First Solar, Inc.
) announced that it has begun the construction of its Campo Verde
Solar Project located near El Centro in Imperial County,
California. The company expects to complete the solar power plant
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With an electric generation capacity of 139 megawatt ("MW"), the
project will generate electricity that is sufficient to power
50,000 average California homes.
The company will install its own advanced thin film PV modules
for the construction of the project. These modules have the
capacity to generate clean and renewable energy with no emissions
and water consumption during operation. The solar project is
eco-friendly and the have the capacity to displace 80,000 metric
tons of CO2 annually, which is almost equal to taking 15,000 cars
off the road. The project will create 250 jobs during its
construction period and contribute more than $230 million to
Imperial Valley through tax revenue and providing funds for
In December 2012, the company had received all the required
approvals from Imperial Irrigation District ("IID") to cross
IID"S Westside Main Canal with the project's transmission line.
First Solar has been busy in construction of solar projects as
well as supplying of solar modules under contracts for the
construction of solar projects. Recently, it was chosen by Dubai
Electricity & Water Authority ("DEWA") for the construction
of a 13 megawatt (MWDC) solar photovoltaic ("PV") power plant in
Seih Al Dahal. Per the deal, besides providing engineering,
procurement and construction services, the company will also
supply its advanced thin-film PV modules to the plant. Separately
in another contract, First Solar will supply its advanced
thin-film solar modules to one of Zhenfa's approved solar
projects in Xinjiang province in the first quarter of 2013.
Apart from bringing in clean energy worldwide, these contracts
will allow the company to demonstrate their ability and
photovoltaic (PV) technology. Moreover, it gives the company a
diversified exposure geographically.
Like First Solar, another solar power company
Suntech Power Holdings Co. Limited
) is also moving toward development of solar projects. Suntech
Power will deliver 100 megawatts (MW) of solar panels for the two
planned projects in South Africa undertaken by a syndicate
steered by Mainstream Renewable Power.
Based in Tempe, Arizona, First Solar designs, manufactures, and
sells solar electric power modules using a proprietary thin film
semiconductor technology. Though the company's solar cells
convert sunlight to electricity less efficiently than traditional
silicon PV modules, thin film PV cells have an advantage of
producing electricity even in lower light. This ability to
produce electricity under a wide range of light conditions make
these cells attractive for utility companies that require stable
large-scale, utility-sized renewable energy production.
However, along with its solar peers
JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.
), First Solar is currently witnessing a steep drop in Average
Selling Prices. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks
Rank #3 (Hold) that corresponds with our long-term Neutral
recommendation on the stock.