First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced that the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project has achieved a peak generating capacity of 100 megawatts (MW)AC connected to the electrical grid. The photovoltaic (PV) power plant, which is under construction in northern Los Angeles County, will have a generating capacity of 230 MWAC upon completion, expected later this year.
Initial construction on the solar project began in Sept. 2011 and module installation started in June 2012, providing an average of 400 jobs during the construction phase. Power from the plant is being purchased by Pacific Gas and Electric Company under a 25-year contract.
"We are proud to achieve this important clean energy milestone for California, which was made possible by the tireless efforts of hundreds of individuals working together. We especially appreciate the support of LA County's Fifth Supervisorial District staff and the departments of Regional Planning and Public Works for their contributions to making this project a success," said Lou Moore, First Solar Senior Vice President of Engineering, Procurement and Construction. "Unlike traditional power plants, the modular nature of PV power projects enables us to quickly add substantial volumes of clean energy to the grid throughout the construction process. This shorter ‘time to energy' is another key advantage of PV solar electricity."
Dennis Hunter, Deputy Director of Los Angeles County Public Works, congratulated First Solar on its achievement at Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One. "We appreciated the opportunity to work with the First Solar team to reach this operational milestone," he said.
When fully operational, the facility will generate enough power for 75,000 average California homes and will displace about 140,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. That's equivalent to taking 30,000 cars off the road on an annual basis.