SoCal communities buy First Solar power
Monterey Bay, Silicon Valley to get more electricity from sun Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – April 22, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:55am
Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar Inc. April 21 announced the signing of 15-year power purchase agreements with Monterey Bay Community Power and Silicon Valley Clean Energy.
Under the agreements, both California-based clean energy agencies will buy electricity from the Rabbitbrush Solar project being developed by First Solar in Kern County, California.
The 100-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant being developed north of Los Angeles, scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2022, will also feature 20MW of battery storage capacity, capable of delivering electricity for 2.5 hours.
"We are delighted to partner with First Solar to add to our growing solar generation and battery storage portfolio," said Monterey Bay Community Power CEO Tom Habashi. "Responsibly developed to minimize its impact on the ecosystem, and powered by the most eco-efficient solar technology available today, this project mirrors our own commitments to sustainability and the communities we serve."
The project will be powered by First Solar's proprietary cadmium-telluride thin-film solar technology.
Thanks in large part to First Solar, CdTe panels are becoming increasingly popular. These thin-film panels can absorb sunlight close to the optimal wavelength for converting to electricity and are relatively inexpensive to make, advantages that make them ideal for utility scale applications.
The CdTe technology going into First Solar panels is the result of over $1 billion in cumulative spending on research and development.
"We are thrilled that Rabbitbrush Solar will help deliver clean electricity to Santa Clarans with photovoltaic technology that was developed in Santa Clara by First Solar," said Silicon Valley Clean Energy CEO Girish Balachandran. "Our customers have made an important choice in selecting carbon-free energy, and we are looking forward to adding this project to our long-term efforts to cut energy-related emissions in line with our decarbonization commitments."
The agreements with Monterey Bay Community Power and Silicon Valley Clean Energy are the latest to be signed by First Solar with community choice aggregators (CCA), local government entities that acquire electricity on behalf of their residents, in California.
"The fast-growing CCA segment, with its base of environmentally conscious consumers, aligns well with our inherent emphasis on sustainability and our mission to lead the world's sustainable energy future," said Georges Antoun, chief commercial officer at First Solar. "As America's solar company, we are pleased to support MBCP and SVCE in powering communities with solar energy that is not only cost-competitive, reliable and efficient, but also has a superior environmental profile."
When it is complete, the Rabbitbrush Solar facility will generate enough electricity to power 45,000 average homes, while displacing 62,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to removing 12,000 internal combustion engine cars from the road.