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Three New Solar Farms to Bloom Under the California Sun

ROSEMEAD, California, August 20, 2009 (ENS) – First Solar, Inc. and Southern California Edison have agreed to build two large-scale solar power projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Southern California that together will generate enough electricity to provide power to about 170,000 homes.

The 250 megawatt Desert Sunlight project near Desert Center, and the 300 megawatt Stateline project in northeastern San Bernardino County will be among the largest of their kind. They will have a generation capacity of 550 megawatts of photovoltaic solar electricity.

“Southern California Edison is always looking for innovative ways to deliver clean power from renewable sources. First Solar is an excellent partner in helping us achieve our goals,” said Stuart Hemphill, SCE senior vice president, power procurement. “This agreement is good for our customers, for the industry and for the environment.”

Southern California Edison is the nation’s top utility purchaser of renewable energy and, in 2008, delivered more than 65 percent of the solar energy produced in the United States.

First Solar, headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, will engineer, procure and construct the two solar facilities, using its advanced thin-film photovoltaic solar modules.

“Supplying solar power to Southern California Edison and its customers advances our mission of providing clean, affordable and sustainable solar electricity,” said John Carrington, First Solar executive vice president, Marketing and Business Development.

“These projects will help California reach its renewable energy goals, and are powerful examples of large-scale photovoltaic solar generation becoming a reality in the United States,” Carrington said.

First Solar modules at the El Dorado Solar farm at Boulder City, Nevada, the largest thin-film solar technology power station in North America. (Photo courtesy Sempra Energy)

California currently has a goal of delivering 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and is considering legislation to increase the goal to 33 percent by 2020.

These two agreements are subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. Pending network upgrades and receipt of government permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2012 for Desert Sunlight and 2013 for Stateline. Both projects are expected to be complete in 2015.

Several hundred construction jobs are expected to be created at each site. When completed, the solar projects will produce 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year.

In another California development Tuesday, First Solar announced a contract with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, LADWP, to build a large-scale solar power project in Imperial County. The installation will have a generation capacity of 55 megawatts.

First Solar will design, engineer and construct the Niland solar project using its thin film solar modules. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2011.

The city has signed a power purchase agreement with First Solar, which may sell the solar power plant to investors before project completion. The city then has an option to buy the power plant after it has been in service for seven years.

The Niland contract is subject to approval by the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor of Los Angeles. The solar arrays will require building permits from Imperial County.

First Solar says photovoltaic solar modules represent a 90 percent reduction in harmful air emissions when used to displace conventional energy generation technologies. Solar electricity is generated with no air emissions, no waste use and no waste production, while preventing the environmental impacts associated with fossil fuels.

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