Tag Archives: solar power plant

energy supply - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

First Solar Building Latin America’s Largest Solar Plant

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) today announced it has received board approval from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, for financing to support construction of the 141MW(ac) Luz del Norte solar power plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The loans, which are expected to close later this summer, clear the way for First Solar to proceed with construction planning at the site, which is near the city of Copiapo. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The OPIC board approved a loan of up to $230 million; the IFC board approved a $60 million loan.

The Luz del Norte project is the first of several projects First Solar has in its regional development pipeline, and will be the company’s initial project to start construction in Chile. The Chilean government’s National Energy Strategy includes expansion of the country’s renewable energy capacity to 20 percent of its total generated power by 2025. Energy from Luz del Norte will be supplied into the Chilean Central Interconnected System, contributing significantly towards this goal.

“The Latin American region has a growing need for innovative and efficient energy solutions right now,” said Tim Rebhorn, Senior Vice President, Americas for First Solar. “This investment support from OPIC and IFC is instrumental in bringing the project in Chile to life.”

Chile’s Atacama Desert receives some of the planet’s steadiest concentrations of direct sunlight, presenting ideal conditions for solar power generation. Widespread utilization of this tremendous resource is relatively new, and Luz del Norte represents an important advancement for development of solar energy in the region.

“The Luz del Norte project is an important step in furthering solar power development in Chile, where the potential for this clean, renewable resource is unrivalled,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “OPIC is proud to support this investment in Chile while helping an innovative American company like First Solar expand its operations and create new markets for its products abroad.”

“Chile is a global leader in developing solar resources as a low cost element of energy supply,” said Bernard Sheahan, IFC Global Head of Infrastructure. “This engagement with Luz del Norte and First Solar exemplifies IFC’s efforts to support cutting edge transactions in emerging markets’ infrastructure.”

Rebhorn said First Solar has been working closely with the Chilean national government, industry, regional authorities and the local community to design, develop and build the Luz del Norte project. He noted that particular effort has been placed on understanding community concerns about environmental impact; national interest in the technology related to connecting the project to the grid; and the broader industry’s power requirements, among other important considerations.

“Forming strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with invested constituents is the only way to build a solid foundation for long-term success in this region, and that’s what we are working toward,” said Rebhorn.

Solar Power

Luke AFB Leases Land to APS for Solar Plant

Luke Air Force Base and the state’s largest electric utility provider, Arizona Public Service, have partnered on a new solar power plant to be built on 100 acres of land located on the Base. Construction of the 10-megawatt facility – part of the APS AZ Sun Program – is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

APS is leasing the land from Luke AFB as part of an energy Enhanced Use Lease. Energy EULs are a partnership between the Air Force and public entities to encourage the development of renewable energy – helping the Air Force to save money while meeting congressionally established Air Force goals. APS will lease the land for 30 years from Luke AFB for $6 million.

Through the APS AZ Sun Program, the utility is investing in photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. The project at Luke AFB will join eight other AZ Sun projects that are already online or in some stage of development, totaling 170 MW of solar energy for Arizona – enough to power more than 42,000 APS customers.

“Our partnership with Luke Air Force Base for this project is great for Arizona,” said Tammy McLeod, APS Vice President of Resource Management. “The solar plant will be highly visible and will set a great example of Arizona’s solar leadership for people from all over the world who live, work and train on Base. Plus, APS is proud to support the Air Force and bring more solar energy to our customers.”

The solar plant will generate enough energy to power 2,500 Arizona homes, and will prevent the emission of 12,000-15,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to Robert Worley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron installation management flight chief.

“It continues a great partnership that we have with APS,” Worley said.

More than 200 local jobs will be created during the construction of the plant, which is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. The facility will be operational, serving APS customers by summer 2015.