First Solar to Build 150MW Solar Plant in Imperial Valley, CA - Analyst Blog

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The U.S. solar panel manufacturer First Solar Inc. ( FSLR ) was selected by Tenaska Solar Ventures - an independent energy company - to build the 150 megawatt (MW) AC Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West project near El Centro, CA.

Per the agreement, First Solar will provide full engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services utilizing its advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules and single-axis tilt technology for the project. The company has already begun engineering on this project and is planning to initiate construction later in 2014. The project is slated for full commercial operation in 2016.

Sempra Energy 's ( SRE ) San Diego Gas & Electric unit will buy all the generated electricity from the farm under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Located on roughly 1,100 acres of land in Imperial County, this Imperial Solar Energy Center West project marks the second of its kind in Southern California's Imperial Valley developed, owned and managed by Tenaska. Another 130 MW AC Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center South power plant was constructed by First Solar in November last year for Tenaska.

Increased focus in the U.S. on green energy sees more and more power being produced from solar cells. The high conversion rates of the solar panels, developed by companies like SunPower Corp. ( SPWR ) and First Solar, play a vital role in popularizing solar in the U.S., so much so that they contribute significantly to the grid.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects utility-scale solar capacity to expand by about 56% between year-end 2013 and year-end 2015 in the U.S., in tandem with considerable consumption growth in renewables for electricity and heat generation purposes. Along with that, the hiked import duties on solar panels and products from China will bode well for the U.S. solar companies.

First Solar came up with bright first quarter 2014 earnings, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 120.0%. Earnings also jumped 66.6% year over year. The solid start to the year supported by new bookings encouraged First Solar to lift its guidance for 2014.

The company has earned itself a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another solar stock with a bullish Zacks Rank is JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. ( JASO ). It sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: EIA , JASO , SRE , FSLR , SPWR

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