First Solar, Inc. Begins Development Of $1B Plant In Nevada

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First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) has begun construction of its $1 billion solar plant in Nevada. Executives at First Solar and NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE:NEE) estimate that the project will generate enough electricity to power more than 80,000 homes in California. The solar plant is expected to be completed in 2016. NextEra will own the plant, while Southern California Edison Co has agreed to purchase power under a long-term contract.

First Solar’s new project named Silver State South solar plant

The 250MW project is located on the California-Nevada border. Dubbed the Silver State South Solar Project, it’s being built in the Mohave Desert on the federal land south of Las Vegas. The solar plant will be spread across four miles area, according to the Associated Press. The federal Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze said last week that the BLM had approved more than 50 renewable energy projects across the nation.

First Solar is also building another 250MW project on Moapa Paiute tribal land in Nevada. When completed, the two projects would be the same size. The Tempe, Arizona-based company has also won approval to build a 300MW plant in San Bernandino County of California. Anyway, the new Silver State South is coming near the 25-megawatt Silver State North project near Primm that First Solar completed in 2012. Silver State North was the first utility-scale project in the U.S. built on public land.

Stifel bullish on First Solar

Besides pursuing domestic projects, First Solar is building more projects in international markets. The company is developing several solar farms totaling 250MW in Japan. Its 141MW plant in Chile will be the largest solar farm in South America when completed. First Solar has also proposed to develop a 45MW plant in India.

Last week, Stifel analyst Sven Eenmaa increased the price target on First Solar from $75 to $81 while reiterating the Buy rating. Stifel says NextEra and TerraForm’s willingness to pursue third-party acquisitions could be a positive for First Solar.

First Solar shares rose 0.71% to close Friday at $71.47.

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