First Wind, Rocky Mountain Power to develop solar power in Utah

First Wind finalized four 20-year power purchase agreements with 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 320 MW (AC) “Four Brothers” solar power 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, or PURPA, and follows seven similar PURPA agreements for First Wind’s 20 MW (AC) “Seven Sisters” projects. These four solar power projects will be located at sites in Beaver and Iron Counties.

The “Four Brothers” solar power portfolio, which combined would be the largest solar development in Utah to date, includes four separate 80 MW (AC) solar photovoltaic 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.

With the start of major construction slated to begin in 2015 and a target completion date in 2016, the projects will create about 500 construction jobs. In addition, about $66 million in direct property and income taxes will be generated by the project over 20 years. These jobs and property taxes will spur Southern Utah’s economic growth, in particular within the rural communities of Beaver and Iron Counties.

Combined, the “Four Brothers” and “Seven Sisters” solar project portfolio in Utah will be by far the largest collection of solar projects to be developed by First Wind’s new solar division, First Wind Solar Group. Established to explore solar energy opportunities near the company’s wind projects in the West, Hawaii and the Northeast, First Wind Solar Group recently completed construction of a 3 MW (AC) project in Millbury, Mass. and a combined 14 MW (AC) solar project in Warren, Mass. The company is also developing a 20 MW (AC) solar project in Mililani, Hawaii.

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