First Solar Signs PPAs for Solar Projects in Texas, California

published: 2015-10-30 14:15 | editor: | category: News

First Solar announced the signing of two power purchase agreements with Austin Energy for the 119MWac East Pecos Solar Project in Texas and with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) for the 10.8MW Rancho Seco Solar Project in California. Both the PPAs will help the respective states achieve their sustainability goals.

PPA with Austin Energy

Under terms of the PPA signed with Austin Energy, electricity generated by First Solar’s 119MWac East Pecos Solar Project in Texas will be sold back to the state power grid. The PPA directly benefits the citizens of Austin as well as the entire state of Texas as the utility takes a significant step towards meeting its solar development goals.

Texas’ business-friendly environment, combined with the largest solar resource in the U.S., makes it an excellent market for utility-scale solar. Austin Energy is committing to procuring 600MW of solar energy over the following years, and the City of Austin is the leader in the state.

“There is an irrefutable trend of solar becoming competitive in more geographies. Texas, in particular, shows great promise as an attractive market for solar-generated electricity, and Austin Energy is riding that trend,” said Georges Antoun, First Solar’s President, U.S.

East Pecos, which First Solar owns and is developing in Pecos County, Texas, is expected to commence construction in early 2016, with commercial operations anticipated in late 2016. The project will create approximately 500 construction jobs. East Pecos will generate approximately 300,000,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy annually, enough to power 27,000 average homes in Austin Energy’s service area. In addition, the solar project diversifies the local tax base and provides a stable source of local tax revenue for years to come. The energy is produced using little to no water, one of the state’s most valuable resources.


First Solar and SMUD’s partnership is to offtake the power generated from a 10.8MW solar project which is to be built on the site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station.

When completed and fully operating, the Rancho Seco Solar Project will produce more than 22,000 MWh of clean, renewable energy. The electricity will be offered to SMUD business customers through the utility’s Commercial SolarShares program, helping them achieve sustainability goals while reducing their need to purchase fossil-fuel generated power at peak demand hours.

The Rancho Seco Solar Project is situated on 60 acres of SMUD-owned property including the location of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station. The property also originally hosted a 1980s-era 3.2MW SMUD solar array, one of the first utility-scale solar power plants in the world. Construction of the new Rancho Seco Solar Project is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2015, with commercial operation beginning in mid-2016.

“This project will further enhance the renewable aspect our power mix, which is already about 50 percent non-carbon-emitting, helping us meet our Board of Directors’ and the state’s carbon objectives,” commented Frankie McDermott, SMUD Chief Generation and Grid Assets Officer.

(Photo Credit: First Solar)

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