World's largest operating photovoltaic power plant creates more than 400 construction jobs
PRINCETON, N.J. & DES MOINES, Iowa & TEMPE, Ariz.--Today, NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), MidAmerican Solar and First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced that the 290-megawatt AC Agua Caliente solar project, currently under construction in Yuma County, Ariz., is more than two-thirds complete and delivering more than 200 megawatts to the electric grid. The Agua Caliente project is the world's largest operating photovoltaic power plant.
The facility, which is owned by NRG and MidAmerican Solar, employs a daily average of 400 to 450 workers during the construction period. Expected to be completed in 2014, the project uses industry-leading solar plant controls and forecasting capabilities to integrate its output with the power grid. The Agua Caliente project is being financed with support from a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office.
"The Agua Caliente project sets the highest standard for what we can accomplish with today's solar technology when combined with a strong public-private partnership at the national level," said Tom Doyle, CEO of NRG Solar. "First Solar's performance on this project, from their technology and execution to their outstanding safety record, has exceeded all our expectations and we are extremely pleased with the results so far."
"This is an incredible milestone for the Agua Caliente project and solar energy sector," said Paul Caudill, president, MidAmerican Solar. "The working relationships we have with NRG Energy, First Solar and Pacific Gas & Electric allow for the construction process to continue in a safe and efficient manner. We are pleased with the progress and look forward to the project's completion."
"PG&E congratulates the developers for achieving this significant milestone at Aqua Caliente," said John Conway, PG&E's Senior Vice President for Energy Supply. "We look forward to the project's continued success as we work together to meet California's ambitious renewable energy goals. Solar projects like this are helping PG&E provide its customers with some of the nation's cleanest electric power, more than half of which comes from sources that are renewable or emit no greenhouse gases."
"First Solar is very proud of the rapid progress we are making at Agua Caliente," said Jim Lamon, First Solar Senior Vice President for Engineering, Procurement and Construction and Operations and Maintenance. "We have achieved record-setting installation velocities, while maintaining our excellent safety record and achieving the highest quality in the industry. It is pleasure to be a part of moving utility scale solar to its rightful place as a dependable and cost-effective power generation source for U.S. and international utilities."
First Solar designed and is constructing the project using its advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules and will operate and maintain the facility for NRG and MidAmerican Solar. Pacific Gas and Electric Company has a long-term power purchase agreement for the project's generation, which is projected to offset approximately 5.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over 25 years, the equivalent of taking more than 40,000 cars off the road annually.
About NRG and NRG Solar
NRG is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. A Fortune 500 company, NRG is a pioneer in developing cleaner and smarter energy choices for our customers: whether as one of the largest solar power developers in the country, or by building the first privately funded electric vehicle charging infrastructure or by giving customers the latest smart energy solutions to better manage their energy use. Our diverse power generating facilities can support over 20 million homes and our retail electricity providers—Reliant, Green Mountain Energy Company and Energy Plus—serve more than two million customers. NRG Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NRG, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects under development or in construction across the southwestern United States. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com.
About MidAmerican Solar
MidAmerican Solar is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables and is headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. MidAmerican Solar's primary projects include the 550-megawattAC Topaz project in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and a 49 percent ownership interest in the 290-megawattAC Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Ariz.
MidAmerican Renewables is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a global provider of energy services. Through its energy-related businesses, MidAmerican provides electric and natural gas service to 7 million customers worldwide. These businesses are Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp Energy, comprising PacifiCorp; MidAmerican Energy Company; Northern Powergrid Holdings Company; Northern Natural Gas Company; Kern River Gas Transmission Company; MidAmerican Renewables; and CalEnergy Philippines. Information about MidAmerican is available at www.midamerican.com.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced thin-film modules. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module collection and recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.