First Solar, Inc. Abandons Plan For World’s Largest Solar Farm

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Way back in September 2009, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced that it would build the world’s largest solar plant in Inner Mongolia and sell the energy to China’s power grid. Located in the Ordos city, the utility-scale plant was expected to produce 2,000MW of electricity per year. First Solar even considered building a panel manufacturing plant in the region, had the solar farm gone ahead.

First Solar couldn’t reach a pricing agreement with Chinese power grid

After about five years, the Tempe, Arizona-based company has scrapped its plans for the Ordos project. For those who don’t know, Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of China, not part of Mongolia. First Solar spokesman Steve Krum said that it couldn’t reach an agreement on pricing despite more than four years of negotiations.

Anyway, First Solar never included that proposed farm in its pipeline of contracted projects. It was the U.S. solar company’s first move into the then-nascent Chinese market. Today, China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels. Though the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission had approved a feasibility study for its construction, the project could never make it past the drawing board.

First Solar still has plenty of international projects in hand

First Solar still has plenty of projects in hand to expand its business. Last month, the company won a contract to build a 150MW solar farm in California. On June 27, First Solar received $290 million loan to begin construction of a 141MW plant in Chile. The approval in Chile could open doors to further opportunities in the South American country. Chile has set a goal to produce 20% of its total power through renewable energy by 2025.

Though the large-scale solar farm business in the U.S. has slowed, the company is increasing its focus on the rooftop solar market, which continues to grow rapidly. The utility solar farm sector isn’t doing bad either. According to Goldman Sachs, 3.3GW of large-scale solar projects were completed in 2013, up 84% from 2012.

First Solar shares inched up 0.86% to $63.47 in pre-market trading Wednesday.

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