First Solar books big utility-scale community solar deployment

Utility-scale solar powerhouse First Solar says it has sales bookings of 121 MW DC of advanced technology thin film modules that will be used in utility-based community solar installations in the United States. First Solar did not disclose the owner or offtaker of the projects, many of which are still in development and not yet announced by the owner.

First Solar logo“This scale of community solar implementation is extraordinary, and suggests the enormous potential for this market segment,” said Georges Antoun, First Solar’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Small one-off installations cannot match the economies of scale realized by utility-scale portfolios that minimize development costs, transaction costs and building costs, while bringing end consumers the freedom to choose solar energy.”

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Antoun said the initiative is underway, with M+W Energy constructing several small, closely sited solar projects comprising approximately 41 MW DC of clean renewable energy. Additional generation facilities are expected to begin construction by the end of 2016.

Power generated by the solar plants will be purchased by a regional utility’s consumers through a special community solar program that gives commercial and industrial operations, non-profits, educational institutions and residential customers access to clean, renewable energy without needing to install and maintain solar panels on their rooftops, and with the confidence that these systems are operated and maintained with utility-scale infrastructure and reliability.

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