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  • Under the PPAs, California’s Monterey Bay Community Power & Silicon Valley Clean Energy will buy electricity from the Rabbitbrush Solar project.
  • The project will be developed by First Solar and powered by its thin-film module technology.
  • The technology is the result of over $1bn in cumulative R&D spend, among the highest in the PV manufacturing industry.

Arizona and California — US-headquartered First Solar, Inc. announced that it has signed two 15-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs), Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP), and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE).

Under the PPAs, both agencies will buy electricity from the Rabbitbrush Solar project developed by First Solar in Kern County, California. The 100-megawatt (MW)AC photovoltaic (PV) solar plant, scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2022, will also feature 20MW of battery storage capacity, capable of delivering electricity for 2.5 hours.

“We are delighted to partner with First Solar to add to our growing solar generation and battery storage portfolio,” said Tom Habashi, Chief Executive Officer, MBCP. “Responsibly developed to minimize its impact on the ecosystem, and powered by the most eco-efficient solar technology available today, this project mirrors our own commitments to sustainability and the communities we serve.”

The project will be powered by First Solar’s proprietary thin-film module technology, designed and developed at the Company’s research and development (R&D) centers in Santa Clara, California, and Perrysburg, Ohio. The technology is the result of over $1bn in cumulative R&D spend, among the highest in the PV manufacturing industry.

“We are thrilled that Rabbitbrush Solar will help deliver clean electricity to Santa Clarans with photovoltaic technology that was developed in Santa Clara by First Solar,” said Girish Balachandran, Chief Executive Officer, SVCE. “Our customers have made an important choice in selecting carbon-free energy, and we are looking forward to adding this project to our long-term efforts to cut energy-related emissions in line with our decarbonization commitments.”

The PPAs are the latest to be signed by First Solar with CCAs in California, enabling the delivery of cleaner solar electricity to several communities across the state. While SVCE provides renewable, carbon-free electricity to 13 communities in Santa Clara County, MBCP sources clean electricity for the Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties, as well as parts of San Luis Obispo county.

“The fast-growing CCA segment, with its base of environmentally conscious consumers, aligns well with our inherent emphasis on sustainability and our mission to lead the world’s sustainable energy future,” said Georges Antoun, Chief Commercial Officer, First Solar. “As America’s solar company, we are pleased to support MBCP and SVCE in powering communities with solar energy that is not only cost-competitive, reliable and efficient, but also has a superior environmental profile.”

When it is complete, the facility will generate enough electricity to power 45,000 average homes, while displacing 62,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, equivalent to removing 12,000 combustion engine cars from the road. The air quality benefits of the project will amount to more than $10 million in avoided healthcare costs annually.

With 1.9-gigawatts (GW)DC of annualized manufacturing capacity in the US, First Solar is America’s and the Western Hemisphere’s largest solar manufacturer. Headquartered in Arizona, the Company operates two factories in Ohio. First Solar recently celebrated two decades since its founding in 1999, and 25GWDC of PV modules shipped, making it the only American solar module manufacturing company to achieve this milestone. It also operates manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Malaysia, with a global annualized Series 6 manufacturing capacity of 5.5GWDC.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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