|The first blocks of modules at the Agua Caliente PV project will be generating power to the grid soon. (Photo by Tom Cheyney)|
In its second major investment in the solar sector this month, MidAmerican Energy Holdings has signed a deal with NRG Energy to buy a 49% interest in the Agua Caliente project under construction in Yuma County, AZ.
The Berkshire Hathaway unit announced Dec. 7 that it had purchased the 550MW Topaz solar farm project in San Luis Obispo County, CA, from First Solar.
Agua Caliente, a $1.8 billion project being built by First Solar, is supported by a $967 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy and has a 25-year PPA in place with Pacific Gas and Electric.
Although the project partners continue to put the PV plant’s eventual installed capacity at 290MW (AC), PV-Tech learned earlier this year that the site had been expanded and that the capacity will likely be closer to 320MW (AC) when completed in 2013-14. The first power blocks, comprised of several tens of megawatts of First Solar CdTe thin-film modules, were set to be interconnected to the grid this week, according to sources.
NRG said in May that it intended to bring “quality partners” into the company’s large-scale solar holdings, noting the strength and creditworthiness that credible partners can bring to these projects.
“We are aggressively pursuing opportunities to expand our presence in the renewable energy sector, and the Agua Caliente project is another important step toward that goal,” stated Greg Abel, chairman/president/CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings. “We look forward to partnering with NRG Energy on this exciting project.”
“Partnering with an industry leader like MidAmerican on Agua Caliente, one of the largest PV projects in the world, enhances the strength and credibility of what was already one of the world’s leading solar projects,” said David Crane, NRG president/CEO. “NRG and MidAmerican complement each other in the capabilities and experiences they bring to this project and to solar power more generally.”
The deal is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including DOE approval. No timeline for completion of those conditions was provided by the companies.
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