue involving the safety requirements of the AVSR1 project in the Antelope Valley," Supervisor Antonovich said. "More importantly, this resolution will help those employees that have been furloughed to return to work as quickly as possible."
Jim Lamon, First Solar Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Operations and Maintenance, said the company greatly appreciates the collaboration and commitment from Public Works and 5th District staff to approve the module installation plan.
"As the first utility-scale solar PV project in Los Angeles County, this was the county's first opportunity to apply its codes to a facility of this magnitude, which required significant time and effort for everyone involved," Lamon said. "After a very collaborative process, we are confident we have the county's support to keep the project moving to completion, and that this process has paved the way for future projects in the region, which has great potential for solar energy production."
First Solar expects to ramp up staffing for the project over the next several weeks.