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First Wind Forms Agreement with Rocky Mountain Power for Clean Energy from Largest Solar Developments in Utah

published: 2014-06-20 16:08

To officially enter into the solar industry, First Wind has established a new solar division, First Wind Solar Group, and will start operating two solar development projects in Utah -- the 320 MW (AC) “Four Brothers.” First Solar has finalized four 20-year power purchase agreements to sell power of the “Four Brothers” to Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp and part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

As part of the power purchase agreements, Rocky Mountain Power will buy the output of the planned 320MW (AC) “Four Brothers” solar development, which includes four, separate fully permitted 80 MW (AC) project sites. Rocky Mountain Power’s purchase is made in connection with its obligation under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), and follows seven similar PURPA agreements for First Wind’s 20 MW (AC) “Seven Sisters” projects. These four solar projects will be located at sites in Beaver and Iron Counties. Combined, the “Four Brothers” and “Seven Sisters” solar project portfolio in Utah will be by far the largest collection of First Wind Solar Group.

“It is with great excitement that we announce this second set of major agreements for cost-competitive and locally produced solar energy in Utah,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “These additional long-term contracts with Rocky Mountain Power will enable us to move forward quickly with what will be the largest solar development in Utah, and our largest solar project to date. When combined with our nearby Milford Wind project and Seven Sisters Projects, we will have a capacity to generate nearly 650 MW of clean electricity while serving as a source of major economic activity for Southern Utah through good construction jobs and significant local tax revenues.”

The “Four Brothers” solar portfolio, which combined would be the largest solar development in Utah to date, includes four separate 80 MW (AC) solar PV projects, three of which are to be sited in Beaver County and one that will be located in Iron County. Once complete, the combined generating capacity of the four projects will be more than 800,000 MWh per year, or equivalent to the electricity use of about 90,000 Utah homes per year.

“First Wind has been a great partner to the State of Utah for many years now, and a great partner to Millard and Beaver Counties, where its Milford Wind facility provides significant economic value,” said Cody Stewart, Energy Advisor to Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. “Today it adds Iron County to the list. Perhaps more importantly, because this project's electricity will serve Utah directly, the project will add value for all Utahns for decades to come. We're glad to see that large scale solar has finally come to Utah.”

With the start of major construction slated to begin in 2015 and a target completion date in 2016, the projects will create approximately 500 construction jobs. In addition, approximately $66 million in direct property and income taxes will be generated by the project over 20 years.

“In addition to the clean energy, these solar projects will be a boon for our local economy through hundreds of construction jobs and new property and tax revenue that will help support our community, schools and other municipal needs,” said Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney.

First Wind has been actively engaged with communities in Southern Utah for nearly ten years. It has completed a 306MW Milford Wind project and has funded the pilot scholarship for the First Wind Scholars programs in both Beaver and Millard County. Construction and ongoing operations and maintenance of the company’s renewable energy projects have provided significant economic and employment opportunities for local businesses, contractors and suppliers throughout Southern Utah.

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