The announcement followed the placement of the 560,000th solar panel in the project by German Infrastructure Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee and Brandenburg Minister President Matthias Platzeck.
The solar farm still under construction in Turnow-Preilack, near Cottbus, is in several ways a landmark project for the solar industry. Despite the current economic and financial crisis, the two companies are building a utility-scale project with a total investment volume of more than €160 million. With an output of about 53 megawatts and with a size of more than 210 football fields, it is the second-largest PV installation in the world.
“The Lieberose project demonstrates the success of Germany’s strategy of combining local production of renewable energies with other strengths, including the knowledge and expertise that resides in local companies, networks, research organizations and universities. It’s the combination that makes German competitiveness,” German Infrastructure Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee told 300 invited guests at the official inauguration.
“Lieberose is a model not just in terms of power and financing, but also in the conversion of military and other unused land,” said Platzeck. “Land that was contaminated and off limits for years is being cleared of munitions and other pollution without any financial burden on the owner of the land, the state. The Lieberose solar park is an important step toward making solar electricity a significant force in the local economy,” he added.
The project is being developed on the largest former military training site of the Soviet army in Germany. Due to the relatively low investment and operating costs, it is possible to pay Brandenburg an attractive lease that finances the restoration of the site, including the removal of metal and soil contaminated by leftover grenades, shrapnel and munitions. After the end of the lease period, the solar farm can be removed, restoring the land to its natural state.
“We aim to enable a global power supply with clean and cost-efficient solar energy. The Lieberose project alone will help save about 35,000 tons of CO2 per year,” say First Solar Managing Director Stephan Hansen and juwi Head Matthias Willenbacher. “We are especially proud of this project, because it is also ‘clean’ in another sense of that word. It is not only generating clean energy, but also ensures the removal of dangerous munitions.”
As general contractor, juwi partner juwi Solar GmbH is responsible for planning, logistics, supervising construction and delivering the finished solar farm, which is expected to be sold to an investor upon completion. “Solar farms such as Lieberose are very important for the future of all of the renewable energies,” said Willenbacher and Hansen. “By their size and the efficiency with which the solar panels are produced, they contribute to significantly lower prices and to accelerating the advent of competitive solar electricity. This clearly increases the acceptance of solar energy,” they said.
Lieberose is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of this year. Upon completion, about 700,000 thin film modules, predominantly from First Solar’s nearby Frankfurt/Oder factory, will produce enough climate-friendly electricity to cover the equivalent electricity needs of about 15,000 households. In addition to producing the solar panels, First Solar helped finance the project.
The solar power station at a glance:
Capacity: approx. 53,000 kilowatts
Area: 162 hectares (over 210 football fields)
Module surface area: approx. 500,000 m² approx. 700,000 thin filmmodules (First Solar)
Annual yield: around 53 million kWh (corresponding to the annual consumption of around 15,000 households)
CO2 saving: approx. 35,000 tonnes per year
Photos of this project are available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/solarparklieberose/3832749295/
About the juwi group:
The juwi group (www.juwi.de) was founded in 1996 by Matthias Willenbacher and Fred Jung. The CEOs together transformed the company from a two-person operation focusing on wind farm project development into an internationally active group with around 500 employees and an annual turnover of more than 400 million euros. As well as solar power and bioenergy, juwi also specializes in wind and water power, and geothermal energy. To date, juwi has installed more than 300 wind turbines producing a total output of over 450 MW, while in the solar sector, juwi has set up around 800 PV systems with a total capacity of more than 220,000 KW as of December 2008. Willenbacher and Jung also share a common goal: energy supply from purely regenerative sources – 100% dedication to 100% renewable energies. The "100% renewable" campaign embodies this goal.
About First Solar:
First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive PV solutions that significantly reduce solar electricity costs. By enabling clean, renewable electricity at competitive prices, First Solar provides an economic and environmentally responsible alternative to existing peaking fossil-fuel electric generation. First Solar PV power plants operate with no water, air emissions or waste stream. First Solar set the benchmark for environmentally responsible product life cycle management by introducing the industry’s first comprehensive collection and recycling program for solar modules. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating cost-effective renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors:
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with the company’s business involving the company’s products, their development and distribution, economic and competitive factors, and the company’s key strategic relationships and other risks detailed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.
First Solar, LADWP Contract for 55 Megawatts of Solar Electricity
First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced a contract with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to build a large-scale solar power project in Imperial County, Calif. The installation will have a generation capacity of 55 megawatts (MW).
First Solar will design, engineer and construct the 55MW Niland project using its advanced thin film solar modules. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2011. The contract is conditioned on approval by the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor of Los Angeles. The solar arrays will require building permits from Imperial County.
First Solar, Southern California Edison Sign Contracts for 550 MW of Photovoltaic Solar Electricity
First Solar, Inc. and Southern California Edison (SCE) today announced agreements to build two large-scale solar power projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Southern California. The installations, which will be among the largest of their kind, will have a generation capacity of 550 megawatts of photovoltaic solar electricity, enough to provide power to approximately 170,000 homes. The agreements are subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“Southern California Edison is always looking for innovative ways to deliver clean power from renewable sources. First Solar is an excellent partner in helping us achieve our goals,” said Stuart Hemphill, SCE senior vice president, Power Procurement. “This agreement is good for our customers, for the industry and for the environment.”
First Solar will engineer, procure and construct the two solar facilities, using its industry leading thin-film photovoltaic solar modules. The projects are the 250 megawatt Desert Sunlight project near Desert Center, Calif., and the 300 megawatt Stateline project in northeastern San Bernardino County. Pending network upgrades and receipt of applicable governmental permits, construction is scheduled to begin in 2012 for Desert Sunlight and 2013 for Stateline. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2015. Several hundred construction jobs are expected to be created at each site. When completed, the solar projects will produce 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year.
“Supplying solar power to Southern California Edison and its customers advances our mission of providing clean, affordable and sustainable solar electricity,” said John Carrington, First Solar executive vice president, Marketing and Business Development. “These projects will help California reach its renewable energy goals, and are powerful examples of large-scale photovoltaic solar generation becoming a reality in the United States.”
California currently has a goal of delivering 20 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and is considering legislation to increase the goal to 33 percent by 2020. SCE is the nation’s leading purchaser of renewable energy and, in 2008, delivered 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours of energy to its customers from renewable resources – about 16 percent of its total energy portfolio. In addition, the utility delivered more than 65 percent of the solar energy produced in the United States for its customers in 2008.
First Solar, Inc. Announces 2009 Second Quarter Financial Results
First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 27, 2009. Quarterly revenues were $525.9 million, up from $418.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 and up from $267.0 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2008. Revenues for the first six months of fiscal 2009 were $944.1 million compared to $464.0 million for the first six months of fiscal 2008.
Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 was $180.6 million or $2.11 per share on a fully diluted basis, up from $164.6 million or $1.99 per share on a fully diluted basis for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 and up from $69.7 million or $0.85 per share on a fully diluted basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2008.
First Solar will discuss these results and outlook for fiscal 2009 in a conference call scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. MST (4:30 p.m. EDT). Investors may access a live audio webcast of this conference call in the Investors section of the Company’s web site at www.firstsolar.com. An audio replay of the conference call will also be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available until Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. EDT and can be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112 if you are calling from within the United States or 719-457-0820 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering access code 6443641. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investor section on the Company’s Web site approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and will remain available for 90 calendar days. If you are a subscriber of FactSet and Thomson One, you can obtain a written transcript within 2 hours.
EDF Energies Nouvelles and First Solar Announce Venture to Build Largest Solar Manufacturing Plant in France
EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN) and First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced a venture to build France’s largest solar panel manufacturing plant. With an initial annual capacity of more than 100MWp, the plant will produce solar panels made with First Solar’s advanced, thin-film photovoltaic technology. This new venture will support the recently announced goal of the French government to become a leader in sustainable energy technologies including solar electricity. At full production, projected for the second half of 2011, the plant will employ more than 300 people.
Under the terms of the arrangement, First Solar will build and operate the plant in France. The plant represents an expected investment of more than EUR 90 million. The initial annualized capacity of the plant is expected to exceed 100MWp, making it the largest manufacturing facility for solar panels in France. EDF Energies Nouvelles has agreed to finance half of the capital expense and plant start-up costs and will benefit from the plant’s entire output for the first 10 years. First Solar and EDF EN intend to announce their decision on the site location within the next few months.
The investment decision was announced in the presence of French Sustainable Development Minister Jean-Louis Borloo. "I salute the decision of EDF Energies Nouvelles and First Solar to invest and create jobs in France’s solar sector, which has begun to take off since the Grenelle de l’Environnement," he said. "This investment represents a veritable turning point for the photovoltaic industry and confirms that France is more than ever in a position to play a leading role globally."
Pâris Mouratoglou, Chairman of the Board of EDF Energies Nouvelles, said, "This agreement represents a key milestone in the strategy of our group, which has the ambition to be a global leader in solar energy." The company successfully raised EUR 500 million last year to finance its expansion in the photovoltaic sector. It has set itself a target of installing 500MWp in photovoltaic capacity for its own account by 2012. "Securing a competitive supply is essential for us to participate in the development of a large French solar market," he said.
"We have successfully built a number of projects with First Solar panels. This strategic agreement is the result of a relationship built on trust and offers our two groups solid and promising potential," he said.
Mike Ahearn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Solar, said, "The decision to invest in France reflects our firm belief in the French market and its great potential. It represents a vote of confidence in the policies being developed by the French government since the Grenelle de l’Environnement to promote renewable energies and allow solar electricity to compete economically with other forms of energy."
"This decision by First Solar and EDF EN is a sign of our shared commitment to the future of solar electricity," Mr. Ahearn said. "We commend President Nicolas Sarkozy’s leadership in promoting long-term policies to build a more sustainable energy future not just for France but the world. Countries that create market frameworks that enable solar and other renewable energies to achieve commercial scale will reap the greatest benefits in private sector investment, technological innovation and job creation." The long-term commitments of the French Government to provide the policy and regulatory frameworks that enable robust solar markets and of EDF EN to invest in developing and expanding the French market were key factors in our decision to invest in France, he said.
First Solar’s manufacturing site will also include a facility for recycling solar panels, France’s first such facility and Europe’s only solar panel recycling plant outside of Germany.
About EDF EN
With operations in ten European countries and in America, EDF Energies Nouvelles is a market leader in renewable energies. With a development focused on wind energy for several years and more recently on solar photovoltaic, now a second priority avenue of development, the Group is also present in other segments of the renewable energies market: small hydro, biomass, biofuel and biogas. In addition, the Group is expanding its presence in the distributed renewable energies sector. EDF Energies Nouvelles is a 50%-owned subsidiary of the EDF Group. Since November 2006, EDF Energies Nouvelles is listed in Euronext Paris, code "EEN", ISIN code: FR0010400143. www.edf-energies-nouvelles.com.