First Solar acquires 50MW Macho Springs Project

Source: First Solar

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) and Element Power Solar today announced that First Solar has acquired the 50-megawattAC (MW) Macho Springs Solar project that Element Power Solar has developed in Luna County, N.M. When complete, it will be the state’s largest solar power project.

The photovoltaic (PV) solar project is expected to be completed in 2014, providing up to 400 construction jobs, and producing enough clean, renewable energy to power over 18,000 homes while displacing 40,000 tons of CO2 per year—the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Macho Springs Solar project is located on land leased from the New Mexico State Land Office, and electricity from the facility will be purchased by El Paso Electric (NYSE: EE) under a power purchase agreement that is subject to regulatory approvals, expected in the first half of 2013.

“We’re very excited to continue our work in New Mexico, increasing the state’s utility-scale solar generation capacity,” said Dana Diller, First Solar Vice President of U.S. Business Development.

“Element Power is pleased to once again work with the State of New Mexico, Luna County, the town of Deming and El Paso Electric to bring renewable energy and economic development to the region. The sale of Macho Springs Solar to First Solar is the result of a strong working relationship that draws on each company’s strengths,” said Raimund Grube, COO of Element Power.

“We look forward to working with First Solar on this very important renewable energy project that will benefit all El Paso Electric customers,” said Tom Shockley, El Paso Electric Chief Executive Officer. “We also want to thank Element Power Solar for its dedication and commitment to bringing this project to fruition.”

The Macho Springs project was the result of a Request for Proposal (RFP) by El Paso Electric to include additional electric peaking resources in its current energy mix.

First Solar will construct the Macho Springs facility using its advanced thin-film PV modules. First Solar PV systems have the smallest carbon footprint and shortest energy payback time of any PV technology on the market today.

First Solar completed New Mexico’s 30 MW Cimarron Solar facility in 2011, which is owned by Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy. First Solar also completed 22 MW of solar projects in the state for PNM Resources, Inc. in 2011 and has been selected to build another 21.5 MW for PNM for expected completion in late 2013.

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